Friday, February 1, 2008

Creating more jobs Americans won't do

Here's the kicker in the article:

'... None of the automakers have said how many workers they expect to take the buyouts, but they plan to replace some departing workers with new hires earning about half the salary of their predecessors. '

Same job at half the pay . This is so blatantly and clearly stated, without the cover of euphemism and with the apparent acquiescence of a formerly strong Union that is meant to protect their members, it gives the appearance of collusion among the automakers and union leaders. It is as if the Unions are now condoning scabs and it is also a testament to the impotence of labor in America today. Just a few years ago such a statement would seem almost illegal.

They may or may not get many to apply for these jobs after such a reduction, but they can now hire illegals, claiming that there are not enough workers to fill the positions or that these are jobs that Americans won't do .

It may be that the automotive industry will go the way of the meatpacking and construction industry (not to mention most restaurant and hotel service jobs as well as agriculture and landscaping businesses) and become a low-wage, low benefit industry that hires large numbers of illegal workers.

The key concept, never explicitly stated anywhere and certainly not here, is that many of these future positions will be jobs that Americans won't do AT THE RATE OF PAY BEING OFFERED. And that lower rate is being offered because there is a mostly illegal pool of labor ready and willing within the US to accept this lower compensation because it is many times what they can earn in their native lands.

January 29, 2008

Chrysler Offering Buyouts to More Hourly Employees

DETROIT — Chrysler offered buyouts of as much as $100,000 to most of its hourly workers in the Detroit area Monday as part of its plan to cut as many as 10,000 more jobs.

The program means that nearly all hourly automotive workers in Michigan now have the option to leave their job this year. Earlier this month, the Ford Motor Company began a second round of companywide buyouts and General Motors extended buyout offers to about half of its work force.

None of the automakers have said how many workers they expect to take the buyouts, but they plan to replace some departing workers with new hires earning about half the salary of their predecessors. That is allowed under a two-tier wage provision in the contract that the companies signed last year with the United Automobile Workers union.

Anyone who has been with Chrysler for at least one year can elect to take a lump-sum payment of $100,000 in exchange for giving up health care and most retirement benefits. Workers who are eligible to retire — about 4,600 of Chrysler’s 12,000 U.A.W.-represented workers in the Detroit area fall into that category — can take a payment of $70,000 and retain lifetime health care coverage.

Chrysler made similar offers available a year ago, when it said it needed to cut 13,000 jobs. As of last June, 6,400 workers had taken a deal, but the company has not provided an updated figure since it was sold to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

In November, five days after signing a four-year labor agreement with the U.A.W., Chrysler’s new chief executive, Robert L. Nardelli, said the company needed to cut 8,500 to 10,000 more jobs.

Workers at nine Detroit-area Chrysler factories, including metal stamping, engine and small assembly plants, were given buyout offers Monday and have until Feb. 18 to apply for one, said a company spokeswoman, Michele Tinson. Workers at two big assembly plants have already been considering offers, and those at a third assembly plant may get similar offers soon. Chrysler recently offered buyouts to workers in Belvidere, Ill., and Toledo, Ohio, Ms. Tinson said.

“We’ll work closely with the U.A.W. to determine any further special program offerings around the country,” she said.

Last week, the president of the U.A.W., Ron Gettelfinger, said he supported the new rounds of buyouts, but he would not project how many workers would take the deals. “Whether it works for a particular individual is up to them,” he said.

He expressed confidence in the futures of the carmakers, particularly Ford, which is viewed as being in the worst shape of the three, as they continue to shrink and cut costs.

“A lot of people, especially when it comes to Ford, are not very optimistic, but I am,” Mr. Gettelfinger said. “We want to move that company forward and we feel like they’re in a position to do that.”

Assembly workers at the Detroit automakers earn about $28 an hour. Newly hired workers can be paid as little as $14 an hour under the contracts signed last fall, meaning that each worker who is replaced by someone earning the second-tier wage saves the company nearly $30,000 annually in salary, as well as thousands of dollars from reduced benefits.

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