Ford offer to UAW accepted. Voting soon

Be interesting to see what was offered and what happens next.

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According to the late local news, 25% pay raise, front loaded, restoration of COLA formula from 2008, 3 year advancement to top pay scale, instead of 8 years, retention of health benefits at current level.


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I don’t quite understand one part of this. How does it make sense to pay someone with 3 years experience the same amount as someone with 10+ years? Why would the union do this to their more long-term members?

Because years ago when at their weakest the Union broke its own internal solidarity and allowed \radically reduced pay levels and pay raises to all workers except those with substantial seniority. This agreement goes most of the way to repairing that without hurting the most senior workers.

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It doesn’t take 10 years to learn how to screw on a lugnut. I doubt there is any measurable productivity difference between a person with 90 days on the line, vs someone with 10 years, but management pays the 90 day person a lot less, for the same work.



That’s fine, I know the history. But the first question is more important. How does it make sense? They are clearly and literally saying that a 3-year experienced employee is worth exactly the same as 10+ year experienced employee. That’s not always true in real life.

Ask @steve203 if it doesn’t hurt more senior workers. If the “manager” of a store gets paid $50k (the max), and the clerks at the store get paid $40k, then there is a real reason to want to become manager, and likely work harder. But if the clerks get bumped to $50k (the max), why would any of the employees want to work harder than any others if they are already at max and will remain at max “forever” along with all their co-workers regardless of how much effort any of them put in?

This used to be true, but it isn’t anymore. Production line workers are some of a manufacturers BEST and most useful employees of all. They, and only they, can often have insights that improve productivity greatly. It isn’t some middle manager sitting in an office 10 or 50 miles away that is coming up with improvements to production, it’s mostly the folks on the line.

That may be true in some companies, but in many, it isn’t. I told the story recently, of a Firestone plant worker who took an idea to the old, USian, Firestone management. He was told “some are paid to think, some are paid to work. YOU are paid to work”. as in “shut up and get back to work”. After USian management ran Firestone into the ground, Bridgestone bought the company. He said Bridgestone management is 180 degrees different, welcoming input from the people that were actually performing the job.

There was a big rhubarb at VW some years ago. VW wanted to cut costs, so they hired McKinsey to recommend cuts. The union went ballistic, because McKinsey’s default recommendation is always to cut production head count. Even the head of the union could see that VW has vast numbers of redundant models. Huge amounts of overhead could be cut by eliminating the halo brands and redundant models. Even Sergio Marchionne said VW owned Bugatti is “the biggest waste of capital I have ever seen”. Union pushback resulted in the McKinsey contract being cancelled. But, today, VW still has the same huge slate of redundant models, and management is still whining about costs.


Do you think people who give valuable input based on their experience should be paid exactly the same as people who are too new to give much input of value?

Do you think two people who have exactly the same years of experience, one who gives valuable input, the other who gives no input, should be paid exactly the same?

Back when the earth was very, very, young, even before my time, my mom and dad both worked at the Ford Rouge plant. At that time, Ford had a program to reward ideas. Any idea implemented would be analyzed for effectiveness, and a check would be written to the person who submitted the idea, based on how much it saved the company. My mom was a secretary in the offices of the engine plant. She told of one guy who had an idea for a more efficient way to stack engine blocks. Ford cut him a check for thousands. I don’t recall exactly how much, but it was a stack, in 1949, when a thousand was a heck of a lot of money.

I spent the summer of 75 working in a foundry, that was a Tier 1 supplier to the auto industry. Among the paperwork I had to sign was a form that said any ideas I had were the property of the company. The man who invented the quick release ratchet that Sears had an exclusive on, for years, worked at Sears, and signed a similar form when he hired in. Sears paid him for his invention, but it was a pittance, and, he couldn’t take his invention anywhere else, because of that form he signed. His was the other big patent case of the 70s, along with the Bob Kearns suit against Ford for theft of his intermittent windshield wiper invention.

For a week or so, Office Depot management at the Business Services warehouse I worked in, decided that I should have enough in the tank, after 12-13 hours/day of doing data entry, that I would work a few more hours doing quality control in the warehouse picking line, because they were having horrible problems with inaccurate order fills.

So I got up on the pick line, and immediately spotted a problem, with their system. They were sending out individual pads of Post-Its. When I was a store manager at Radio Shack, I quickly learned how many pieces were in a case lot of things like batteries (108 9V batteries, 144 AA batteries, 48 C or D size). and I always ordered in full case lots. It was easier for the warehouse to pack, easier for me to check in, and easier for the order fill to be accurate (counting one crate, vs 100 individual batteries)

On the first night on the OD pick line, I said to one of the managers “Why are you sending out individual pads of Post-Its? They come in a multi-pack, where they are protected, and there is a bar code on the wrapper, so they can be positively identified. You are paying someone to break those packs open, and paying someone to count the pads individually into a shipping box. QC can’t tell if it’s the right pad for the order, because the barcode was on the wrapper that was thrown away, not the individual pads. And the pads, being out of the protective wrapper, are damaged in shipping.” It didn’t take years of “experience” in that particular warehouse to see those issues. Management’s reply “that is what the contract calls for”.

So, when OD was concerned about the operating costs of the BSD, did they go to the people doing the job? Nope. Like VW with McKinsey, they brought in an outside “management consultant” that didn’t know anything about that specific business. We saw those “consultants” running around with their laptops. What happened? First, the department I worked in (I had moved to the furniture department a year earlier) was closed and we were all laid off. Then, a few years later, the call center was closed and those people laid off. Then, a couple years later, they closed the warehouse and laid all those people off.