The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Cumberland, Maryland Factory Closing

Jul 23, 2023

The Hunter Douglas window coverings factory in Cumberland in western Maryland is closing after more than two decades, even while talking heads scream nonstop about how great the economy is. Almost 400 workers are losing their jobs at a plant which once hired closer to 1,000 people in this rural, mountain city. Hunter Douglas operates in more than 100 countries, with revenue around five billion dollars a year. It’s only closing this factory because it isn’t making enough profit there.

Even more condemning of this capitalist society is the previous history of the site. In 1995, Allegany County bought a huge complex from Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) for over three million dollars. Then Hunter Douglas got the land from Allegany County for almost nothing in 2000. PPG produced plate glass at the “ultra-modern” factory it built on the site in the 1950s, and for three decades contaminated vast amounts of soil with a number of toxic chemicals including tetrachloroethene (PCE), arsenic, and lead.

Companies and politicians don’t make decisions based on what’s good for working people or the environment. Their concern is maximizing profit for the rich.