- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
Autoworkers sense end of era
Question of the Day
“Our 2007 national agreement was groundbreaking,” he said, noting that a two-tiered pay realignment plan has put some wages as low as $14 per hour. “We took billions off GM’s balance sheet, so when you hear about the urban myth that we’re all out here making $71 an hour, it’s just that, a myth.”
Although GM’s Mr. Wagoner has steadfastly refused to discuss bankruptcy as an option, even as some members of his board have suggested it, Mr. Sarkey thinks that may be an intended option, designed to remove organized labor from the industry.
“You have to wonder if there is some kind of plot to break the unions,” he said. “I know they would love to do that, and filing bankruptcy is a way to get around the contract.”
Rob Fehrenbach, an auto industry consultant from Dewitt, Mich., who works at Lansing’s Grand River Assembly Plant, said the loan package debates dominate lunchroom discussions with his colleagues. He joined GM when he was 18 and retired in July. Now at 49, with two children in college and another in high school, he returned as a consultant, which means his job also could be on the line without a federal loan.
He said the watching and waiting for Washington is stressful. “We think we are getting dealt a raw hand. It’s kind of a double standard they are holding us to. They opened their wallets to AIG and the banking industry, but when GM, Ford and Chrysler came to the table, it seemed like they were under a microscope.”
He said lawmakers must realize that if the U.S. auto industry collapses, the trickle-down will be felt across the country as suppliers, dealers and other related auto sectors are crushed.
“I think it’s a real risk with Congress playing Russian roulette in having us wait and come back with a plan,” he said. “Any of the three of us could fail at any minute if sales lag long enough. If manufacturing goes to its knees, I don’t know if the nation can recover from it.”
He adds: “We were all talking about it before Thanksgiving and saying that we could live to see one or more of the Big Three fail in our lifetime. It was kind of a sad conversation, but I think everyone here is enough of a realist to say that if things don’t get better, they will have to change. People here are holding on and doing the best they can. But it’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Mr. Sarkey agreed.
“The whole environment has changed so much,” he said. “It used to be such an enjoyable place to work. Those who decided to stick it out and not take the buyouts, they go to work every day and it’s miserable because they don’t know what is happening and if they are going to have a job tomorrow. It’s like walking on hot coals all the time.”
About the Author
- Mondale steps into Minnesota's budget crisis
- Senate race in W.Va. unexpectedly in play
- Campaigns get down to business sense
- Detroit ready for new era of autos
- Linguists not 'chillaxin' over catchwords
Latest Blog Entries
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- ISIL captured 52 U.S.-made howitzers; artillery weapons cost 500K each
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq