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  • #51370

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    http://levin.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=305099I’ve attached the link to testimony given this morning by Carl Levin of
    Michigan.The consequences to our economy are immense. Please take the time
    to understand the debate and weigh in with your elected officials.

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    #177929

    NKKhoo
    Participant

    I remember that bailout was called an evil by IMF and western economic policy makers when Malaysia implemented capital control and bailout plan for her domestic companies during 1998’s Asian financial crisis.Ironically, those same people who believe in free economy and globalization are calling for similar bailouts for sicken private companies who cannot compete on their foots.

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    #177940

    Taylor
    Participant

    Gary
    Understandably this is of grave consequence to the US economy and other nations. I have worked in the auto industry and I believe it to be the most wasteful industry on the face of the planet. For example: PPAP, why is this a necessary function? The amount of labor cannot be captured for this cost to companies. And Then Labor Unions, It is absurd to walk in a GM plant and see how many people are just standing there putting in one or two screws at a time for $30.00/hr, A $10/hr job at best, and heaven forbid the warehouse guy didn’t set the parts up correctly and whole line goes down. It happens and happens all the time. And our Democratic Government fully supports these unions and the hand tieing they cause. Each of the big 3 each spend better than 2 billion dollars a year on advertising, more than 3 billion dollars a year on “R&D”, Gaurantee bonus, etc, etc, etc. So now this liberal lets help everybody out government wants to spend additional tax payer money to help them out. Whatever happened to common sense management, and living within your means? It is amazing to me that these guys seem surprised by the down turn in the economy, Like we didn’t know the light at the end of the tunnel was actually a train. Amazing, the auto industry was in trouble years ago, I saw it as tier 1,2 operations manager years ago, the nonsense that was being handed down was simply incredible, No Common Sense At All. True Story: Siemans fuel injector plant in the South Carolina was running a helicopter and jet planes 3 times a day to a plant in Indiana assembling Power Stroke diesels just because they were one week late on shipments, and Ford had over 3 weeks of inventory on the shelf. The plant I worked for supplied the Body for this assembly.  I have also witnessed assembly line workers stop a whole line because a light bulb was burned out. It happens, and No One seems to care, it has become just part of doing business, and someone collecting a paycheck without a sense of loyalty or respect for the company they work for. It is a culture which will commit suicide before doing the right thing.
     I have no sympathy for a company which cannot help itself see the light because it is not connected enough to see what the left and the right hand is doing.
    I hate to say it, but I believe this to be an insurmountable task. Or at best only a bandaid to a corporation lost. America will not ever be the same. Labor Unions and other wasteful intities have no place in todays modern society and will only get stronger with our newly elected.
    Chad Vader
    What we see when watching others, depends on the purity of the  window through which  we look.

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    #177941

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    Chad,
    I agree with almost everything you say. I have been subjected to attitudes of the Big 3 over the years and I must say I chuckled when I saw the questions about the private jets yesterday and the complete irony of it being missed by the CEO’s.
    However your statement of living within your means and laying all on ‘liberal” attitudes. Have you been paying attention the last 8 years? Do you know what our debt is?
    This is not an easy situation, but to lay it all out as a problem of liberals and unions begs the question – “why hasn’t management been in charge?” Look at all the layers of abdication of responsibility and you’ll will not find mostly “liberals”.
    These labels are just a convenient way to blame the other guy. Let’s move this to a higher plane.

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    #177942

    Anonymous
    Guest

    Chad,Your points are well-taken. On my last trip to Munich I met my friends neighbor who worked in their model shop. When I asked how many employees worked in the modeling department .. he told me 5,000 !!!However, if banks are supported, why not other industries?Cheers,Andy

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    #177944

    MrMHead
    Participant

    If we didn’t outsource so many of the other manufacturing jobs to other countries the automotive industry wouldn’t have such a large stake in the current economy.
    The big 3 don’t need a plan or a restructuring, they need a revolution.
    It would still cost potentially millions of jobs, but it would be a long-term survival strategy.
    I too have seen assembly line workers reading a book, run up and connect a few hoses or something on an engine, go sit back down and read.  At one point, it must have been a good passage, they actually missed one engine, but didn’t stop the line or do anything – just keep on keepin’ on.
    Unions had a place in the past, and possibly for a few perks today, but they do not contribute to continuous improvement as I see it.
    That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong

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    #177945

    Taylor
    Participant

    Gary
    My point is the leaders cannot lead what they cannot control. The term Liberal government may harsh, but true not name calling.
    Andy U
    I’m not for the bail out of the banks either, I say to victor go the spoils. Let the succesful banks divide amongst themselves and move on. But our governement for some reason thinks it can actually make money from this, and are treating as an asset.

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    #177946

    NKKhoo
    Participant

    Big does matter.Small companies defaulted loan payment will be sued by bankers without hesitation, but IF you are big player, bankers have to assess risks of winding up your company.I believe US government got no other option except to bailout those giant banks to avoid financial total meltdown. Big 3 are using same threat, you either rescue them or sink together.

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    #177948

    NKKhoo
    Participant

    Let see outsourcing from another perspective. I used to work for a US harddisk company who was in dilemma on either keeping jobs for Americans or move the entire plant to Asia.Keeping jobs for Americans meaning prohibitive cost to build harddisks with little chance of selling them to consumers.Moving plant offshore at least the compamy can still retain R&D and marketing jobs for Americans and able to bring back profits if any.Your guys shall know better than me on why many American manufacturers are no more competitve. I agree with a suggestion, revolution is needed to shakeout old habits.

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    #177965

    Anonymous
    Guest

    After seeing the senator question the automobile fat cats on TV last night about their private aircraft, I came up with the following equation:1 US Senator = 10 British MPs
    10 British MPs = 500 Lords
    500 Lords = 10,000 MCCs (Members of the Marylebone Cricket Club)

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    #177966

    Anonymous
    Guest

    Webmaster,Can something be done about the message text-box? For some reason. it appears as if carriage returns have been disabled after a commas, and after items in a list.Respectfully,
    Andy

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    #177973

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    Chad,If you took a census of the heads of financial institutions and the
    head of Big 3 and Tier 1’s, do you think the majority are “liberal” or
    “conservative”?I believe it would be overwhelmingly conservative. Didn’t they get us
    into this mess or did the liberals make them do it against their will?

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    #177974

    MrMHead
    Participant

    I like the reply to the big 3 – Show Me a Plan by Dec 2!
    A whole lot of turkey dinners will be missed in MI this Thanksgiving.  A little bit of sympathy for the workforce that’ll be conscripted to put together The Plan.
    I wonder if they’ll include LSS in any of those plans?  Just think of the savings/improvements that could be made if MBBs were given free reign in a plant, and didn’t have to worry about union interference for reducing workforce.  (I bet One person could put on a hose AND tighten a screw)

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    #177979

    Mikel
    Member

    It si not so easy as you think

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    #177987

    Taylor
    Participant

    Gary I would say they are Conservative, But their hands have been tied by Labor Unions on many issues, which they cannot control. If you ever set in on a union arbitration proceeding you would know exactly what I am talking about.

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    #177989

    Taylor
    Participant

    It must be a full culture change. The auto industry as a whole must change the way they think or they will be in the unemployment line by next June. Everyone must do more than asked of them. They must have an attitude that every penny and every second counts. It does’nt take and MBB to have full reign in a plant, it takes common sense and hard choices and the unions need to get the hell out of the way

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    #177990

    Nolan
    Participant

    Chad, I agree. Three engagements in which I have been involved had unions on site. Fix all the processes you want but when the union guys want a smoke – just toss a spare bolt into the conveyor belt and they’re out on the picnic tables trading lies.

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    #177991

    Ron
    Member

    You obviously got turned around at some point in your life..
    Conseervative is the longest “four” letter word in this country.
    Conservatives removed the Federal Regulations on the Banking industry and the results are obvious.
    Conservatives removed the restrictions on who could purchase oil options and the results are obvious.
    Conservatives (aka  American Taliban) are the greed mongers who refuse to become productive memebers in a world economy.
    As stated in previous postings the CEO’s of all of the companies in trouble are Conservatives who refused to change with the world economy. “I got mine screw you” mentality.
     
    Please….

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    #177992

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    Chad,I’ve set in on arbitration with the union, I know what you are
    talking about.I’ve also been held hostage by Program Managers at Ford and GM
    as a tier 1 supplier. I have also seen Program Managers from Ford
    order Several $100 bottles of wine at a dinner and expect the
    supplier to pay for it. I’ve also been on the receiving end of the Big
    3 telling me how I have to do business when they don’t do the
    same.All I am trying to point out is that it is not as simple and one sided
    as “liberals” and “unions”.In a lot of ways, these guys deserve what is happening. I live in
    metro Detroit and I also see the potential devastation that is
    coming.BTW, last time I checked, those financial institutions were not
    saddled with unions or did I miss something?

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    #177993

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Les and Chad,
    I have a problem with the sweeping generalizations being made about unions. I am not taking a position for or aginst them. I have had to work with unions at a lot of different sites and they vary from site to site. I am more than willing to bet if you approach them antagonistically you will get treated that way. The plant manager at Navistar in Canada treated the union simply as his labor contractor and they had a very good working relationship.
    When SS was first coming onto the radar screen it wasn’t that unusual to see a group of people from the union attending trying to figure out what was going on. I don’t remember any of them dumping the conference, that the company paid for, because they had an afternoon tee time.
    Like I said I am not taking a position for or against unions but when we make generalizations it does have a tendancy to cloud what the real issues are.
    Lets talk about the trips to the Canadian Ballet in Windsor that are funded by suppliers and $900 of wine consumed at a dinner in one night (in Buffalo, New York! that makes it difficult to believe) funded by suppliers, record high scores on Quality surveys by SQE’s that have to wear their sunglasses all day because it was a long night in Fort Erie funded by suppliers. I have trouble distinguishing between that behaviour  and the bolt in the conveyor.
    The priority of the business seems to always be secondary to whatever someone can gain on a personal level until it starts to cave in then all of a sudden everyone is this perfect corporate citizen.
    Just my opinion 

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    #177994

    MrMHead
    Participant

    Just read in USAToday:
    GM announced an extended shut down until Jan 20, then upon return “the Lordstown complex will keep operating around the clock, but assembly line speed will be reduced from the current 62 vehicles per hour to 46.5 vehicles.”
    Hmmm… is assembly line speed like car/engine speed – the slower it runs the more efficient it is?!?
    Maybe I’ll try that with my work – “Hey Boss … “

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    #177995

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    It’s funny that we both thought of Mr. Kress in this discussion.

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    #177996

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Looks like we may have remembered the same dinner. The Ramada Renessaince in Buffalo 3 bottles of $300 wine. Like Buffet says “it is a thin line between saturday night and Sunday morning.” Maybe it is a thin line between a picnic bench and a cigarette and a restaurant and a bootle of wine.
    Regards

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    #177997

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    If Toyota did that, no one would question it at all. It’s called Takt time
    – timed to meet customer demand.If they do it with 75% of the present work force (including
    supervision), it’s probably correct.

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    #177998

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    I am also thinking about moving a factory and doing the quality audit prior to running parts. In Fort Erie until 4 or 5 in the morning. The audit was done in library all day wearing sunglasses. That night back to Fort Erie until 4 or 5. More of the same audit the next day and our final score was 99.5%. New record high.
    Regards

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    #177999

    MrMHead
    Participant

    But do they know what the customer demand is?  They’re shutting down for an extra 3 weeks, and slowing the line leads me to think they are just reducing inventory.  Sure, they are also reducing the purchase of supplies, but I didn’t get the impression they are reducing workforce relative to this slowdown. 

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    #178000

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    Yea, who knows?I keep hoping for learning, maturity , and leadership.

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    #178001

    MrMHead
    Participant

    I think Mike caught the essence a few posts back:
    “The priority of the business seems to always be secondary to whatever someone can gain on a personal level until it starts to cave in then all of a sudden everyone is this perfect corporate citizen. “

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    #178002

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    Isn’t that what is taught in Economics? Everyone acts in their own self
    interest.

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    #178004

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    The only thing I can contribute to this great discussion concerns a visit to the Canadian Ballet in Windsor hosted by an OEM supplier to Big Auto. Never saw a woman do that before……..

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    #178005

    Nolan
    Participant

    That wasn’t a woman….

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    #178007

    Severino
    Participant

    I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time and I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way the Big 3 can survive is to abandon the current paradigms. 

    The product lines need to be condensed.  There are too many nonprofitable models that suck funds away from successful ones.
    The overproduction and end of year fire sales need to halt and they need to find a way to build to customer demand (not dealer demand). Sell the cars then make them, don’t make them and try and sell them.
    They need to end the adversarial relationship with their unions if they ever hope to have a chance at disbanding them.
    They need to end the adversarial relationship with their supply chain and focus on shared successes. 
    The products need to be stripped down and quality and reliability need to become a major focus.  It serves no purpose to have a door that slides open automatically when the vehicle itself can’t go 20,000 miles without an unscheduled maintenance issue.
    Eliminate redundancies due to branding (kill cadillac, pontiac, hummer, etc. and adopt one brand name and reduce the overhead).
    Consider selling off specialty products to other independant corporations (i.e. heavy truck, sportscars, etc.) to create an influx of capital.  Smaller separate companies with focused core competencies will be able to right size themselves to meet the needs of their individual markets and will foster opportunities for greatness instead of sustained mediocrity.
    Elminate single purpose plants that are only tooled for one model or only one platform.
    Adopt a policy of honesty with consumers and eliminate hidden fees and dealer traps that create distrust with the consumers.  Elminate the negotiation and adopt pricing that is fair to both the consumer and the stockholders.
    I have a hundred more things I could say, but these to me are the biggest hurdles that need to be overcome.

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    #178036

    Anonymous
    Guest

    While most of your points are well taken, I don’t see how the USA companies can compete with China, no matter how efficient or rational their enterprises.And the reason is straight forward: whereas China puts vast sums into social housing and nothing into social welfare; the USA puts nothing into social housing and vast sums into social welfare.Please correct me if I’m mistaken.

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    #178037

    Tim Kelley
    Member

    I’m not sure I completely understand the distinction between Social Welfare and Social Housing, but the U.S. federal government includes the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was allocated a FY08 budget of about $35 billion. See, page 3:    http://www.hud.gov/about/budget/fy08/fy08budget.pdf.  Although I have not googled them, I further believe that other departments/agencies include budget bearing on “social housing” programs.  As a quick example, our Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has long been criticized for the housing it provides for disaster victims who lose shelter and cannot find other alternatives. 

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    #178040

    Anonymous
    Guest

    I made a mistake: I meant to qualify “social housing” as social housing for workers. In other words, in China there appears to be a link between social housing and the means of production. For those not involved in the means of production there is nothing! (I’m not suggesting this is correct, I merely want to point out the heavy burden carried by most USA companies.)The reason I raised this is because it is just another example how foreign competitors gain advantages over domestic businesses.Cheers,
    Andy

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    #178043

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Darth,
    I don’t want to climb any further into the gutter than this already is but there was a place in Niagra Falls with two floors. Different genders on each floor.
    Something for everyone.
    Regards,
     

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    #178046

    Niebank
    Participant

    What I think what is being talked about here is a larger cultural trait that we have see evolve in America over the past 50 years.  We have slowly transformed from a culture of individual responsibility to a culture of entitlement; where work ethic is the punch line of a joke and business ethics are for the other guy.  To use your examples, ‘I am entitled to a smoke break so whatever I do to get it is justified’, or ‘I work 14 hour days so if I pressure a vendor to kickback a $100 bottle of wine it’s ok because it is owed to me.’
    I see the same things in my business everyday.  Yes VPs work 12 and 14 hour days but 6 of those hours are “building relationships” a.k.a. socializing or checking their portfolios.  Font line employees see this and emulate the same type of behavior in their own way.  It is my belief that this all started when the marketing campaign became more important than the product.  Image has become the reality of business.  The old axiom of “build a better mouse trap” has been replaced with; con people into believing you have discovered the fountain of youth. 
    With this we have also entered an age of portable employment.  There was a day that a majority of people worked for the same company for their entire career, blue collar and white collar alike.  Therefore there was a sense of attachment to your company, your fates were coupled if you will.  Now if the employee is not feeling fulfilled or feels they are not being promoted fast enough to keep up with the Jones’ they simply jump ship to where the grass appears greener.  Only to realize later it is the same dull brown lawn they had before.
    I realize this is a generalization and there are ethical, hardworking people out there and companies that value providing the best possible product or service to their customers.  But this seems to be the exception and not the rule.  Plenty talk the talk but all too few walk the walk.  Even in our own chosen profession; in an effort to sell SS in our culture it has to be marketed as a cost cutting strategy rather than a quality improvement strategy.
    I apologize; I didn’t mean to write a manifesto, or to come across as bitter.  I did want to share my view of what is causing the decline of American business.

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    #178048

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    Mike,Thanks for taking the high road on this.  The place in Windsor had a female contortionist on stage which made for some interesting viewing.

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    #178049

    Tim Kelley
    Member

    Got it.  Agreed. 

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    #178053

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Darth,
    That is a visual I don’t even want to think about.
    Regards

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    #178057

    Taylor
    Participant

    Mike-Sorry for taking so long to respond, Aside, I agree with you. It is possible to have a working relationship with unions. It is a must for survival. Ask that same Navistar plant manager if his plant would have a better bottom line without a union. I bet the answer would be some 10-15% better. Many companies are failing because they fall in that range. It is not a matter of relationship anymore, it is a matter of principle and have a fair wage for a fair job performed.
    In Arkansas, GDX Automotive has shut down its Batesville Mfg plant. Why? It was not due to poor management or labor relations. In fact the union there was very docile, with only one strike in last 15 years. But, the union had negotiated wages above and beyond what the market place could stand. Today a building which housed some 1200 employees is now empty. And for a community of 15000, this is devistating. The reason this plant had been soo successful in the past was its ability to supply rubber weatherstripping for vehichles at a competitve price. The union took the competitiveness away. I am very close friends with the old Plant Manager and when the last negotiations came up he made it very clear, “we cannot stand another wage increase, and that means me included”.  The Union would not listen and to avoid a costly strike it was voted in and now the plant is gone in less than 15 months. There was not overspending, no lavish parties, no bonus’. It was simple workers making $23/hr when they should have been making $15 which is still above the mean income for the area.
    This is reality and it will continue, American Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers will continue to see their work sent overseas because it is cheaper. In the end the gap in quality widens and the consumer pays for it by getting a vehichle with increasingly more problems. Correlation between Warranty work performed and overseas supplies? Probably
    I am not saying all Unions are bad, many such, as construction unions (IBEW etc), actually help transiet contruction personnel find work. These are mostly specially skilled labor and there services are very much needed. I just cannot see the need for an Auto Workers union in today’s society. It pits management against the workers by creating the Us and Them culture, which each and ever person whom has ever been in  management tries to stop.
    I am not privy to knowledge of the Ballet, so I cannot speak to it. However, your insinuation that somehow a supplier party is no different than shutting down a $40,000/hr line is the same thing is a stretch. Ethics of it, certainly. Long term (and sometime short term) repurcussions, not even close.

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    #178058

    Mikel
    Member

    Are you friends with Scott?

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    #178059

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Chad,
    I did not mean for it to be a dollar for dollar comparison to what goes on with suppliers and unions but if you consider that every trip to the ballet for lunch was $300 and we were on at least once a month. We also had the expense of flying to Detroit and hotels and rental cars. If you take that across SQE’s, Engineers, Program Managers, etc it may be close on a daily spend.
    The GDX plant in Batesville, was that the old GenCorp plant? I did some work with GenCorps vehicle sealing there in 1996. In the time we were there we never had any issues with the union. They did seem very cooperative. As far as where they were priced in the labor market I am not sure.
    As far as Navistars bottom line, of course it may have been better if there had not been a bargaining unit. Because you can get labor at $5 per hour does that mean that is what you should pay? If you are turning in huge profits and your work force is living at a poverty level that is an issue that will manifest itself in other forms. I believe in a fair wage and that has to be fair to both the employee and the company.
    We could certainly get cheap labor in South Africa and let them live in the informal settlements and find food for themselves. Instead we provide housing and food for about 22,000 people. People in general come to work that have had some sleep and food. If those same people were left to find food for themselves and hope that what they had in their “homes” (in many cases that can be a very liberal use of the term) was still there when they returned, then what happened at work would be much less than what happens now. It isn’t meant to be some condesending comment on the country it is just how things are. You have to be involved with your work force at more than just a superficial level. When you get away with creating poverty for the sake of the bottom line there is a price that gets paid in some other place. If you think about it that is why people formed bargaining units in the first place.
    This may be a little naieve but I think we have a responsibility for the way people live and it does pay back.
    Regards

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    #178060

    OLD
    Participant
    #178061

    Taylor
    Participant

    Yes I am, I have known him and April for years

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    #178062

    Taylor
    Participant

    Mike it is a small world after all. My Dads company built a good majority of the tooling in that plant. You are correct, the original plant was known as General Tire and Rubber, then GenCorp Automotive and Lastly GDX. Because of my Dad’s Tool & Die business I became very close friends with whole bunch of people there. Several of my cousins and uncles even worked there some from the beginning to the end. Dennis D. would have been the Plant Manager, I think, during that time, Scott C. came shortly after and was the Sr Mfg Engineer during that period.
    I think we have beat this horse to death, and I see your point and agree.

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    #178063

    Reade
    Participant

    My sister and I spent many a Saturday night on the lower level of Mints in our younger days, appreciating the artistry of the men of the Canadian Ballet.  What a small world, to have it mentioned on this board!

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    #178064

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Cathy,
    We did a fair amount of time up there (New York) moving a factory. One lady engineer. Never a single trip where she came upstairs and told us it was time to go.
    These discussions can degenerate pretty quickly.
    Regards

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    #178065

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Chad,
    It is a small world. Always an experience where the state color is camouflage.
    They asked us to increse the speed of one of the lines. One of my guys was working with a guy named Joe. I was a ways off when I saw Joe pull out a large knife and then put it away. I asked my guy what happened and he said Joe pulled the knife out and asked him if he knew why he brought his knife to work. He said no. Joe said he brought it to work because they wouldn’t let him bring his gun. Hard to imagine why not.
    Eventually the line ran faster but not that day.
    We have beat it to death. There are very few who are innocent in this deal. I put more than one trip on a credit card so I am guilty of reinforcing the behavior but without it the business goes away or at least we believed it would. So you pay. This stuff happens on an individual basis not necessarily as a group. If we start to hate on the group level we are headed back down the road of discrimination based on gender, race, religion, etc and that is a dangerous place to be.
    Thanks for the exchange.
    Just my opinion.
    Regards
     

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    #178066

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Chad,
    I have an idea. If you check the agenda for iSixSigma Live in Miami in January you may notice I am presenting with Gary Cone in a discussion group. Gary started this string. It may be a little off topic but who knows where these discussions will end up.
    Tell your company you are suspending trips to the ballet for the year in favor of going to a Six Sigma conference where the agenda was put together to do more than just make money for the conference company.
    Regards

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    #178080

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    Chad V.,
    I worked that strike 15 years ago (came all the way from Wabash, IN)…small world.
    You’re making some good points, by the way.  I do think “management” has a share in the blame as well, though.  My opinion is that “management’s” share is less than “the union’s” share.  What we need to do is separate the union members from the union organization/concept (I wish we could to that, literally).
    I’ll tell you…for anybody that’s worked in a factory on the “salary” side of the aisle should understand why the “liberal”/”conservative” labels were thrown out there.  For me, there is nothing that defines liberal concepts better than taking a look at what labor unions have done in the US auto industry.

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    #178092

    Stevo
    Member

    Wow!! I have a sudden urge to work for the auto industry.  (Is that wrong?)  It is a well know fact that I am known for my lack of ethics and shear incompetence.  I could do OK in an industry like that.  Banking is too ugly for me right now..
     
    Stevo

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    #178160

    Taylor
    Participant

    Gary, Mike It’s sad to say that we all have similar stories of “just doing business” with the big 3. I know there is a whole bunch of people to blame other than the union, and its not one sided. It’s sad that “Business as usual” has put the auto industry in the place it’s in. With GDX the writting was on the wall, and now the plant is gone, it really is that simple. As Gary stated in his reply, the big 3 made a joke out of contracts and pushing there weight around, cost a lot of good people their jobs. I was lucky enough to get out while the gettin was good.
    I checked a few sites today and tried to search some news to see what GM and others are planning to do moving forward, but looks so far that nothing is being talked about. I dont beleive for a second that any one of the CEO’s has a real understanding of what the potential is and urgency at which they must act. Govt help is only a band aid, they must have a plan to move beyond this

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    #178162

    Nolan
    Participant

    No Bailout!! Let capitalism work! Legacy costs & over-capacity & inefficiencies cannot be fixed. They’ve been at it 100 years and haven’t made it work. Bye-bye!!

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    #178165

    Anonymous
    Guest

    Chad /Gary /Mike,I understand Honda pays about $48 per hour and Ford about $80 per hour, with the unions wanting a lot more.While I also accept the unreasonable demands of unions, at the same time I have to recognize the high cost of housing up North.The point I tried to make previously was if the Chinese government indirectly subsidizes the cost if housing for Chinese workers, they salary demands are not going to be as great, and their industry benefits over USA industry.Politicians promised us economic improvement with globalization, but the only advantage has been to foreign competitors. Our jobs are exported and territorial branding restrictions prevents us from enjoying cheaper products constructed abroad. In other words we lose twice …Cheers,
    Andy

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    #178167

    MBBC
    Participant

    There is a far bigger issue at hand here. One that I really do not think has an easy or straight forward answer. There have been several good points made in this discussion of which I summarized most of them below.
    For me personally, I do not believe in the bailout for the financial intuitions nor for any company/Industry. I’m not even sure if it was divided and given to the American people, we could obtain better results for us collectively (individually, yes). The financial markets are still in a mess and the media is not helping out. Everything has a negative spin attached to it.
    One point that needs further exploration and understanding is the Culture shift that we are experiencing. The whole culture of moving away from personal responsibility (& accountability) and more towards individual entitlement. Where will this lead us? What will this hold for future generations if this is allowed to continue? Where does Moral Character and sense of community play into all of this?
    The auto industry and the leaders of industry have failed to hear or heed the warnings of the past. (Specifically in relation to Deming) Now we are in a catch up mode for past decisions made incorrectly because hindsight allows us to evaluate them.
    Just my thoughts.
    Summary of points made:

    The whole testimony and discussion of the 3 CEO’s travel to Washington (Plane Pool?)
    US Auto Industry Failure could have a severe impact to the economy not just for tier I & II suppliers
    US Auto companies contain & embody a multitude of waste (both policy & actions)
    Labor Union’s => What do they produce or services do they provide? What Value do they provide to their constituents as well as society in general? Is there a “True Need” for them? There is a yes and no answer to all these questions.
    Work rules and restrictions placed on them
    Wage rates and discussion on fair pay (what & how do you determine “fair”)
    Government of the people (or over the people?) & party alignments (Democratic / Republican – Liberal / Conservative?)
    Common Sense management and living within your means
    Ability to predict and see future trends
    Years ago issues vs. decades ago issue in the auto industry
    True story => Sieman’s delivering parts by Helicopter & Jet planes 3x / day ( behind & late 1 week in schedule while holding 3 weeks of finished Goods Inventory)
    Someone collecting a paycheck without a sense of loyalty or respect for the company they work for. (Loyalty & respect works both ways! – Michael Moore Downsize this)
    No sympathy for a company / industry which cannot help itself see the light because it is not connected enough to see what the left and right hand is doing.
    This would only be a Band-Aid to an industry lost in wasteful initiatives.
    What we see when watching others, depends on the purity of the window through which we look.  (Good Quote – who’s it by?)
    The Attitude’s of the Big 3 and the irony behind the 3 CEO’s missing the point.
    America’s National Debt and trend over past several years
    Where has management been? And layers of abdication of responsibilities.
    The “labels we use” to describe situations
    Why bailout the banks if your not willing to bailout the other industries
    The Big 3 needs a revolution not just a plan or a structuring => need a long term survival strategy.
    Leaders cannot “LEAD, What they Cannot CONTROL”
    Our government, for some reason thinks it can actually “MAKE MONEY” from the bank bailout and treating this as an investment in an asset.
    Big vs. Small players (What is a financial meltdown? Why did Bank of America get bailout money?)
    Common Sense and Hard Choices. They must have an ATTITUDE that every penny and every second counts.
    “I got mine screw you” mentality
    Ethic’s and business practices => Expense accounts in particular.
    Navistar example and the ability of the Plant manager to treat the union as a labor contractor.
    Behaviors of individuals being used as generalizations for a group.
    What is being a good corporate citizen? Vs being a good person in society? Is it the corporation making the decision, a group of individuals or an Individual only? Who runs and works in Companies?
    Understanding the market and responding with decisions that best suites your company / culture.
    Economics & everyone acting in their own self interests.
    Some very good points towards making an improvement in the Auto company.
    Competing and being competitive in the Global economy.
    The larger cultural issue at hand here which has evolved in America (50 years? Or really less then).  
    The transformation from a culture of individual Responsibility to a culture of Entitlement.
    What kind of behaviors are we showing & setting for the youth along with future generations.
    Generational gaps – Life employment vs. Job hopping
    Fair wage for a Fair job performed. (Relationships are not important anymore?)
    The GDX example => trust or understanding of realities?
    No Bailouts for anyone. Let capitalism prevail.
    The old argument of how can I play fair when others do not play by the rules (Subsidies and Globalization)
     

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    #178168

    Nolan
    Participant

    Very good synopsis MBBC. Yet it really comes down to ONE issue – no one has the RIGHT to be saved in a failing business. A business fails, it fails. That’s what has made the US the top dog. Deviating from that will take us into the drain.
    Example – early 1900’s. What if the governement acquiesed to legislate we must continue to use horse drawn buggies because if we didn’t the buggy whip industry would fail and people would lose their jobs and their stock in buggy whip companies would be worthless and they would have no retirement.
    Bottom line – businesses fail when they are no longer needed in the market – so be it.

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    #178169

    Anonymous
    Guest

    MBBC,Your points are perfectly valid, but they do not seem to take into account China’s use of ‘false capitalism.’To my mind, the only way to combat ‘false capitalism’ is to use ‘false socialism.’To use a karate analogy. If your component is skilled in the Way, he will use blocks, strikes, hidden (false) strikes, and hidden (false) blocks. Unless you join in the dance, you will be defeated.Just my opinion ..Cheers,
    Andy

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    #178181

    MBBC
    Participant

    Les,
    I’m not in disagreement with your view of the ONE issue but the deed has been done. The US government has gone ahead and begun the bailout of the financial institutions. Then we also have this culture shift going on that people feel they are entitled to everything without doing anything for it. Give it to me I’m entitled to it.
    The impact to the country if the BIG 3 fail would be immense. But I like your analogy to the horse whip industry.  Businesses do fail when they are no longer needed in the marketplace. And who determines this is the consumer. When the consumer has no money to spend then a lot of businesses will fail and the spiral continues downward.
    Just a thought
     

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    #178182

    MBBC
    Participant

    Andy U,
    I’m not really sure what you mean by “false Capitalism”? Is that the direct opposite of capitalism? No that would be communism or socialism.
    Also ran across this site http://goinside.com/01/4/capital.html The Moral Psychology of Capitalism. It’s worth a quick read.
    I like your analogy to karate but what if you a caught in a street fight with a person who has a gun …. Are there any rules? Are we playing by a set of rules when we need to be competitive in a global market? Have these rules been defined?Just a thought

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    #178184

    Nick Roberts
    Participant

    As a LSS I’m surprised to see how much vitriol is heaped on the
    people doing the work. As George Eckes says when lecturing about
    the 6Ms, the idea that the worker is the problem is simply
    shortsighted thinking. I have been in the US Auto Industry for over 42 years and while
    there are always some slugs in the workplace they are few and far
    between. Examples of some mythical person who sits on his butt
    and only gets up when he wants to are just pure propaganda BS
    usually spouted by someone who has a grudge against labor in
    general. Instead of laying blame on the workers everyone needs to look at
    the other 5Ms and find a better way to do the job. The US auto industry can and will rebuild itself. I know from
    personal experience that during the 1990s Ford and the UAW saw
    the need to work together and through that cooperation both
    assembly plants in Louisville Ky have consistently produced top
    quality products at competitive costs.

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    #178192

    Anonymous
    Guest

    MBBC,For sometime now I’ve been aware there is considerable interest in China on the application of Chinese Traditional Physics to business processes. For the example, sometime ago I met a Professor of Traditional Chinese medicine applying an acupuncture technique to investment. I can assure you his knowledge would have protected him and his clients from the recent economic catastrophe.While you’re correct in asserting false capitalism is the opposite of capitalism using Aristotle Logic; it is not so using what Bart Kosko referred to as Buddha Logic. (You can gain an insight into this logic if you regard the Tai Chi symbol as a Venn Diagram, where the white spot is false negative and the black spot if false positive.)Let me give try to give you an example of false socialism: In the States I believe there is a similar practice to the UK where key workers, such as nurses and junior doctors, can obtain subsidized accommodation paid to work in expensive areas where they can’t afford housing.As this ‘subsidy’ is Council (State) funded and directed towards the productive and not the unproductive, one could call it a false socialism. Unlike socialism which tends to subsidize the non-productive, which was one of your objections about personal responsibility.Once again our discussion comes back to the issue of whether or not an efficient, rationally managed USA company can compete with Corporation China. I don’t think it can without a paradigm shift, which is why I thought to bring this aspect of Chinese Philosophy to your attention.Cheers,
    Andy

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    #178203

    Taylor
    Participant

    Nick Roberts
    Your Comment: ” I have been in the US Auto Industry for over 42 years and while there are always some slugs in the workplace they are few and far between. Examples of some mythical person who sits on his butt and only gets up when he wants to are just pure propaganda BS usually spouted by someone who has a grudge against labor in general.”
    You obviously have had your head in the sand. It is this same mentallity that nothing is wrong that has got the Big 3 in the position they are in. I have been in 8 different Auto Industry plants. GM, Ford, Seimans, GDX, Autoliv, Textron, Superior, and Amtec. While they are some good people that work in these plants, they all have Several Individuals that take advantage of the system. It’s not BS Propaganda. Even Cat and John Deere have these issues. “Thats not My Job Syndrome” is rampant. Just because I have been using GDX as an example in other post I will insert here another. In the rubber weatherstripping industry dies are used to trim the molded sets and place attachment holes in various locations. After several runs the dies may need sharpend or adjusted. GDX had die setters which performed this operation, If the die setter was working on one die, and a second went down, that line was just down till he could get to it. Eventhough any one of the Engineers, or Tool & Die staff could have made necessary adjustments. This downtime happened everyday. I know of one engineer who was let go for resetting a die because the die setter filed a labor claim against him. I ask you Nick Roberts, How Lean is that?
    I would bet a years salary that those Louisville, KY plants make Quota and nothing more, even though the line is capable of 8-10% more….. I never said the “Worker” was the Problem. I agree that blame that can be place in several different areas. However, Unions have created an Us and Them culture and all it takes it one bad apple to spoil the basket, One opionated leader that others will follow. After 42 years you should know that.

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    #178212

    Anonymous
    Guest

    Further to my previous post, here is an example of how an acupuncture technique can be applied to business life cycle.http://systemicbusiness.org/pubs/2005_ISSS_016_Wang.pdfThe previous phase was real estate, the present phase is precious metal – what is the next phase going to be?Best wishes,
    Andy

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    #178216

    Nick Roberts
    Participant

    Gee Chad, You really have a way with words ….”head in the sand”.
    Eight companies and still the folks with the problem are those who
    earn too much? I’ll bet you’re a real peach to work with! It’s clear
    from most of your posts that you don’t like unions and will bash
    labor whenever you get the chance.What I said initially stands, most people whether they are labor or
    management give a reasonable effort every day they are at work.
    To continually see the “man” as the problem while ignoring the
    other 5Ms is a lazy person’s way of addressing the workplace and
    the future.I’ll take my chances with believing in my fellow man and his natural
    inclination to “do the right thing” any day over bashing labor or
    management. The future belongs to those of us who can and will
    pull together. As I said before, in my experience, Ford in KY has
    walked the walk and talked the talk with great success. Regard your die setter example, wouldn’t that engineer have been
    more productive doing the work he was hired to do instead of
    trying to insert himself into an area where he has much less
    expertise just because he thinks he knows how to perform the
    task. Weren’t there clear work instructions that stated how and who
    should perform the work? How productive would it be for the tool and die man to decide that
    he “knew” how to reengineer some aspect of the operation when in
    reality he was not trained or qualified to do the job but in the rush
    to get it done he actually created another problem? BTW there’s not one grain of sand in my beak!

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    #178217

    Taylor
    Participant

    Nick
    Once again it is clear you are out of touch with reality my friend……….
    Gee Nick,  How productive would it be for the Engineer that designed and qualified the PPAP and initial set up of the tooling to be available on the shop floor for 5-10 mins instead of a line being down for hours. How productive would it be for the Tool & die shop that rebuilds the tooling daily and qualifies parts to be able to lend the same helping hand. It is narrow thinking that a person cannot cross function in a Mfg environment.
    Why would you bring “Reengineer” in to the post. But How productive would it be for the Engineer to ask the T&D guy what he thought about making the process better, or asking the shop floor worker what he thought?
    Every, and I mean Every union company I have been around; the work force refer to management as Suits and the VPs as Tie’s. It is reality and a culture created by the union, not the worker, not the “man” as you put it.
    I’m not bashing Labor. Lets look at the 6M’s: Material, Market, Manpower, Machinery, Money and Management.
    Which one of the M’s has the largest affect over the other? They are not equal. ManPower is the single biggest influence over all others.

    Material-The big 3 are buying the most competitive products they can, many from the same supplier. So yes some improvement
    Market-Obviously down, but does GM really need to market a Suburban and a Danali, a Tahoe and a Yukon? I’m sure somebody did the market analysis, so its a wash
    Manpower-If you punch the clock, you’re union. Is it really necessary for an assembly line worker to make $20 an hour above the average for the area? I understand the need for the betterment, but it is overdone. Manpower also has direct control over Machinery. Unions directly influence Management decisions.
    Machinery-We all agree that most of these plants have the latest and greatest and continue to invest where needed. How much could they invest if the wages werent out of wack
    Money- As I have state in other post, Management has not used money wisely, 2 billion in advertising, 3 billion in R&D, etc etc. We get all caught up VP salaries, but really it is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall picture.
    Management-Well who knows what some of these guys are thinking. From my earlier post, the layers of management are too deep. Cuts can be made. The guys down in the trenchs are strapped and hand tied by the union. As long as worker A shows up and does as much as worker B, and together they make quota for the day, all is good.
    You are correct, I don’t like Unions, I like to be able to negotiate one on one with my employee’s to find the “WIN WIN” for everyone with a goal of keeping the company profitable and effecient. In todays society there is absolutely no need for a labor union. As I said before, and more times than not, Unions separate  Manpower from Management, even if they are a negotiating voice, the mere fact that a Strike could take place because Management does not want give what Manpower wants is rediculous. I have lived through a strike and its not pleasant.
    In 42 years Nick, have you ever been in a strike, where you had to cross picket lines, Have bricks and rocks thrown at you, have your car egged, and sleep at work for a week while running production to keep the company going? If you have not, then you have no idea what its really like. Management does not hold out just to piss off the Manpower, its the MONEY part of the equation, which could be used to upgrade Machinery, maybe become more Lean, reduce work force and make the company more profitable…………and isnt that the goal or for the past 42 years have you just been drawing a check.
     

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    #178219

    Severino
    Participant

    Lets be clear.  Management steers the boat.  There were plenty of forecasts and lookouts available.  There was plenty of opportunity to see where other ships were heading.  If the crew threatens mutiny when they’re given their “fair share”, one only has to show the coffers and understanding sets in.  To blame the crew now that the ship is sinking is pure abdication of responsibility. 

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    #178220

    Nick Roberts
    Participant

    FYI the 6Ms are:
    Man
    Material
    Method
    Machine
    Measurement
    Mother Nature Oh well, you got half of them right… Man, Material, Machine. No point in going any further with this, you state your dislike for
    unions and nothing I say will change your outlook. As for walking
    a picket line yes I did that too in the 60s. Stood in solidarity with
    my fellow workers to effect change and better our workplace. In my 40+ years I’ve been on both sides of this issue and will stand
    by my earlier statement that most, not all, labor wants to work and
    earn a fair days pay. I’ve also seen line foremen who insulted the people they led.
    Foremen who couldn’t begin to do the work that they expected of
    their men and who like you made no effort to see labor as
    important to the success of the company. Like you they
    set themselves apart and above labor and in the end did more to
    harm employee relations and the company’s interests than they
    could ever fathom. BTW the union and the man are one and the same. The contracts
    entered into are negotiated by labor and management. Labor for
    the most part is simply a group of high school educated blue collar
    workers whereas the company has highly educated negotiators
    who know exactly what they are agreeing to. Once the contract is
    signed it binds both sides to the agreement like it or not. If it’s
    such a bad deal why would the companies settle for it or sign the
    agreement? … no need to reply…I’ve said all I plan to say about
    this.

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