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Posts Tagged ‘Unions’

Bye-Bye Unions, Hello Jobs!

OK, before I get the boo-hiss from all my fellow blogging  buds that are part of some kind union, hear me out.  On light of what is happening in Wisconsin I am going to take my day I dedicate my soap boxes to this subject. 

I have to say I have never worked for a company that had a union, but I have worked in corporate America private and non-profit.  I have also been on the giving end of “no more work for you, we are sending your job overseas or to Mexico because it is cheaper to make and we can’t compete.”  I have seen the hard “back-room” numbers that come with strategic planning and how much it costs to run a company and the burden rate of employees and I have to say unionized companies have an exceptionally high burden rate and the only thing I see that unions do now for the country is driving up the costs and putting certain politicians from certain political parties in office, thus the very “invested” interest politicians are having on this whole issue.

I have studied employment and ERISA law more than I want to  recall and this country does not need the collective bargaining and union protection of working and wage conditions.  Labor Law is strong and can hold and has proven it can hold up on its own well.  Just ask Wal-Mart about that.  

I once did a study on the burden rate of Toyota vs. GM and it was staggering the difference. Notice, Japan was not bailing out Toyota even in the recent recall crisis they had on sticky throttles.   Once while I was doing a wage/benefit analysis on positions that were the same as county/state employees as those of the non-profit I was working for, we could not compete.  It was nearly 15k 25k more in benefits and wages per position for the county/state employee and we wonder why the state of California is broke?

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that if a company/agency has been promising a person that has invested more than 18 plus years to a company for a solid pension and retirement plan, that needs to be honored – they don’t have time to contribute to a 401(k), they counted on that promise to survive .  But moving backwards the further down in years of service you go, the less benefits you get until all new hires are promised a solid wage, good work conditions, state law and reasonable benefits.  That would give time for people to regroup retirement planning.   In doing this, would  encourage companies to compete with each other and if the employees don’t like how they are treated they go to a company that does treat them better which puts the heat on the companies that don’t to do better or they fail. 

Oh, yes good old capitalism and at its finest!  I hope that the unions are done away with and that we can get competitive again and be the great nation that we are known to be. 

On a caveat, those that are true service workers for our communities, the soldier, the fireman, the cop, the nurse, the doctor, and the teacher, they need to be compensated above and beyond since they go above and beyond each and everyday making a HUGE investments into the communities present and future and I have no problem my tax paying monies go to them. They deserve rich benefit plans, not the guy that is pushing a button on a machine putting out widgets or a clerk pushing paper.  

Unions had its place and was very needed, but we evolved from that time.  We are in a society that is natural litigious and very employee friendly that they are not needed.  And for you that work for the union based organizations, ask yourself when was the last time they really did something for you except take a chunk out of your paycheck?

And on another note, these young teachers that are trying to build their careers that walked off the job site of educating young minds, who are they picketing for?  It appears they are not picketing for the kids, they are picketing for themselves and doing nothing to help get those kids educated right now in the present.  Get back in the class room and quit worrying about your benefits and teach, that is what the taxpayers are paying you for!

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 A return to Soap Box Sundays! Click here to find out what Soap Box Sunday’s are all about.

Thursday evening, while I was driving home from dinner  with my aunt, I happened to be listening to an interview with Mr. “You are Fired”,  Donald Trump given by Greta Van Susteren (click on the link to see and read the interview).  They were talking about the election results and the subject of jobs in America came up.  Mr. Trump starting talking about something I have been thinking about for quite some time.  How can we get more jobs in America, when we are shipping them to places overseas, Mexico and mainly to China? 

When we had the lead crisis in 2007 and 2008 with toys made in China, many Americans were shocked to realized that 95 % of the toys on the market are made in China.  I challenge anyone to go into a Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, or any store for that manner and see how many products they find that are made here in the US vs those that are being made in China.   I did, and it is very disturbing that I found three products out of sixty-seven in just one aisle.  I feel that every American should find that disturbing. Manufacturing is what built this nation and we are now single handedly handing over our manufacturing to build other countries, like China, because it is cheaper.  

Mr. Trump asked a simple question why politicians never bring up this issue when discussing jobs.  Now, I don’t know enough about Donald Trump to make a full assessment of him, but the one thing I know is that he is one heck of a business man and he knows a thing or two about making money and creating  jobs.  So when someone of his background is asking those hard questions, questions that I have been pondering on as well, you tend to stop and listen to what he has to say and this is the three points that I came up with on my own post his interview.

1.)  American’s want much, but really need less.  Walk into any person’s house (including mine) on your street and see how much excess one has.  I am not talking about living like a crazed frugal person, but seriously, do we really need six sets of sheet for one bed, eight sets of drinking glasses, a toy room that is bursting at the gills, of toys that the kids will only play with once because they have so much,  sixteen different types of cooking utensils, and thirty-seven pairs of shoes (trust me I could have more than that if I could wear heels) and the list goes on?

We have become a society that wants everything and thinks we need everything.  In our own way, we are becoming modern-day hoarders that is now completely an acceptable part of society.  Our need to consume things is what is driving these companies to have to make them affordable because the demand is alive and well. 

The past couple of years I have tried to downsize our house by not buying things we don’t need (outside of my Gymboree addiction, which is sadly made in China) and when I do buy something I get rid of a like item.  I am a natural “three times a year -purger”, far from being a pack rat,  but I still think I would fall under the too much excess category.  I am exactly a picture of the problem of being dependant on China.

2.)  Unions.  Being a Human Resources Specialist for eleven years, I think I can stand very firmly on my beliefs that Unions are something that is no longer needed.  American Employment Law/ERISA Law has evolved into something more powerful and just than it was before Unions were put into place.  Unions served it’s purpose, but it is now time to roll up shop. 

It appears that they now only serve to hold up productivity and be cash cows for politicians and lobbyist.   I saw a study of a GM  worker vs. an American based  Toyota company worker burden rate and the numbers spoke for themselves.  The total annual burden rate for a GM worker was $74 and the Toyota worker was $48 per hour and the productivity was greater at the Toyota Plant.  What amazes me is with those numbers, the government should have allowed the American car manufacturers to go under, file Chapter 11, and restructure.  That what the Airline Industry has done for decades and it definitely weeds out the weak from the strong.  Yes, thousand’s of jobs were at jeopardy if they did this, but so were thousands of job in the airline industry and let’s not mention the thousands of job in the manufacturing world that were lost in this country when they take their business to Mexico or China.

The hubs was one of those statistics in 2008.  His company of 45-year longevity in our area moved to Juarez, Mexico.  We had a choice to move to El Paso, TX and he commute to Mexico each day. You all have read the headlines, that was a no brainer. Thankfully, the hubs was gainfully employed before his final day at his former company.  Many of his colleagues were not so lucky and were out of work for 18-months or longer.  This company the hubs worked for, shut down production in three mid-western state plants that were the heart beat of the town and when they left to go to Mexico, the town suffered greatly, horribly, actually.  The govenment was not making sure these companies stayed in the states to keep their consintuants employeed.  No, they decided to bail out union based companies beacuse that is where the money is.

3.) Government placing too heavy of  EPA regulations and tax laws on corporations. The United States leads the world in high  corporate tax rates. Why would companies have an incentive to stay here in the US, if they are paying through the nose when they can take up shop for pennies on the dollar in China, Mexico or other countries?  You don’t have to be a business major to figure that out.  

 I live in a state that has some of  the strictest EPA laws and regulations and the politicians that just got re-elected back into office were a part of making those regulations stick.  The environment is important, but think of how many jobs it would have created, in addition to the manufacturing companies, to have people working with these companies on finding other ways to manufacturing products cleaner and safer.  That to me would be a good use of tax payer money, instead, huge fines and taxes incurred under many very unreasonable environmental statues and forced companies out of California. 

I saw an ad during the election process sponsored by Barbara Boxer slamming Carly Forina for laying off 30k employees and moving HP to China.  The thing “Ma’am” Senator Boxer forgot to put in the ad is how she was too responsible for the loss of those 30k jobs and that plant moving to China.  She was part of the push for higher taxes on corporations and hand tieing EPA regulations and got them.  What they also left out, was that in order to save HP from economic down fall they had to make those hard decisions to keep the 150k jobs here in the US.  Do I think Carly Fornia was a saint? NO WAY! In this case however, it was the legislators of California that is to blame for those jobs going to China.

I think the ship has sailed, unfortunately, when it comes to our dealings and relationship with China going away.  We are in bed with them, the past decades of political administrations have made that bed for the American people.   What we can do  now is truly take inventory of our personal lives and really ask our selves do we need so much stuff?  When we do need to purchase things we need to ask ourselves “Is this made in the US?” and if it is not, then try to find the closest substitute that is.  Remember cheaper is not always better.   Lastly, when thinking about our politicians and the things we vote for, look at the bigger picture and ask the harder questions that no one seems to be asking, “Are these things that they are doing building up our country or building up another?”

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