Friday, March 24, 2006

To jump ship or go down with it

I feel for the GM workers who have been offered a buyout by the company. I'm sure that this is a very stressful time for them. Unfortunately, I think some are taking the viability of GM for granted:
"We were promised a future with these companies. We've spent our lives at these factories. So have our parents, and so are our children," said Shotwell, 55, a machine operator at Delphi's fuel-injector plant in Coopersville, Mich. "We have to fight, any way we can."

Age 55 is a hell of a time to have to go through something like this. Just the same, this isn't a world where you get a job for life anymore. They can fight if they want to, but all they will succeed in doing is sinking the ship and going down with it.

Autoworkers should face up to a couple of realities. First, their corporate executives are partially to blame for this, because they haven't insisted upon creating and selling compelling products that can compete with the Japanese automakers. Secondly, and most importantly, the autoworkers are to blame, too. The Japanese automakers have had much more flexible work forces that have allowed them to adjust to the markets and maintain costs. That has given them an advantage in the marketplace and also allowed their workers to have a lot of job security. The U.S. automakers, on the other hand, have had a very unflexible unionized workforce that has been downright greedy. Yes, that led to job stability and incredible wages in the last few decades, but it has also lead directly to GM and Ford becoming the plodding, debt ridden giants that they are today.

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