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GE Bulb Factory Closes, Jobs Go To China

From an unfazed Washington Post:

Light bulb factory closes; End of era for U.S. means more jobs overseas

By Peter Whoriskey
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WINCHESTER, VA. – The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison’s innovations in the 1870s.

For the record, Mr. Edison’s company, General Electric, began manufacturing light bulbs in 1878. But what the heck. Time marches on.

The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.

"Now what’re we going to do?" said Toby Savolainen, 49, who like many others worked for decades at the factory, making bulbs now deemed wasteful.

During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.

What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014.

“In part”?

The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.

And, after all, it says it right there in our Constitution that the government should decide how we light our houses. ‘No man’s home is his castle.’

Oh, and never mind that CFLs are terrible and almost impossible to read by or live with. The Ruling Class (who will not convert their lights) has decided. And they know best.

The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense.

Sure it is. We have the word of the same people who told us man-made ‘global warming’ would destroy the planet within ten years — twenty years ago.

But the move also had unintended consequences.

Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.

How can these consequences be called “unintended” when everyone predicted that this is exactly what would happen?

Consisting of glass tubes twisted into a spiral, they require more hand labor, which is cheaper there. So though they were first developed by American engineers in the 1970s, none of the major brands make CFLs in the United States.

And environmentalists and unions had nothing to do with this. No way.

"Everybody’s jumping on the green bandwagon," said Pat Doyle, 54, who has worked at the plant for 26 years. But "we’ve been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE."

He’s right, you know. And there is nothing accidental about it.

It’s all part of Mr. Obama’s great plan to turn the United States into something like his father’s dream for Kenya.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

29 Responses to “GE Bulb Factory Closes, Jobs Go To China”

  1. heykev says:

    It’s very sad that more people will join the ranks of the unemployed. This is got to be one of the more stupid regulations that the Ruling Class have ever imposed on us. Here’s a list of how clean up after breaking a light bulb:
    From the all knowing sages at enegrystar.gov:

    How should I clean up a broken fluorescent bulb?
    Because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:
    1. Before Clean-up: Air Out the Room
    • Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
    • Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
    • Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
    2. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces
    • Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
    • Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass pieces and powder.
    • Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
    • Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
    3. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug:
    • Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
    • Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
    • If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
    • Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.
    4. Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding, etc.:
    • If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
    • You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb.
    • If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.
    5. Disposal of Clean-up Materials
    • Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.
    • Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
    • Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.
    6. Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming
    • The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.
    • Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

    I’m sure everyone will follow these simple and easy steps EVERY TIME a light bulb is broken. I always have the time to air out rooms, especially in the winter months when it’s very cold out…or when it’s hot out in the summer.

    I hope that once people find out that they have to change to CFL bulbs and the hazmat like steps to changing bulbs the old bulbs will come back.

    • proreason says:


      CFL breakage cleanup specialists. Projected 1 million new jobs.

      Step 1, call the consultant to evaluate the damage. $100 minimum for 1/2 hour plus drive-time. $50 local government surcharge.

      Step 2, move into a motel for 3 days. Minimum $225 after tax.

      Step 3, arrange for the clean-up team. 4 members, $500 per day, 1 day miminum. Disposable Hazmat suits separte charge of $200. No exceptions.

      Step 4, post-cleanup evaluation. $100 minimum for 1/2 hour plus drive-time

      Step 5, disposal fee. $200. No exceptions

      All fees subject to local sales taxes.

      Note: 20% reduction if you sign-up for the CFL maintenance program. $250 per year, including an annual visit to inspect all CFL bulbs in 2500 square foot dwelling. Additional $250 per year for each additional 2500 square feet.

      Hospital fees for family members and disposal fees for deceased pets and babies not included. Health insurance does not cover CFL caused illnesses.

      Saving the planet requires a sacrifice from all of us.

  2. jimreport says:

    I called Peggy down at the factory to get her response:

    “He sayd he wuz goan pay mah mogage and save da planit. Aww he did was take mah job”

    Thanks Peggy, back to you Bob.

  3. untrainable says:

    Mercury in the light bulbs, lead paint on children’s toys, poisons in dog food… what’s next? We won’t have to worry about the country going bankrupt, we’ll all be dead from Chinese manufacturing!

  4. bill says:

    And think how many bulbs you can buy, at HD a new LED bulb can set you back $30 each.

    The CFL’s are mercury containing junk … Only the LED bulbs are worth anything.

    How do we manage to cut the federal government back, of say like a round number of 75%?

  5. NoNeoCommies says:

    I bought my first CFLs over a decade ago and put them in my bathroom light fixtures.
    Those bulbs are still going strong.
    Almost every stinking, worthless, CFL I have purchased in the last few years has failed to last more than one year!
    Most of them came from Lights of America.
    They are making cheap, unreliable products that end up in the waste stream all too soon.
    How is that saving the planet?

  6. Chase says:


    I have noticed the same thing. These bulbs take minutes to lighten up, and don’t last a spit’s time. Several of the hallway/laundry room lights are enclosed – the glass dome seats right to the ceiling. But the packaging says not to use them in encase/sealed/closed light fixtures. So, we start with the useless bulb (had to use one in an outdoor motion-sensitive front step fixture? sooooo slooooooooooow to light……), replace the light fixtures….how long until we start rebuilding our houses to accomodate the light bulbs?

    The light bulbs redistributing our money to China….

    • proreason says:

      Don’t ask the electric company to do an energy audit.

      You may find yourself forced to replace all bulbs with the pet-killers.

    • jobeth says:

      Chase…I mistakenly bought new replacement security lights that are those useless mercury laden ones.

      Those lights are on a sensor as well, and by the time the “intruder” would get finished robbing the place the lights will come on to make sure he doesn’t trip on anything in his escape!

      I refuse to buy these things in any form…at least knowingly.

      Not only that…forget your romantically lit dinners…They don’t work on dimmers. I have dimmers all through my house. The dimmers DO save on electricity.

      And it no surprise that GE is going to China. Let them go…I refused a long time ago to buy anything GE anyway.

      Lordy…we’ve given all our secrets to China…why not put GE, who makes most of those parts right next to the Chinese version of Florida’s Space Coast.

      Let’s see…umm, is there anything else we can find to can give our commie brothers….? I’m sure Oblamy will find some really juicy secrets somewhere.

  7. beautyofreason says:


    Another win for environmentalists, another loss for the American consumer.

    At one point I bought into the CFL hype but they kept dying on me within two years of purchase. So do light bulbs, but at least the things are cheap.

    I bought a bag of brown rice yesterday. On the back it said how eco-friendly it is. “We’ve removed the zipper to reduce the materials in this bag by 15% . Isn’t that great?”

    Well, no. The open rice bag was left in an odd position on the counter and subsequently fell on the floor. I had to clean up a tiny avalanche of wasted food. I also have to seal the bag with tape every time I use it. So much for landfill waste.

  8. AcornsRNutz says:

    Out with GE, in with seimens, who will soon bring us light rail, smart grids, and alternative energy to take us into the future. Those CFLs will be even more energy effecient when there is no power to run them.

    Incidentally, my 2 year old recently pulled a lamp down right next to himself and broke the bulb. While I sat there thankful that he wasn’t hurt and even more so that he had not been exposed to mercury (old evil bulb, still got a few) I heard an National Ad Council PSA about how lead paint exposure has completely ruined an entire generation of children. Ironic, or merely bizarro world?

    • BannedbytheTaliban says:

      No, it makes perfect sense. Since the government outlawed lead paint, there wasn’t anything to retard the children and make another generation of hapless democrat voters. Then, TADAAA, just like magic the green light bulb comes out that just happens to contain mercury, a madness inducing chemical responsible for the “mad hatter” syndrome. But it will cut you electric bill, not need to be replaced as often, cut down on your carbon foot print, re-grow hair, help you lose ten pounds while still eating the foods you love, cure cancer, attract beautiful women, improve your golf game….

      End result, government mandated democrat voters and funding, via trail lawyers.

    • AcornsRNutz says:

      Never thought of it that way, but it makes a bit of sense. In fact, I will go one further and say that those who advocate mandating these bulbs clearly have already been exposed to a fairly large dose of mercury.

  9. Right of the People says:

    My wife and I have been snapping up as many good old incandescent bulbs we can afford and stockpiling them. These wonderful CFLs are junk. We bought a 9 pack recently and the first three we put in lasted less than a week each. Another thing about them, nearly every ceiling light in our home has a dimmer switch which is a great way to save power instead of this green crap and CFLs don’t work with a dimmer, they are either on or off, nothing in between.

    Come on November!

  10. untrainable says:

    The CFLs you’ve been buying that die so quickly were probably made in China. What happens when the Chinese start cutting costs because they have the world monopoly on crappy light bulbs, which are MANDATED BY OUR GOVERNMENT!!!???

    If lead paint ruined an entire generation, what’s mercury poisoning going to do to the next one. We won’t have to worry about the next generation growing up ruined. They just won’t grow up at all.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Interesting you should mention paint. I’m a model builder and live in the US, but recently I learned that Canada has banned all enamel model paints from coming into Canada. The alcohol/water-based acrylics are ok for some things and some modelers swear by them but it’s a classic example of government imposed removal of choices.

      Testors, the debatable leader in paints for modelers has been seriously hit by this action. And, in many circles, their paints are considered the best for color choice and use-ability. I have many jars myself. They are lead-free, of course.

      I heard a joke recently that was pretty funny.

      A guy was looking for a bicycle for his kid as a birthday present. The customer went to the store and browsed. The shopkeeper asked if he could help him and the man indicated what he was looking for. The shopkeeper brought around some nice bikes and explained some of the qualities to the man. Then the man got his face all scrunched up and said, “Are any of these have paint with lead in them, it’s for my little boy, you know. I don’t want him to get lead-poisoning.”

      The shopkeeper responded, “Is your son planning on eating the bike, or riding it?”

      And that pretty much sums up the situation. The amount of lead consumed through paint in the 60’s was hardly indicative of a need for lead-free paint. It was a hoax as bad as AGW but they won that round. Lead makes paint flow much better and it keeps its color longer. Naturally, we have come up with suitable substitutes but, like all true socialists who are never happy to leave well-enough alone, they are now going after the “toxic” fumes.

      When I paint using my airbrush, I have adequate ventilation, and sometimes I don’t. I’ve never suffered any ill effects. None of my model building friends have, either. The solvents used in the paints and their thinners are toxic in high levels, like anything. One must use one’s brain to reason how to use them. Of course, one of the reasons some places lock up spray paint is not that kids steal them to paint graffiti…but that they steal them to get high off the fumes. So, I have to suffer for their stupidity…the mark of a truly socialist nation.

      Sure, sad that a kid (or anyone) would choose to do that. But, people have been frying their brains for millenia. It’s not the paint companies’ fault. We all seem to suffer from do-gooder legislators who are “thinking of the children”. *sigh*

    • proreason says:

      In a recent study, 10 out of 10 rats who drank 10 gallons or more of paint died.

    • untrainable says:

      Rusty. I am so sick of the emo reasoning that it’s “for the children”… “what about the children”… “it’s all about the children”. Have you seen any modern children? Sheesh, maybe we should let them ride their bikes without helmets. Might knock a little common sense into some of them.

      I seem to recall growing up riding bikes without helmets… (GASP!) riding skateboards without knee-pads (OH MY GAHD!) and yes, even drinking straight from the garden hose (NOOOOO!).
      Today at 46, I think for myself. (NOT THAT!!!) and I have NEVER bought bottled water, or eaten paint off a wall.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Cars without seatbelts, swingsets, slides, jungle gym on the playground (at school!), hot water coming out of the tap you could boil an egg in, on and on.

      I do think though, that some good has come out of “group-think” in some ways. Handicap access to places has improved for one thing. But there are also some things that border on the ridiculous…such as the “hermetic sealing” on mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. Then, there’s the protective wrap on the ibuprofen bottle that I have to do surgery on to get to the tablets inside..all because one whack-job decided to lace Tylenol with cyanide. However, thinking about it, if I was a whack-job and wanted to get cyanide into a bottle of Tylenol, I know I could succeed. Now, I’m not condoning doing that, but like the TSA, the extra(pronounced “expensive”) packaging costs results only in a false sense of security.

      I mean, think of it, they aren’t called “Thousands Standing Around” for nothing. Take your below-average barely graduated from high-school type, give them a badge, a little bit of power over the masses who want to travel, their basic lack-of-understanding of the world, as they have only known it from their tiny little perspective, and you have to trust your very life to them. And yes, some of them are armed. And…I can only imagine the ones who will get promoted.

      Largely, we do seem to be a nation composed of dolts and clumsy, foolish people. I had thought they would be able to find better candidates for TSA than what they got. But equal opportunity being what it is…I guess only a certain type applied for those jobs. But hey, it’s a gubbmint job and they basically can’t get fired. Yay.

      The nanny state has really taken over. The best thing the US could’ve done is what Israel has done for decades: Fly armed military personnel around, let everyone know they’re there and so far as I know, no Israeli airliner has ever been hijacked. Hm.

      No….the US, in it’s PC way, spends BILLIONS to give us all a show. Wouldn’t want the passengers to be made nervous by that young man in the front of the cabin with an M-16. (Then take the bus, pal). Had we taken hijacking seriously, 9/11 would never have happened. The line of thinking up to that day was, since no hijacker had ever killed the pilot, they only wanted to hold hostages and get their demands met, then let them do pretty much as they please and when on the ground, let the authorities handle it.

      I had been screaming for years about jihad and the desire of radical islamists wanting to do just as they did on 9/11 but I wasn’t the only one. All the arguments to protect the passengers were met with “well, we feel the paying public would be offended by armed personnel on board”. And that’s the kind of thinking that ALLOWED the WTC’s to come down and the thousands of innocent lives lost.

      We, as a nation, somehow can’t anticipate trouble until it’s in our underwear stinking up the place. Egos, little kingdoms, hierarchies of authority, etc etc…all are threatened by straightline, state-of-the-art thinking. And, I have been accused more than once for being “really negative” but those who know me say, instead that I’m pragmatic. But my point is that there are people who can and who do state the risks, the bad side, the downfall of any idea as a matter of being objective. In other words, one has to ask, “What could possibly go wrong?”.

      The socialists in power have never had to self-critique. The boy who sits in president’s chair…well, the closest he ever came was when he gave himself a “good solid b-plus” after his first year of running a stick into the moving spokes of our nation. What great fun he is having. Smug little bastard who gets his jollies playing what has got to be the largest and misbegotten practical joke on the most powerful nation on earth.

      OK, I’m done now. Sorry about that. (sort of)

    • proreason says:

      The big issues with liberals are overreach and the fact that the well-meaning ones have been totally taken over by the radicals.

      Their predecessors did some good things. Nadar pretty much revolutionized car design – for the better. Early environmentalists educated the country about toxic waste and other environmental hazards. Maybe there were some other positive things they helped happen.

      But the overreach just takes your breath away. Light bulbs for God’s sake! For nothing. It boggles the mind. And no amount of data can convince them. It really is like a religion gone wild.

      And of course. the few well-meaning liberals left are totally under the control of communists and radicals. Really, they were lambs waiting to be slaughtered anyway, and intellectually slaughtered they were. You would think, if nothing else, that they would be ashamed to be dominated by the descendents of Stalin. But they seem to be happy being future gulag fodder. Manson family members chanting right along with Satan.

    • AcornsRNutz says:

      My great grandfather came back from WW1 and became a painter. Suffice it to say he was not very happy with early non leaded paint. The lead scare is a hoax, I agree. Eating latex paint isn’t very good for kids either. For that matter, the MBTE balogna with gasoline. Lead in the gasoline was bad, then the lead replacement was bad, and yet nobody blamed the EPA for that, they blamed the corporations for being to cheap to come up with a safer lead replacement (which would have bankrupted many of them, and driven gas prices even more through the roof).

      Of course, the elephant in the room was the fact that gasoline in the water supply is bad regardless. If you drink gasoline, you will spend your last few minutes wishing you had lead poisoning.

      If I hear any legislation is to protect my well being, the environment, or the children, I know right away its a bad idea.

  11. Liberals Demise says:

    `Good Bye ol Recovery Summer’.

    Obamao ships good paying jobs off while the turds wait in line for shovel ready jobs.
    Nice trade off.

    The Chi-coms are poisoning us whole scale and rumple butt Barry allows it willingly!!

  12. confucius says:

    I’m glad someone else has said, “CFLs are terrible and almost impossible to read by or live with.”

    Reading by fluorescent lighting gives me headaches.

  13. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Truly there is at least one dim bulb that needs to be replaced. It’s in Washington, DC and never sheds much light on anything.

  14. mzmaj7 says:

    Hey! Quit knocking fluorescent bulbs.

    • mr_bill says:

      Maybe we should stop knocking fluorescent bulbs. I mean, they haven’t done anything except make the dream of mercury poisoning much more attainable for the average person and destroy thousands of American jobs, but hey Algore says they will save us from manbearpig, so I guess thats good, right?

  15. mr_bill says:

    Liberals win another one, in the meantime thousands more Americans lose. But we should feel good about it because instead of horrible incandescent bulbs, we have “energy efficient” mercury gas filled bombs made in China in every fixture in our homes! Yaaaaay liberalism. /sarc

  16. bousquem says:

    I can’t see people following the EPA instructions for disposal of the CFL. My father use to run a market that had been his fathers and had been running for about 50 or so years. I read him the disposal steps and he just burst out laughing, he remembers taking the old long tube lights that also had mercury in them and just tossing them in the dumpster and hitting them with a broom handle to break them up so they would fit better inside the dumpster. He’s fine and has no issues related to mercury exposure. I also think of how many things that are now banned were legal when my parents were kids (50’s). Great uncles that were painters that scrapped lead paint without respirators, kids running after the trucks spraying DDT in the summer, and the local river changing colors below the fabric mill depending on the time of day because of the color dye currently being used. Even now as a 20 something I can remember things that are now banned as bad for the enviroment, things like diazinon. Nothing killed the insects better than that, except for the bottles of chlordane our old neighbor had in his shed.

  17. jobeth says:

    Ever think the real reason they are moving that curly light bulb factory is because if they didn’t, the effects of all that mercury would quickly be obvious? In China…people are just peons and pawns…easily expendable to the commie government.

    Americans would raise holy h*** when that mercury began to do it’s dirty work on the factory workers.

    Its ok though to sell them here…It will take many years for the damage to be recognized. Until then the damage will be so widely disbursed it would be difficult to pin on them.

    All the better to make numb-skulls…and put a bunchabucks in algores pocket

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