I have been watching the reporting of the proposed bailout of the auto industry and one thing that is sorely lacking is the plight of the average worker of the suppliers of the auto industry. American companies that are responsible for exclusively supplying parts for the “Big 3”, Ford, GM, and Chrysler. These companies are very specialized in what they produce. Should the auto industry be forced into a bankruptcy that calls for a reorganization of their business, these suppliers will have no business and be forced to have massive layoffs or in a worst case scenario, simply close their doors. Information for the hiring of the best lawyers can be gathered from Bankruptcy Law Center. The work of the center is to provide the best lawyers for solving the client case.
A lot of attention has been paid and the blame put on the autoworkers labor union. Let me tell you what they have been forced to give up before this economic crisis had happened. The average worker was forced to give up any and all bonuses. They used to get Christmas bonuses of around $3,000. That is just one of the bonuses that is gone and has been for over 7 years. They were forced to give up, in some cases, close to $4.00 an hour in wages. They haven’t had a cost of living increase in wages in over 14 years. The retiree benefits all the news agencies are talking about aren’t as great as they make it out to be. The average retiree draws a pension, which he had worked for and contributed to for over 30 years, that sends him somewhere from $1500 to $2400 per month. I dare you to try to live on that little an amount. The health care benefits for retirees that the media touts as being so fantastic is in reality no longer free of charge and hasn’t been for years. The retirees pay $397 per month for their health care policies.
These are just a part of the story of the average American auto worker that no one is hearing in the mainstream press. I haven’t even spoken about how not only do they live from paycheck to paycheck, just like the rest of America, but they live with the constant fear of their plants closing every day. Imagine that feeling, the feeling that you would never know if your job would be there the next day when you go to work. Imagine the stress it puts on your family, your finances, and your own state of mind. Now compound that with the knowledge that all the news organizations, some members of Congress and the President of the United States are all saying, in effect, the Big 3 should be forced into bankruptcy. Put yourself in those workers positions. People who have gone to work, done their jobs to the best of their ability, worked their jobs all their lives only to be told because they work for a union their lives, families and jobs don’t matter. How would you feel?
My husband works for just such a supply company. He has been there for 22 years, since he was 20 years old. We know how it feels to live this way with constant layoffs, contract concessions and let’s face it, the unmitigated fear of never knowing if today is the day that the plant shuts the door. The union he belongs to is not the union of the 1930’s that made policy in Washington and held threats over management of companies until they complied with the unions demands. That union has been dead for over 30 years. The union of today simply tries to protect their workers to the best of their ability and most of the time, it isn’t enough. The constant contract concessions to management designed to keep the company’s doors open cripple the worker’s livelihood and their morale.
The President, Congress and all the reporters who have set out to blame the problems of the auto industry on the labor unions and the workers who belong to them need to do some research. All of the current problems of the Big 3 can and should be laid at the feet of the CEO’s and their salaried management teams. They should have repercussions and in some cases, outright firings for the mismanagement of the companies. Stop blaming the wrong people for the problem and put the spotlight on where it does belong, on management.