Monday, May 19, 2008

Business As Usual

Business As Usual

The news this morning stated that many of the UAW workers found faults with the tentative agreement reached with American Axle.  But they predicted they predicted that it would be accepted, albeit by a very small margin.  The UAW outgoing president wasn't that optimistic or upbeat about the tentative agreement, which will be voted on this week.  But he said that it was the best that the collective bargaining unit could do for its rank & file under the circumstances.  What are those circumstances?  Well, the economy.  American Axle is using the economy to shaft its employees.  They're threatening to move work off-shore.  But the company needs to make a profit to remain in business, you say.  Absolutely!  But it has nothing to do with the company's ability to make a profit.
One of the UAW members was quoted to say the following about the pay reduction the workers will be forced to take -

"I'm voting no. It's totally unacceptable," said Gary Reed, 52, of Warren, who criticized American Axle Chairman and CEO Richard Dauch for making millions while asking production workers to take a pay cut from $28 per hour to $18.50.

"It's a slap in our face," Reed said. "We've been watching this guy making millions and millions of dollars even while we've been on strike, and were going to accept a stab in the back and just walk away with a smile on our face?"

Why doesn't the actions by Richard Dauch surprise me?  Dauch doesn't care.  There isn't anything to make him care.  He has no compassion for anyone other then himself.  He probably doesn't care how profitable the company is, other then how it affects his compensation.  But I'm willing to bet that Dauch will be the first one to criticize the workers when they focus in on their compensation.  He'll turn around and tell everyone how uncaring and mercenary the employees are because they are not focusing on the company and what is in its best interest (translation: what is in HIS best interest).  Dauch won't care what happens to American Axle, he probably has some legal clause that will allow him to rip off the rest of the shareholders if the company goes under.  Hasn't this been the case with all of the companies in the US when they've collapsed?  The company becomes defunct...shutdown...but the executives pull out all of these fabulous clauses out of their asses that allows them to reap millions, while others (who has absolutely nothing to do with the ruination of the company) are ruined financially.

What will happen to the employees of American Axle?  They will more then likely approve the agreement.  What choice do they have?  Loose their jobs?  Stop feeding their families?  Dauch won't have that problem...regardless of the outcome.  

What can be done?  I guess to answer that question you need to ask an additional who?  Who is going to do anything?  Not any government entity.  They've been paid too much to not interfere.  I've never seen any politician actually champion any kind of worker cause.  I've seen and heard them give it a lot of lip-service, but actually do something, make some type of sacrifice, or actually take some meaningful action.  The courts? Pllleeeeaaassse!  The US courts have been bought and paid for decades ago.  If a poor person is caught stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family, he can expect to spend a few years doing hard time in prison.  But on those RARE occasions where one of these corporate executives get caught and by some remote chance they get convicted of stealing millions they end up doing their minimal time (counted in months) at some country club facility that they refer to as a prison.  Naaah.  I don't see anyone doing anything other then the people themselves.

Do what, you say?  I say start out by bringing back tar & feathering.  We can always build from there.  I can now understand the logic and reasoning behind the French Revolution.

You can read the news article about the American Axle agreement here.

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