During the 1990s, Montana Sen. Steve Daines helped run a manufacturing plant for Procter & Gamble in China as the organization fired thousands of American workers to help fund its shift to international ventures.
According to reporting by the Associated Press, Daines was sent by P&G – a giant multinational consumer goods organization – to help head a manufacturing plant in China, as the organization was increasingly turning its eye to Chinese markets and experiencing record profitability as a result.
But while Daines and P&G were focused on expanding their business in China, American workers were paying the price.
From 1993 to 1994, P&G worked to shutter its domestic manufacturing plants by more than 20%, citing this as one of its most important achievements at the time. P&G stated that plant consolidation in the United States was necessary to improve its already staggering profit margins.
At least 4,000 American workers were fired due to P&G’s increasing business dealings – of which Daines played a key part – with the Chinese government.
While Daines was working for them in China, P&G entered into shadowy contract deals with the Chinese government as a means to boost their profit margins, likely taking advantage of the Chinese government’s cheap labor force that often violated human rights. At the time, a Wall Street Journal reporter said of P&G, “the company may be the only organization in China that is more secretive than the Communist party.”
As a result, P&G experienced record revenues, with Chinese revenues alone approaching $1 billion in 1995, and for the first time in its history, its overseas revenue surpassed its U.S. revenues in 1993. The president of P&G at the time, John Pepper, proudly declared that P&G and the Chinese government together had made P&G a “company of China.”
In November, Daines will be running for reelection as U.S. Senator from Montana, where he will be forced to defend his work for a company that laid off American workers and replaced them with low-paying Chinese laborers.