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October 10, 2005

Angry Workers In The Streets

-- by Dave Johnson

BRIAN DICKERSON: Them that's got shall get:

To compete with stingy auto suppliers overseas, Delphi needs to pay its hourly workers less.

To compete with corporations at home, Michigan's fourth-largest company needs to pay its top managers more.

Got it? It's all about competition.

That's why Delphi wants its hourly workers to absorb a 63% pay cut, and why it filed for bankruptcy when they refused to swallow wage concessions on the company's tight schedule.

And that's why, on the eve of its bankruptcy filing, Delphi sweetened severance packages for 21 top executives, who'll now get 18 months' salary, plus part of their regular bonuses, if their jobs are eliminated.

[. . .] I think we in Michigan are about to find out exactly how angry workers can get.

... But I believe we are very near the point where the frustration of the working poor and newly unemployed may erupt in acts of violence the likes of which haven't been seen in this country since the earliest days of the labor movement.

And the way things are going, it's only a matter of time before top executives at Michigan's largest public companies are unable to walk through their factories or walk their dogs beyond the perimeters policed by their invisible security fences without protection.

More at the link.

Another company pension going away. Thousands more families losing health insurance and jobs. Another community devestated. Another batch of executives getting rich off of it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at October 10, 2005 8:48 PM

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Comments

If you aren't so utterly enraged that steam is coming out of your ears, you aren't paying attention.

The ruling class in this country has collectively lost touch with reality, and the consequences can only be disasterous for all involved.

People ought to be angry, workers who get screwed ought to be surly, the callous and clueless corporate hacks running these companies ought to be unable to walk through a plant full of workers - or an office full of white collar administrative personell, without a full security escort and near riot occuring.

When it isn't safe for the ruling class of America to walk the halls of the companies they mismanage, then, and only then, will you see significant change.

That said, there *are* companies doing things right, and honestly, and led by decent human beings who believe in paying their workers generously, and that the company exists for a purpose other than enriching the management at the expense of everyone else (or the shareholders and management in combination).

People at the grassroots need to make the scum sucking bastards pay, by upping and leaving, or not hiring on - make the cost of bad management so high, that no one can get wealthy off it.

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2005 9:06 PM

That's quite an article for the Detroit Free Press, and I'd bet on this being an accurate prediction. However, what I learned working in Detroit in the 70s is that anger and riots don't matter much. Absentee ownership and management have been the name of the game in Detroit for a very long time, and there are plenty of guard dogs around those gated communities. Detroiters are undoubtedly bursting with anger. So what else is new? Unless that anger becomes directed by a genuine, probably entirely new labor movement, with its own goals and directions, it's going to just be more of the same old same old.

Posted by: MJ at October 11, 2005 5:58 AM

What - a 63% pay cut for the average employees while the executive award themselves higher 'bonuses' - 'obscene' is the word that comes to mind here. However, for some reason, I can't see many angry workers in the street any time soon Dave!

Posted by: Helga Fremlin at October 11, 2005 3:32 PM

This announcement comes as I sit in a building (for tier 1 automotive supplier who I don't represent, don't work for directly and so won't name) in Dearborn across the street from a Delphi facility. This IS having an immediate impact. I can tell you here that people are extremely worried that other auto companies are will pull the same stunt so that they can remain competitive. It's almost the only thing they talk about. No ALCS, NLCS, no football. Not even hockey.


Short version: These are office, not factory workers and they are NOT happy campers. They do realize that the factory has to be replaced. Their concern is that they're pay is going to get cut and eventually somebody will figure out a way to replace them too. THEY KNOW THEY ARE NEXT.


Something else -- Everywhere I go, and I do get around, workers in all industry INCLUDING GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES do not like the current state of affairs. There will be a revolt of some description sooner or later.


Dave From Battlefield

Posted by: Dave From Battlefield at October 12, 2005 7:47 AM

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