Friday, December 19, 2008

Who are you?... I hope you will be ok.

Who’s the lady in the image below? I don’t know but I hope she will be ok. I “stole” this image from a video of the “Bold moves” series of Ford from two years ago. It was the video on the build of the Shelby GT500 and you can find it here. I remember watching the video at the time and getting surprised with the spontaneous reaction of the line worker hugging the new powertrain of the Mustang GT500 and saying “wonderful”. It’s easy to forget how people can get passionate about their work and how they are not just numbers ready to be discarded.

I’m writing this today with a bitter feeling because in the last attempt to approve the car bailout the major problem with the senators that voted against was the wages of line workers. And this is not a new trend: in Europe or in the United States it seems whenever restructuring is needed the first thing to sacrifice is workers benefits and jobs. We have had many years now of management specialized in downsizing at the expense of the workforce (and adding management bonuses in the process…). And we are also getting used, at least in Europe, to the progressive loss of health benefits and pensions value. At this point one asks: do we have to accept living worse than the previous generation? This is not progress, it’s quite the opposite, and people should simply not accept it.

University students in Greece have reached the limit point. The can no longer support the prospect of living with 600 Euros per month after college education and they realized that the current democracy status will not change that. So they went for action. I hope this event does not escalate. And I hope something new comes out of the new American administration that really triggers changes in the way things operate globally. On the lady in the image, she will probably be ok: she works in a Ford factory, the American manufacturer in best shape, building a best-selling car that is the Mustang. I hope she keeps hugging powertrains whenever something new arrives in the assembly line.


Anonymous said...

Very well put. I am an American that grew up in an upper middle class home of a successful architect. We traveled, I was educated and he always had a new Porsche every two to three years, back in the day when they were affordable prior to 1986.

I now find myself unemployed because the company I sold for that built stock and bond traders desks paniced when half their orders were cancelled the last week of last October. The Wall Street goose laying the golden eggs that was on life support died. The "money" people around the world have drained our economies to satiate their insatiuable greed and left the rest of ustrying to keep our heads above water.

When the "money" people came for handouts they get a mild drubbing and then Congress givbes them "no strings" $750 Billion bailout. When the three American auto companies, that doubtlessly have many times the employees at risk can't get $15 Billion without humiliation or silly conditions of oversight by bureaucrats that don't know the first thing about the industry it's no deal because the workers won't take another pay or benefits cut. All the focus was on how the three poor slobs got to DC. And as Kevin Wilson said in the 12/22/08 edition of "Autoweek", the US politicians will step right up and take credit for all the new technology and fuel efficient models coming out of Detroit in the next few months, if one, two or all of the Detroit 3 are still around intact, as though the mean spirited meddling of the politicos over the last couple months will have been responsible for the breakthroughs that have taken years to produce.

I am most troubled about the recent phase of US auto company bashing while the Europeans and China support their domestic manufacturers as the important cogs in the wheel of their economic health they truly are.

Shame on the US Congressmen and their self serving polices; especially those in the South that helped kill the bailout to support their own subsidized Mercedes, Hyundai, Honda, Nissan and Toyota plants. How hypocritical is that?

OK I'll get off the soap box; I've got to look for a job now.

Happy Holidays to my car friends!

David said...

Thank you for your message. Sorry it was not published right away, it's because I don't check this joint for comments every single day.