Sunday, April 01, 2007

Front Page Editorial

The Detroit Free Press did something a bit odd today. They put an editorial on the front page of the newspaper.

Put Michigan First Now!

I agree with much of what they say, but I think they are still missing the key problems that Michigan is facing. Most of our REAL problems cannot be solved by politicians. The political crisis and the budget problems are only a symptom of the real problems that Michigan is currently facing.

Michigan's problems have their roots in our mindsets and expectations. Years of easy affluence because of the old auto industry and other industries have created unrealistic expectations in the minds of far too many of Michigan's people. We northerners often mock the people of Arkansas and Mississippi as backwoods hicks, but those states have a smaller percentage of HS dropouts in their populations and a larger percentage of college graduates. Michigan is at the wrong end of the ranking in both groups.

We have too many people with no work ethic. I used to see it in the plant all the time when we had 300 people. We had people who seemed to believe that work consisted solely of showing up and punching in. People who worked at GM told me staggering stories of people punching in and sleeping or having friends punch them in and out while they took the day off. My great-grandfather was part of the movement that launched the UAW in the 1930s and I know that he was already ashamed of what the UAW had become by the time he died in the mid-1980s. It would have been different if the UAW not only looked out for the workers, but also policed their own, making sure that their members were the most productive workers in the world producing the finest product in the world; unfortunately too many of them took pride in their paychecks but not their work. Some did but they were drowned out by the lame, the lazy, and the loyal (to the union that is.)

Both the state and the unions seem to love employment but hate employers and that attitude cannot continue. Communities that had major factories tried to milk every dime they could out of them until the businesses could no longer profitably operate in our communities and they fled elsewhere. We have lost far more jobs to other states than we have lost to Mexico and China (and we have lost more than enough of those.) A lot of people hate the profit mentality that drives business, but that mentality and the businesses are the geese that lay the golden eggs. Without them poverty is universal. I remember when I lived in Lansing there were frequent letters to the editor of the Lansing State Journal complaining about those big, noisy car-plants and all the pollution and congestion they caused and they wished they weren't there; those people have pretty much gotten their wish -- I hope they're happy because most people are not.


Blogger Tom said...

Shoprat, you are so right when you state that too many people do not have a work ethic. I still remember people clocking in and crawling off to some corner to sleep the day away. And the Unions bemoan that the jobs are going away...

Better that the Unions would have adopted a guild mentality - a system of qualifications and merit for the next pay grade and continued employment by the company and membership by the Union.

No, the glory days are gone and the companies and the Union are in trouble. Playing catch-up is not going to be easy if it is possible.

8:38 PM  
Blogger pete in Midland said...

two things:
unions - I agree with you. My first experience came, as I was working my way through college, courtesy of the Teamsters. I was taken aside the first night and told i was working too hard and making the others look bad. My second experience was being called in by the site manager when I was taking some progress poictures of the utilities plant, and informed that the union rep was demanding that the film I had shot that day be destroyed and i be fired. Apparently some "worker" had been asleep in a corner and he "might" be in those pictures. The union rep was threatening a general strike - and there was a no strike clause in the agreement. (I stood my ground). My brother-in-law was working there too, an electricians union guy - and he got tons of overtime ... by spending his days goofing off, using company supplies to build a snowmobile trailer, etc ... and then working O/T to get his real assignment done. After all that, my basic thesis has been that unions are for the lazy, incompetent and criminal. (But I have met and working with many fine guys regardless of their union affiliation (or is that affliction?).

second: The government hasn't even started to tighten its belt -- seen any signs that they're stopping funding for advertising? Arts? Utterly unbelievable levels of benefits for swivel servants? Their huge fleet of gas guzzlers? Adding even more years of indoctrination to schooling?

10:36 AM  
Blogger The Oneonta Teletype said...

In l985, the Delaware Metal Products Company (DelMet) in a town nearby, manufactured plastic wheel covers for GM and other cars. It employed aout 150 people, most UAW members. When their contract (at $15$/hour) ran out, they demanded a $2 increase. The owner said offered them 50 cents, and when the union refused, he made good on his promise to close the plant and move to automated facilities in Tennesee.

A neighbor, (a rigger) offered me a part time job moving the machinery from the old plant to flatbed trucks during the last week the plant operated. We displaced guys who spent the last 20 years sitting on a stool where they A. Placed a plastic blank on a press B. Pulled a lever C. Removed wheel cover.

This is trained monkey work, and certainly only minimum wage, as was most of the work in the plant. Certainly not worth the $17/hour the union demanded.

Then the workforce was laid off--for 26 weeks they collected FULL PAY for displaced workers unemployment, and for another 52 weeks, 3/4 pay for 'retraining' where they went to class from 9 - 5 and paid no tax on the income.

And they had the audacity to complain about how REAGAN ruined the auto business!

Go figure. The mentality of the UAW members I encountered at DelMet has yet to be equalled in my experience.

Al Czervic
The Oneonta Teletype

12:16 PM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I could write: "Michigan's (Oregon's) problems have their roots in our mindsets and expectations. Years of easy affluence because of the old auto industry (logging industry) and other industries have created unrealistic expectations in the minds of far too many of Michigan's (Oregon's) people....We have too many people with no work ethic."

It's the spoiled brat syndrome.

1:28 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I, too, could tell you stories. Mainly at Ford's Wayne truck plant. I used to be a vendor for all of the big three, working on their ID Badging systems and also their VIN plate machines.
I must say that the folks at Chrysler seemed to be doing their jobs. I did not encounter many goof offs there. GM, that was different. Just like Pete and Tom said. Ford though, was horrendous. I was installing a VIN plate machine (an electreomechanical printer that stamps metal plates, computer controlled to spit out the proper VIN on the plate as the car came down ther line) and this "electrician" says I can't put this equipment in "his" area because I do not have a union card, screams "get this f@#$ing thing out of here" right in front of the plant manager! I couldn't believe it! He's telling the BOSS what's what! Not only that, the boss looked scared! I told this guy that this is my job, that he is not trained to do this (he wanted me to hold his hand and explain to him in language that a child could understand how to capture the VIN plate data from the raw computer data stream and format it in such a way that my machine could use it), and that I would be happy to leave and let him do it but that Ford had already paid for the set up and the equipment so there would be no refund. At that point, the plant manager took me to his office and apologized for the whole thing, sent the "electrician" home (with pay, I'm sure) and let me do my job. That's just one story. I could tell you many more.

I hate to see poeple lose their jobs, but there needs to be a house cleaning of the dead weight. I want to see the big three come back, but it won't happen unless the goof offs can be weeded out.

As far as the editorial, I think the Freep is right. I am angry that the Senate is taking a two week break while we are in the middle of a crisis with the budget. I think Mike Bishop is behaving like a child. Grandholm needs to look at cutting wages and benefits for govt. workers, too. At least in the benefits dept. They are more generous than anything in the private sector.

6:00 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

The unions have abused their positions for years. I think that we have a greed problem in the Auto Industry that runs from the Board Chairmen, to the CEOs on down to the janitors. The problem is greed and unrealistic expectations and virtually everyone is both the perpetrator and victim of this stupidity.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello bloggers, here’s an excerpt from an article I published a while ago on locating jobs in the US:

Nowadays, one of the job seekers' biggest help is the immense Internet database. Many companies are hiring people over the Internet, some of them testing the candidates in advance and others by just looking at the resumes and performing online interviews. Also, there are plenty of online recruitment agencies, which are very helpful to both categories: employers and candidates.

Some of these agencies offer even consulting and professional reorientation courses. Competing on the work market is a beneficial experience for most of the job seekers as they are always in touch with the employers' requests and demanding and they also learn to evaluate themselves.

Consulting courses are very helpful for a job seeker as they gain precious information about how to create a strong resumes, cover letters, and how to present themselves at a job interview or how to negotiate your salary. If you think you are prepared for a certain position, but there are no vacancies at the time, you can simply go directly to the certain institution, leave your CV and maybe if you are lucky, you will have a spontaneous interview, which will automatically get you hired.

While looking for a job in the US you have to start by having a positive way of thinking. The US employment market is very dynamic and changes occur every second. You have to be prepared to adapt to changes really fast and to keep following your aim. While looking for a job, try to take advantage of your spare time (if any) and prepare yourself for the job that waits for you. Read more about the company, which has selected you for a job interview next week. This way not only you gain more information, but you will also be able to decide if this is the job you are looking for, if it really suits you.

Anyhow, it is best not to cancel a job interview even if you have the feeling that it won't suit you. Just give it a try, this can be a good experience and you never know, maybe it is the job you were looking for. You can also use the following resources if you are looking to find a job in Colorado, find a job in Georgia, find a job in Idaho, find a job in Indiana, find a job in Kentucky, find a job in New Jersey


Michael S.

12:07 PM  

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