Banking their way to collapse

Despite being frustrated over the Detroit 3’s lack of business acumen that has led to their near demise in recent months, I’ve also been a staunch supporter of government assistance to bail them out. You’ll note I call them the Detroit 3, because they’ve driven themselves out of the Big 3 rankings. And you’ll note I call it a bailout, because it’s saving their asses and that’s a pretty good definition of bail out. Still, I’ve supported the initiative because the impact on this country of losing GM, Ford and Chrysler is nearly unimaginable.

But after reading an Associated Press article this morning, I can’t help but think of the old saying, “We have met the enemy, and they are us.”

The Jobs Bank has long been a subject of disbelief for folks who found out about it. Imagine getting “laid off” from work, but still reporting and still receiving most of your pay and all of your benefits. Not too shabby, eh? Kudos to the UAW for strong-arming the car manufacturers into putting that sweetheart of a deal into the contracts. But then Congress — the bastion of pork-barrel contracts — easily recognized this scheme and demanded something be done about it before handing over billions of dollars to the Detroit 3.

So, according to the article, Chrysler is leading the way by eliminating the Jobs Bank. Well, sort of…

Workers will continue to be paid at least a portion of their wages while the company negotiates the program with the UAW.

And of course…

Workers will continue to get medical, dental and life insurance benefits, but should apply for unemployment, the union official said.

And, don’t forget…

…the jobs bank changes are temporary until negotiations with the company are finished.

So, essentially, a program designed to take care of you when your job is eliminated has now been eliminated but there’s a program to take care of the program so the government will take care of the companies so they aren’t eliminated.

It seems to me the only thing that’s been eliminated lately here is common sense.

I don’t profess to know the ins and outs of working in a car factory nor to fully understand all the nuances of labor contracts. I also am not writing this post to suggest that I could run a gargantuan international company. I’m just a guy viewing all of this from my location in a little place I like to call “reality.” And from what I am seeing, the Detroit 3 and their union brethren are banking their way to collapse.

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3 comments on “Banking their way to collapse

  1. One important distinction that I think we should all be careful to make… the union “brethren” in question here are the Big Labor bosses, not the rank and file.

    The average Detroit 3 employee understands that the jobs bank is the sort of thing that might wind up killing his / her job in the long run. The Big Labor boss is more interested in finding new, creative and often destructive ways to collect dues from more people.

    –Nick
    http://www.RightMichigan.com

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  2. Thanks for the comment Nick, and I appreciate you’re position that you think it’s the “Big Labor bosses” that are the problem and not the rank-and-file workers.

    But I wasn’t really trying to say it was anyone’s fault; placing blame doesn’t really seem all that helpful. My point of writing this was that I read the article and was frustrated by what seems to be a lack of common sense on everyone’s part. If the workers know it’s wrong and the labor bosses know it’s trouble in the long run and the company management knows it can’t be sustained — then at what point does one or more of those groups stand up and say, “Enough already.”

    I have a lot of faith in the rank-and-file auto workers wanting to do the right thing, I’m just not sure when or if anyone will listen to them or to those of us affected by what happens to that industry.

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  3. I usually agree with you Nick but without their votes the contracts which created for the jobs bank would never have been signed. I’m not saying that everyone with a union card is evil; they’re people and people are prone to looking out for themselves. But I digress, perhaps if Michigan was a Right-to-Work state we could be done with unions once and for all.

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