The Mittelstand Takes A Stand

For two frantic years, German entrepreneur Harald Korte took painful measures to steer his $80 million auto parts maker, Schuneweiss & Co., through the recession. Axing a quarter of his workforce, he automated the metalworks that his family has run for three generations in Hagen, a town in Germany's industrial heartland. Then, just as the company's outlook was brightening, trouble struck again in March: The big wage hike won by the German metal workers union will push Korte's labor costs up a shocking 11% by yearend.

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