Chrysler threatens to take its jobs and go home

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Sven Sven's picture

Boom Boom wrote:
Under my plan, failure to maintain the vehicle properly would result in a fine under an escalator cause - a higher fine for a second offense, and after three strikes, you lose custody of the vehicle altogether.

Who would that hurt most?  Hint: It won't be Mercedes owners who, I'm guessing, keep their vehicles meticulously maintained.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

DrConway

Boom Boom does make an excellent point, though, about the excessive consumerism regarding vehicles. People are increasingly treating them as disposable materials. I saw one guy in the paper who basically said the equivalent of "I give up on buying a car as a long-term thing. I will lease a car, turn it over every two years, and say to hell with the long-term maintenance."

In effect, then, the buyer of the car after the person who leased it has run it into the ground is essentially subsidizing the person who had it before, since they will incur the extra cost the dealership crams into the price of the used vehicle to recover THEIR maintenance costs to bring the car into saleable condition.

It's attitudes of disposability towards some pretty expensive pieces of metal that really causes problems here, since the energy it takes to build a car in the first place is quite a lot. Car companies could just as easily keep the same trim lines, build their cars for durability and reliability, and happily put themselves out of business knowing none of the cars they sell will need to be replaced for the next fifty years.

But they won't, because nobody makes a profit on cars that won't get sold.

 

torontoprofessor

If someone makes a proposal which is unrealistic or naive, there's at least two ways to respond:

(1) Explain to her/him what's wrong with the proposal and why it won't work even if it looks a first blush like a possibility; outline some of the pitfalls that have typically beset similar proposals in the past; note facts that might not have occurred to the proposer; and so on.

(2) Insult the person making the proposal. Use sarcasm. Suggest that s/he is stupid and cannot be taken seriously. Make fun of the person making the proposal.

I hope that it is obvious which strategy is preferable, and more likely to get the proposer to see things from another point of view.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Following your form: 

1) I suggest you take up the practice referencing who and what your points are connected to, so that:

2) you get good practice with organizing your bibliographic notes, and don't download your research work onto underpayed research assistants, graduate students, or freelance editors.

torontoprofessor

As per your request for referencing: triciamarie pursued the first strategy, and madmax the second. Triciamarie: thanks very much for the points you've made, from a perspective obviously much more informed than my own.

(By the way, I've never had anyone do any research for me or organize my bibliographic notes: not a research assistant, nor a graduate student, nor a freelance editor. I did hire a graduate student once, at $40 per hour, to correct page proofs of a paper that was seriously botched by the journal it was to be published in. But this is getting way off topic.....)

Cueball Cueball's picture

Yes it might be $40 an hour, however, badly arranged references often lead to time overuns not comensurate with wage overuns, since budgets are tight, and the careers of graduate students are on the line, so they often overservice the client. You may be familiar with this process, no? 

torontoprofessor

I'm not sure exactly what you're suggesting.

In case you're interested: I asked him whether he wanted the job at $40 per hour. I originally (and unrealistically) estimated that this would be about a 10 hour job. He kept track of his own hours, and was going to let me know when he was done. After he had worked for 15 hours, he stopped, and asked if he should keep at it. At this point, I gave him the choice: I could finish the job, and he'd get $600 for the 15 hours he'd already put in; or he could finish the job, and get paid for however long it took him to finish. He took the second option. He took the second option: it took him 20 hours for which he was duly paid $800. (How did we get into this side discussion of whether and how I hire people as research assistants? I propose that any further discussion of the ethics of hiring research assistants be taken to another thread, and of assumptions about how I or others go about it, be taken to another thread...)

Cueball Cueball's picture

I didn't make any assumptions. I just followed your form, and made the secong part sarcastic. It was a kind of round about joke.

But thanks for the follow up. My understanding, from my friends who do such things, is that professors, themselves harried and rushed, often download such work, which is often handed out as piecework, and the estimates, and the final financial reward are often somewhat out of whack, when all is said and done.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

DrConway wrote:
  It's attitudes of disposability towards some pretty expensive pieces of metal that really causes problems here, since the energy it takes to build a car in the first place is quite a lot. Car companies could just as easily keep the same trim lines, build their cars for durability and reliability, and happily put themselves out of business knowing none of the cars they sell will need to be replaced for the next fifty years.

But they won't, because nobody makes a profit on cars that won't get sold.

I'm tempted to say this is a problem because of capitalism. Car companies are already building cars that last 20 years or more with regular basic upkeep and maintenance. But they're in business to sell more cars and rake in more profit, and there's always a glut of cars due to over-production. In a perfect world, annual production of motor vehicles could probably be reduced by half, folks would hold on to their vehicles longer, and there'd be much less pressure on natural resources. But greed rules the day. Frown

madmax

torontoprofessor wrote:

As per your request for referencing: triciamarie pursued the first strategy, and madmax the second.

That is correct. And I retract my remarks as above and apologise belatedly. 

Unionist

[url=CAW">http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2009/17/c9808.html][colo... news release on the start of Chrysler bargaining[/url]

 

KenS

CAW plans rally at shutdown plant

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090318.wrally0318/BNStory/National/home

Does anyone know if the workers at these parts plants are in CAW Local 444?

Background: this has become common that as insolvent suppliers cease production of parts the automakers need, they use proprietary rights to come and seize the equipment and place it elsewhere.

This takes place outside of bankruptcy or other processes. Don't know how it works, but the automakers have complete legal control of the equipment.

As folks have no doubt heard, money owed to workers is way down the totem pole for the division of what is left of an insolvent company.

So presumably these workers are using Chrysler's immediate need of the equipment as leverage.

And presumably, on the other hand, Chrysler is looking fast on the likely possibility that some shut down facility can supply the widgets in question without the blockaded equipment. [If there is even a possibility of that. Many of these proprietary rights to the equipment must be because they are one offs that cannot be quickly replaced for a reasonable cost.]

triciamarie

They're CAW L. 195, and so is the plant where they want to move the tools to. But 444 is there en masse.

Pretty sad.

KenS

I'm puzzled what is so much at stake for Chrysler in demanding substantially more from the CAW.

 

The $20/hour gap is an exageration. Hard to know what it is, but even if it's as much as say $12... we're talking here brinksmanship over  max of [eventually] 8-9% or less of 9% of production costs.

Is it the direct dollars they feel driven to save? Or are they pimping for Flaherty promising them a bailout jackpot if they can leapfrog down the pattern from the GM settlement? [After which GM will get whatever Chrysler gets, as well as Ford.]

Or what?

KenS

If the CAW is actively encouraging and helping the Ardco and Armco blockaders, then it must in part(s) be to deliberately inflict some pain on Chrysler.

Good for them.

There are two pointy ends to this brinksmanship game.

madmax

Your are correct Ken.  Plant takeovers have been very successful in leveraging "Bankrupt" companies. Infact the money only gets to the employees when they take these bankruptcies into their own hands.

Good For them

If Chrysler needs are high, they will pay up. 

I took part in a couple plant takeovers and one of those companies was saved by the workers and continues its operations even to this day, and the other takeover forced the company to pay up everything including FULL severance before they shut the doors and declared themselves insolvent. 

Here is another link on the same event posted above.

Aradco 

 

 

 

 

KenS

Here is the AutoNews article that linked article above would be referring to.

http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090318/ANA02/903189984/1078

And despite the huge inventory of cars sitting in lots- the ones these parts would be for are the sellers where inventory is low... and Chrysler cannot afford to lose any sales.

It is implicit from the Chrysler comments that they have no way of soon enough getting the parts produced elesewhere without the blockaded tols.

Unionist

CAW Local 195 has reached a [url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/03/18/windsor-plant.html]... agreement[/url], to be ratified tomorrow:

Quote:
The Canadian Auto Workers Union, which represents workers at the closed Aradco plant, held a rally there Wednesday. CAW president Ken Lewenza, speaking at the rally, told some 400 supporters a deal "in principle" had been reached. [...]

Speaking of the deal, Lewenza told a cheering crowd that "where we are today is 10 times farther than we ever were and than we'd ever get."

No further details of the deal were available, but they will be provided Thursday morning when workers are due to vote on the agreement, the CAW said.

 

DrConway

The thing the Cons might want to remember is that repeated rounds of wage cuts were one factor behind the Great Depression lingering on as long as it did.

People don't spend money when they're getting less than they used to.

 

Tommy_Paine

 

It's astonishing to me, Dr.,  how people have not yet thought through to the point you are making.    In Ontario in particular, people are being naive if they think losing such a significant sector of the economy will not negatively effect them.

"Ok Tommy, you did such a great job, I will back off on being so harsh on the Professor. You hit a home run in my ball park. I congratulate you for spelling out the culture so clearly.

We need your input on other forums where people are just as ignorant in understanding manufacturing in Canada."

Thank you. 

I have been somewhat surprised that even here there is a lack of understanding about manufacturing-- how it's done and how it has fit in with the rest of our economy and how it must fit into what ever economy emerges from these ashes.

The fault, however, resides with the industry and the people who work in it, who have never really made an effort to articulate to others the integral role manufacturing plays in this nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unionist

The end may be near:

[url=http://www.thestar.com/business/article/623100]CAW, Chrysler nearing deal, sources say[/url]

And an op-ed piece by Ken Lewenza:

[url=http://www.thestar.com/article/622814]Cutting wages won't solve auto industry's problems[/url]

Quote:

Independent data verify that CAW plants today are the most productive in North America. And our hourly labour costs are significantly lower than in the U.S. We understand the sands are shifting quickly in this industry. And we commit to ensuring that, at the end of the day, the Canadian advantage is still there.

But the executives and politicians who are holding a gun to the workers' head today are looking for something quite different. They want unions out of the way so that the costs of the current crisis can be shifted onto the shoulders of those with less power – including workers, the unemployed and pensioners (who are perhaps the most innocent victims of all). That precedent will affect all workers and retirees, not just autoworkers. And that's why we're refusing to be blackmailed.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Yowza, I didn't see how long this was. Closing for length and starting a new one with Unionist's post.

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