posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 11:32 AM
Well . . . here's how my today is going relative to the news coming out that the manufacturing sector is slowing.
I've worked in the automotive sector for the past twelve years. I'm a Labour Relations manager . . . basically the people person for our trio of
A little over five years ago, we had a robust operation of approximately 400 people. Pretty much 95 percent of them good, hard-working folks who kept
their eye on the prize by coming to work each day, doing their straight eight and heading home to families.
We had tons of automotive work . . . all secured through the bidding process through which we were awarded work based on long-term contracts. In those
contracts, there were negotiated piece price reductions over the years that amounted to about ten percent. The logic was, the longer you made parts,
the better you got at it thus you ought resonably to be able to reduce your costs.
Then it started . . . predominantly with General Motors. In addition to the negotiated reductions in piece prices, GM mandated that we
'gave back' in excess of several millions of dollars to them each year over and above these reductions in order to remain on what they called the
'green team' . . . they would allow you to bid on new work.
For the first few years, we dutifully 'gave back' the millions. We were 'green' but the RFQ (request for quote) packages began to slow down. That
work flowed initially to Mexico, and then to China as they could produce it cheaper.
GM then put us on their 'steel resale' program . . . GM would buy the steel and force us to buy it from them. As steel prices increased, GM also
requested 'givebacks' on that as well, predominantly in the scrap from the parts.
The other automakers didn't do things much different . . . as a result, our revenue stream lost about 30 percent.
The layoffs started.
With no new work coming in, the layoffs continued but it was figured that we'd be able to hold on to the existing work and ride out the storm.
Then the Big Three came up with what they call 'market testing' . . . taking your work and throwing it out on the open market to find some other
company that could make it for less.
Now, these companies are not much different from us and they quote the opportunity to take this work at a bare minimum, as a way to stay afloat until
the times got better.
Our work gradually went out the door, predominantly to companies in Mexico . . . then China . . . now India and Viet Nam.
Manufacturing isn't slowing . . . it's going on at the same old pace only the work isn't being done here . . . it's being done by some poorly
paid, underfed slob in some third world country who can never hope to buy one of these cars let alone put three squares on the table or fill that
prescription when their kid takes ill.
As of this morning, we're down to about eighty employees and GM told us today that the last few parts we make for them are now out for 'market
test', and they've told us they won't be paying us the 'net 30' as per our contracts, rather maybe in 45 or 60. By the way . . . the
correspondence in this regard came from some person's desk in Mexico . . . go figure.
There goes our cash flow . . . and another twenty or so employees.
I'm figuring we'll be closed in six months. This is an industry wide thing . . . throughout the manufacturing sector actually. The next six months
are going to be telling . . . and the story won't be pretty.
Meanwhile, the government won't admit that employment levels are dropping faster than the stock market, our savings (for those who had some to begin
with) have shrunk immeasurably, and we've collectively got little . . . er . . . no hope for the future.
And the government is afraid to say the 'r' word . . . exactly how they say it . . . We're not going to say the 'r' word as if
they're somehow saving us from economic doom by phrasing it as though they're talking to preschoolers.
I've personally spoken to each person that has been sent out the door of our workplace, never to return as employees. Their grief cannot be measured,
nor can I begin to explain the fear and terror in their eyes.
Now that fear is permeating throughout the economy . . . and it is finally hitting the fat cats.
The only difference is that they've got a wonderful safety net . . . the fed is propping them up with taxpayer money . . . taken from those who now
find themselves out of work
What's their answer . . . what's their salvation . . . what's their hope for tomorrow . . . as the market slides and the greedy waddle out of town
with their fat wallets and fatter stomachs.
It is enough to make you puke.