Not Even the CEO Got Paid: Steel Foundry Led by Tudor Dixon Bounced Paychecks, Regularly Shorted Employees’ Wages, Then Laid Them All Off

“The state repeatedly fined Michigan Steel for violating Michigan wage laws.” – Bridge Michigan

DeVos sellout Tudor Dixon has frequently used her experience running various departments at Michigan Steel in an attempt to convince working families she would be an effective governor. That thin claim doesn’t hold up to even the most basic scrutiny, according to recent reporting from Bridge Michigan.

During Dixon’s several years serving as a company executive with what she claims was a hand in “every aspect” of the Michigan Steel’s day-to-day operations, the foundry was known primarily for routinely not paying its employees before eventually laying off its entire 300-employee workforce and being completely liquidated by 2013.

As a result of Dixon’s shoddy leadership, “dozens” of employees – from hourly production workers, all the way up to the CEO – were forced to file wage complaints against Michigan Steel after a string of bounced checks and missed paydays. The foundry was sacked with an untold dollar amount of fines for “repeatedly” violating basic wage laws.

It’s clear Michigan’s hardworking families can’t count on Dixon to put anyone but herself first.

See excerpts below from Bridge Michigan on Dixon’s contributions to “the eventual collapse” of Michigan Steel and read the full report here.

Bridge Michigan: Tudor Dixon Touts Work at Michigan Steel. Foundry Struggled to Pay Bills.

By Jonathan Oosting

[Tudor] Dixon, the Republican nominee for governor, has touted her seven years as an executive at Michigan Steel Inc. as evidence she’s prepared for “tough battles” as governor. She has distanced herself, though, from the eventual collapse of her father’s firm, which occurred three years after she left the company upon becoming pregnant with her first child.

But court records reviewed by Bridge Michigan indicate the Muskegon foundry struggled with cash flow while Dixon worked there, well before Michigan Steel laid off its entire workforce — which had topped at near 300 employees — and liquidated the company her dad purchased in 2002. […] 

Dixon’s campaign declined an interview request about her tenure at the steel foundry. In an email, a spokesperson said Dixon was “not involved in or aware of any of the lawsuits” and described her role in the company in more limited terms than she has in the past. […]

Dixon worked in sales and later human resources but told Bridge Michigan earlier this summer she eventually helped run “every aspect” of the business. 

“I was really helping him (her dad) make the big decisions, but went from dealing with the small things on the customer service side to everything that had to do with our largest deals with customers across the globe,” Dixon said earlier this summer. […]

The Republican gubernatorial hopeful left Michigan Steel in 2009, exiting the company amid the Great Recession to start a family. That was three years before Michigan Steel collapsed amid tax liens, unpaid property taxes, layoffs and bounced checks to employees. […]

By September 2009, at the peak of the Great Recession, Michigan Steel had laid off 160 production and staff workers, about 61 percent of its total workforce, according to a letter the company sent to the state explaining a delayed response to an environmental citation. […]

Three years after Dixon said she left Michigan Steel to start a family, the firm’s financial woes appeared to compound. 

In late 2012, employees began to report bounced checks to the state as the foundry laid off most workers and closed prior to liquidation in early 2013. 

Dozens of employees, including the company’s CEO, filed wage complaints with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in 2012 and 2013, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Names were redacted.

The CEO claimed he was owed $34,000, while another white collar worker had initially tried to recoup a $40,000 bonus he said he had been verbally promised. But most claims were much smaller. A “grinder/press operator” paid $12 per hour said he was stiffed $1,476. A production worker who made $10.21 an hour was owed $372, according to a complaint. […]

The state repeatedly fined Michigan Steel for violating Michigan wage laws. But after the foundry closed, the state sent letters to several workers explaining they would never be paid because Michigan Steel had “no available finances or assets to collect monies owed to you.” […]

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