wrong again miles. i am in management. i am not union. i actually
do the internal invvestigations where i work. we have a union
workforce and a discipline agreement. i do not find the discipline
agreement at all difficult to work with. it simply guarentees the
employess a fair process. i have no problem following that. it also
means that we have to have a reason to discipline an employee and that
the punishment has to fit the offense or if we want to move higher on
the disipline chain, we have to show that we are following the
doctrine of progressive discipline. i have not found the union to be
a problem. what they want is fair. they have not impeded my
investigations. i do not see the gaurentee of due process and due
cause as an obstacle to effective discipline in any way at all.
Often they run into trouble as a direct result of exhorbant labor costs
caused by powerfull unions. Look at the massive rise in health costs
companies must pay out. Unions use their power to resist absorbing
their share of the rise in costs. It's much easier to just say the
owners are greedy and should pay.
Huh? A company makes a product or provides a service for ONE purpose.
To make money. A company will change its product or service as the
market dictates. Why? To MAKE MONEY. That is why a person starts a
company. You really believe it's just to make a product and the money
is an incidental benifit of doing so? Too funny.
Just in the USA or the rest of the world? If a union chokes the life
out of a company then how does that benifit the workers?
If the US Automakers concentrated on making what was good- better, then
best, (meaning a vehicle that would have few problems and last longer) they
could be top at their game too. Instead they get something that works well
and change it to something that is not yet proven.
Considering the cost of new vehicles, A 3 year 36,000 mile is not that
good of an included warranty on non-consumable parts. The warranty's on
earlier vehicles were 1yr. / 12,000 miles, but the cost of the vehicle was a
lot less even with inflation adjustments.
But then if vehicles last longer with less problems, the mentality is
that they would sell less vehicles -so I guess there is no point in that.--J
I think this thread has gotten away from the original argument. The
original argument was Ford and GM's unions.
I spoke with a GM executive on Monday. I asked him basically his take on
the problems. He told me that GM and Ford were pension heavy. I said do
you mean Union workers? He said mostly yes, but not necessarily. I next
asked him what his finance department is doing wrong. He looked at me
puzzled, and also with a "you got me" look at the same time. This look is
hard to explain. I said, "isn't your finance department responsible for
investing the pensions?" He said, "Well yes, but we are going to have to
look at renegotiating our contracts with our unions, and changing our new
hires pension plans." One of my associates chimed in, "I hope social
security definately survives then." We left the conversation at that time.
When I was younger, I was a union worker. I was under the Railway labor
act. I am now on the other side of the fence in an executive position. I
am astonished so many times on how clueless other executives and mid level
management is as to the plight of the front line worker. Alot of failures
are blamed on the front line worker, when in fact; the failure is in
leadership. The example of the electrical workers union is a great example.
The poster said that the workers and shop stewards were sabotaging work to
get down time. The is a failure of leadership. The management allowed the
union to lead. Also, maybe the management needs to make the job more
imaginative and challenging. Maybe the management needs to learn just
exactly what an electrician does.
Someone once asked me advice (free advice) on the disatisfaction on Postal
workers. I said to them, "Why are you asking me?" "Have you asked the
workers?" The answer was no. I got a call from this same person 2 months
later, and I was told that they tried to ask the workers questions through
questionaires and surveys with no avail. They next finally decided to get
up off their rear ends and actually ask the Postal workers one on one what
problems were. The responses were overwhelming that the workers felt that
supervisors were clueless and extremely lazy. The workers also felt that
supervisors were imcompetent in handle problems whether small or large. The
workers would try to handle problems on their own as a result, then the
supervisors would discipline the workers for handling the problem.
I see this go on very often in many industries. I've learned through the
military and Union experience, that ultimately responsibilty and
accountability falls on leadership. When the chain of command breaks down,
and there is no contigency in place; and everyone starts "winging it."
the problems begin.
So in Ford and GM's case, and other cases make the union the scapegoat if
you must, but when you stand back and look at things from a distance and
hindsight, ultimately there is a failure in leadership. In Ford and GM's
case, I see a failure in the leadership to get on the engineer and design
teams about unimaginative design and engineering. Also, a failure to
connect with drivers.
I went through this while employed by Amtrak. They tried the survey approach
and found that what was gleaned was unacceptable. So they hired a outside
company to come in and do interviews. Think for a second, how does a
management team become so far out of touch with it's workforce that they had
to hire sombody to find out what the hell was wrong? They didn't or wouldn't
believe the folks they hired. End result of years of bs, a congressional
investigation brought about by the unions and as a result of the
investigations and hearing a GAO study. All that finally brought about
change, A almost totally revamped management team.
I believe this subject is so complicated that no one here (or maybe
anywhere) can really provide a complete and true answer. I think we are
also looking at world politics that go back a hundred years (or more). I
do know one thing....... state politics have helped to kill (or nurture)
a lot of business in certain areas of the country. In New York State,
for example, Republic Steel once had a Buffalo steel plant. That plant
paid more in state/local taxes than all their other steel plants
combined. Another nail in that plants coffin was Japanese steel which
was subsidized by the Japanese government. (BTW, this Republic plant
produced a very high quality steel used in car springs, rifle barrels,
etc.). That plant closed its' doors in the early 80's. That closing
can't be totally blamed on unions.
Also, FWIW, that plant had just built a new blast furnace considered the
most modern of its' kind. After that plant closed up, the furnace was
sold to the Chinese, who moved in and took it apart and put it back
together in China where it is still in use today. I know this is true
because my father-in-law was ass't. supt. eng. and helped design that
As for my own experience ........ I used to be the application eng.
mngr. for an electronic components company. We sold a great deal of
components to US auto makers (all 3). I remember one of the 3 wanting a
"silent" electromechanical relay to use in their intermittent windshield
wipers. Only 1 company in the world made it. I sat in on 1 week of
meetings in Japan where the Jap manufacturer tried to convince the US
auto maker that this was not the proper relay for this application. The
auto maker placed orders anyway (because a new relay would have taken
quite a while to make and get required approvals). That move really
backfired later on (for the auto maker). The reason the US auto maker
had to have this relay so quickly was so ridiculous I don't even want to
go into it here (suffice to say it had to do with a board members wife
hating the clicking noise in her personal car). I have dozens of
idiotic engineering stories like this (wonder why American cars were
once perceived as junk ?). Can this sort of thing be blamed on unions ?
This sort of thing DID NOT help sell cars!
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