|Workers at Shanghai Zhenhua finish the welding on a section of the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. (Photo from NYTimes)|
But, as with anything stamped "Made in China," you ultimately get what you pay for.Next month, the last four of more than two dozen giant steel modules — each with a roadbed segment about half the size of a football field — will be loaded onto a huge ship and transported 6,500 miles to Oakland. There, they will be assembled to fit into the eastern span of the new Bay Bridge.
The project is part of China’s continual move up the global economic value chain — from cheap toys to Apple iPads to commercial jetliners — as it aims to become the world’s civil engineer.
So American steelworkers are now expected to compete with Chinese workers making 1/10th what their American counterparts make. Yes, I do so love the global economy.American steelworker unions have disparaged the Bay Bridge contract by accusing the state of California of sending good jobs overseas and settling for what they deride as poor-quality Chinese steel. Industry groups in the United States and other countries have raised questions about the safety and quality of Chinese workmanship on such projects. Indeed, China has had quality control problems ranging from tainted milk to poorly built schools.
So the next time you hear a GOP Teabagger berating a Union member for fighting for fair wages and benefits, either in the public or private sector, tell them the Chinese agree with him and that they thank him for the work.