The auto makers

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Re: The auto makers

Postby kiryan » Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:43 pm

i don't have much time to respond to your thorough post because i got a test this afternoon, but heres two comemnts i'd like to make now.

1. what could the guy on the floor do? You could've stood up to your union instead of going along with whatever outrageous protections they asked for. The reason for moving jobs overseas is because you guys werent competitive. So you tried to pour on more protections. Why not hire a mexican at 40% efficiency for 25% of the cost and you can terminate him for $0. Its called business, not welfare for union employees or being patriotic because GM built and sold tanks to the government once upon a time.

2. It is a bailout. It is a bailout for the union and for the government. No one is talking about whether we need Chrysler/GM/Ford. They are talking about 3 million jobs and the loss of tax revenue. Sure technically its a loan (if it gets paid back). A lot of the TARP money are loans to the banks...technically not gifts. You could call some of it equity investment except no investor in their right mind in the entire world would pay what we are for these equity stakes or securities. You are delusional if you don't think this is a union bailout. It may save the big 3 as well, but thats not why its being done.

sorry if this comes across as extremely angry. I'm not extremely angry, just angry.
Last edited by kiryan on Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The auto makers

Postby Corth » Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:29 pm

Nokar wrote:This last time the big 3 went to congress they asked for a bridge LOAN. They did not ask for free money like the financial institution's did and received.

You need to read what I wrote. The terms of the bridge loan itself = free money because they are very lenient. A below market loan is free money.
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Re: The auto makers

Postby Tasan » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:06 pm

Especially when there's no penalty for default.

Face the facts, you're a union member, you're going to be treated as such. If you don't like it, don't be in a union or make changes so you can be proud of what you "stand for".

Unions are an out-dated model, it's why they are going away.
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Re: The auto makers

Postby kiryan » Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:27 pm

Unions aren't an outdated model. I don't think Unions need to go away. Representation, partnering is a great thing, its what America is based on. Why can't Unions have representation in business / management decisions... to be apprised and a participant in businses strategy? Why can't Unions say hey we'll do whatever we have to if you build that factor in Illionois instead of Mexico. What needs to happen is management needs to step up and manage and Unions need to stop biting the hand that feeds them. You work for a company, the company does not exist to give you a job. Face it, the autoworkers are a bad union. Do you ever hear about the unions that represent grocery cashiers? Why not? Maybe they realize they get paid well enough for the skillless job they do and instead of forcing more pay down business' throat they are content and even agree to some concessions here and there.

Regardless, the biggest problem is obviously that management needs to get better. They are paid to make good business decisions, but agreed to labor demands that were unsustainable. They need to get tougher and actually do something other than get paid. Along the same lines, the Unions need to get realistic. They need to vote out all these dick heads who are drunk with power and bleeding these companies dry. You can't run a company into the ground and tie their hands (with "weapons" like job banks) and expect to keep your jobs.

I realize that in the past few years unions had realized this and began making job concessions that management needed... but it might've been too little too late. And the attitude... I mean look at 2 months ago, head of the union was saying we aren't willing to give any more concessions, because we already made the necessary concessions last year... just wait till 2010 when the new contract takes affect... now... why would you say something so stupid when bankruptcy is literally 2 months away? If they go bankrupt your contract is worthless.
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Re: The auto makers

Postby kiryan » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:46 pm

The job bank was used as a tool/weapon against the company from exporting industry jobs to mexico or whatever other slave labor country there is.

... a weapon you use against your employer. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, or were you somehow under the impression that the company exists to give you a job? I know, you guys just want your fair share.

I feel it should be like anyone else. once the benefits run out thats it. That's what happened to a lot of people in the 70's and 80's. I'm all for getting rid of it.

That's called unemployment. What makes auto workers so special that they need an extra unemployment program?

On medical care... we all have it shitty. My company owns a health plan and we run several hospitals and a number of clinics. Managed care/Health plans are all about burecracy and paying out as little as possible. I ended up getting charged $3,000 because an in nework doctor that works for us referred me to a specialist who doesn't work for us even though we have a guy who does the same thing. Another time I got charged $500 for something even though we called in to verify it would be covered. Managed care, National Healtchare... causes your damn unions support through the Democrat agenda... is going to make your system seem great.
The point I was trying to get at with you was how much do you pay for it. Out of your paycheck, how much do you spend on healthcare premiums. How much are your copays. How much is your yearly deductible? Can you actually get brand name drugs instead of only generics (whats the copay)? I can't. I bet you my benefits are more expensive than yours and my out of pocket higher... and I work in healthcare.

On vacations... 2.5 weeks of vacation plus how many paid holidays, sick days? Plus 40 hours of PAA? You're total days off I bet are in the neigborhood of 6 weeks. Thats a level you don't reach in private sector until MAYBE 10-15 years of service. Sok works for a union and gets I think 4 paid religious hours a quarter (thats what the religious time ref was). And I've only worked for one company that paid bereavement, you get the time off, but you don't get any pay... and you're complaining about only getting 3 paid days.

Breaks... sounds like you guys have a pretty tight schedule. I don't really know what its like, I just assumed you guys got a bunch of breaks like every other union I've ever heard of. Thanks for sharing. How the hell do you eat lunch in 18 minutes? How do you get from the line to wash your hands to your lunch box and back in 18 minutes?

As far as $28 an hour and you earn your money. Its great that you work hard and I'm sure you do. The perception that autoworkers are overpaid is not based on how industrious you guys are. Its based on that you're basically doing a skill-less job and making as much or more money than people with skilled jobs (and degrees).
I really don't understand buyouts and early retirement totally, but I've read a few articles over the years. I'll take what you say at face value, but I'll still argue that the proof is in the pudding, you have to be bribed to voluntarily quit and its value as determined by the "market" is anywhere from 80-120k. If someone offered me $20k to quit my job tomorrow, I'd do it. If I was making 2x what I was really worth, you'd have to pay me a lot more than 20k to quit.

As far as the people making $13 and hour that lost their job... I feel for them. I wish there was something I could do.

If you guys weren't sucking 16 billion dollars down, and probably another 30 billion next year on top of the 25 billion to retool your factories because you can't compete... there would be more money for those guys making $13 an hour.

Something else that the big 3 could do is not have "Pensions" as they are now. They should allow people to have 401k's and match up to a certain percentage in it. That's what Toyota and it subsidiaries as well as some of the other foreign automakers do. I would much rather have it that way than how it is now. That way I know I will definitely get what I saved. Not have to hope that every time a new contract comes around that I don't get screwed out of it.

Dude.. you are f*ing crazy. Pensions are better than 401k. You're talking like this is somehow them screwing you by giving you a pension... They are guaranteed by your company and then by the Pension Beneficiary Guarantee corporation run by the government. There is a reason why we moved to 401ks. Its because its cheaper for companies and eliminates the companies responsibility. Ask someone who retired last year if they would prefer a pension or a 401k. 401k is basically a giant market controlled ponzi scheme run in the same manner that government ponzi scheme SSI is. The move away from pensions is costing us a fortune, we just don't realize what we've lost. If you want to do a 401k, just take some of your after tax dollars and buy things like IRAs... It may be nicer to have the match, but I'd rather have the pension and do my own match.

On overtime... What overtime? obviously not this year, but years past.

I am sorry you feel the way you do about unions. I am damn near to that point. But I can't just turn my back on them either.
Yes you can... You can campaign against them, you can vote against them, you can stand up for reasonable policies instead of corporate raiding. Except we all know what happens to people who don't support the unions. You get harassed, they let you get fired or laid off.

When you hire on in the big three you aren't given a choice as to whether or not to be in the union. You are told to work here you will be in the union or you won't work here. So there again it was not my choice.

Again something the union created to protect itself. They work out contracts so that positions are union positions and require the person hired in the position to be in the union (or at least pay dues). The union exists to propogate its own power and get more for the workers... in this case, contributing directly to pushing the automakers to the brink of bankruptcy. Why do you suppose the want to make all their new jobs in Mexico where the positions aren't represented by the union? Yet you guys negotiated for a "weapon" to use against them doing that...

...That was only for the 2 plants they closed the doors on. The people had the choice of going into a job bank to transfer to a different plant, displacing lower seniority people or to take the buyout and no longer work for the company.

Theres another one of those outrageous protections. You can go bump someone else out of their job, even if you don't have the right skills. Don't talk to me about how thats not really what happens, because I'm willing to bet money thats exactly how it actually works regardless of how they say it works. I've seen it in government unions. The 28 year old new guy with a degree and an MCSE gets bumped off the Windows team by the 58 yo guy who only knows AS400s. Basically, this is job security for the people who have been in the union the longest and are making the most money. Exactly the kind of people that management wants to get rid of.

I never said that we don't have it that good. I said What the hell did the hourly worker do? Meaning not a management person, not a union official. The actual guy/girl working on the floor busting their ass everyday.

You didn't stand up against your union. You didn't vote down agreements that were too generous or onerous towards the company. You passively allowed the union managment to use the threat of force / strikes to increase benefits and wages and protecetions to the point where basically, GM and Chrysler supposedly came within days of a bankruptcy filing.

As far as product changes, hourly save for engineers, has no control over that. The union has no say in product changes.

What I'm talking about is how if the company decides you need to turn the screw 7 times instead of 5 times they can't just go down to the floor and say turn it 7 times, theres got to be meetings and comments and retraining and ergonomic analysis ect ect ect.. last week the state workers union essentially made the state shutdown a building and send everyone home with pay because no one knew whether the snow on the roof poised a structural risk. So 50 state works got a paid day off over a "safety" issue.

Not to sound like a cold hearted S.O.B. but how did the person making $13 an hour not have a chance to save money for the future?

Are you trying to argue that the person who makes $13 an hour has the same capacity and ability to save and prepare for the future as the guy who makes $28? If anyone needs help right now surviving the economic downturn, its the guys who made poverty level wages, often times with no benefits... not the guys who were making $28 an hour with great benefits. I'd rather bail out the house builders who were paying their employees $14 an hour to frame a house. They really never had a chance to save for the future or build a safety net.

I will not discount your opinion. I even agree with part of it. But you should research more what the unions actually got this time around and what they lost.

I agree, the unions did start to see the writing on the wall the last few years... and there were some major concessions... but it was too little too late and the only reason you have a job on Jan 1 is because the government bailed you out. However faced with the demise of your employers, the union head comes out after the bailout is announced and says, we're not interested in making any more concessions until the new contract goes in place in 2010. If GM/Chrysler are to be believed, they literally were facing bankruptcy today, not 2010 at which point the contracts and benefits and everything else would go straight out the window.

Oh and let me take a couple more jabs, at American patriotism and the unions because I really hate that line of crap. Unions are much stronger in Europe, obviously more socialist, and look at what goes on in France. The government union workers have riots because they want to increase the work week from 34 hours to 38. America was the country where by your hard work you could succeed against any adversity and if you got knocked down you stood right back up... Unions protect the weak and lazy and give you bumping rights. Americans would stand up on their own two feet and take it on the chin, not push their neighbor out because they have more seniority. Unions have lost their way and their conscience if you ask me. If they were so damned patriotic, then they should do whatever they can to keep their companies alive.

There was a company out here that deals in metallurgy. The union went on strike for something like 10 months. Guess who worked their asses off to save the company? The managers, the secretaries, the HR staff, the IT staff. They are the ones who put on gloves and safety goggles and went to work with heavy machinery 70-80-90-100 hours a week for 10 months. I personally knew the director, solely responsible for the entire chemical operation including several buildings and over 100 employees. He worked 18 hour days to meet the delivery schedules so that the whole company didn't go bankrupt. You want to know what the patriotic union guys did? Drop nails in the gravel to puncture the tires of these poor bastards who crossed the picket lines. A dainty never done hard labor in her life secretary I knew, making $10 bucks an hour doing their $30-$40 an hour job, had to replace tires on 3 separate occasions. And you want to claim to be patriotic?

Unions aren't necessarily bad, and clearly needed at one point. They abused their power and exerted undue influence to get protections and benefits far above and beyond what the market, what the private sector deems appropriate. I don't need for unions to be destroyed across America, I need for them to be reasonable and I don't think they are by far and large. Protection from your boss harassing you, or constructive dismissal or discrimination or even just having representation or knwoeldge of strategic direction I think is great. Unions have been acting bad and I think it remains to be seen if they are inherently any worse than government.

and seriously thanks nokar for participating. its good to try and see it from your perspective.
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Re: The auto makers

Postby Nokar » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:49 am

Extra unemployment program? That's what a percentage of my union dues pays for. Not the state and not the company.

I don't get brand name drugs either. I have went through the same shit with out of network specialists. office visits have no copay, and insurance determines whether or not if you go to the emergency room that it is a real emergency because no damn doctors office stays open past 7pm here.

A non-skilled job? I may not be a trades person but the job I do is far from being non-skilled. I'd like to see up set CNC machines up, or induction heating machines, high flow gas draw furnaces, hell even the friggin 3 dial mill slot cutter I have up? Even with training it's not like a damn trained chimp can do my job.
Bah! I reckon we can agree to disagree on whatever pissed you off. Just because you're pissed about the bridge loan don't take pot shots at the hourly worker. Take them at the company, the union officials, the engineers, the government. All I want to do is go to work, do my job, and get paid.

Eating lunch in 18 minutes sucks. You have enough time to grab something from the cafe, throw it down your throat, use the bathroom then head back.

You are right about one thing. I would get harassed. The union couldn't fire me or lay me off. when there's 3000+ people just in my plant alone supporting the same union (There are 2 other plants that belong to the same local) How the hell could ONE person stand up to them?

I wasn't aware that $13/hr was poverty level.

Why the hell are you blowing it way fricking out of proportion? "You didn't stand up against your union. You didn't vote down agreements that were too generous or onerous towards the company. You passively allowed the union managment to use the threat of force / strikes to increase benefits and wages and protecetions to the point where basically, GM and Chrysler supposedly came within days of a bankruptcy filing."
I'd like to see you stand up against 3500+ people not to mention the international union committee. That's just locally.

My whole bitch about this whole thing is what the hell did the average big 3 floor worker do except apply for a damn job, get hired, and worked ever since. Why hate them?
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Re: The auto makers

Postby Alta » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:03 am

Nokar wrote:I wasn't aware that $13/hr was poverty level.

Only if you're a single parent and you have 5 plus kids. Or live in Alaska/Hawaii with 3+ kids and a wife that doesn't work. Or some similar combination. Either way, Kiryan's idea of poverty is likely different than others. Our kids seem to think we are poor. And we live with his parents, so we must be.
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Re: The auto makers

Postby kiryan » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:55 pm

yea, i guess federal poverty level is lower than i thought. I was thinking $13 an hour was poverty for a family of 4, but i guess its closer to $10 an hour. Still you can be on a lot of government programs at $13 an hour which is part of how i would define poverty or at least poor.
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Re: The auto makers

Postby teflor the ranger » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:45 pm

The concept of poverty is, of course, a relative one. $10 an hour would make you a rich man in the majority of the world.
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