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Detroit automakers to get $17.4 billion in short-term financing

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    Detroit automakers to get $17.4 billion in short-term financing






    Detroit automakers to get $17.4 billion in short-term financing

    BY MICHAEL MCAULIFF
    DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

    Updated Friday, December 19th 2008, 12:14 PM

    Free market-loving President Bush tossed a $17.4 billion lifeline to the U.S. auto industry Friday morning, handing Detroit loans from the pile of cash meant to bail out the financial sector.

    Bush said letting the companies fend for themselves - or even seek bankruptcy protection - simply wouldn't work right now.

    "If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers," Bush said announcing the loans for General Motors and Chrysler.

    President-elect Barack Obama said Bush's action was a "necessary step to help avoid a collapse" of the American auto industry.

    "The auto companies must not squander this chance to reform bad management practices and begin the long-term restructuring that is absolutely required to save this critical industry and the millions of American jobs that depend on it," Obama added.

    A key condition of the rescue requires the companies to come up with a viable plan to restart their engines by March 31, or be forced immediately to pay the money back.

    That gives them, and the Obama administration, time to chart a future course.

    "In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action," Bush said. "The question is how we can best give it a chance to succeed."

    General Motors is slated to receive $13.4 billion as part of the relief plan, with Chrysler getting $4 billion.

    Ford passed on the short-term bailout.

    "We do not face a near-term liquidity issue," Ford boss Alan Mulally said.

    Mulally hailed the President for stabilizing his rivals.

    "The US auto industry is highly interdependent, and a failure of one of our competitors would have a ripple effect that could jeopardize millions of jobs and further damage the already weakened US economy," he said.

    Bush said he was left with no choice but to fork over the funds.

    "Under ordinary economic circumstances, I would say this is the price that failed companies must pay, and I would not favor intervening to prevent the automakers from going out of business," Bush said.

    "But these are not ordinary circumstances," he added.

    Since Congress did not pass the legislation to help the car makers, a side benefit for Obama when he takes over is that he will have the flexibility to change the deal however he wants.

    And Bush cast this as a bit of an early Christmas present for Obama, saying he didn't want his successor to have to face an even worse crisis than he already will when he steps into the Oval Office.

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    Thanks Prez.

    Im glad I got any say in it.

    Capitalism 101, freedom of enterprise means freedom to fail.

    If the way they run their business cost more than the profits they make from being a business, too bad. You lose.
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    I'm all for that as well. To a point. We can't really afford to have an industry that employs so many people go under. There comes a point where nationalism takes precedence of capitalism. Take care of the home team, first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
    I'm all for that as well. To a point. We can't really afford to have an industry that employs so many people go under. There comes a point where nationalism takes precedence of capitalism. Take care of the home team, first.
    Oh, absolutely. It is in our best interest save failing industries with incompetent management, overpaid workers, that make shitty products. I feel that it is my responsibility, as an American, to help these people with my tax money. I barely make $30,000 with 5-10 hours a week of overtime, and the government wouldn't step in to help me and my bosses if they drove the company I work for into the ground, but I don't mind.

    Nationalism is the most important thing here. We must support our government and their decisions for the sake of being a good patriot. For the health of our nation, we have to save big business. If we don't, small companies with efficient structure and innovative business models might start popping up all over the place. That shit would wreck out economy.
    Fucking Determined!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelJu View Post
    Oh, absolutely. It is in our best interest save failing industries with incompetent management, overpaid workers, that make shitty products. I feel that it is my responsibility, as an American, to help these people with my tax money. I barely make $30,000 with 5-10 hours a week of overtime, and the government wouldn't step in to help me and my bosses if they drove the company I work for into the ground, but I don't mind.

    Nationalism is the most important thing here. We must support our government and their decisions for the sake of being a good patriot. For the health of our nation, we have to save big business. If we don't, small companies with efficient structure and innovative business models might start popping up all over the place. That shit would wreck out economy.
    So it's safe to say you are for putting 2 million to 6 million people out of work? Who does that help?

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    Just much much do they make?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
    So it's safe to say you are for putting 2 million to 6 million people out of work? Who does that help?
    It is a terrible situation where nobody wins. I wish nobody would lose their jobs, and I wish nobody would lose their homes.

    But as my grandfather said, I can wish in one hand and shit in the other, then see which fills up faster.
    Fucking Determined!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelJu View Post
    I barely make $30,000 with 5-10 hours a week of overtime, .
    I was also in your shoes.....now that I work for a Union I can see the difference now.
    No more being taken advantage buddy.

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    Makeshift Patriot, the flag shop is out of stock. Ill hang myself at half mast.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
    So it's safe to say you are for putting 2 million to 6 million people out of work? Who does that help?
    The "bailout" has only postponed the inevitible. Hopefully President Obama will have more sense than Bush did & tell them to get competitive or fail but the taxpayers aren't paying for bad management. Nobody wants anyone to lose a job, but we can't bail out every bad company either.

    I heard yesterday that the top 3 were charging 40% more than competitors. Hmm...

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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    I was also in your shoes.....now that I work for a Union I can see the difference now.
    No more being taken advantage buddy.
    The unions are part of the problem, not the solution.
    If sense were common, everyone would have it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Mabry View Post
    The unions are part of the problem, not the solution.
    We worked for both and we both hope to stay in union till we retire or start or own business.

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    The truth about UAW members and the U.S. auto industryhttp://www.uaw.org/auto/12_02_08auto1.cfm
    The truth about UAW members and the U.S. auto industry
    pdf (28 KB)

    Q: Are UAW members really paid $73 an hour?
    A: No. Wages for UAW members at Chrysler, Ford and GM range from about $14 an hour for newly hired workers to $28 an hour for assemblers to $33 for skilled trades workers.

    Typical hourly wages at Honda, Nissan and Toyota are only slightly lower. Due to the effect of profit-sharing formulas, however, there have been some recent years in which a typical Toyota worker has taken home a larger annual paycheck than a typical GM worker.

    The $73 an hour figure is outdated and inaccurate. It includes not only the costs of health care, pensions, and other compensation for current workers, but also the costs of the pensions and health care benefits of retired employees spread out over the active workers. Active workers never receive any of this compensation in any form, so it is not accurate to describe it as part of their "earnings."

    In addition, overall labor costs at Ford, GM and Chrysler were dramatically lowered by mid-contract changes in 2005 and the 2007 UAW labor agreement. As a result of major changes in retiree health care, lower wages for newly hired workers, and other contract concessions, the labor cost gap between domestic and foreign nameplate producers will be nearly or completely eliminated. One independent analyst has projected that GM could soon have lower labor costs than Toyota. (Detroit Free Press, Jan. 13, 2008)

    Q: Do labor costs make up the majority of the cost of producing a vehicle?
    A: No. Labor costs are about 10 percent of the costs of producing a vehicle. The other 90 percent includes research and development, parts, advertising, marketing and management overhead.

    Q: But aren't labor costs going up every year, creating an additional burden for Ford, GM and Chrysler?
    A: No. As noted above, contract concessions in 2005 and 2007 have actually decreased labor costs at the domestic automakers.

    In 2005, for example, UAW members agreed to forego a 3 percent wage increase to contribute to the cost of health care, and health care benefits were modified for retirees. In 2007 wages for new hires were reduced by half, and new hires were excluded from the traditional retiree health care and defined benefit pension plans.

    Also, in 2007 the UAW and the auto companies reached a landmark agreement that transferred retiree health care liabilities from the companies to an independent VEBA fund. The changes in the 2005 and 2007 contracts reduced the companies' liabilities for retiree health care by 50 percent.

    Q: Are the legacy costs at Chrysler, Ford and GM so high because of rich pension and retiree health care benefits?
    A: No. The main reason that Chrysler, Ford and GM have higher legacy costs than the foreign nameplate operations in the United States is not because their retiree benefits are much higher. It's because they have so many more retirees. Because the domestic auto companies have been operating in this country for many years, they have large numbers of retirees. But the foreign nameplate operations only started operating in this country 25 years ago, and therefore have very few retirees.

    In addition, the overwhelming majority of retirees from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, BMW and Mercedes live in countries where national health systems spread the costs of providing health care across the entire societies. The real solution to the high health care costs which burden all American employers -– not just automakers -- is the enactment of national health care reform.

    In the negotiations with the domestic automakers in 2007, however, our members realized that we could not wait for the government to act. We took action ourselves, addressing retiree health care costs by establishing an independent trust -– called a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) -- that will take over the companies' obligations for providing retiree health care benefits.

    Q: How is the VEBA funded and what impact will it have on company costs?
    A: The VEBA will save GM, Ford and Chrysler billions of dollars by assuming full responsibility for retiree health care costs. It is funded by employer and employee contributions, including wage deferrals and modified retiree benefits.

    Q: Have the UAW "Jobs Bank" and other job security measures prevented domestic auto companies from "rightsizing" their workforce?
    A: No. As a result of decreasing market share, each of the domestic companies has sharply reduced its workforce. Five years ago, there were approximately 300,000 UAW members working at Chrysler, Ford and GM; today, that figure has been reduced by half, to fewer than 150,000.

    The "Jobs Bank" concept was pioneered by Japanese auto companies, who have had a no layoff policy in place for many years. The policies currently in place at Honda and Toyota, which pay workers full salary for an indefinite period, are more generous than job security programs in UAW-negotiated contracts.

    With 4,500 workers earning their full paychecks while its San Antonio truck plant was idle this summer, Toyota had more workers in its version of the "Jobs Bank" at a single plant than Chrysler, Ford and GM currently have in all of their factories put together.

    Q: Do union work rules make domestic companies less efficient than their non-union competitors?
    A: No. According to the latest data from the Harbour Report, an independent study of factory efficiency, 9 of the 10 most efficient auto assembly plants in North America are union plants, represented by either the UAW or the Canadian Auto Workers. (Harbour Report 2008, Media presentation)

    In addition, when factories are compared by vehicle segments -- a compact car plant vs. a compact car plant, a pick-up truck plant vs. a pick-up truck plant -- union plants are scored as the most efficient in 8 out of 9 vehicle segments.

    The Harbour Report measures the number of person hours required to assemble a vehicle. The results noted above would not be possible if union work rules caused "bloated" or inefficient operations on the factory floor.

    Q: Since Chrysler, Ford and GM have closed most of their plants outside of the Midwest in recent years, won't the effects of the auto crisis be confined to just a few Midwestern states?
    A: No. The U.S. auto industry remains a national industry, purchasing hundreds of billions of dollars of goods and services from large and small companies in every state of the union.

    The failure of the domestic auto companies would cause a domino effect that could lead to the loss of as many as 3 million American jobs. Workers at thousands of small, medium and large businesses are at risk, including those
    who work at auto suppliers, auto dealers, steel manufacturers, glass manufacturers, tire companies, and many others.

    The failure of the domestic automakers will lead to the failure of numerous supplier companies, who will be unable to function without business from one or more of their principal customers. Because of the interlocking automotive supply chain, this means that all automakers -– domestic and foreign-based -– will be confronted with a lack of parts and supplies. The inevitable result will be a catastrophic drop in overall U.S. industrial production at a time when the U.S. economy is already in the middle of a severe economic downturn.

    More than one million retirees, their spouses and dependents receive pensions and health care from Chrysler, Ford and GM. In the event of a failure of the domestic automakers, the retirees will face cuts in their pensions and will lose their health care benefits. About 40 percent of the retirees are under 65 and ineligible for Medicare, and thus could join the ranks of the uninsured.

    In addition, the cascade of business failures that would result from the collapse of the domestic automakers would lead to the cancellation of pension plans for hundreds of thousands of workers at smaller companies, causing a severe strain on the federal pension insurance program.

    The loss of so many employers and workers would also cause a precipitous drop in federal state, local tax revenues at a time when all levels of government are already struggling with budget shortfalls and increasing demand for services.
    The U.S. economy is already facing a deep, long recession. The loss of one or more major automakers would cause additional instability, job loss and business failures. This could turn the current recession into a depression, and delay any economic recovery for an indefinite period of time.

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    I know a friend of mine said he was making about 70k / year putting wheels on Ford trucks in Missouri...

    ...even with my degree...certifications...TS clearance..blah blah...I don't make nearly that much...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burner02 View Post
    I know a friend of mine said he was making about 70k / year putting wheels on Ford trucks in Missouri...

    ...even with my degree...certifications...TS clearance..blah blah...I don't make nearly that much...
    Is that with overtime?
    You sure he isn't exaggerating, I mean I am doing this a ex-co-worker of mine who left for FDNY radio department and we compare our wages....he's got me beat.


    If he made 70k well then god bless him.

    I make more than Lee and she finished College, but you can't compare the 2 jobs.
    Last edited by min0 lee; 12-21-2008 at 04:54 PM.

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    Not exactly the same, but Marvel comics once filed for bankruptcy and is now prospering. The same needs to happen to the auto market. Besides, this bailout will only last a couple of months till they're broke again. Fucking Unions are to blame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    The truth about UAW members and the U.S. auto
    From the UAW website? Yeah...sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    A: No. Wages for UAW members at Chrysler, Ford and GM range from about $14 an hour for newly hired workers to $28 an hour for assemblers to $33 for skilled trades workers
    How quickly does the wage go up? What constitutes "skilled"?

    Wages only constitute part of the benefits. How many vacations and sick days do they get each year? How much do they get for the retirement plans? What type of health benefits do they get?

    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    Typical hourly wages at Honda, Nissan and Toyota are only slightly lower. Due to the effect of profit-sharing formulas, however, there have been some recent years in which a typical Toyota worker has taken home a larger annual paycheck than a typical GM worker.
    I like how they talk about benefits beyond a mere wage when talking about companies other than the Big Three. Also, are they only counting workers from those companies in the US, or abroad, as well? Workers in Japan work way more hours than their US counterparts.

    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    In addition, overall labor costs at Ford, GM and Chrysler were dramatically lowered by mid-contract changes in 2005 and the 2007 UAW labor agreement.
    Which had nothing to do with the writing on the wall concerning the future of the auto industry in the US. It's better to take less than have your employer go insolvent. So...how much had their wages grown from 1955 to 2000? I'm sure it was all about cuts...

    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    One independent analyst has projected that GM could soon have lower labor costs than Toyota.
    Wait...didn't they say above that Toyota workers have made more per year recently?


    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    A: No. Labor costs are about 10 percent of the costs of producing a vehicle. The other 90 percent includes research and development, parts, advertising, marketing and management overhead.
    This is a red herring and has nothing to do with the issue of UAW wages. Just like the most the remainder of their "FAQ".

    Blah, blah, blah...

    Just a bunch of spin by a union.

    Unions are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist anymore. They're a drain in a capitalist economy. Want another example beyone the UAW? Just look at the teachers union.


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    We just joined the dark side....and love it.

    Does this sound selfish, perhaps....but when you work for a company that treats you like a piece of meat, threatens to replace staff with Mexicans, takes away your medical benefits, cheats you of your overtime and you have no one to defend you....and this was Motorola, not some small mom and pops company.

    Unions are not perfect but non-union jobs can be just as bad.
    Last edited by min0 lee; 12-21-2008 at 07:48 PM.

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    This was posted in another forum.
    The problem with the whole situation is that EVERYONE is to blame for the problem. Executives, management, the UAW, dealers and the accountants.

    The Execs made awful decision after awful decision, and then patted themselves on the back. They gave priority to cost management and cost cutting over design and function. Well they cut costs everywhere they shouldn't have. Why look to cut costs in your PRODUCT when GM has the most ridiculously bureaucratic structure of any non-government entity. By simply cutting overhead, overlap, and streamlining work process they could save more money AND not depreciate their products with inferior materials and parts. They shiat all over customers by hardly ever standing behind their product. Anyone who has ever owned a GM realizes how hard it is to get warranty work done. They guided the ship straight into the iceberg all while spending money like drunken sailors right up to the point where it was too late to start pushing to cut and save money.

    As a result of the push to control vehicle cost (as if oblivious to the fact that office overhead contributes just as much to the cost to run the company) managers were squeezed to pump out product quicker. This means less quality as you are hurrying to finish and less time for QC to inspect the finished product. Again, you are reducing quality for the sake of profit and the fit and finish will suffer. But if you are making a car that will just sit on a lot for months anyway, why not slow down and try to improve the product by making less mistakes in the first place and focus more on fit and finish of the product. All you end up doing is stressing out managers and workers pushed to perform based solely on the numbers they produce, not on how well they produce the product. A bad combination.

    The UAW shares the blame thanks to their insane demands. Yes, when GM was the most profitable company in the world, they could afford to be extorted, though if they should have allowed themselves to be is another question. To be paid as well, with as cushy benefits as most are (granted new hires make far less nowadays) is great for them. But, no company can survive in a competitive market with the health care and retirement costs GM is saddled with when as stated, many of it's competitors do not. And the $70/hr number is fairly accurate for a grandfathered UAW member when you throw in pension, health, dental, etc. costs into it as well. The most crippling features of the UAW is the job bank (don't work but get paid 95% salary and full benefits for sitting on your ass) and the adversarial relationship with management that has emerged. When employees feel their employer is the enemy, NOTHING good will come of the situation. Granted the blame for that is shared by management ignoring good ideas and rewarding loyalty and ass-kissing over hard work.

    Then you have the dealers, and believe me when I tell you, no dealer is a "joy" to work with, but far and away the most heinous I have ever encountered are GM dealers. I'm sure we could fill pages with how the dealers, who should be the face of the company since they are who the customer actually will interact with, will lie, cheat, swindle, and rob the customer of all they can. The dealership is the way people will experience your brand, shouldn't you want it to be the most pleasant experience possible so people actually WANT to come back. GM was on the right track here with Saturn. What happened? It's more profitable to screw your customer in the short term. Granted they may not come back, but you have their money for now.

    It's all a massive cluster fark started by the fact you had useless executive management for years that believed their own rhetoric that nothing was wrong, their shiat didn't stink, and it was the CUSTOMER'S fault that people didn't want their product. A product that they continued to neglect in order to cut costs as much as they could in order to save a few bucks so someone somewhere could puff their chest and get a bonus. What every happened to the axiom "The customer is always right." If so, GM (and Chrysler and a lesser extent Ford for that matter) are very wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOMS View Post
    I like how they talk about benefits beyond a mere wage when talking about companies other than the Big Three. Also, are they only counting workers from those companies in the US, or abroad, as well? Workers in Japan work way more hours than their US counterparts.
    Complete misconception. Blue collar workers in Japan do their eight and skate. The white collar guys put in their eight and hang out bored out of their skulls until the boss leaves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOMS View Post
    Which had nothing to do with the writing on the wall concerning the future of the auto industry in the US. It's better to take less than have your employer go insolvent. So...how much had their wages grown from 1955 to 2000? I'm sure it was all about cuts...
    How much have wages for management increased? Far more than the wages for labor. In 1989 the CEOs for American companies made an average of 71 times what the average employee made. By 2005 that had grown to 411 times what the average employee made. That amount peaked at 525 times what the average worker made in 2000.

    Since you like to use Japan as your standard we'll compare the two. Current CEO pay for an American company is down to a mere 364 times what the average worker makes. The Japanese CEOs make only 22 times what the average worker makes. That's a bit of disparity, no? The kicker is the Japanese companies are profitable.

    Global economy, right? Maybe it's about time American CEOs get with the program and bring their pay in line with the rest of the world. Especially when considering the fact that they are losing money faster than a two bit hooker loses her panties at a bachelor party.

    You're all about wage cuts. Go tell your boss you're making too much and you've been robbing him all this time and you want a fifty percent pay cut. And you don't want any vacation and you'll work holidays at straight time.

    I'd wager a month's salary you don't do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOMS View Post
    This is a red herring and has nothing to do with the issue of UAW wages. Just like the most the remainder of their "FAQ".

    Blah, blah, blah...

    Just a bunch of spin by a union.

    Unions are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist anymore. They're a drain in a capitalist economy. Want another example beyone the UAW? Just look at the teachers union.
    "Blah, blah, blah..." is your only argument?

    Please enlighten us as to the costs of building a car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOMS View Post
    How quickly does the wage go up? What constitutes "skilled"?

    Wages only constitute part of the benefits. How many vacations and sick days do they get each year? How much do they get for the retirement plans? What type of health benefits do they get?
    They gave us this same story just before they layed us off, mind you we were making about $12.00 an hour ...something like that in 1990. They added all the benefits they said we were actually making somewhere about $22.00 an hour.....something like that.
    We still worked in the same place but they sub-contracted "Gave us away" to a another company who would pay our benefits and wages while Motorola took 30% of their profit.

    They went bankrupt leaving Motorola with no workers, so they had a temp agency pay us instead, the real funny thing is they were paying the temp agency about $21.00 an hour....of course we were only making the same $12.00 an hour.

    We asked if we could just open up our own company and continue to do work for them....they said no.


    If they can screw the Unions don't think you guys at the private sector will have it good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOMS View Post
    How quickly does the wage go up? What constitutes "skilled"?

    Wages only constitute part of the benefits. How many vacations and sick days do they get each year? How much do they get for the retirement plans? What type of health benefits do they get?
    I consider wage and benefits to be two different things.

    This goes for every job I had, it's our right to have vacations and sick days.
    We are talking about Americans not Mexicans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
    "Blah, blah, blah..." is your only argument?

    Please enlighten us as to the costs of building a car.
    The topic of interest was the wages of UAW workers. At no point does the cost breakdown of selling a car factor into it.

    But feel free to suck UAW cock.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
    Complete misconception. Blue collar workers in Japan do their eight and skate. The white collar guys put in their eight and hang out bored out of their skulls until the boss leaves.
    Show me where this applies to auto workers. I'm not saying that is doesn't, but the onus is on you.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
    How much have wages for management increased? Far more than the wages for labor. In 1989 the CEOs for American companies made an average of 71 times what the average employee made. By 2005 that had grown to 411 times what the average employee made. That amount peaked at 525 times what the average worker made in 2000.

    Since you like to use Japan as your standard we'll compare the two. Current CEO pay for an American company is down to a mere 364 times what the average worker makes. The Japanese CEOs make only 22 times what the average worker makes. That's a bit of disparity, no? The kicker is the Japanese companies are profitable.

    Global economy, right? Maybe it's about time American CEOs get with the program and bring their pay in line with the rest of the world. Especially when considering the fact that they are losing money faster than a two bit hooker loses her panties at a bachelor party.
    None of which means dick regarding the overpayment of UAW members.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
    You're all about wage cuts. Go tell your boss you're making too much and you've been robbing him all this time and you want a fifty percent pay cut. And you don't want any vacation and you'll work holidays at straight time.

    I'd wager a month's salary you don't do it.
    Do you know how much I get paid? Or even what I do for a living?

    That smell is you talking out of your ass.


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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    I consider wage and benefits to be two different things.

    This goes for every job I had, it's our right to have vacations and sick days.
    We are talking about Americans not Mexicans.

    They all add up to the lifestyle that the employee enjoys. They do matter even if you, a union member, want to say otherwise.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DOMS View Post
    Show me where this applies to auto workers. I'm not saying that is doesn't, but the onus is on you.
    Auto workers ARE blue collar workers. Auto workers in Japan ARE blue collar workers. Auto workers in Japan do their eight hours and go home. The desk jockeys sit around waiting for the boss to leave before they themselves leave. Read up on Japanese culture.

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