Crash Course

"CRASH COURSE - The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster" by Paul Ingrassia (Amazon.com: http://xrl.us/CCourse )
Paul Ingrassia of the Wall Street Journal, who covered the American
auto industry for a quarter-century and probably knows it as well as any journalist, begins this account of its spectacular collapse by describing something called the "Jobs Bank." No, I'd never heard of it either. It was established by the manufacturers and the United Auto Workers in the 1980s "to provide temporary security for hourly workers on layoff," but "by the 1990s laid-off workers could remain 'bankers,' as they were nicknamed with knowing irony, for an unlimited time, making 95 percent of their wages while not working." This in turn led to "inverse layoffs," wherein "senior workers volunteered to be laid off and thus bumped junior workers back onto the assembly line."
Ingrassia asks: "After all, why should a worker with high seniority slave away building cars when workers with lower seniority collected virtually full pay just for sitting around? Such was the logic of Detroit's dysfunction." Indeed, "dysfunction" barely begins to cover it. "Self-destructiveness" or "insanity" would come a lot closer...
Continued: http://xrl.us/CrashC
Excerpt: http://xrl.us/CCexcerpt
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I find that article to be somewhat disingenuous. For one, the Bank workers did not just "sit around," and it was not something for nothing!
When the job bank was set up BY MANAGEMENT, under the contract to which it had agreed, EVERY UAW member began paying sixty-five cents an hour into that fund. The company matched the amount, quarterly. It was paid by both sides, for all QUALIFIED WORK hours. That means even on ones vacation pay. The "Bank" workers were required to report for ALL of the work hours scheduled, or they would lose ALL of their Bank work hours wages.
IE GM laid off 100 workers and say thirty of those would became Bank workers, who had to report to work for say two weeks. Those that were laid off were paid under the contracts previous "Supplemental Unemployment Plan." The "Supplemental Unemployment Plan," was financed by BOTH Management and the UNION workers as well. "Supplemental Unemployment Plan." paid an amount ABOVE their states Unemployment plan to equal 70% of their BASE pay rate.
Bank workers were NOT eligible for payment under the "Supplemental Unemployment Plan" rules. During a shift the Bank workers were used to replace line workers during those times when scheduled workers were not available for what ever reason, eating, in the head, sick, bad weather etc.
The problem was Management and the Union never expected to have hundreds of thousands of their workers laid off. The Union gave up the Bank during new Contract talks when it became obvious there were no long enough works paying into the fund to support it.
Those harping about the UAW seem to forget Manufactures in Japan were required by the Japanese government to pay their worker, from the end of WWII up until around 1998 whether they worked or not, under their guaranteed annul wage law.
Seems to me the US Congress should look to the UAW Union as a guide, now that there are no longer enough workers working and paying FICA to support the scheduled Social Security benefits promised to those soon to be retiring baby boomers, that are going to bankrupt SS in a few short years.
As to the writers comment that the Jap made small cars and the domestics turned to making "gas guzzling trucks and SUVS," what color is the sky in his world? Every Jap manufacturer grew it market over the past fifteen years by offering trucks, SUVs, ever LARGER cars, they still do today, and they offering BIG Luxury cars as well.
The fact is EVERY manufacture foreign and domestic was responding to the market, even Honda makes a pseudo "truck," out of the Accord, to get some of the truck market. One thing for sure is he "probably knows (the auto business) as well as any journalist but they don't know very much.

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Or just export the whole costly corrupt mess and import cars like TVs. Saves corrupting the system at taxpayers expense.
BTW, what you say is true of the Japanese worker, but for their benefits they are expected to put the company, not the union or whining ahead of everything else. If a fellow worker sees you screwing the company, they take it personal like and take care of it without much fuss. They are "soldiers" for who they work for. And if pork management lets them down, suicide and quiting are their expected options. Quit a bit different culture, honor and integrity rank very high be in cleaning the toilets or running the board room.
Abet not the only one, but UAW is a major obsticle for any US manufacturer to overcome, certainly a big handycap. Does not mater how you cut it.
On 17/01/2010 12:06 PM, Mike Hunter wrote:

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For once you are correct about something. The Japanese are much smarter than Americans, they buy from their own manufactures to support their own economy. Americans are greedy, they will buy from anywhere if they can save a dollar, regardless of what happens to their own economy and the jobs of their children and grand children.

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I think it is far more simple than that.
No one wants over priced North American crap autos.
I have driven a Cavalier in Europe, and a Cavalier here. GM NA UAW/CAW make over priced crap.
On 17/01/2010 1:52 PM, Mike Hunter wrote:

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Really? Industry figures show the average drive home price for an import is 20% to 30% HIGHER than the average drive home price of a similar size Domestic, with the same equipment even though the comparable import costs less to produce
/

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Mike Hunter wrote:

Evidence, please.
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On Mon, 18 Jan 2010 13:09:09 -0500, "Mike Hunter"

Does it? Really? Made in Japan costs more than made in Detroit, Snyrna, or Kansas City.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

They also buy from US companies in the US.
Americans are very smart, too. Who invented the automobile? OK, it was the Germans. But we have made many improvements to the automobile, invented the PC, iPhone, and made major medical advances.

That's true. That's also true of other peoples.

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Or was it the Russians, Swiss, or French? I think it depends on what you call an automobile...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile agrees with you sort of ("Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern automobile).
Ed
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Perhaps, but if one reads what I posted it referred to consumption. My point was that the Japanese are much smarter than Americans, they tend to buy from their own manufactures, to support their own economy.
American apparently could not care less about their own economy or they too would support their economy before that of foreign countries, It is the US manufactures that provides the good paying jobs their children and grand children will require.
As to what we produce in the US today, it is a sad state of affairs that Walmart is the nations, as well as many of the states, number ONE employer, rather than the US Steel manufactures and auto manufactures who, not too long ago, were the number one and two leading employers in the US.
The really sad part is it was, and still is, the US government mandates that crated the conditions that sent those job off shore and companies out of business. If BO and the Dims in Congress get their way, more of our good paying job will go off shore in the not too distant future.

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If they do drive more USA companies offshore they will just be following the pattern set by the Bush and previous selfish right wing gangs.
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Perhaps, but as I pointed out, dr_jeff, NOT for the Japanese who tend to support their own manufacturers

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Mike Hunter wrote: <...>

Actually, that is not forecast to happen until 2040. You will be long dead by then. So no worries for you.
Jeff
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Get real, actually SS will start paying out more than it is taking in by 2017. The way the economy is tanking under BO and the Dims in Congress with all of the 16,000,000 unemployed no longer paying into SS may cause that 2017 date to move UP. At that point the US Treasury will need to start paying off the billions is SS bonds it holds.
My concern is for my four living children who will be retiring shortly. My youngest child is 49 and my oldest is 59. My first born son died in 2007, at age 58.
I have no concern for myself. I am a wealthy man, I did not apply for my SS retirement benefits when I became eligible, until I discovered I could no longer renew my private healthcare insurance after age 65, unless I paid for Part "B" coverage.
The ONLY way one can buy Part "B," is to have it deducted from ones SS check. I donate my SS check to the charitable endowment fund I have established.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

That is far different than running out of money.

Sorry, the economy is getting better under Obama. The stock market it up and employment is leveling off.

Yet, the 2040 date won't move too much. And, with the improving economy, it will move back soon.

So?
I am sorry to hear about your son.
However, even they will be safe. Plus, with the money you claim to have, they will be fine financially.

I hope I am so lucky.
Jeff

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In the first place if you do a search you will discover it is sooner than 2040 that the SS Bonds will run out. Where do you think the Treasury is going to get the billions necessary to pay those Bonds and the interest they have been earning, Bonds that the Treasury has been accumulating for 80 years or so, all the while the government has been spending the money to back those Bonds?
"The economy is getting better" is Obama speak. The economy is not getting better, the GNP in December was at the lowest RATE in history. The stock market is up, but it is because the corporations have adjusted their economies of scale to the conform to lower economy of today. At 15,000,000 it is the highest number of unemployed in history, as well.
Some companies are, in the foreseeable future, not going to have anywhere near the same level of employees.
Luck will never do it for you. It was not luck on my part, it was my education and a hard struggle for this black man, in a white mans domain, over the past 60 years that got me to were I am today.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

YOu forgot to add that this is your opinion.

It was also luck. You could have met the same fate as 100,000 men in WWII (dead), could have been lynched and were lucky enough to go to college. Or you could have been born 100 years earlier and been owned by someone.
Jeff

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OR I could have been like all too many us blacks and never turned Republican, when Reagan came along. I could stayed in that shack in Georgia and voted for all the Dims that wanted to give us check, food, housing, transportation and medical care, all free, paid for by those that do want to work and produce. We as a people, have learned nothing from MLK

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