Time to drastically cut autoworker salaries, benefits

How Ford can sell more F150s than any vehicle made and not make a profit is terrible, but it's obviously related to costs. Rather than cheapen the product and drive more buyers into the
Japanese camp, my advice to the employees would be to voluntarily give back some portion of wages and benefits, if only to preserve what jobs you have left. It's unlikely you'll find anything remotely as lucrative unless you have some kind of transferrable skills which is something lacking in auto production people. At the same time, agitate to remove incompetents from the Ford ranks who make the bad decisions that hurt the company. Let shareholders know you don't like what's happening. -Rich
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I don't know where you got your information, but don't be fooled by creative accounting.
Workers can agitate all they want, but it's the investors who will decide who to keep and who to let go, and they don't listen to workers as much as they listen to the profit line.
As for giving up anything, it's unlikely to happen any time soon.
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Spike
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A rational person would sooner give up 20% of a $60,000 job than face the possibility of losing that job and ending up with a $25,000 job. -Rich
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You do not understand human nature. It really has nothing to do with being rational or not.
It's "it never happens to me", it happens to the "other guy". And, "why should I give up anything... I worked to get where I am".
The other side of the coin is... if I give up 20% of my $60K job, will prices be reduced by 20%? No. I'll still have to pay the same thing for milk, eggs, and mortgage payment. That 20% means I'll have to sell the home I've been paying on for years, pull the kids out of private school, and generally change my whole lifestyle.
Nope, not me. Besides, I'm too good to be let go and this company knows it.
--
Spike
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wrote:

Sooner or later, everyone will have to "change their whole lifestyle". In developed countries, we'll have to get by with one car. In underdeveloped countries, they will have to trade in their bike or motorcycle on a car. We'll have to take pay cuts. They'll have to get huge raises. We'll have to watch the real estate bubble burst. They'll add on to their hut and watch it's value sky rocket. We'll get laid off. They'll work all the OT they want.
This is what a global economy does! It levels the playing field. Let us hope it goes slowly so the ride is gentle to us.
This is only my view of the world.

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John
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On Thu, 3 Nov 2005 23:17:53 -0500, "John"

That might be, but that does not mean that all those people forced to change shall go willingly into the night... Maslow pretty well hit the nail on the head with regard to what motivates people.

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wrote:

Absolutely! Learn more. Be more productive. Work smarter, not harder. It's what we've been doing for decades! That's what I'm doing to keep my paycheck.
But there *may* come a time when someone will do it a lot cheaper than you or me. So cheap, that "the company" will move "over there", move them here, or outsource it.
My brother *was* a highly paid mechanic for U.S. Air a few years ago. Now into the second bankruptcy, he's an average paid mechanic. U.S. Air, my brother, Delta, United, and probably hundreds of thousands of airline employees cannot spend nearly as much as they did a few years back. The U.S. car companies are in the same boat. Delphi, the largest car parts maker in North America, just went into bankruptcy. They are preparing to break the unions back, cut wages and salaries to the bone, decimate their pensions, cut the bennies, and reduce headcount like you won't believe. They are not just fighting for survival, they must change their structure so they are economically justified. Right now, they are not. Just wait until China or India start producing a decent car and they market it here! Then, the shit will hit the fan.
I work in the chemical industry. Most chemical plants built in the last 5 years and in the future will be built in the Middle East or Asia. That's where the cheap raw materials are. North America's chemical industry is largely natural gas based. In $/lb of contained carbon it's about the most expensive source of raw materials in the world. I can see my future being more and more uncertain.
Don't forget about all that trickle down effect money that comes from the manufacturing sector, which is what made us what we are today. Remember when textiles was big business? No more. Remember when steel was big business? No more. Whats next? Autos, computers, chemicals, airlines, aluminum, etc., etc.
If you had to chose between paying a person $5/day or $30/hr, what would you do? That much difference can justify a lot of training, moving the location, and other stuff.
--
John
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If it were not for the fact that life is so cheap in some of the developing countries, I doubt India would want another Union Carbide disaster. But, it seems that India's population growth is now faster than China. And just as long as nobody hurts a cow....

Airbus, and a number of others are hitting hard. China is set to begin building it's airliners. Only special technologies (like the ones we get from the aliens out at Area 51 - LOL) keep things in check in specialized areas.

My dad had to lay off all his employees and close his doors after 26 years because he could not compete with the biggies like WallyMart and Circuit City. Other local, long time businesses have been wiped out by Office Depot, etc.
Our corporations have lived on arrogance for decades. We've been king of the world. Unfortunately, we have been short sighted. Where our corporations plan for 5 or 10 years ahead, China, Japan and others plan for 50 to 100 years. It makes little difference to them how long it takes to achieve a goal. It's a totally different mind set than the west (which includes Europe). Much in the same way others outlook on life and death to totally foreign to us that it's hard to understand people teaching their kids to commit suicide in order to kill an enemy.
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That falls in line with "The enemy (death) of my enemy is my friend"
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John
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You're not dealing with a personal mentality.... you're dealing with a mob (union) mentality... "we got 'em by the balls".....
FWIW... let's say that Rich was suddenly faced with a 20% salary cut...
I don't work on an assembly line... I'd rather die first. Imagine.... some dork in a Robert Hall suit telling you that you have 12.8 seconds to perform this task.... and that it has to be performed well... It's a toss up.... I'm sure that the UAW has a pretty good hold on Fords (or anyone elses) nuts.... but I'm also sure that the favour is returned... Like lawyers, union bosses make out pretty good from someone elses misery.
I do work in a flat rate shop.... Some dork that gets manicures tells me that a task will take 5.2 hours...... I've done this task several times and, to date, my best time is 6.4 hours and I was getting on "borderline sloppy".... Could Rich explain how anyone could justify spending 40+ hours at work, but getting paid for 36?
There are areas to be attacked... like GM paying workers to not come to work.... something set up by trade unions - not by GMs request...
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LOTS of people work more than 40 hours and are only paid for 40. Just because some archaic union dunces don't like it doesn't make it the end of the world for some people. Other business have faced similar problems with profitability versus payouts and people have taken substantial pay cuts. Some airlines for starters. If they want to stubbornly demand that things not change, despite massive changes to competition in the auto world, let them keep that attitude up until they simply do not have jobs anymore.
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On 6 Nov 2005 16:22:18 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca wrote:

In a way, that's a bit like comparing apples to anteaters. Ford, GM, etc, while the have associated costs of production, don't use the fuel their products will use, so employees are not dependent on such influences to alter their attitudes. The airlines use fuel, and when the prices climb, they are forced to expend more to generate profit. Ford might produce 100K units, but they don't drive them on the roadways. Even if they did, there are far more roadways to use. The airlines have limited numbers of routes to use, and lots of competition for those routes. Perhaps not the best analogies, but you get the idea. You have to be careful what industries you compare. Ford, GM etc are production industries, while the airlines are actually more service industries.
--
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Spike wrote:

The biggest difference between an airline and an automaker is that the airline provides a service while the automaker manufactures a product. That being said, they both require substantial material resources to maintain operations. Ford, GM, DC etc. may not use fuel like an airline but the manufacture of a vehicle requires huge amounts of energy from producing finished steel for the chassis/drive train to plastic components to electricity consumption that requires fuel to produce. I would bet the total amount of fuel consumed to build, and deliver to the customer, one vehicle is quite substantial. In fact, I would wager it takes many years of typical driving by the consumer to equal this amount. I do agree with MichaelA in that if management and labor for many industries don't cooperate, streamline operations and become more efficient they will have their lunch eaten by foreign competition. It isn't like the old days. Now the biggest threat to both are from overseas instead of each other.
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On Sun, 06 Nov 2005 20:35:16 -0500, "Michael Johnson, PE"

True. My point was that you do have to be careful about what you compare to what.
As for airline employees, at this point in time they are at a greater disadvantage because there are far more restrictions/limitations to an airline. As I mentioned, the competition for limited routes in already overcrowded skies, by many competitors, foreign and domestic, flying into insufficient airports, has forced airline employees to see the writing on the wall much earlier than a manufacturer who makes a product and puts it in a line with others. Even if GM, Ford, etc, had to sell at a reduction, they would still be making something to help defray costs. And airline can't say that about an empty seat. or a flight that gets cancelled. A big difference between service and production.
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Spike
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Spike wrote:

Plus an airline sells tickets sometimes months in advance so adjustments to rising fuel costs can't be made until the costs actually rise. Then again, maybe they buy fuel months in advance too. I read recently where the owner of Virgin wants to build refineries and storage facilities to keep fuel costs more under their control. They would cater to the airline industry's needs.
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Those unpaid hours are probably the only hours that you are paid what you're worth.
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Do you put the bolts on the passenger side door, or hand out the tools? -Rich
If Blu-Ray and HD-DVD require players to be hooked-up to the internet to obtain "permission" for playback (like the DIVX horror of the late 1990s) people shouldn't buy or rent the players OR any of the disks. That incarnation of a high definition format MUST die.
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you're
Actually, I purchased the tools, among other things. Someone else handed them out. Most salaried persons realise that if it weren't for the unions, they wouldn't recieve the salaries and benefits that they do.
Dave
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I think you are wrong about that. I don't think the vast majority of salaried employees even think about the unions and what they have contributed.
It's my opinion that they think about their paycheck and what they are going to do with it... like if it will pay all the bills, etc. and allow for a new set of tires.
I think you'd find that few hourly wage earners give a thought to what the union did to make the salaries possible for salaried employees. The hourly wage earner is doing the same thing the salaried employee is doing. They wondering if their take home will cover the bills and pay for a new water pump.
The only time either one is going to think about what the union has done is when the union reps are stirring up the membership when it's time to renegotiate a new contract.
Workers are workers. They have their own lives to worry about, and let the other workers worry about their own lives.
In my entire working life, I don't recall ever, whether I was an hourly employee or a salaried employee, heard anyone expressing such sentiments. Complain about how that AH idiot it Admin who does nothing but sit around and get a paycheck twice the size of mine... yes. Complain that he gets benefits far better than mine... yes. But give a thought to what entity it was that enabled incompetence to seek it's own level? Not. And I doubt that while I am cleaning the floor, that AH idiot ever thought about thanking some lowly hourly wage earner for making his salary and benefits possible.

--
Spike
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Your analogy seems to assume that all employees, salaried or hourly, are mindless drones that are incapable of original thought. While I can think of a few that fit that description, it certainly isn't the majority. It would be very hard not to notice that when the union makes gains for it's members, the salaried often recieve similar gains, or better. From a continuing employment point of view, it probably wouldn't be smart for a salaried person to go around thanking the union for it's efforts, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't know that his benefits are tied closely to those of the members.
Dave
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