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Re: Funny story....

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Paul in MN

02-07-2013 19:13:54

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I did not have a personal tour, but at some of our MM gatherings at Rockford MN, we have had many retired MM factory workers in attendance. And my father worked in their foundry ~1950. The foundry was located on Como Ave NE of the Univ of Minn west of 280. Dad worked the night shift in an unheated factory, among a tremendous amount of black dirt and dust. Sand from the casting molds, and burned oil that kept the sand together after the wood mold was extracted. I don't know when the Como Ave foundry closed, but the building was still there as of a couple of years ago.

The tractor assembly and engineering and testing area was in the Lake Street (Minneapolis) plant. The building probably dated back to the early 1900s, and was too small for their needs and was teribly dirty asd well. The management did not want to pay people to clean up, but there was some attempt to keep things under control.

The 3rd plant was in Hopkins MN, about 5 to 10 miles west of the Lake street plant. They had a lot of room there, but did not spend 1 cent more than they had to. In the summer the windows were propped wide open with no screens and hords of mosquitos would swarm into the lighted building from the adjacent swamps on the night shift. This was the building where some of the special adaptations were fitted to the tractors, Where the forklifts were built, and many engines and irrigation pumps, and industrial tractors.

When White bought out MM (stole it through stock manipulation), they stole the employee pension fund to help pay for the company "purchase" 1963. Federal legislation ensued to better protect employee pension funds (but most of that protection has been eliminated during the 8 year term of our 43rd pres). MM also had some very valuable land holdings in the form of test farms south of the Minnesota River in the Burnsville area. This was becoming a boom time for development of residential and commercial property there. So White cashed in well on the real estate.

The "old timers" tell of when White took over, they went from hourly wages to piece work. White did not invest in any new machining (until much later) and the machinists could not hold tolerances in the engine parts. Their quality dropped off dramatically, as engine parts that should have been rejected were used daily. The piles of waste metal from the machining built up into small mountains. Machinists did not have time to clean up at the end of the day or week. They were a very disgruntiled group of employees. They knew how to produce first rate machinery, but were forced to produce crap at lower wages and even worse working conditions.

I think it all came to a close about 1974, but White imported some Eastern European tractors and put the MM name (and also Oliver) on them. In 1976, (bicentennial year), they were selling MM and Oliver tractors as the "All American" tractor, painted in your choice of heritage tractor color.

Guess what.. I will never own a White tractor or truck.

Paul in MN

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j hikemper

02-08-2013 21:05:27

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 Re: Funny story.... in reply to Paul in MN, 02-07-2013 19:13:54  
You told it like it is ,

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02-07-2013 19:34:38

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 Re: Funny story.... in reply to Paul in MN, 02-07-2013 19:13:54  
So are any plants still standing or did they all get tore down. And if you look on the bright side, if white didn't buy them out, then they probebly would of just closed at least they kept them going for some time, and gotta give it to white they had some good tractors.

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Alan K

02-07-2013 21:25:52

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 Re: Funny story.... in reply to G1355, 02-07-2013 19:34:38  
That is what Ive always thought. If things would have closed in the early 1960s....ALOT of tractors wouldnt have happened.

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Paul in MN

02-08-2013 21:12:58

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 Re: Funny story.... in reply to Alan K, 02-07-2013 21:25:52  
White made a hostile takeover. Stock prices were down, and MM had considerable assets. White bought enough cheap stock to gain control and stole MM blind. At that time the employee pension fund was considered an MM asset that was immediately liquidated by White to get the cash to buy up enough stock to "own" the company. MM was widely diversified in construction equipment and agriculture, and maybe was still the parent company of Minneapolis Steel (structural steel for bridges and tall buildings). They were asset rich, but ripe for takeover by predatory stock manipulation.

White had previously taken over Oliver and Cockshut, but I am not familiar with the details of how that happened.

Paul in MN

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Alan K

02-09-2013 07:58:32

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 Re: Funny story.... in reply to Paul in MN, 02-08-2013 21:12:58  
I havent heard about the Oliver and Cockshutt buyouts either, but that would be interesting to hear as well. I remember my dad had cut a little section out of the paper for me which was something about the pension fund for MM employees that was cut. I think it was in the early 1980s which they said amounted to about $50 a month. I still have the news clipping someplace if I can find it. I think MM was the only company that still made AMERICAN made tractors under 90hp to sell in the late 1960s as everyone else had foreign ones at that time. Im guessing in 69-70 when White started to slap their name on everything (that kind of spoiled it for me) and offering the "heritage colors" to maybe smooth over the transition into what would eventually become White...kind of mudded the waters at that time allready for alot of people.

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