Technology with attitude

GM & The State of Union Understanding

11

The only thing surprising about the job cuts announced by GM is that they have been very long in coming.

General Motors said today that it would cut up to 30,000 jobs and close a dozen automobile and parts factories and distribution centers in the next three years in an effort to stem the company’s billion-dollar losses.

“These actions are necessary for G.M. to get its costs in line with our major global competitors,” Rick Wagoner, G.M.’s chief, said today.

Rick Wagoner, G.M.’s embattled chief executive, announced the cuts this morning at the company’s headquarters here in a televised address that was broadcast to the company’s employees, many of whom will be offered early retirement packages.

Fact is, there’s a global marketplace that demands efficiency and penalizes waste.

Hopefully this recognition, and more importantly, action, is not too little, too late for GM and the rest of the member companies within the U.S. Auto Industry, who will no doubt be following suit.

What should be regarded as somewhat amazing is the lack of accountability and ownership demonstrated by union leadership in its response to the news.

The U.A.W. decried the company’s announcement and said it would make coming contract negotiations “much more difficult.”

“Today’s action by General Motors is not only extremely disappointing, unfair and unfortunate, it is devastating to many thousands of workers, their families and their communities,” Ron Gettelfinger, the union’s president, said in a statement. “While G.M.’s continuing decline in market share is not the fault of workers or our communities, it is these groups that will suffer because of the actions announced today.”

Note the statement that translates into an attitude …
“G.M.’s continuing decline in market share is not the fault of workers …” This type of entitlement mentality and lack of ownership is part of the reason why GM, and the rest of the U.S. Auto Industry, is in the state that it is in today. What accountability has, and is, demonstrated by the unions and its membership in maintaining the financial health and competitiveness of these companies?

Given the reliability ratings assigned to U.S. auto manufactured products, relative to it’s foreign counterparts, consumers can’t help but follow their wallets when it comes to getting the best value for their purchasing dollars and thus buy foreign.

If these workers were geared as much toward producing a quality product at a lower cost, as they are to protecting their benefits, then the marketplace would reward company and employee by greater revenue opportunity. Ironically enough, the more workers and their union representatives try to hold on to benefits (without offering viable solutions to declining sales), the more benefits (and jobs) they will stand to lose.

Without a change in mindset by our union workforce, U.S. companies will be continue to be placed in a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace.