Date: August 2009
Author: Cigar Inspector

Hav-A-Tampa closed by SCHIP

Here is a very real example of how the SCHIP cigar tax has actually affected people. Because of the drastically increased prices due to the new tax, a Florida-based cigar factory, Hav-A-Tampa, was forced to close its doors in April 2009, leaving 500 workers jobless. I would not post about this for the sheer news of a closed plant or jobs destruction – we all know very well that this kind of thing is happening daily, in the United States and all around the world.

What I would like to tell you about is how the employees reacted – more precisely, one of them, Ron Russell. Instead of immediately looking for another job, he started a simple community website, Hav-A-Tampa Job Portal, where he listed profiles of his fellow ex-collegues who wanted to participate. Russell says he has already found 30 jobs. I am sure his initiative will pay off and Hav-A-Tampa employees will integrate businesses that will appreciate their skills.

You can read the full article at

2 thoughts on “Former cigar factory worker finds jobs for ex-collegues

  1. Interestingly the CNN article does not state or even imply that SCHIP caused the plant closure. It states that the plant was closed because the factory moved out of the country.
    Factories do this all of the time to save money on labor and production costs. Is that right? I certainly don’t think so, but it’s also wrong to turn a blind eye to the ruthless nature of corporations, sweeping the real problem under the rug and spinning it to support your political agenda. There is too much dishonesty and bias in mainstream journalism today, I’d like to think that the independents could at least show a little integrity.

  2. While I despise the singling out of a small group of citizens to pay for something as expensive as health care, I’m leery of blaming everything out there on SCHIP. I’m not at all convinced that SCHIP simply gave the Hav-a-Tampa corporate overlords the excuse they needed to ram the final nail into the factory coffin.

    In the corporate world, the bottom line is the final arbiter. Political considerations and public opinion can sometimes put a damper on bean-counter decisions, the fact remains that the boardroom choices are based on how much profit is at stake.

    The Puerto Rican factory was already up and running, and I refuse to accept that the corporate accountants weren’t already suggesting the move that we witnessed in Tampa. After all, if they can realize any time of profit gain from the move, the decision was a no-brainer. It’s a case of those last millions of dollars in profit not being quite enough, so they decided to add a few more hundred thousand to the corporate kitties.

    SCHIP gave the Altadis USA Board of Directors the political cover they needed. Now, instead of their disruption of US workers being blamed on corporate greed, everyone is blaming SCHIP.

    Don’t get me wrong, I despise what SCHIP is doing to the tobacco industry. Nevertheless, we cannot overlook how the corportization of the industry is also affecting US workers. Shipping jobs overseas to realize a few more cents per unit has a long and proud history in Corporate America.

Leave a Reply