Ohio Democrats Attack McCain for Creating More Jobs

The Ohio state Democratic party is attacking John McCain because his campaign manager once lobbied for DHL’s acquisition of Airborne Express, and now DHL plans to shut down its facility in Wilmington Ohio:

In a private meeting Thursday, Wilmington residents will ask McCain for help in stopping DHL’s proposal to quit using the airport as a hub, which could cost more than 8,000 jobs. DHL says that it wants to stay in the freight business but that it can stem financial losses if it can put its packages aboard the planes of a rival – United Parcel Service – before delivering them in DHL trucks. UPS flies out of Louisville, Ky., so the proposed change would render the Wilmington airport unnecessary. The only thing is, once the acquisition went through in 2003, DHL added jobs at its Ohio facility:

Little known to those citizens, McCain and his campaign manager, Rick Davis, played roles in the fate of DHL Express and its Ohio air park as far back as 2003. Back then, however, their actions that helped DHL and its German owner, Deutsche Post World Net, acquire the Wilmington operations resulted in expansion, not retraction…

He prevailed. After the merger, Ohio and local governments provided more than $400 million in incentives for road and facility upgrades, and DHL in 2005 moved its smaller air freight operation from northern Kentucky to Wilmington.

The move boosted the economy in Clinton County, which is between Columbus and Cincinnati. Bob Gray, an executive at the air park, estimates the net gain was about 1,000 jobs.

The Teamsters Local that represented the Airborne Express employees eventually reached a ‘historic agreement’ to protect the jobs of the Airborne Express employees affected by the merger — so it’s hard to say that the affected employees were very worried about job losses down the road. Indeed, local papers were optimistic that the merger would give Airborne Express additional capital to hold its own against its much larger competitors — UPS and FedEx, under the direction of Airborne’s CEO — who was the head of U.S. operations for DHL after the merger.

DHL Worldwide Express’ purchase of Airborne Express’ ground assets Tuesday for an estimated $1.05 billion immediately makes DHL a serious player in the U.S. freight market, and it could make the Tristate a major hub for both ground and air shipments.

The leader of the new company created by the merger said in an interview that nothing has been decided on what to do with the two companies’ hubs in this region – DHL’s at the local airport and Airborne’s in Wilmington just north of Cincinnati. But he said the deal was part of a growth strategy.

“And if we’re going to grow, we’re going to need more capacity,” said Carl Donaway, chairman and CEO of Airborne, who will become the chief executive officer of the new combined company in the United States.

For Democrats to come back now and try to tag McCain for supporting a deal that seemed very promising — and which in fact, added 1,000 or more local jobs — is awfully weak tea.