I as a Ford dealer technician frequenting THIS and many other forums have very diverse opinions on why the BIG THREE are struggling to survive this poor economic climate. In one of the MANY discussions, one of the well respected members of a forum from one of my other "frequently visited" forums expressed some very strong opinions on what I and many others feel are crippling the BIG THREE automakers. Here is one of them:
Originally Posted by Bruce Amacker
I am an opinionated person, and my opinion is that the unions have absolutely STRANGLED the automakers over the last few decades. This is not a new thread, really, we've explored it before. My wife (a retired teacher) with a Master's degree, never made nearly what an assembly monkey makes for the Big Three. Her pension is good, but I'd bet a retired assembly worker makes 30% more than she does and they pay the family's health care, too. I have to pay my own HC once she retired.
This, along with horrendously bad management decisions in Detroit, have dug them a huge pit to climb out of. Ford is obviously in the best shoes of the Big Three, but they certainly have made their share of bad decisions, also.
It will be interesting to watch how this plays out. I did buy a bunch of Ford stock lately.....
If anyone lives in Ohio, I'm sure you will be able to relate very well to what was expressed here as well:
Originally Posted by Bruce Amacker
It makes me sick to see how the Jap carmakers have come over here and showed us how to build cars "right" when we are the birthplace of the automobile. I think the majority of their plants are non-union and they make a reasonable wage for the work they do. IIRC, Japs pay about $38/hr vs. UAW average of $70 something an hour (which is an inflated figure that includes retiree obligations). Most Americans drool at the thought of making $38/hr!
Cleveland is a huge automotive town with a Ford casting plant, Ford engine plant, Chevy stamping plant, Chevy driveline plant, and Chrysler stamping plant, all within 20 minutes drive of my house. This excludes the Ford assembly plants that closed nearby in Avon and Lorain, and the huge GM assembly plant in Lordstown, both less than an hour's drive from my house. The local news channel recently showed the closed Avon Ford plant being used as a storage facility for thousands of unsold Hondas. What a bizarre sight that was!
The thing that pisses me off the worst about the UAW is how many UAW workers I know that FU*****G BRAG about how little work they do!
Quote#1 from the Chevy neighbor across the street: "I run out of newspapers to read at work all day."
Quote#2 from NUMEROUS Ford workers at the Brook Park Engine Plant: "I work on a team of 4-8 guys. Many times I go to work and punch in, and then go home and sit by the phone (on the clock!). My teammates will call me if something comes up and I need to get in."
I've seen their paystubs sitting in their cars when they come in the shop for repair. These guys are making over A HUNDRED GRAND A YEAR for this "work". They deserve to starve and die, and the US automotive industry WILL dwindle to nothing if the unions are allowed to continue in their present form. These guys actually SMIRK when they inadvertently talk about how much they make. It's like they hit the lottery! They cry like little babies when they lose their jobs because they don't have a true trade or marketable skill once they fall off the gravytrain. Even their layoff pay (which is 95% of their clock pay) is a f****ing crime. The severance packages are also a joke to most of us.
This has been a problem for decades that doesn't seem to end. I REFUSE to subsidize these lazy SOB's that refuse to work.
Yes, I drive a Jap label car, made in Indiana by non-union labor. It's a Goddamn shame it had to happen. Between the unions and the US engineers/beancounters with their heads up their collective asses, I just can't bring myself to buy a car I don't have faith in. 25 years of running an independent repair shop showed me the weak points of the US automakers: intake gaskets, fuel pumps, power racks, head gaskets, trannies, etc. the list goes on and on. We have the ability to be the best vehicle on the planet for only pennies more per car, and they WON'T do it. I just don't understand. This is obviously a huge thorn in my *** and a huge pet peeve for me.
I know I'm speaking to the Ford world here, and I ask you to forgive me for driving what I drive. I do have faith that the US automakers will come back, but I just don't know how they're going to break the backs of the unions to do it. The gov't won't help them break the unions as it is political suicide to do even think of this, much less do it. It has to be through bankruptcy or attrition somehow.
In reading the above two quoted posts, I'm sure it's a slap in the face to many of you American folks out there looking for work, but it's time to face reality. If most large corporations are relocating their manufacturing facilities outside North American shores, what is this telling us?
Consider this. I as a dealer technician will only see a 3rd of what these auto assembly lines workers make, and on top of it all, I have to FIX what THEY screw up! Along with the skills required in MY profession, I have to spend about $100,000 out of MY pocket for all my tools for me to work. For this reason, when I see these guys whining that they are losing their jobs because the "gravy train" has stopped, I have a hard time having much sympathy for them.