New reality for Orion's laid-off workers

New reality for Orion's laid-off workers http://tinyurl.com/28c975e
Laid-off workers at General Motors Co.'s Orion assembly plant may not feel like the vanguard of an uncertain future for unionized autoworkers,
but they probably are.
Not because their leaders are conspiring to "sell them out" or because managers of recently bankrupt GM are scheming to "ship their jobs overseas," two familiar (and oversimplified) scapegoats. They're trying to do just the opposite, as deeply offensive as their method is to generations of autoworkers seeing lower wages offered to those without enough seniority to resist.
Hundreds of UAW members laid off at Orion this week faced a deadline to decide whether to take a spot at GM's Lordstown, Ohio, plant. Their choice: Move 250 miles to ensure their current wages and benefits or risk being the lower-seniority members offered a reduced compensation package to stay at Orion and build a next-generation subcompact.
This is a glimpse of the new order governing the Detroit auto industry after its ignominious fall, taxpayer-financed resurrection and a conviction to bury for good a business model that was broken long before it collapsed under its own enormous weight.
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Is that a recipe for dissension among the rank-and-file? Sure. Does GM's Orion offer, partly a sop to its owners in the federal government, essentially represent a historic rewriting of the "one-wage-for-all" ethos embedded in the culture of the UAW and the expectations of its members? No question.
The controversial move also shows that the implosion-induced bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler Group LLC, the strings attached to federal bailout bucks, the restructuring of rival Ford Motor Co. and the relentless pressure from foreign competitors have changed the rules fundamentally for everyone.
That includes union members chafing at signs of the new reality coming from Orion and an Indianapolis stamping plant, among others. Meaning Orion isn't likely to be the only place where such distasteful choices are likely to be considered and probably implemented.
Maddening? Probably, which is why a couple of frank reminders are important here. First, two of Detroit's three automakers went bankrupt. Second, bankruptcy could have been the blunt instrument that destroyed the entirety of the automakers, the union and 70 years of accumulated bargaining gains. Third, Detroit's rescue was financed not by Wall Street bankers, but by American taxpayers who've endured the Great Recession taking many of the same financial haircuts.
Fourth, GM and Chrysler collapsed because their business model, including labor contracts, was woefully uncompetitive and too many management decisions were unrealistic.
All of which means, finally, that Detroit's automakers and the UAW are on probation like they've never before seen. Product programs must be profitable; management decisions must be defensible; and labor costs must support the first two, not the other way around.
The other option is, of course, NIA Not in America. GM could build its next-generation Chevrolet Aveo and its Buick sister in Asia or Mexico, as all of its competitors including Ford currently do because the economics of building less expensive small cars in the United States are so difficult to square.
And they'll stay that way so long as the leaders of all three companies push to keep their lower labor costs roughly in line with those of foreign competitors operating in the United States a crucial component to delivering the kind of profits that could be distributed to employees in the form of sweetened profit-sharing plans.
UAW President Bob King, credited by industry execs for having a savvy business mind, is fond of reminding whoever will listen that his union is not a heads-in-the-sand throwback to intransigence, featherbedding and indefensible contracts.
The Orion model, hated as it may be by some, is one example proving his point because the alternative is a whole lot worse.
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It will be interesting to see what effects a 250 mile move will have on the communities. They can no reasonably continue to keep their current houses and will need to sell and then get new houses relatively close to the new place of work.
Interesting to see what the effect will be on the prices of houses in both places.
The age of the workers will surely play a role in the decision to move or not to move.
There are a number of human tragedies connected to lowering wages and benefits.
It has often been studied that a quick close down of factories is much to prefer to prolonged close.
Those best qualified move away and the community is left with the rest and slowly dwindles away.
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In article <a7e7f8ba-d399-4e98-b0a0-89c8c723dc47

Hard to believe you and Higgins are so obsessed with GM that you make a big deal of a couple hundred workers facing relocation. This has been happening since the world began, and in fact many more workers faced the decision in 2 disparate companies I worked for. Then you have your Enrons, Lehmans, etc., where tens of thousands lost not only their jobs, but their pensions.
But in your Alice and Wonderland world, you play your white rabbit part well. Pompous to the blue collar workers you deem below you, and obsequious to the crooks you see as your superiors.
Don't entertain the thought I want to engage you in what you think is "conversation." I occasionally slum here among you, Higgins, and a few of the others with an obsession to see GM fail. I will watch the outcome dispassionately, fail or succeed. GM is just another business in the marketplace. If GM fails, I will quickly forget about GM - and the anti-GM sickos. All of that will quickly fade into history, as will we ourselves. People will buy other cars, and both fans and haters will die off.
If GM succeeds I might drop in occasionally to tweak you into therapy. That is a win-win attitude you should emulate. Just thought I'd toss you a "reality" bone so you don't entirely forget that you have significant psychological problems, and should address them. Negativity is not good for the soul. Life is short - use it well. But I am NOT your therapist. Just a "friendly" observer.
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GM has already failed and the new GM2 has a very different set of rules. In the good old days nobody was forced to move. If there was no more work they would just go into the job bank and get paid without working. It is actually interesting to watch what is going to happen to GM2 and this experiment that is going on. In normality GM would have been allowed to just fail as it did and new companies would pick up the pieces. Now by the government creating GM2 and try to sell it off it is very interesting to see if it is still same old same old or ......
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There are a number of human tragedies connected to lowering wages and benefits.
****The poop is just now nearing the fan. Obama doesnt have a clue. His is already a failed administration.
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On 2/18/11 12:14 PM, hls wrote:

Very true. Hopefully a one term President.
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He is facing accumulated problems so a new president can only have so much impact on the situation.
Just like GM failure did not happen all of a sudden but had been building up for a long long time.
Just like the revolutions going on in the arab countries now
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wrote in message news:a7e7f8ba-d399-

Part of this is true, but the facts are that he has accomplished nothing of any real significance. He was farting around pushing very expensive health care legislation to a nation that was not sold on it.
Up to now, the key is jobs, jobs, jobs, and he has spent a ton of money and not generated any real progress.
"Spend" seems to be the only word in his vocabulary, but he is working on a new one : "Tax".
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Spend is not the correct term if you mean spend it in the US.
He has printed a lot of money as have many before him.
Problem is that most of that money is not spent in the US because it gets into the hands of multinationals who spend it abroad where their return on investments are higher and they do not need to pay taxes.
The money goes into creating inflation in china as silly as that may seem.
All over the world there are loads of $ who have been printed in the US to finance wars and people in far away places use these dollars to spend on bombs and all kinds of weapons.
The weapons often land in the hands of kids and uneducated people who see the weapons as toys to play with or use to gain power and often people get killed with these weapons.
Sometimes they are branded as terrorists.
Eventually these $ will come back to the place where they were printed and it will really start to fuel the inflation in the US as was unintentionally intended.
Strange as it may sound because the reason given for printing the $ is to create jobs in the US and fight the recession.
It is a double or triple whammy because you get the worst of everything first recession and joblessness and then eventually hyperinflation.
So it is not fair to say he is doing nothing but it also very hard to say what he is supposed to be doing?
The bomb is already out there and the problem has been growing for a number of years and the flood will eventually start to come back to haunt the US whatever he does.
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Is there any general plan for what they are going to do or are there just random actions taken?
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Bjorn wrote:

If there is coordinated action it is deeply hidden. Looks like just random actions.
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What about management - or lack of - is it the new or are the the same glacier mentalities still in place?
Some new people I have heard at the very top but a question of the glue in the middle management.
They have/had a great opportunity to lay out a completely new competitive company but just stirring in the mud and moving people around is not doing much good.
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I also heard that new hires do get time limited contracts mostly and so they do not need to be fired.
The company can just not extend the contract and the worker is out.
Seems to be a general trend now.
Looks like the UAW has lost all power.
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