Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Striking out.

Say you work for a company on the ropes, with its profits (such as they are) vanishing into an ever-growing sinkhole of pension benefits and forced to pay its workers far above market rates, and now the national economy looks like it's about to go in the toilet, with a mortgage crisis looming and the dollar in free-fall against foreign currencies as the specter of inflation looms. What do you do? What do you do?

Why, go on strike, of course!
“We’ve done a lot of things to help that company,” said Ron Gettelfinger, the union’s president...
If by "help" you mean "help go out of business", you simpleton, then that's sure the truth. Maybe Toyota will buy what remains. Given the way the exchange ratio's headed, they should be able to pick it up on the cheap.

18 comments:

Weer'd Beard said...

Man, and I was REALLY looking forward to the new line of RWD Ford Sedans.... : (

B&N said...

Collector values on 'Vettes just went up.

Canthros said...

I was ... bemused to see a quote from Mr. Gettelfinger about how the strike was necessitated by GM's unwillingness to compromise: "[...] there comes a point where someone can push you off a cliff."

I guess I'm confused about who's pushing who, is all.

T said...

I dunno about UAW, but I have up close and personal experience with IAMAW due to my sister and her boyfriend. There is a contingent in IAMAW that is perfectly willing to watch the company they work for go out of business before taking a pay or benefit cut.

I don't get it, but I'm an at-will employee and always have been since I left the Army.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't know what the UAW's thinking, but then GM's management has not necessarily demonstrated forward thinking and keen minds either. After all the mess that GM is in now is the result of decades of plodding & unimaginative management.

Thirdpower said...

Same thing happened at the Firestone plant in Decatur, IL. They went on strike right when the whole "exploding tire" bit started occuring. The company gave in to all their demands then laid off the majority of the workforce.

Rabbit said...

The porcelain fixtures plant in the 'ol hometown had a strike called againt it some years ago. Management responded by locking out everybody for 8 months until the union bennies ran out, then pulled the plug on the plant. Of course, if your only claim to craftsmanship is 33 years of being a toilet bowl ring caster then your skillset is a little too finite.

At least the plant has provided a fertile resource for urban spelunkers from the cities since it closed.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

The union learned nothing from the CAT strike. That cost them an entire plant full of jobs.

For my own reasons I belong to a union. It's sorta weird. I'm really up in the air about it too.

Frankly, I joined for protection of various kinds. That said.... I don't see any way I'd ever be persuaded to go on strike. I think I'd quit if I were that mad.

Don Gwinn said...

I'm a member of a union for two reasons:

1. I want a big dog on my side when some kid decides to accuse me of something unspeakable because he's flunking some class. A dog with lawyers.

2. I live in a "right to work" state, so I can refuse to join, but I'll still have to pay hundreds of dollars per year for dues; I just won't get to vote on union issues.

Joseph said...

I work at at a Toyota Plant.
The subject of Toyota buying out GM came up among some of us...my statement was, Why would Toyota spend all that money on old plants, old equipment, having to re-staff the plants, etc? Makes no sense. The majority of us don't want a union. The view is that they really won't give us anything we don't already have except work rules.

phlegmfatale said...

If Toyota is smart and picks it up on the cheap, surely they'll have enough sense to move operations to an open-shop state and ash-can as much union B/S as possible.

old-squid said...

Seems like the union folks have the same attitude as most of the congress critters. Doesn't matter if the outfit goes down the tubes as long as they appear to get their piece of the pie.

Will said...

Toyota would do what they did at the Fremont NUUMI plant. They took over a GM plant as a partnership to make the Nova, and other vehicles. Out of 3000+ workers, they re-hired about 800 to work under the new Japanese management. They did a very rigorous vetting of the previous union workers. This was a non-negotiable requirement by the Japanese for them to re-open the plant. GM and the unions had no input into hiring.
I worked with a woman union worker who was expecting to be rehired, but I wouldn't let her near any business I might control. The stories she told about sabotage to vehicles because the workers had a beef with management were eye opening. I would never allow unions into a business. I would rather move it out of state, or country, if necessary to keep that sort of mentality away.

HTRN said...

I watched a documentary on GM's ongoing financial problems about a year ago. It left my mouth hanging open.
An illiterate line worker was making $130,000 dollars. Note that this job borders on unskilled labor.
A woman RETIRED as a porter, making $60,000(Since when is "Porter" a job you spend your life in?)
$1300 of each new car sold, goes to servicing the healthcare of retired GM workers, who have healthcare for life.
GM's workers snidely refer to the company as "Generous Motors".

My guess? GM will declare bankruptcy, Isuzu will merge with the remains, and move the entire operation to the Carolina's. Retirees and Existing workers will be told to go pound sand.

Anonymous said...

WEll looks like the the strike worked, GM is going to transfer the pension plan for the 300,000 retirees to the Union.

Apparently, this is good for GM, because it removes a bunch of stuff from GM's Books. (Fine from the accouting point of view, I suppose.)

I'm just waiting for the "allegations" of Union misuse of those funds though. You know, political slush funds, phantom employees actually working for, er , well anybody other than the actual pension fund...

Zendo Deb said...

No sane auto company will locate a plant anywhere near Detroit. Who would you employ? ex-UAW folks of course - folks who expect to make 100,000 bucks a year driving a forklift.

And is GM even selling any cars right now? Isn't a free plant closure a gift from the gods?

Anonymous said...

More than a few years ago, the union workers at the Newark [NJ] Evening News went on strike. At some point, the owners looked at how much the property and equipment were worth, closed the paper, and sold off everything. And told the union to sod off.
OldeForce

Joseph said...

Toyota's hiring process is pretty tough..believe me, you don't walk in, fill out some paperwork and have a job. But they are looking for above average people, who don't need to be told what to do and how to do it all the time. One big advantage here is that the people on the shop floor do not have an adversarial relationship with management. We have one supervisor who worked for GM for 9 years, and said he felt like he graduated from high school to college when he left GM for Toyota.
Buying GM plants and moving the elsewhere is not really doable; each plant is custom made to a large degree, based on the models to be built. It's a really complex system to build a vehicle, not like a Model T assembly line, that's for sure.