Leaders want assurance from Electrolux during construction - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Leaders want assurance from Electrolux during factory construction

(WMC-TV) - A group of Memphis and Shelby County leaders has come out voicing concerns that Electrolux is not using enough local and minority workers during the construction of its local factory.

"We are going to be holding their feet to the fire," said Tennessee Representative G. A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, District 92.

Hardaway said the taxpayers' investment into Swedish appliance maker Electrolux's project needs to be spent wisely by the company.

"Local vendors, local participants in their construction, and that it's a diverse population they are serving with their dollars," said Hardaway.

Hardaway is not alone in this concern.  A letter was sent to Electrolux making the same demands.  It was signed by State Senator Beverly Marrero, Shelby County Commission Chairman Sidney Chism, and Memphis City Council Chairman Myron Lowery.

In the letter, the leaders said, "We cannot support a project that does not provide a return on investment to the communities that funded over 100 million of taxpayer dollars."

Hardaway went a step further.

"Ask them if they would hold off approving and issuing any new disbursements," said Hardaway.  "If they have to put everything on hold, we have something in place that satisfied all concerned here."

Putting a project on hold that promises to put 1,200 to work would be a serious request.

"You need to come as close as possible to showing the demographics of that area," said Hardaway.

The factory should be fully operational by the fourth quarter of 2013.

Philadelphia, Mississippi-based Yates Construction has already been awarded the $5 million contract for site preparation and is one of three companies in the running for the general contracting job.

The selection of an out of town company is one of the issues fueling the outcry.

Electrolux reassured the community that it is committed to local and diverse hiring, saying in part, "We are committed to spending $30 million with local Memphis businesses during the construction process.  In fact, we have already been using local companies during the early stages of the work."

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