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When a product (car) fails in the marketplace, is that the fault of the unionized workers? Hardly; they're just building the car as they are directed to.
When a car is successful, that has a lot to do with the workers. The reason why cars like the Impala are so successful is because the workers building it are dedicated to quality.

which is it? i don't think i've taken either of these statements you made out of context. i'm not looking for a rumble here either... i find this thread very interesting, but am having a tough time understanding most of what you say. i'd like at least to be able to, for my own purposes, understand your point of view. but i can't yet! and i'll admit to being rather ignorant to the workings of the UAW and the auto industry as a whole, but i can't get past the "paid while not working" thing.

i do see that the wages for these laid-off workers isn't money being divereted from, say, the update for the new full-size pickups. i also do see that this SUB fund has been set-up for this exact situation. just because something is in place, though, doesn't mean that's the way it should be. it means the union shouted louder. do you feel this set-up should be extended to all industries? are you so passionate about this because of how demanding the work is (and i'm not being sarcastic... i do believe it is demanding)?
 

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Easy summary in 3 points:
1.) Workers wouldn't be in the plant closing situation if more quality were built into products.
2.) Workers are overpaid at what they do, causing a whirlwind effect. (More pay to workers to maintain status quo, hindering innovation, and causing excess costs)
3.) All industries have unique environments, however, American automobile workers make more than equivalent industries.

About the SUB fund...I understand that GM pays a part of their "earned" salary into this, but this still is taking money away from the company. If this money was "earned," give it to the workers, and let them plan for their futures. Personal investment always gives better returns, because the individual is responsible for pursuing their own best path, not the path that is best for a large group. Otherwise, reinvest this money into the product. Yes, companies want higher profits. However, they also understand that reinvestment of a little now brings higher returns later (otherwise, GM would not be here today).

Extremely high pay plus benefits that are unheard of...I wish that I had a job like that! It was stated that these individuals paid for their own unemployment pay. So, they get that money back when they are unemployed. Who is still paying the benefits? Plus, at the current rate of insurance, I am sure that what was put away as little as 5 years ago wouldn't even make a dent in today's dollars for premiums. Its nice they made a rainy day fund, but don't think for a minute that we are confused as to who is really paying for these workers to stay home and get paid (GM, who passes it right along to the consumer).

I'll give you that these people work hard at what they do, but I cannot believe that this is extremely hard work, because if it was, not everybody could do it. The last time I looked, this was considered a blue-colar job that doesn't require a college degree. There is nothing wrong with that, but to stay with the times, pays are being decreased, health care benefits are being cut (or of the pay-in variety), and people are losing jobs to downsizing and other countries. I hope that the US can keep all of its workers busy, but that will always be impossible if pay levels are above the requirements of the position.
 

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Okay, let's set the record straight.

First off, nobody's asking for sympathy for these workers, so you can get off your high horse right now if you want to say how unsympathetic you are. Nobody asked, and nobody cares that you don't.

The problem is people who don't feel the workers are entitled to their SUB when they're laid off. That's like saying retirees aren't entitled to their pension. SUB is something that's paid into when the cars are selling and GM's making a healthy profit from them. Sure, the SUB fund, along with the retirement fund, the benefits, and the worker's wages, are all coming from the company profits...so are the multi-million dollar salaries of the president and board of directors. Sure, you could eliminate worker benefits, and you could also cut those multi-million dollar salaries considerably...but either act isn't going to result in a better Saturn station wagon when people aren't buying station wagons. The workers, along with the president and board of directors, are all sharing in the company's success. The only ones that would benefit from cutting worker benefits would be the shareholders. The cars aren't going to change, because, overall, they are competitive as they are. There aren't any station wagons in the Saturn wagon's class that are better.

The workers on the line work hard to make GM profitable these days. Some of you are stuck back in the old days when GM was losing market share to the Japanese, and yes, the line jobs may not have been so demanding...but anyone who has walked along the assembly line watching the workers do their thing all day long will realize that these guys (and women) really do earn what they make and deserve any time they get off the line. You'll notice that none of them have the time to waste posting in these forums like some of us do to defend themselves.

When quality is good in a product, that has everything to do with the workers. When a product fails in spite of being of very good quality (as is the case with the Saturn wagon), that is clearly out of the hands of the workers. In this case, that would have more to do with the engineers that failed to update the car's appearances in a manner that would appeal to the buying public. It also has to do with the fact that people aren't buying station wagons like they used to, and GM probably realized this, which is probably why they didn't bother to do much to update it.
 

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Hey, I work in a mill, and yes, I do post online...not at work, but at home when I am on my own time. You don't see them defending themselves because they know they have it pretty good, better than 90% of the workers today.
 

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Originally posted by Dodge Drivin' Paul@May 27 2004, 01:57 AM

When quality is good in a product, that has everything to do with the workers. When a product fails in spite of being of very good quality (as is the case with the Saturn wagon), that is clearly out of the hands of the workers. In this case, that would have more to do with the engineers that failed to update the car's appearances in a manner that would appeal to the buying public. It also has to do with the fact that people aren't buying station wagons like they used to, and GM probably realized this, which is probably why they didn't bother to do much to update it.
I don't want to jump in the middle of this, but I do take issue with this statement. I don't think that high quality in a product has everything to do with the people who build it. Designing for manufacturability has an awful lot to do with it too. If something is designed to be put together simply with little chance for error, it makes the jobs on the line easy to do well.

Which also works the other way: just because a product is low quality doesn't mean the guys on the line are screwing up. It may have been designed in a way that was impossible to manufacture consistently.

High quality shows commitment from all parts of an organization, but low quality can come about from any single part not doing its job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Originally posted by Dodge Drivin' Paul@May 26 2004, 08:57 PM
The problem is people who don't feel the workers are entitled to their SUB when they're laid off.  That's like saying retirees aren't entitled to their pension.  SUB is something that's paid into when the cars are selling and GM's making a healthy profit from them.  Sure, the SUB fund, along with the retirement fund, the benefits, and the worker's wages, are all coming from the company profits..
A buddy of mine got let go last year from a computer company. He got a massive 2 weeks of pay.

No pensions, no "SUB", no frilly stay at home and get paid for half a year stuff.

I'll admit 2 weeks is harsh, but better than contractors who get nothing when they are let go.

Retirement is one thing. Being a 32-year old worker and sitting at home for 9-months with "83% to 95% pay for 42 weeks" is ridiculous.

But we can't be sure what those actual packages are. It said "up to" 42 weeks, so I suppose you might only get 4 weeks and 83% pay if you were a relatively new and young (not that that matters) employee.

I guess it pays to read into the details carefully and not to assume everyone will have 42 weeks and 95 percent pay.
 

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Thank you Dodge Driving Paul !!! Everybody thinks we make a fortune for not doing anything. About half goes to taxes and SS.
They dont go home everyday with numb hands from carpal tunnel,or a sore back from bending over in 500 cars a day.
I have 25 years at the plant and dont know from day to day if I will have a job.With Baltimore closing in 2005 and Linden closing we cant transfer there.
 

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Originally posted by gmlinedog@May 27 2004, 09:14 PM
Thank you Dodge Driving Paul !!! Everybody thinks we make a fortune for not doing anything. About half goes to taxes and SS.
They dont go home everyday with numb hands from carpal tunnel,or a sore back from bending over in 500 cars a day.
I have 25 years at the plant and dont know from day to day if I will have a job.With Baltimore closing in 2005 and Linden closing we cant transfer there.
no, not everyone thinks that. what most people have been saying is that we don't understand the 'pay for no work' thing. read through the posts... many agree that it's not easy work, and at least a few of us aren't complaining that you're paid too much. and everyone pays taxes, so you're not alone there. as for the back and wrist pain, that's clearly something that comes with some jobs and not others. i don't laugh it off... it's unfortunate... but i still don't see how this agreement to allow extended periods of time off is just, when so many others in physically demanding jobs don't have the same deal. the UAW obviously worked for this, so it's perfectly legal... and i don't actually wish these saturn workers were totally unemployed instead... but at the root of it, i don't grasp how people who don't (but can) work get paid.
 

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Unions = No Competition

Imagine if the union worker, of any industry, was in competition for their job. My opinion, and yes I have actually been on the Saturn line in Spring Hill building these cars, is that union employees perform as expected to. No more. What incentive is there to continuously improve, other than an individual’s personal desire?

I do believe that GM needs to offer the right mix of benefits to achieve a high rate of retention for their experience workers, not every single one. Once you're in - you're in.

Usually (99%), when people get laid-off, the government holds the wallet filled with taxpayer’s money. Here, GM is being decent and playing a very generous government indeed to the union employees at 85% plus +paid relocation, etc...

Hence all of the incentives. It is much cheaper for GM to maximize production and sell ever car at cost with zero profit, than it is to lay off a plant and pay 85% salaries with no sales.

This is my opinion based on my personal experiences working in several domestic and international automotive environments.
 
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