Unite Here to screen film about Union Tank Car

By Julie Wernau
Posted Aug. 18, 2010 at 11:37 a.m.

Unite Here, the hotel workers union, is planning a public screening Wednesday of “Show Us the Tax Breaks” – a short film that attacks Chicago’s Pritzker family and their decision to close East Chicago’s Union Tank Car plant in 2008. The plant was one of the largest employers in East Chicago and when it closed, hundreds of workers were left unemployed.

The film argues that through their company — the Marmon Group, which owned Union Tank Car — the Pritzkers benefited from economic incentives and tax breaks in their decision to relocate the plant to Louisiana. At the time, the Marmon Group said that market conditions had forced the company to reduce overall production and that the aging facility in East Chicago was less efficient.

The film argues that pitting states against one another violates the spirit of economic subsidies and undermines the nation’s economic recovery efforts.

The Pritzkers are no longer the majority owners of the Marmon Group. In March 2008, the family sold their majority stake to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. for $4.5 billion.

The free screening is at 5 p.m. Wednesday at The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, 65 East Huron Street. A discussion will follow with Kelly Hounshell, former union tank car worker; Martin Wolfson, professor of economics and policy studies at the University of Notre Dame; Rick Perlstein, author and political commentator; Tom Geoghegan, author and attorney; and Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor.

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