Mississippi Gov. Reeves hyped new job claims by companies charged with OSHA violations
The Mississippi Development Authority provided incentives to businesses that promised new jobs in the state.
Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is running for reelection on his record of getting companies to hire more Missippians. But many of the companies his administration aided, in exchange for promises of new jobs, have a record of workplace safety violations.
“A job is more than a paycheck. It’s dignity and stability,” Reeves claimed in a June campaign ad. “It means families succeed and kids move up in the world. My job is recruiting new jobs for all the people of Mississippi. More of our people are working in Mississippi than ever before. Mississippi is open for business.”
Reeves is facing Democratic state Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley in the 2023 election, which ends Nov. 7. Since he took office in 2020, Reeves, and the Mississippi Development Authority he supervises, have issued numerous press releases announcing that businesses have agreed to hire new workers. In each, the authority indicated how it was giving assistance to the companies to support their efforts and often included a glowing quote from Reeves.
An American Independent Foundation review of Occupational Safety and Health Administration records reveals that many of the companies have been cited for health and safety violations. Together, they’ve been assessed more than $400,000 in OSHA fines since 2018.
- Ajinomoto Foods said it would add 15 new jobs in 2020. The Mississippi Development Authority promised “assistance for the transportation and installation of the new production lines.” OSHA has fined the company at least $115,999 over violations.
- Albany Industries announced the addition of 85 new jobs in 2022. The MDA said it was “providing assistance for building renovation.” OSHA has fined the company at least $2,950 over violations.
- Ardagh Group said in 2020 that it would add 80 new jobs. The MDA said it would give “assistance for building improvements, equipment installation and workforce training” and a cash rebate to the company. OSHA has fined the company at least $108,966 over violations.
- Calgon Carbon said in 2020 that it was adding 38 jobs by 2022. The MDA promised “assistance for building construction and workforce training.” OSHA has fined the company at least $25,500 over violations.
- Crown Holdings, previously called Crown Cork & Seal, announced 60 new jobs in 2020. The MDA said it would offer “assistance for workforce training” and a cash rebate. OSHA has fined the company at least $9,351 over violations.
- Hol-Mac said in 2022 that it would add 31 jobs. The MDA pledged “assistance to help with preparation of a parking lot and site expansion” and a cash rebate. OSHA has fined the company at least $15,036 over violations.
- Hood Industries said in May that it was creating 265 jobs. The MDA said it would provide “assistance for infrastructure improvements and site development.” OSHA has fined the company at least $11,011 over violations.
- Kimberly-Clark announced in 2020 that it was adding 33 jobs. The MDA promised “assistance for building construction.” OSHA has fined the company at least $39,081 over violations.
- Menasha Packaging said in 2022 that it would create 21 jobs. The MDA said it was “providing assistance for building construction.” OSHA has fined the company at least $19,116 over violations.
- Mission Forest Products announced about 130 new jobs in 2020. The MDA said it would give the company “assistance for infrastructure improvements” and a cash rebate. OSHA has fined the company at least $14,922 over violations.
- Southern Pipe & Supply said in 2022 that it would add 20 new jobs.The MDA announced it would provide “assistance for dirt work that needs to be completed at the 20-acre site.” OSHA has fined the company at least $5,000 over violations.
- Summit Plastics announced 25 new jobs in 2021.The MDA promised “assistance for building construction” and a cash rebate. OSHA has fined the company at least $3,978 over violations.
The American Independent Foundation reached out to each company, to Reeves, and to the Mississippi Development Authority for comment. Only Enviva immediately responded.
Enviva announced in 2022 it would create 100 jobs. The MDA promised “support for site development work and public infrastructure needs” as well as a cash rebate. OSHA has fined the company at least $70,420 over violations. In an email, a company spokesperson said the company employs 130 people in Mississippi and indirectly supports 400 more jobs. The spokesperson told the American Independent Foundation: “We are committed to and invested in protecting the health and safety of our employees and the communities in which we live and work. Yes. We have addressed all EHS related concerns and fines and work diligently to continually improve our processes and maintain a healthy and safe work environment.”
At least one company appears to have fallen short of its promised job creation. In February 2020, Reeves celebrated an announcement that the Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company was expanding to Brookhaven, Mississippi, bringing a $4 million investment and 30 new jobs. The Mississippi Development Authority said it would provide “assistance for building improvements.” By June 2021, the Keystone facility in Brookhaven had already announced its closure, with an offer to employees to keep their jobs if they relocated to Iowa.
Updated 10-4-23: A spokesperson for Menasha Corporation provided the following comment to the American Independent Foundation after publication of this story: “The MDA provided a grant to Menasha Packaging Company with the stipulation that we invest $79M in the state and create 21 new full-time jobs. We are in the process of incurring the spend and anticipate meeting the job growth projections. We expect to incur all of the spend and job adds closer to Q2 of 2024, when the new machinery and building addition will be up and running. And, yes, we have rectified all the OSHA violations.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
Biden’s infrastructure law is boosting Nevada’s economy. Sam Brown opposed it.
The Nevada Republican U.S. Senate hopeful also spoke out against a rail project projected to create thousands of union jobsBy Jesse Valentine - November 15, 2023
Biden infrastructure law helps Pennsylvania’s small manufacturers
'This investment will help create jobs in our region, and it’s exactly the kind of funding we need to expand American manufacturing, innovation, and production,' Sen. John Fetterman said.By Oliver Willis - October 20, 2023
GOP senators try to stop EPA rule projected to save consumers millions of dollars
Environmental groups back a rule designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions.By Oliver Willis - October 20, 2023