O/T: Michael Moore gets it right sometimes.

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For openers, I am not a Michael Moore fan. In fact, I can't stand the opportunistic self-promoter. BUT.. fair is fair and he does make a point here that kinda makes sense. The topic is close to me as I have contact with a lot of people from the automotive industry. Small tool & die guys and one big upholstery shop. When the big 3 go down, the shit-storm will roll across the border into Canuckistan as there really is no border because AutoPact and NAFTA.
A big part of me thinks they should just collapse just like any other piss-poorly managed company. In this case the consequences would be just too ginormous to even contemplate.
The big 3 corporate automotive clusterfarks need to be taught a lesson, but so does the UAW. Let the blames begin!
No free lunch.
r
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Amen,
cm

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cm wrote:

Typical liberalism--unions demand contracts that make the company noncompetitive, and the goverment passes laws that force them to make products that they have to sell below cost, and then when it all goes sour, the company's mismanaged.
Would serve us all right if the people who had to try to keep a company afloat with all this crap being forced on them took their ball and went home.
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Absolutely. Included in that lesson should be a sizable contingent of CEO's and every other person in the companies with golden parachutes and ludicrous $$$ plus salaries.

Yeah, I've got a problem with unions too. I was reading a number of comments by the general public, many of them university grads making less than these auto workers. The vast majority commented on how auto workers with basically minimal education and essentially qualified to do one job only were making $30 an hour and were not willing to take any part of a pay cut to save their jobs. That's greed. There's been times in my life where I'd have happily given up 10% of my wages to save my job. Not these people.
The only downside to letting the auto makers take a big hit is what it will cost all the other small businesses and people down the road who thrive on the money that the auto workers spend.
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Upscale wrote:

On the local news this past weekend: About 80% of Iowans surveyed said they'd be willing to take a pay cut in order to save the job of the person sitting /next/ to them...
...and Iowa wages are already sub-par.
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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That's my problem with the (modern) unions. It's no longer about supporting the workers, it's about maintaining the union... sometimes at the expense of the workers!
Ed
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When it comes to unions, there is no doubt that they were needed at one time to put a stop to sending mine-workers into unsafe mines and also to stop railroad barons from working their labourers to death without adequate pay..... then again, the argument exists that those barons would do that again if given the chance. And yet, the plants operated by Toyota and Honda seem to be doing just fine...here in Ontario at least. They're talking a few lay-offs even there
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Robatoy wrote:

I live and work within a few miles of a Mercedes Benz plant, the UAW has for years tried to unionize the plant, he UAW maintains an office in the area, so far they have not been successful most of the workers realize that they would be no better off. It's sad but everyone that I have talked to that works there, will only say that the money is good, not that they like there jobs, very little praise for their jobs or lifestyle.
Basilisk
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Ed Edelenbos wrote:

Too often true. One possible remedy in this case might be to also require reorganization of the UAW chapters into independent (unaffiliated) plant unions, so that workers could retain the protections and benefits of collective bargaining without a single union having a strangle hold on such a large portion of the economy...
...just a thought.
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Excellent, Dude.
It should never smell like bait.
tom
wrote:

Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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Morris, etal, Don't get me started on unions, but: Time: late '60s-early '70s, Jamestown, NY. Anyone remember an outfit called Art Metal? They were a good sized, well known manufacturer of metal office furniture(desks, filing cab's, etc) Sunk everything they could beg or borrow into a new plant to replace the outmoded brick factory dating back to very early 1900's. New plant all on one floor, designed for better work flow, etc. etc. When the plant was built and ready for them to move in, the "union" decided that if the company had the money to build this new facility, they should share it with the union. So, they went on strike, and the company didn't have the cash flow to survive the almost year long strike, they folded. I don't know how many jobs went down the tubes, or how long the building sat empty before the Chamber of Commerce, etc. finally enticed Cummins Engine to make it a new production facility. Dam fools couldn't see past the end of their noses far enough to realize they could be in a new higher production facility that could return more profits that the union could then profit from. Nahmie
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Morris.. Hate to bring a rain cloud over your sunny thought, but in my experience, saying you'll take a pay cut and actually doing it are 2 different things.. Sort of like saying that you'd die for someone and then rethinking it if the choice is presented..
mac
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mac davis wrote:

Very true - but who's to say how many actually meant what they said?

Same deal - and of the people I knew who said they'd put their life on the line, many did - and died honoring that commitment.
I don't think you make a convincing argument.
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Many have died for people not even knowing who they were/are. Those kind of people fit my definition of the word hero. Then again, in my world there are no sports 'heroes'. Even astronauts and people like them don't really fit the hero bill. Mind you, standing beside a Mercury Redstone (a bit bigger than a telephone pole) and trying to imagine what that must have been like. To sit in a can, on top of a controlled explosion...and telling the boys on the ground to go ahead and light the wick... that takes balls, faith and a bit of crazy. I will have to think about that some more.
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Many have died for people not even knowing who they were/are. Those kind of people fit my definition of the word hero. Then again, in my world there are no sports 'heroes'. Even astronauts and people like them don't really fit the hero bill. Mind you, standing beside a Mercury Redstone (a bit bigger than a telephone pole) and trying to imagine what that must have been like. To sit in a can, on top of a controlled explosion...and telling the boys on the ground to go ahead and light the wick... that takes balls, faith and a bit of crazy. I will have to think about that some more.
And, as one them once replied when asked what he was thinking as the final seconds to lift-off ticked down, "I was thinking about how this thing was built by the lowest bidder." Or words to that effect.
Dave in Houston
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Upscale wrote:

If those executives worked for absolutely nothing - no base, no bonus, no stock options - it would make NO difference in the earnings of the companies in question. The P&L of manufacturing companies is dominated by the cost of labor. But it's fun to hate people with more money than you, eh?
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wrote in message

You can look at that way but the fact that most CEO's have a golden parachute there is no incentive to make a company perform better.
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Leon wrote:

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Not profitable because of piss poor management and decision making.

Yeah, it kinda does. Had they had to balls to run a business like a business should be run there would be fewer problems.
It also has very little to do with the

And that is BS also. Having made my living selling GM products and retired at 40 I can assure you that the quality of the competition blows away the Big 3 quality.
In actual

Partially true, they have never built better, a few of their vehicles are on par but as a whole, still way behind.
(Despite what the

Well that "is" what I am blaming the executives for, piss poor management and no balls.

Correct and beggs the question why we are paying these inept CEO's these large salaries and give them golden parachures. They absolutely do not qualify to run these companies or draw that kind of salary.

And back then we had decent execs, pay plans these days attract the rif raff.

Apparently this is not true, there has been no revolt. Having a sizeable of money in the market for the last 15 years, my little proportion has little influnce on their decision making.
The stockholders, BTW, are mostly folks like us -

Because we each probably own less than .00001% of the total shares and that does not have much pull with the decision makers.
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Leon wrote:

Almost *all* of which surrounds the question of labor costs. The rest is just rounding error.

You've obviously never actually run a company of any size. You cannot "run a business like a business" when every do-gooder, union wart, anti-Capitalist, earth hugger, and various other societal bottom feeders are demanding you do things their way even if it is irrational or, possibly even (in the case of the UAW), insane. The Big Three are not free to run their business to the satisfaction of their shareholders. They have a culture full of science dropouts and closet Marxists in their face on a regular basis telling them what to do.

And I can tell your from immediate and recent experience that you're dead wrong - at least for trucks. We have owned many Japanese products in my household as well as a number of GM, I am in pretty good position to have seen the span of quality. What you say was true 20 years ago, it's not any more. My 2008 Chev Tahoe is easily the better of my previously owned Nissan Pathfinder. This Tahoe replaces a 1995 model that gave me 138000 miles of happy trails with only two major mechanical malfunctions.
Cars are another matter. No one in Detroit seems to know how to build a car worth a crap until you get into the luxury segment, and even there, they're not incredible. Honda consistently builds outstanding cars and if I wanted a car, that's what I'd buy. Toyota is overrated and is starting to look like GM 20 years ago with their maintenance problems and poor customer service. Nissan has been fine, if a little disconnected in their customer support. (The new 2008 Tahoe would have been a 2008 Pathfinder if the dealer had ever called me back as he promised.)
But again, I don't think this is the major problem with the Big Three money issues. They just can't afford to be competitive, invest in new technology, reengineer their cars regularly, and so on when they're paying layed off workers full salary and benefits for life (not an exaggeration).

As I said, they build the best trucks in the world, and most of their cars are uninspiring. How they can manage to get the fit and finish right on a light truck, but not a Malibu is just beyond me.

Easy to say (and I agree), but hard to do. When you have closet Marxists running the unions, the universities, the media, and now, finally, the new Presidency, its hard to stand up and say "Everyone has to earn their own keep." In truth, the Auto "Bailout" is a UAW bailout promoted by the congressional pigs on the left (but I repeat myself) and with the assent of many parts of the right as well. This is happening because a depressing proportion of the population believes in some version of the execrable "Labor Theory Of Value." This same population is either to dumb or dishonest to acknowledge that the LTV is an essentially Marxist construct.

Because the alternatives are worse, and finding quality people even willing to do it is hard. I was once an executive in a very small private firm with visions of becoming a public company. I would *never* serve as an exec in a public firm in today's whining political climate. I don't need to work 70 hr weeks, and then have some smelly hippie retread tell me I make too much money. No thanks. And I am not alone in this. I know a good number of capable, honest, and hard working people who have lost all taste for being in leadership roles in any public company.

You're kidding yourself. There were plenty of bad execs back in the day (I know, I worked for some of them). But there were good ones then as well. The difference, as I said above, is that good people are getting leary about working for public companies because the general culture, the government, and the regulatory environment make doing so not worth it. (You will see the same thing happen as people exit the medical profession when Our Lord and Savior Comrade Obama turns in into a socialist gulag.)

Have you ever once complained to the BOD? To your mutual fund? To anyone associated with the companies you think are overpaying their execs and/or badly run?

But together, we own an overwhelming amount of the stock. Our "together" is expressed in collective investment vehicles which we CAN influence. It is ironic that the execs actually should be paid MORE if we want them to be better at what they do. Instead of paying them huge salaries, they should own more of the companies they run. If their primary source of income was determined based on their company's long term performance, they'd do a much better job. But, as I said, the class warrior whiners made sure that stock options with long vesting cycles got more-or-less eliminated.

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