Benny's World

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all

Thanksgiving is a moment to remember
How little we can do to move the stars.
All we are and have we must surrender,
Nor is Earth less inscrutable than Mars.
Knowing this, we know the need for friends
Sharing both our pleasures and our pain,
Giving, though it may not serve their ends,
In joy the love that will our love sustain.
Very much like water in a lake,
In sum we serve as mirrors to the sky.
No one alone can heaven's picture take.
Given friends, we know the reason why.
---Nicholas Gordon

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Selling Out GM Workers? Who did So?

Today on the OAC blog there has been some lively discussion about GM products and how 30,ooo manufacturing workers are being laid off in the next 3 years.

The union had already made concessions of healthcare co-pays over a month ago. Surely though they knew the layoffs were coming anyway because of the 10Q numbers reported to the government. Of course, the UAW has to play "dumb" and act as though they were betrayed.

It's possible the UAW reps were given a bill of goods for a "bait and switch." I buy that. But I also know that high powered union reps may not be present at all in the buildings where the workers are.

Truly, I am sorry to see so many workers being laid off. The brunt of them is in Lansing and one other place in MI over time. They are being laid off in red states such as Tennessee, where a Saturn Plant is and one other place in the South. When I say truly, I mean it because the union workers go to do their jobs; other than safety or a few quality improvement issues, GM is laying them off instead of themselves for being piss-poor marketing and design folks who continue to shell out for Chevy Tahoes and other SUVs that no one is buying due to gas prices. Their thinking for 2006 lines is so....Prince..."1999".

Here is one report that describes my consumer position about GM (from Reuters, via Yahoo):

By Jui Chakravorty

DETROIT (Reuters) - In an industry where 'product is king,' General
Motors Corp. is in dire need of attractive new vehicles to rule the road,
analysts say, mostly dismissing a move by the ailing auto giant to cut jobs and
close plants to save billions of dollars a year.

The world's largest automaker on Monday said it will cut 30,000 North
American manufacturing jobs and close 12 operations as part of a broader
restructuring plan.

"I don't think the cuts are enough, but it's not a matter of whether
they are enough or not, it's a matter of whether or not the company will create
the culture of innovation GM needs to pull the company out of a tailspin,"
automotive expert Charles Fleetham said.

GM has been struggling with high health-care and commodities costs,
loss of U.S. market share to foreign rivals and stalled sales of large sport
utility vehicles due to high gasoline prices. This year alone, the carmaker
has lost $4 billion while its shares have bled more than 40 percent of their value.

GM's new 2007 models include a new Chevy Tahoe, a new professional grade GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali and a new Cadillac Escalade -- all four are big SUVs and will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2006.

"The overall product mix for 2006 is reflective of the short-term thinking of GM," Fleetham said. "GM's overall offerings are more representative of the 1999 mindset than the needs of today. The consumer of 2006 has environmental concerns, is mindful of fuel economy and is more style-conscious."

One of my siblings is trying to sell an Escalade...I don't know how the selling is going, but having a tough time because SUV's aren't as in demand.

GM, you dudes and dudettes (or chicks) need to shave off your executives' high salaries and fire your marketers to keep your workers and knowledge about how things are done. Granted, new workers supply fresh blood, but if the older workers were given a choice, they might wish to learn a new skill or two (if trained properly).

GM executives need to take the brunt of this problem (and take the risk, as though they were the owners, not shareholders); workers who are doing their job..and perhaps were not offered incentives to take night courses to educate themselves for other trades as many community colleges offer or careers.

Meanwhile I am one of those consumers: I am environmentally conscious, along with energy consumption. I agree GM needs to find ways to support our consumerism. My own view is that like Michael Moore discovered many moons ago, the GM execs have a Clark Gable attitude about our workers..."Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. "

I don't know for certain, but I hope I am wrong.