Please note that I feel very passionately about this topic. Also note that there is some "strong language" in this blog. If you find this language offensive please do not read this. I am pretty sure that the language in question is used less than 5 times but I am just covering my bases! Thanks!
Well after a few hours of searching and reading I am finally fed up enough to write this blog. I have read several articles and the comments that are left by readers. It's ridiculous. Everyone is going on about the Big3 auto bailout and how it shouldn't happen. Everyone is up in arms about having their tax dollars spent helping these three companies out of a tough time. 'Oh let them come back down to earth' was one comment I read. There were countless comments about autoworkers living lavish lifestyles. Enough.
Let's look at the job an auto worker does shall we. Let's look at the job that I do for a living. I work in a non-unionized plant, for a parts supplier for the Big3. Okay so here is how it works.
I work a line that is called Mechanical. We take these blanks from the Blanking Line and form them into parts. One of our most hated jobs has a blank with a very awkward shape that weighs about 18lbs. Now we take this 18lb blank and put it in one press to form a draw panel, which is then taken out and put on a conveyer belt and travels to the next station and so on and so forth until it is the completed part. We used to take this blank and cut it down to like 7lbs, but because of cost cutting (before the economy tanked even) we got rid of that job and just use the whole blank. For this job it takes two people on each press for a total of three presses and one packer at the end. That is 7 people to run just one job. It's now 14 people because the company took the other side of that job and we run them both at the same time, also a cost saving meassure. Now let's do the math. We have an 18lb blank, with production of about 1800 parts per shift. Just putting that blank into the press 1800 times in a shift is HAND LOADING 32,400lbs! Multiply that by 2 because what you put in you have to take out and we are now sitting at 64,800lbs. You can add another 32,400lbs to that last number, as somebody has to pull that blank out of a bin! Finally we multiply the entire number for one side times 2 as we run both sides at the same time, for a grand total of 194,400. Four people with lift that amount in one 8 hour shift. We move mountians on that job. There is nothing to help you lift that part other than the power of your own arms.
Let's also keep in mind here folks that while you sit in the comfort of your airconditioned offices behind your desks in your cushy chairs that we parts manufacturers are going to work in the heat of summer just like you do! We get to stand in a factory that slaps you in the face with a wall of hot air for eight hours in our uniforms in work boots with arm guards (long sleeves much like a leg warmer) and gloves (kevlar to protect ourselves from cuts). It gets so hot that you can see the humidity in the air...inside the building! It hangs like a fog at the ceiling. Now we are also working around heavy machinery which produces heat, as well as forklifts that spew hot air all over the place. Let's not forget to mention the fact that you could loose a body part at my work. How many body parts do you loose making photocopies or answering the phone?
Everything at my job is about effiency. Down time makes nobody any money. So, to all of those people who think that an autoworker doesn't work as hard as they do you can bite me. At work I do more in an 8 hour shift than you do in a freakin' week. Keep your office job, keep whining about how much you don't get paid. You will not find sympathy here. I work damn hard for my $24.51 an hour! I work hard for my benefits. What do you do? How many of you are reading this blog right now, completely outraged at my lack of sympathy or my seemingly greedy attitude....while you are at work...not working for your paycheck? I am pretty sure that your boss doesn't pay you to sit on your fat ass and be on blogger or facebook or myspace or twitter. If your idea of hard work is sitting in that chair come and spend a day at my work...it'll kick your pansy ass!
Let's talk about my lavish lifestyle shall we? I made about $50,000 last year. Yep. There it is. My "lavish" lifestyle. I live with my boyfriend in a one plus den condo. I own a 5 year old car. Yes, it's a GM. It's a base model sunfire with only am/fm radio and standard. I take about $100 every pay and put it into my retirement fund. I take about $200 a pay to save up for a down payment on a house. (well i used to....have been laid off since December so all of those plans are on hold). My car has less than 100,000km on it. I do little but drive to work and back, and between the two of us we have only one car. The last movie I saw in a theatre...I couldn't tell you. Working three shifts doesn't really give you much time to do fun things like that. Most of my time off is spent catching up with family and friends. Tell me, how is that a lavish life style? Tell me why most of my co-workers drive cars that are older than 5 years? Is it a lavish lifestyle because I have benifits that cover about 80%? With the amount of wear and tear that I put my body through daily at work I think that I deserve no less! Is it lavish because I can take about $300 a month and put it away for things that I want? I did the same when I only got paid $8/hr at my old minimum wage job. I call it prudent finacial planning. We aren't behind on any of our monthly bills. Why? Because we don't live beyond our means, that's why. I try not to use my credit card, I pay cash. I pay bills when they come in and don't wait until the due date. I always pay more than the minimum payment. Why? Because I don't want to pay the interst. That's just throwing my $$$ away. Now tell me how this is a lavish lifestyle? Tell me that I don't deserve the pay I get for the job I do...come on I dare you.
Does anyone reading this understand why it is so expensive to buy a car? Let me tell you why. It's all the bells and whistles. It's all the crap that consumers want in their cars that forces the prices up. Yeah you can scoff all you want but do you think you are getting your MP3 hookup, side-impact air bags, airconditioning, 6cd changer, Onstar compatabiltiy, GPS, security alarm, tv's, coolers, heated seats, satellite radio, ABS brakes, and leather seats for free? Are you fucking stupid?
Let's talk Bailout now shall we? After all that is what started this crazy rant. Everyone is against the Bailout for the Big3. "Don't waste my tax dollars on them!" That's common public opinion. You hear it and read it everywhere. People don't want to back companies that make North American products. How very unpatriotic of you all! Would you rather pay to have people on social assitance because they lost their jobs? Oh wait you are already doing that! Governments have extended assistance to laid off workers! Would you rather pay more for your health insurance so that the government can extend benifits to laid off workers? Oh wait no, I forgot, you'd rather pay for greedy bankers fat golden parachutes and golf games, retreats and limos! Silly me.
Okay. Let's see what happens if there is no bail out for these 3 companies. Plants will close. Yep. People will loose their jobs. Yep. The auto industry will be decimated in North America and we will be forced to purchase our cars from countries overseas. -You know the one's I am talking about. The ones that just settled out of a class action for odometers that weren't tracking mileage correctly.(HONDA) That's a pretty big screw up really considering that the resale value of your spiffy Japcrap car is based heavily on the mileage! Wonder how many folks got ripped of in that one(models 2000 and up).- So now that we are buying cars who's companies are based overseas, we don't have the benifit of all of those $$ in our economy. Now that the auto industry is decimated, we won't need as much steel from North America. We also won't need all of those truck drivers that used to haul North American auto parts from plant to plant. So now there are thousand more out of jobs. That's okay though because the taxpayers of North America would rather pay for all of those people to be on social assistance/e.i.; they'd rather pay extra for their health insurance so the government can extend those benifits to unemployed workers. Let's not forget about the folks that own car dealerships. Family run businesses that will close because the tax payer isn't seeing the big picture here. More houses will forclose. More people will owe more for their house now than what it's worth, because with every forclosure housing prices dip lower and lower. That's okay though...you are all okay with that.???? You are okay with commodity prices falling, the stock market taking another dive, you are all okay with that? Really?
So yeah, let's not bail out these guys. I don't mind buying my next car from China. I'm sure that they will eventually work out all of the issues they have with their quality in pet foods, baby food, and childrens toys. I'm sure their cars will be just fine. Yep. Just fine. Let's not worry about our fellow citizens. Let's NOT invest in our own work force. Let's not invest in our own inovations, after all China can make it for cheaper, right? Let's not invest in ourselves. Our children won't care. Most of them don't know the value of a dollar anyway. Let's not invest in our work force when we can outsource everything to China and India and any other country that pays their workers next to nothing.
This recession has hit North America hard in the balls. There is no denying that. Can we blame any one factor for this crisis? Not really. It's a multitude of different factors that have contributed to this mess. It's the bankers, and their greed, it's the government for allowing it to happen by not paying attention and it's the consumer for overspending and not saving for that rainy day. We are all to blame and not doing anything will not solve the problem. Allowing good jobs to just disappear is not an option. It should never be an option! Just think, first the auto jobs are gone...the next job could be yours!