Publisher's Note — March 4, 2013, 5:51 pm

The State of Fostoria, Ohio

A short documentary about a town whose Autolite spark-plug plant moved most of its jobs to Mexico in the wake of NAFTA.

A few years ago, filmmaker Hart Perry (Harlan CountyAmerican Dream) and I shot a short documentary about Fostoria, a small town in Ohio whose Autolite spark plug plant was spoken of in the early 1990s by NAFTA supporters as the kind of business that would benefit from the new free-trade deal. As I wrote in a 2011 article for Le monde diplomatique, by November 2010, only eighty-six assembly jobs remained at the factory, and those workers were making only the ceramic insulators that go around the plug. The plugs themselves were being manufactured by some 600 Mexicans working in a maquiladora south of the border.

Hart recently put our documentary online. You can view it below: 

 
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Mrs. B’s Baby Village Day Care was on a frontage road between a mattress wholesaler and a knife outlet. There were six or so babies as regulars and another one or two on weekends when their parents were passing through looking for work. They wouldn’t find work, of course, all the security positions were full, the timber and ore had all been taken under the active-stewardship program, and the closest new start-up industry was the geothermal field hundreds of miles away. Mrs. B didn’t even bother to write those babies’ names down in her book. It was fifteen dollars a day and they had to be in reasonable health. Even so the occasional mischievous illness would arise and empty the place out.

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