Buffeted by change, U.S. auto workers resigned to uncertainty


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"jobs move overseas"? Jobs are SENT overseas by those executives in the office towers of New York City so that the 1% can make more millions every day. The AMERICAN executives make the decisions that SEND jobs overseas. Jobs don't "move" overseas.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Jobs don't "move" overseas.

More accurate is that overseas people don't steal American jobs.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

jobs don't "move" overseas.

Right on!

It's not only the car companies. Hundreds of businesses that are connected to car manufacturers as well, like tool and die or seat manufacturers. They "moved" overseas as well. My dad retired from his tool and die ownwership but the company still died (no pun intended) and he lost his pension. I wonder what my country would look like if Ross Perot had won instead of Bill Clinton.

On February 20, 1992, he appeared on CNN's Larry King Live and announced his intention to run as an independent if his supporters could get his name on the ballot in all fifty states. With such declared policies as balancing the federal budget, opposition to gun control, ending the outsourcing of jobs and enacting electronic direct democracy via "electronic town halls", he became a potential candidate and soon polled roughly even....."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"Gilliken also expressed frustration with southern US states, where foreign auto makers such as Volkswagen have opened factories to take advantage of an anti-union environment where they can impose lower salaries."

So it isn't only other countries "stealing" US jobs, it's also those dastardly southerners? Wonder what Trump intends to do about that? Build a wall between the northern and southern states?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

One of my favorite college professors loved to talk about the "collapse" of the US auto industry.

Just like Giliken is quoted in the article, when gas prices rose in the 2000s, Japanese and Korean manufacturers built more fuel-efficient, long-lasting, smaller cars. Not everyone in America needed a gas guzzling Buick or Caddy, or an SUV with a V8 engine, and the Japanese companies dominated with their 4-cylinder 25+ MPG cars and small SUVs.

I think it's too rarely discussed that the American car executives failed to see innovative trends in their own industry, and therefore failed to shift their production to meet the wants and needs of Americans. Couple that with traditionally low tariffs on auto imports and you have the perfect recipe for Asian and European autos to topple Detroit.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Don't blame others , maybe , yr products are not as good as U are paid.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Gokai and PBot - I agree with your posts, however the executives cannot do this without the help of the politicians (who they buy). Enough campaign cash and other tidbits along with buying a few lobbyists results in politicians (on both sides of the proverbial aisle) passing legislation that is not in the interest of the American worker.

One reason that someone as uniquely unqualified as President Trump was able to win the election is because he appealed to the working man's frustration with the system. I am not confident he will stand and deliver on his promise to get people back to work again, however if he does manage to do this by perhaps renegotiating trade agreements I will be the first to cheer him on. I would also like to see President Trump turn the other cheek and manufacture his branded goods in the United States rather than overseas. I am not confident he will do this either but if he does I would certainly be among the first to give him a cheer for it.

Rightly or wrongly so, in the U.S. a politician can do a lot of bad things, but if he gets the economy going and people to work Americans tend to be very forgiving. I guess that is where the saying "it's the economy stupid" came from.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Tokyo-Engr Even if things do not "actually" improve or even "actually" decline under Trump, Trump will cite "alternative facts" to show that things are really GREAT!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The growth rate of the US automobile industry is currently about 0.9% - not stellar, but not shrinking as it is in Japan. About twice as many cars are made in the US today than when I was born in 1965.

On the other hand, in 1909 it required 303 man-hours to make one car; today, it takes about 25. That's one reason why cars have evolved from being a niche product for the wealthy to a commodity virtually anyone can own. But the jobs will never come back; if anything, the industry will continue to mechanize, further reducing need for employees.

Michigan used to be the center of auto manufacturing due to factors no longer relevant. It was close to the coal fields, and thus close to the steel manufacturers, and it had the transportation links of rivers and the Great Lakes. Today, much less energy is required to make autos, and that energy is usually in the form of cheaper natural gas; less steel is used in autos; and water transportation is no longer required. Living expenses in the Great Lakes region are far higher than in the south, partially due to weather.

The industry hasn't disappeared - it's relatively healthy but has shifted base and requires fewer workers. That's progress. Too bad for those automotive employees who find themselves unable to keep up; blacksmiths in the late 19th C. probably felt the same way.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

whenever things go south for corporations, it's always the junior employees that get hit. Senior executives, however, start talking about their bonuses.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Taxes and onerous regulations kill business. Unions themselves are part of the problem. No, Trump doesn't hold the solution. That's a far larger issue. But, he's right on some parts of the problem. It's really about the supply/demand balance. Makers of all sorts must satisfy the wants and desires of consumers at acceptable costs or go belly up. US auto makers have yet to learn that basic lesson, but are also crippled by over-regulation.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Almost every 19/20th century industries and their workers are going through the same thing. It's happening in Japan, too. Lower wages, job cuts, no benefits, not retirement.

The workers in this article aren't special.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why are they worried? Their new president promised them the moon. Relax.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Gilliken also expressed frustration with southern US states, where foreign auto makers such as Volkswagen have opened factories to take advantage of an anti-union environment where they can impose lower salaries. opposed to what? Bloated salaries?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

All off Japanese auto branches in ISA are not unionized and use toboticized productions. Japanese brand cars, women can repair. US cars, you have to use repair shop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One cannot discount the government'a role in driving jobs away. America has the highest corporate tax in the world, corporate tax is offset by adding it to the cost of the cars, or subtracting it from the salaries of laborers. If the cars are priced too high, they won't sell, so the cost must be passed to labor. In addition to the tax, there are literally tens of thousands of rules and regulations which apply to the manufacture of cars and the factories which build them.

Ford will invest $700 million in existing American facilities because the rules regulating the building of a new facility would be so high as to be prohibitive.

Labor is no longer the largest expense for car manufacturers, and as such, it is not the driving force behind outsourcing labor and/or manufacturing. If Trump keeps his promise to cut 75% of federal regulations, and cuts the tax to 15% (like Singapore or Hong Kong), he will have no problem keeping jobs in America. In fact, manufacturers in Europe would probably start moving their factories to America.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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