Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

Real labor

September 9, 2010


To the editor:

Ah, Labor Day. The once-public national holiday gives us an excuse to stay home, cook out, or take a last fling at summer fun. That’s nice.

It seems we have, in the midst of the Great Recession, another way to view Labor Day. If you read a recent Journal-World editorial, it’s a good day to be optimistic about the economic future of the country. The Ford Motor Co. is doing well. That’s nice, too.

You can also treat it as a partisan holiday, “founded primarily to recognize the efforts of labor unions in gaining better working conditions for American workers.” That’s not quite as nice as it sounds because after more than 150 years of “efforts,” 93 percent of private-sector American workers have no union representation, 9.6 percent of them are out of work, and most of the rest are deep in debt.

A certain irony attends the celebrating of the 40-hour work week, wage gains and employee benefits when those gains have been eroded by longer work hours, real-dollar income reductions, corporate raids on retirement funds, and the shifting of bloated health care costs from employers to employees. Oh well, they tried. That’s sort of nice.

If we can’t, without risking irony, wholeheartedly celebrate the traditional meaning of Labor Day, how can we acknowledge it? Well, there’s that KU graduate and Ford CEO, Alan Mulally. From union concessions, Ford made $2.7 billion in 2009 and Mulally got $17.9 million.

Now that’s really nice. Hooray for the American worker!


imastinker 7 years, 3 months ago

Without Alan Mulally there, 100% of those Ford workers would be out of work. That's a fact. The guy saved the company and is worth every penny of that 17 million.

Also, Ford didn't make 2.9 billion. they sold 2.9 billion worth of cars. Ford lost money. They would have lost more if they hadn't sold all but one corporate jet, mortgaged all their assets, sold off Jaguar and Land Rover, and demanded union concessions. This is how he saved the company billions of dollars.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

$17.9 million = 600 workers that need employment @ $30,000 a year.

Some celebrated Labor Day by working.

Thanks for the reminder Mr. Fairchild.

Unions were created for the workers to protect workers. The 40 hour week came as a result of unions if my memory serves me well.

Corp BOD"s,CEO's , golden parachutes and shareholders cost all of us a lot of money which in turn increases our cost of living. Notice how many CEO's walk away with tens of millions aka golden parachutes no matter their performance. People this nonsense costs you and me a lot of money.

kansasredlegs 7 years, 3 months ago

Yep, Teamsters protected me and gave me a frozen turkey at Thanksgiving when I worked at UPS years ago. Funny thing about them there Teamster leaders is that those doing the same job I did almost 20 years ago, now make almost $2.00 less per hour and no longer receive Family Health Insurance for free from UPS.

Way to protect them workers Teamsters!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

And US private sector is sitting on $1.6 trillion dollars in cash.

aa469285 7 years, 3 months ago

And why would they spend it? The gov't can't tell companies what their taxes will be next year, what their health care costs will be next year, and so on. If you didn't know what your expenses would be in the near future, would you spend your available cash-on-hand? Companies want to hire, expand, invest, but it's a stupid move economically when there is too much uncertainty.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

There is always some uncertainty about future expenses.

That in and of itself doesn't really explain why the private sector is so reluctant.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

In other news: "Need picketers to goose up your protest? You can hire picketers – yes, demonstrators-for-hire that march wherever you want them to march and chant whatever you want them to chant.

That in itself may be a smart solution, but when you’re a labor union protesting the hiring of non-union workers, then that’s just a whole ‘nother level of irony:

Billy Raye, a 51-year-old unemployed bike courier, is looking for work.

Fortunately for him, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters is seeking paid demonstrators to march and chant in its current picket line outside the McPherson Building, an office complex here where the council says work is being done with nonunion labor.

"For a lot of our members, it’s really difficult to have them come out, either because of parking or something else," explains Vincente Garcia, a union representative who is supervising the picketing. So instead, the union hires unemployed people at the minimum wage—$8.25 an hour—to walk picket lines. Mr. Raye says he’s grateful for the work, even though he’s not sure why he’s doing it. "I could care less," he says. "I am being paid to march around and sound off."

imastinker 7 years, 3 months ago

Yep - minimum wage - not prevailing wage that is written into many contracts.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

Management is often stupid, greedy, and unrealistic.

But they make far more money than average workers.

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