Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

GM is in the exact same situation the legacy airlines were in:

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 11:17 AM
Original message
GM is in the exact same situation the legacy airlines were in:
GM, like the airlines before it, provides thousands upon thousands of workers with high-paying, desirable jobs. GM, like the airlines before it, is deeply unprofitable. Like the airlines before it, this unprofitability is a combination of factors including mismanagement and an sustained unfavorable shift in economic conditions. And like the airlines before it, a large part of the cost rests in the pay and benefits won by strong unions during prosperous times, which the current economic climate is unable to fully support.

Like the airlines before it, GM averted immediate bankruptcy by pleading to Congress for a bailout. Like the airlines before it, GM received about fifteen billion in taxpayer money. Like the airlines before it, this was really only a lifeline, since the problems in the industry are too deep-seated to be solved with a few months of tinkering. Like the airlines before it, GM quickly burned through that money, and found itself requiring more if it was to avoid collapse.

This is where the comparison ends, for we don't know exactly what will happen to GM next. But consider what happened with the legacy airlines: Congress provided them with free money, but did not restructure them. Soon, Congress stopped writing them checks; no company is going to be able to persuade Congress to bail them out every six months forever. The airline industry underwent a slow collapse. Bankruptcies were declared left and right. With each bankruptcy came the complete and total destruction of unions. Workers found themselves with zero pensions, with 50% or greater pay cuts, and facing massive layoffs. Some unions dissolved. Others split. Still others went on quixotic strikes, resulting on nothing more than every single member of that union losing their job permanently. Entire airlines disappeared. It was a nightmare. I see no reason to believe that anything different will happen to the auto industry if the Obama administration treats it like the Bush administration did with the airline industry: free cash with no concessions, up until Congress gets sick of free cash and the whole thing collapses.

What Obama is proposing is painful, yes: it is a restructuring, and with restructuring will come concessions. Concessions will involve pay cuts and benefit cuts. But these will be accompanied by industry-wide reforms, and will be overseen by a forward-looking administration aimed at maximizing the long-term benefit for the entire automobile industry. As a former employee of Northwest Airlines, I know from personal experience that the "concessions" you give up when your industry collapses on its own are far, far worse than anything the White House will impose.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. C'mon, nobody has anything to say?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I Want A Pony
And ice cream w/ sprinkles.

Good post! :thumbsup:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
3. Hm. Not too late to entitle this, "BUSH WAS BETTER FOR UNIONS THAN OBAMA."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nichomachus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
46. Then shut the fuck up about Iraq
Because by your measure, Bush was better than Saddam Hussein. So, we have nothing to complain about.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #46
47. Uh, what?
That was an example of "something that would get DU's attention, so we could get a conversation going." But even if you took that literally, your response is a little skewed. I mean, it would make sense if I said "Obama's better than Bush so there," but as it stands, I'm not sure what the analogy is supposed to be.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Toucano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
4. Very insightful. n-t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thanks.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
6. So far there are seven recs, which I appreciate, but I'd really like to see a bit of discussion.
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 12:05 PM by Occam Bandage
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
7. I think the big difference is that in the airline industry
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 12:24 PM by smoogatz
the big carriers are protected by regional monopolies, aka the "hub" system. So no matter how mismanaged the airline, no matter how cramped and dirty the planes are or how surly the staff, if I want to fly non-stop from Minneapolis to L.A., I'm stuck with Northworst. No such protections exist for GM: if Toyota makes a better, cheaper, more efficient car, I can drive right past the Chevy dealership and buy one in just about any city/town in the country. GM's failure is a direct result of truly epic mismanagement over the last forty years or so: they've made just about every wrong decision they could make at every turn, and it ultimately comes down to having the wrong vision for the company and the product line. They fought every socially responsible safety/environmental innovation tooth and nail, from seatbelts to unleaded gas to airbags to catalytic converters, the list is freaking endless. Meanwhile their competitors embraced the public ethos, and now GM's clock has been officially and permanently cleaned by Toyota at el. Looking back at that history, it's hard to muster up a whole lot of sympathy for GM management. The workers are another issue, which is why I think nationalizing GM and turning it into a flagship green manufacturing operation is a great idea.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. There is a great deal of protection
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 12:26 PM by Occam Bandage
in the hub system; only carriers with direct-flight models like Southwest can compete for convenience when it comes to direct flights from a hub, and there's very little competition at all for the regional airports serviced by feeder airlines owned by the legacy ones. On the other hand, there is still a great deal of competition, since their non-direct products are more or less fungible. A customer doesn't care whether their seat from Milwaukee to LA is through Minneapolis on Northwest or through Chicago on United (or even through Atlanta on Delta), and so the price of one has to be the price of another. Because of this, a single route's worth of competition is capable of adjusting the entire pricing structure of an airline. When AirTran began flying a daily nonstop Chicago-Minneapolis flight, Northwest had to slash the cost of its eight daily Chicago nonstops by $100 per seat to match AirTran--which of course affected the cost of all their flights from Chicago to anywhere else via Minneapolis, which affected the routes on other airlines competing for those passengers, etc., etc. Similarly, when United went into bankruptcy, they were shielded from many of their debt obligations, and so they were able to keep their prices low across their system, forcing everyone else to keep their prices below profitability.

The fundamental problem--that is to say, the industry-wide problem--was that there were too many seats in the air. No amount of gouging on the few monopolized routes could make up for the hypercompetition for those seats along shared routes (especially when non-unionized low-cost airlines would happily sidle in on any monopolized routes they could find, which was of course good for fliers but bad for legacy airlines) With the rash of mergers, of layoffs, and of route cancellations, the airlines are much healthier than they've been. But their problem was one that couldn't have been fixed without a massive industry-wide restructuring, and it was fixed at enormous cost to workers.

I think GM's problem is also one that cannot be fixed without a massive, industry-wide restructuring. I'd rather that be done by the government than by the uncaring hand of the free market. Nationalization does sound pleasant (imagine the benefit that could have to the economic future of the country!) but I think that would be a political nightmare, unfortunately.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. You know what would help the airlines even more?
Re-commitment to service. I'd happily pay $50-60 more per seat if I got Jet Blue style service: more legroom, free TV, a bit of help at the gate, etc. I hate flying, and it's not because I'm afraid of crashing, it's because most airlines make the experience so freaking unpleasant. I'm guessing I'm not alone in that.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Unfortunately, you are in the vast minority. Now, most people
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 12:46 PM by Occam Bandage
believe they agree with you, but airlines have long since learned that no amount of service can make up for a $20 difference in a coach fare, and that threshold is often as low as $10. It wasn't a mass plot that's caused the steady deterioration of airline service over the past few decades; it's been the public's proven indifference to a series of small but real drops in service quality accompanied by a small but real drop in ticket cost (or averted small-but-real rise in ticket prices), causing the rest of the industry to follow suit.

Unfortunately for the flying public, there are really only two types of flier: the kind who will happily pay a few hundred extra dollars for the comfort and social cachet of first class, and the kind who will pay the lowest price possible without considering anything else. There is no real market between those extremes. Airlines have given the public many, many opportunities to pay more for more legroom and better service. Every time an airline shrinks its legroom, cancels a direct route, or slashes another service, it's giving the public the choice of paying less or having a more comfortable trip on another airline. Every time, the public has gone with cost. It sucks, but the biggest enemy of the flying public is the flying public itself.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. I think that's a false assumption on the part of the big airlines
and it's the thing that leaves the door open for competition from carriers like Jet Blue. Fliers are aware of, and resent, crappy service--all you have to do is look at the airline quality surveys (or whatever they're called) and it's clear that that's the case. Or listen to the derisive laughter in the cabin when at the end of another miserable, overcrowded, uncomfortable flight with a surly flight crew the pilot says "Thank you for choosing Northwest" (like I freaking had a choice, dude). There's no proof for my theory because nobody's tried it--but if a major airline decided to charge me a bit more--an extra 20%, say, added onto the base fare--but treated me like a valued customer instead of a pain in the ass, I'd be all over it--I'd never fly any other carrier, regardless of the price difference. Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I don't think so--people respond to fare difference because that's all the big airlines offer them.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. It's not so much "a false assumption" as it is
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 01:05 PM by Occam Bandage
"the proven effect of dozens and dozens of discrete events in which airlines have differed in service quality and base coach fare cost." Everyone thinks they'll pay more for good service, but few people actually do--except for those who pay for first class. Hell, Northwest offers everyone the chance to upgrade to a seat in the exit row or bulkhead for about fifteen bucks. That's over double your legroom. Those are usually among the last to fill up. I've seen loadouts of flights in which the only people flying in those seats were non-revvers--airline industry workers using their flight benefits, who are given the seats nobody else wants after everyone else has checked in. People won't pay for quality.

Fliers resent terrible service. But they won't pay for any better.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. The problem there is Northwest's stupid seating system
that only allows you to pick your seat 24 hours before the flight departs or less. Most people obviously don't bother or can't get access to the system. It certainly isn't pointed out or offered as a service during check-in. NW also charges $15 extra for a freaking aisle seat, and makes NO provision--none--for families flying together. We've been told on multiple occasions to "sort it out with the other passengers" when boarding a flight with our two pre-schoolers--all sitting in different parts of the plane. Hey, buddy--want to sit with my two-year-old? Fine with me!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. Right. Most people don't care enough. They won't pay more,
and they won't put in 30 seconds of work on a computer. Sure, it's frustrating as hell for fliers. That'll change once people decide they'd rather pay more for better service, instead of finding the cheapest flight possible and saying, "well, I guess that's that, then." You can demand the airlines provide better service all you like, but until people lose their put-up-with-anything-to-save-twenty-bucks mentality, you might as well be asking your chair to magically turn itself into a La-Z-Boy for all the good you'll do.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. Yeah but Occam--
I don't have a freaking choice. I live in Western Wisconsin. The only major airport anywhere near me is MSP. If I want to fly non-stop anywhere (and that's a must flying with small kids--it takes hours off a trip), I have to fly Northworst, no matter how much I hate them. If I could fly Jet Blue or even Southwest I would, but that's not an option for me. So it's Northworst or nobody, and no choice in the matter, and no chance to vote with my feet, my wallet, or any other appendage. See what I'm saying? I don't think I'm alone in that. I'm not arguing that a lot of travelers don't care: I'm arguing that a lot DO care, and maybe that represents an opportunity for one of the majors to capture some market-share. The problem is, because they're regional monopolies they've got you, and their corporate cultures have gotten very hostile to passengers as a result, IMO.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #30
38. Another thing--
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 01:40 PM by smoogatz
I also think that, psychologically at least, charging extra for something people used to get for free and then calling it "enhanced service" isn't likely to sit well with customers. I know I resent having Northworst, or any business, piss down my leg and tell me it's raining. That may account to some degree for passenger resistance to the "premium seating" concept. They're the same damn seats we used to get for free, fer chrissakes. That said, if it was just me and the Mrs., we'd fly exit row every time--but no kiddies in the exit row, of course.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
45. I cannot agree with one of your points.
"A customer doesn't care whether their seat from Milwaukee to LA is through Minneapolis on Northwest or through Chicago on United (or even through Atlanta on Delta)"

This customer did care.
Esp. when Northwest cancelled my connecting flight. Halfway thru my trip. Leaving me stranded at the hub.
For 8 hours.
I never flew NW again.

Esp. when Delta left me in a passenger packed plane on the runway for 2.5 hours at Atlanta.
I never flew Delta again.
This customer cares very much which airline does what to me, and which hub I fly into and could be stranded at because of weather or schedules.

And, since 9-11 and the invasive searches, I don't fly at all,
therefore I care very much that GM did not make a 40 mpg 5 speed tran. hatchback when I wanted one.
So Toyota got my business.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
spooky3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. I'll take it a step further
Conceivably, companies with US ownership could produce no autos at all. All autos consumed here could be imported or built here by "foreign" companies. But someone has to operate at least one airline in the US.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
8. bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!! Reagan destroyed the Airline Unions with the firing of the
air traffic controllers of PATCO!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I don't think that's true.
He destroyed PATCO, but the pilots unions and other airline unions remained intact. What did them in to a large extent was deregulation--also a Reagan initiative, iirc.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. The air-traffic controllers don't have anything to do with the airline unions.
Completely different industries with different unions. ALPA, AMFA, IBT, IAM, and the like were unaffected by PATCO. In fact, the airline unions were, I think, at their peak during the '90s.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MrCoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. To say that they were completely unaffected by PATCO is to be wrong
The lesson of PATCO -- and, more recently, AMFA as well -- is as old as unions themselves: An injury to one is an injury to all. No labor movement can long survive, much less thrive, without a strong culture of mutual aid and protection.

When labor organizations practice solidarity some of the time, rather than all of the time, they do a grave disservice to their own members -- and the millions of unorganized workers whose pay and benefits have also suffered since Reagan's death blow to PATCO.




http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Only in the sense that all unions everywhere are damaged by a blow to solidarity.
There was no particular damage to airline unions.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. that is my point exactly!!!!...
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 01:04 PM by flyarm
from a 33 year flight crew member of one of the largest airlines at the time!

I saw our pay get cut into scales of when one was hired..pre - Reagan Patco people made great money..post..they got fucked!

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. I think de-reg had a lot more to do with it.
It threw the industry into 20 years of chaos and restructuring--bankruptcy is basically designed as a way for companies to shed union contracts. PATCO had no direct effect, but it was indicative of things to come.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #22
39. it was the "perfect storm"...it converged ..and we the people got fucked!eom
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #39
42. True dat. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. Absolutely Mr. Coffee...
the people hired by the airlines after PATCO..got half the money i started as a flight crew 14 years prior!..The new hires were put into a lower pay scale!

We had A & B pay scales after Reagan and PATCO.

I argued with my Union at the time we should shut the Nation down...and support PATCO...many of us argued that..the union ignored those Pleas..to the new flight crews peril! And everyone in Organized labor's peril.

fly..now retired 33 yr flight crew of a Major US Airline.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
October Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #20
26. And Andrew Card and Bush Sr. wanted cabotage...
No one hated or fought harder against the pilot union than GHWB and his Texas ilk (Icahn, Lorenzo, etc.)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #26
36. you got that right..but they had the leverage then because we did not shut the nation down
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 01:44 PM by flyarm
when Reagan shut PATCO down.

Many of us in the airlines knew it ahead of them..but too many of the young were too afraid to take a stand.

Reagan and Patco ..helped destroy the strength of organized labor and unions nationwide.

It trickled down alright..but it wasn't what the people believed trickled down..they just didn't get it until it was they themselves personally ..that were fucked royally!

I know at my airline ..we were going out on strke a couple years after PATCO and under GHBUSH..my airline tried hiring Scabs ..and were in the process of destroying our union..they had already split us into two pay scales..thoise pre and those Post PATCO..we had very little leverage..the economy wasn't good, and people were scared they too were going to be PATCO'ed

to ignore the past, is to do so at ones own peril!

now lets see what Timmy Geithner ..son of one of the top people in the Ford Foundation has done to GM..and see what Ford is doing at present..Under the Obama Presidency..........

You know Timmy, who was Kissingers protege.........who worked for the CFR....

lets see shall we??????

ahhh this ought to warm a few cockles of the hearts of US Union workers!!


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7428952.stm

Ford to open new plant in Mexico


US giant Ford is to invest $3bn (1.5bn) in a new car plant in Mexico, the biggest investment in the country's manufacturing sector.

The move is a blow to American car workers who had hoped the factory would be built in the United States.

Ford has lost more than $15bn (7.5bn) over the past two years and says the new facility is crucial to its future.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon hailed the announcement as a "turning point" for his country.

The new factory, and other changes to Ford's Mexican operations, are likely to create an estimated 4,500 jobs in Mexico, where car workers earn substantially less than their American counterparts.

Mr Calderon made the announcement with Ford president Alan Mullaly at the presidential compound in Mexico City on Friday. "We want Mexico to be an automotive country, one that is competitive and with the most advantages so that the worldwide automotive industry will establish itself here," Mr Calderon said. Mr Mullaly said: "We are convinced the geographic location as well as Mexico's highly qualified labour force and economic stability make this decision the right one for our business."

.........................................

ahhhh yeah..fuck the Highly qualified American Labour force...and economic stability in Mexico?????..pardon me while i choke....who the fuck do these people think they are kidding????????????




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #36
44. geithner's dad was, allegedly, obama's mom's boss at the ford foundation, too.
As it happens, Geithner's father, Peter, at one point oversaw a program developed by Obama's mother, Ann Dunham Soetoro, when she worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia. The two met at least once in Jakarta, according to the foundation.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29916431/page/2 /
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
October Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #36
50. And now we have the likes of Fred Smith (FedEx) holding Congress hostage

Unreal...

Fred Smith is notoriously anti-union. FedEx is based in the right-to-work state of Tennessee. What other corporation do you know of that allows it's NAME/LOGO to be placed in a movie where the plane crashes and KILLS the (unionized) pilots? Very telling...


---------


http://www.thestreet.com/story/10479539/1/boeing-caught...

"It is rare, however, for a commercial aircraft order to be contingent upon an act of Congress."

---------

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5haum...


FedEx coercing Congress over Boeing deal: unions

6 days ago

NEW YORK (AFP) The powerful US truckers union Wednesday accused delivery giant FedEx of blackmailing Congress by threatening to cancel an order for Boeing planes if changes to labor laws are adopted.

---------

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnolog...


FedEx's Boeing 777 order may hinge on labor law

FedEx said it may not buy 30 more Boeing 777 freighters if a federal law is changed to make it easier for its employees to join a union...

By Bloomberg News

FedEx said it may not buy 30 more Boeing 777 freighters if a federal law is changed to make it easier for its employees to join a union.

Following through on those orders and options, with a list price of $7.7 billion, depends on FedEx employees continuing to be under the Railway Labor Act, the company said.

That law, which covers FedEx workers because the company was founded as an airline, requires a national vote if employees want union representation.

Legislation approved by a U.S. House panel March 5 would make it easier for drivers of Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx to vote locally to join unions, by placing the company under the National Labor Relations Act.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
October Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. Very true. Who else had ever heard of "B" pay scales????
This was decades ago! It was the norm in the airline industry.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #29
41. those who ignore history..do so at their own peril!! eom
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Redbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
18. Airlines weren't part of the American mythology.
The auto industry has been for decades. The anger reminds me of the response to the shrinking of the number of family farms.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #18
31. Good point -nt-
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nonconformist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
23. I think the biggest difference between the airlines and GM is that
The airlines weren't required to make thousands of new planes assembly-line style to operate minimally. When the core of your business is manufacturing, you have to be able to make your product to operate. If GM is forced into a Chapter 11, they will need Debtor-In-Possession loans to pay their part manufacturers and suppliers to continue to make cars. The problem is that thanks to the banks destroying the economy, those DIP loans are non-existent right now. That's why many experts are saying that GM won't be able to file a traditional Chapter 11 bankruptcy - it will have to be a 7. Total liquidation. And the trickle-down effect will be astronomical.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Oregone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
24. "Concessions will involve pay cuts and benefit cuts"
Why not first focus on cutting the cost of benefits with single-payer health care?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nonconformist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Because that would make too much sense.
It's "off the table", after all. :eyes:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #24
32. I'd be in favor of that, but that's something of a different discussion. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Oregone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Why does it have to be a different discussion if it is part of the solution?
Part of the problem is the companies do not earn enough to pay for liabilities (compensation, pensions, healthcare, and more)

If you could reduce the cost of the liabilities (from reducing the cost of healthcare, as well as pensions by consolidating them into a government pension fund), then these companies may be profitable without major restructuring. That said, they still need a new business plan going forward.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #33
49. Because, as you hint at, this discussion is about their business plan.
This is a natural jumping-off point for a discussion about shifting the health-care burden from employers to the government (which, again, I am completely for), but that isn't quite the debate of the moment. After all, it's not as if GM would spring into profitability as soon as Obama scheduled his conference to announce his push for a single-payer health care system.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #24
43. Ford will get their concessions..just look what they are doing at present..
is this what Obama wants the others to do????????? I wonder when he has the son of one of the top people at the Ford Foundation running his treasury dept.

ahhh this ought to warm a few cockles of the hearts of US Union workers!!


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7428952.stm

Ford to open new plant in Mexico


US giant Ford is to invest $3bn (1.5bn) in a new car plant in Mexico, the biggest investment in the country's manufacturing sector.

The move is a blow to American car workers who had hoped the factory would be built in the United States.

Ford has lost more than $15bn (7.5bn) over the past two years and says the new facility is crucial to its future.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon hailed the announcement as a "turning point" for his country.

The new factory, and other changes to Ford's Mexican operations, are likely to create an estimated 4,500 jobs in Mexico, where car workers earn substantially less than their American counterparts.

Mr Calderon made the announcement with Ford president Alan Mullaly at the presidential compound in Mexico City on Friday. "We want Mexico to be an automotive country, one that is competitive and with the most advantages so that the worldwide automotive industry will establish itself here," Mr Calderon said. Mr Mullaly said: "We are convinced the geographic location as well as Mexico's highly qualified labour force and economic stability make this decision the right one for our business."

.........................................

ahhhh yeah..fuck the Highly qualified American Labour force...and economic stability in Mexico..who the fuck do these people think they are kidding????????????




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
28. Excellent post.
I'm very confused what the UAW members on here wish to see happening. I'm assuming they're all members, and I hesitate to call them UAW "supporters" because that implies that the rest of us are trying to squash the union, as they seem to believe. If the union actually wanted to see Wagoner stay on as CEO then I'm totally perplexed as to what their reasoning is on that.

I can understand that there's some appearance of "unfairness" comparing Wall St. to Detroit, but only if you have a very superficial view of the situation and ignore the fact that TARP happened under Bush, most of the financial CEOs are in fact gone, and Wall Street and GM are two entirely different situations. It seems clear to me that this is just another divide-and-conquer tactic engineered by the right wing noise machine. They're thinking if they can paint Obama as the enemy of Detroit workers they can stoke up some powerful anger and resentment that will translate into Republican votes.

And at the heart of this is a simple, but apparently very unpopular fact: our country cannot operate if the entire financial system collapses and the dollar becomes worthless; our country cannot operate without airlines; but we could get along just fine without GM. The job losses would be terrible but putting aside the nonsense scare tactics about building tanks for WWIII, we don't actually fundamentally need to build cars in the U.S.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
blue_onyx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #28
51. Why isn't Obama forcing Wall Street to restructure.
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 09:34 PM by blue_onyx
TARP funds have been handed out since he came into office and yet he isn't forced these companies to restructure before getting money. These banks aren't even doing what they're suppose to do (start lending) and we still keep giving them money. It's BS to say that our economic can't survive without these financial institutions. There are other banks and insurance companies. It seems to me, since Obama came into office, many on DU have shifted from a "let them fail" perspective to a "they must be saved" perspective. I guess some will say anything to support everything Obama does.

If you really think it's a "divide-and-conquer tactic engineered by the right wing noise machine" then you should come to Detroit. I live in a county that voted 74% Obama and people are pissed about the double standard. I hope Obama knows what he is doing because he is gambling his re-election on it.

"but we could get along just fine without GM. The job losses would be terrible but putting aside the nonsense scare tactics about building tanks for WWIII, we don't actually fundamentally need to build cars in the U.S."

You don't think our country needs to make anything? We're slowly becoming a country of burger flippers and people who make money by pushing numbers around. GM disappearing would devastate our country's economy, particular the Midwest. My state of Michigan thanks you for your consideration.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
35. Wagoner Bet the Company on Cheap Oil From Iraq And Lost
GM's problem isn't labor costs, it is product mix. They are too heavily invested in trucks and SUVs.

Wagoner thought we would have lots of cheap oil from Iraq. Cheney probably told him at that "energy
task force" meeting. So he canned the EV-1 and gleefully sent them all off to the crusher,


and directed his staff of designers to come out with more and bigger Hummers.


This left them in a very bad position when oil prices skyrocketed.
They have come down, but not enough to create a market for those behemoths,
especially in a recession.

Though we are assured that GM does, in fact, make some smaller and reasonably fuel-efficient cars,
they are heavily associated with big gas guzzlers because that is what they have been trying to sell us for years.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mbperrin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
37. I haven't flown since PATCO was killed. And I won't ever again.
That was the obvious beginning of the end of quality service.

The last thing I need is someone skimping on maintenance, service, or knowledge at 6 miles up.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
40. WRONG, WRONG, wrong: what you said:
union pay and jobs


"which the current economic climate is unable to fully support."


you have swallowed a right wing talking point

the current climate CAN support union wages & benefits

just as it can support OBSCENE CEO salaries and benefits and bonuses
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #40
48. Yeah, nothing's wrong with the auto industry. It just needs a few months to shake things out.
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 06:03 PM by Occam Bandage
In modern politics seems "failure" is just another word for "certain success in six months."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
52. I think a good bit of the resistence to what's being done with the car companies .....
.... is that the same plan you (rightly) suggest will ultimately save the industry is the same plan that might save the banking industry ...... but no one is even suggesting it.

I agree with you. There needs to be a fundamental change in the fundamental business model.

One of those fundamental changes, by the way, one which no one seems to be talking about it seriously, would be the implementation of universal single payer health care. Get that monkey off the back of business.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
blue_onyx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 09:41 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. Too bad Obama pretty much took a universal single payer health care
off the table because it would require us to raise taxes too much. This would go a long way to helping the automakers, as well as all other businesses.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sat Aug 23rd 2014, 04:37 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC