Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ford workers about to throw away public "goodwill"


Ford Motor Co. is currently in the process of trying to get their 41,000 UAW members to ratify "modifications" to the labor contract they agreed to in 2007. Ford and the UAW agreed to modifications to this contract once already this year, before the bankruptcy filings of Chrysler and GM, and now they are asking for additional "modifications" to keep Ford "cost-competitive" with their domestic competitors. While UAW President Ron Gettlefinger is strongly recommending that Ford UAW members approve this contract modification, some militant UAW officials are campaigning against it. As of this moment, several locals have rejected the proposal by large margins. I'm afraid that the "herd-mentality" is taking over.

When you take a close look at the extenuating circumstances that led to this point, it is understandable that Ford Motor Company has asked the union membership to agree to additional changes in the contract. No one could have predicted the bankruptcy of Chrysler and General Motors, let alone anticipated the conditions imposed by the court when they emerged from bankruptcy. I think it is completely understandable that the company now wants the UAW represented membership to approve additional changes in the contract to keep Ford Motor Co. "cost-competitive" with it's domestic rivals, and UAW leadership is correct to recommend a "Yes vote".

Ford is currently carrying billions of dollars of debt that Chrysler and GM do not have, due to their "quick-rinse" trip through bankruptcy earlier this year. While there are advantages and disadvantages to going through bankruptcy, the elimination of debt gives a company an undeniable cost advantage over its competitors. While Ford management understands this, along with the long term implications, Ford's UAW membership DOES NOT seem to understand this, and seems willing to let Ford return to the struggle of trying to compete with companies that enjoy a lower labor-cost advantage.

In addition to the labor-cost issues, there is the less talked about "public-perception" problem that may actually end up doing more damage to Ford in the long run. Ford was just beginning to establish a separate identity from Chrysler and GM and gain market share because of it.It wasn't just due to the fact that Ford did not take government money, Ford was also looked at as "different" than the other 2 UAW represented auto companies because we seemed to be able to understand the need for Ford to keep it's labor costs competitive with the competition.
But now, if this contract modification is defeated, much of that identity and goodwill may be lost.

58 comments:

  1. You know, Brian, if we had a single-payer health system, Ford could shed about $1500 per car without cutting pay to their workers.

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  2. Bruce did you know that the taxs to cover that health care would come out of business like Ford? You still believe in a free lunch don't you Bruce? What would happen is the UAW would have all that money in the band for the retirees health care fund. And most of the union member know that they will never see one red cent of that money. The UAW has over $ billion in the bank. Ask the members how much of that is theirs? This is an example of how something is good for the union but not for the member. You do know that Madicare turns down more patients then all the insurance companies combined don't you Bruce? So how woiuld that be better then what they have now???

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  3. Brian you need to get this blog out to all your buddies in the plants.

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  4. Chris, first of all Medicare doesn't turn down anyone. Medicare Advantage may be what you're talking about, but Medicare Advantage comes from private insurers.

    Show us your sources for your statements, Chris. The plan would be paid for by premiums, Chris. And any taxes business would pay would be far less than the cost of providing health care.

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  5. WHAT premiums Bruce? First, the penalty for not insuring your employees is far less than the premiums will be,so, all employer paid coverage will be dropped. Second, anyone who pays for their own insurance will promptly drop it! Why? Because paying for routine health care out of pocket is cheaper than the $1,000+ we pay now in premiums and in the event something bad (and expensive) is diagnosed- THEN you go to get insurance, they can't turn you down or exclude you for your pre-existing condition. That will end all private insurance, which is after all, the ultimate goal.

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  6. The public option is NOT free health care. There are premiums that have to be paid, just like Medicare.

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  7. How about we try this?
    Slash corporate taxes, slash capital gains taxes , slash payroll taxes, slash and eliminate job killing regulations that have been placed on doing business at the state and national level for years now and then watch the jobs come back and people go back to work with employer provided health care plans and then watch the economy as a whole take off like a rocket with revenues soaring for the treasurey due to the booming economy.
    It has been proven to work time and time again throughout our countrys history, Even Kennedy did it and it worked.

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  8. I'm with you, Doug! Freeze all spending at 2008 levels (which were too high to begin with) and call an income and corporate tax "holiday" for the next 12 months. Any money you make in this crap market is yours to keep. Let's see what happens then.

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  9. http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-do-we-keep-medicare-honest-it.html

    Here Bruce. You dumb-a$$. Here is your link regarding MEDICARE claim rejection.

    When have you EVER provided a source or a link Bruce? The total idiocy of YOU, the biggest LIAR out there asking for a source is stunning.

    You are all hopeychange, sunshine and lollipops. Everything costs money BRUCE. Although we all understand you want to go to a system (communism) that doesn't require money, just a total control of all capital by the government.

    Move to Cuba Bruce, you would be soooo happy there. It's your dream economy, and I hear the weather is great. They'll put you right to work, and you will never have to worry about health-care or feeding your family or anything.

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  10. Wow, Doug, more tinkle down economics. That's why the middle class in this country is in the trouble it's in in the first place.

    Do you know what the tax rates were when Kennedy did it?

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  11. Yes, Bruce, we all know that the tax rates were high. Guess what idiot, when tax rates go high, big corporations have the ability to take their $$ offshore, and mom and pop end up bearing the brunt. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, idiot.

    You are such an economic guru Bruce. Where are your statistics? Oh, that's right, you never have any. You just give your opinion. Do some studying, and I'm not talking about the moveon.org website. Idiot.

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  12. Better trickle down wealth than trickle up poverty.

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  13. Doug said it right! Geez,libs are all for tax revenue just not the way it actually helps uncle sam,business and workers,libs just like the kind that kills Americans prosperity and grows government.

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  14. Thank you John it saves me from looking it up. I was playing with the kids and helping them with their spelling words.Bwahahaha. Now that is funny,me helping with spelling. So Bruce what do you have to say about the Madicare claim rejections?

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  15. How could 20% of America be so dumb? It is 20% of Americans are liberal while 40% are conservative right Bruce? Your liberal kind are the one that are dieing on the vine.20% is a fringe group not a political power. You guys just bitch more then any other humans on the planet. We conservatives are coming out and we are coming out in vast numbers. Just look at your protests compared to ours. We surround you libs 2 to 1.

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  16. Bruce Fealk said...

    The public option is NOT free health care. There are premiums that have to be paid, just like Medicare.

    Like I said, simply don't enroll in the public option until, God forbid, the need arises, after all it is an OPTION - right? If insurance companies can't deny you, why bother getting it until you absolutely need it?

    I hope they carry this over to car insurance too! Just wait and get it after an accident... or maybe even life insurance... just wait til AFTER you die!!

    I wonder how insurance companies will stay in business??? Ah, who cares, they're a bunch of greedy corporate bastards anyway.

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  17. Call it what ever you want Bruce its 100 times better than your centralized big government and redistribution of wealth (socialism)
    Tax rates? Regulations? How about we just return to the levels during Clintons presidency(thank you Ronald Reagan) that you on the left just adored?
    Now you leftys wont even consider that although the levels of taxation and regulation is what gave us such prosperous times

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  18. Chris, I'm trying to get as many Ford workers as possible to read my blog, but since we lost the forum in the Oakland Press it makes it harder. I guess they didn't want to deal with the controversy that follows Bruce Fealk around like a cloud ...

    I knew it was inevitable when they chose Bruce as the "From the Left" blog ... Big mistake. The guy's a lightning rod for controversy. Once he was picked I guess they didn't want to admit that he was a bad choice, so they just scrapped the whole concept, "Threw the baby out with the bath water ..." so to speak.

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  19. Brian, it's just the opposite. You are just not telling the truth. I had a conversation the day before they closed down our blogs with Glenn Gilbert and he was ready to get a replacement for you and leave my blog up. I don't know what happened between that conversation and the decision to close both our blogs.

    What I do know is that your comment was I about Jamie Leigh Jones being a "whore" was the one that caused the problem.

    It was you and your merry band of commenters that had gone round the bend.

    I would contend you were the bad choice, Brian. And I bet Glenn would agree with me.

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  20. Bruce, you spoke to Glenn frequently because you were on the phone crying to him. You constantly "baited" the readers and then refused to post their comments on your blog. So when they would come on my blog to criticize your outrageous claims, you would pick up the phone and cry to the editor. It's your M.O. Bruce, you're not a "debater", you're a radical protester. The Oakland Press made a poor choice when they let you on their online site and I'm sure they regret it.
    So put on your paper-mache head and go find somewhere else to protest.

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  21. I have to agree with Brian. Bruce, you don't debate, you denigrate. Catchy rhyme, don't you think?

    Just look at my blog, where Bruce finally condemned Grayson for calling a woman a "whore". Of course it took a fellow progressive chastising Bruce, and Grayson apologizing publicly, to get Bruce to change his mind about how appropriate it is for a representative of the citizens of the United States to call a private citizen a "whore". But it was apparently acceptable for Grayson to do, for a few days at least.

    So I complimented Bruce on being big enough to admit when he was wrong, and then he attacked me, suggesting that I said I was perfect!

    You can check it out here, but take it from me, Bruce Fealk never met a conversation that he couldn't turn hateful and mean.

    http://brucefealkblows.blogspot.com/2009/10/bruce-fealk-approves-of-calling-women.html

    That is just more evidence of what a sad person Bruce is, without a leg to stand his whack-o ideologies on.

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  22. Brian,

    I'm glad I was able to find your blog. One day I checked the Oakland Press and you were gone. Thanks to Chris for letting my friends know what happened and where your blog had moved to. I will be adding you all to my list of blogs that I watch. I'm looking forward to reading your insights, and offering comments as time allows.

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  23. Thanks Michael, I'm glad you're back ! I look forward meeting you in person. I'm also in the process of trying to contact Greg Murray in Mt. Clemens, I would like to work with Greg on some of the Macomb County issues that he is actively working on.

    I'll be watching for your excellent comments here !

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  24. Brian Clinton Twp. and Mt.Clemens is my neck of the woods so if I can be of any help let me know. I know a lot of people in the area.

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  25. Brian,
    I am sure your explanation of what happened with the Oakland Press is accurate.

    That said,having BOTH blogs up and running there went a long way in show-casing the complete differences between the two ideologies and approach to issues.

    What the OP did was not "fair and balanced",it was stupid.

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  26. So, Brian, the contract went down by 92% of UAW members. So which side are the radicals?

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  27. Occem's Razor tells me Brian is most honest and mosty likely telling the truth.

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  28. Bruce why does everything have to be "radical" with you? You need to relax Bruce. You are wound way too tight. I think the Macomb Daily could tell by Bruces posts that he was not far from cracking and doing something that would bring more shame to the papers.

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  29. I thought it refreshing that Fealk could type something beginning with R-A and not end in C-I-S-T. Must have been a typo.

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  30. wow, Brian Pannebacker crying in the paper, asking for a re-vote. Sterling stood up and did the right thing and you can't handle it. I hope you get your little re-vote and it goes down again. .

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  31. Apparently many UAW employees believe that Ford is out of danger of following GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy. Ford had the foresight (yet to be proven in the long run) to borrow billions of dollars from somewhere other than the govt.

    They now have that debt in addition to similar obligations that GM and Chrysler were able to shed in bankruptcy. If the economy does not turn around, it is not out of the question that Ford could go bankrupt too.

    From the outside it seems like UAW members have convinced themselves that the dark days are over and it can be business as usual. As a GM salaried retiree I would advise that it is paramount that you help Ford keep going and get stronger. I can tell you from experience, the worst can happen.

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  32. Craven, you are right on the money. Obviously a large percentage of my Ford UAW represented co-workers don't feel it's important to keep Ford competitive and to maintain the increased market share. They want to revert to the non-competitive days of 5-10 yrs ago, except this time it won't be just Toyota and Honda that enjoy lower labor costs, it will be our domestic competitors at GM and Chrysler/Fiat too.

    I hope the militant Ford UAW members who campaigned against these contract modifications are happy when work and jobs are shipped down to non-union shops, or worse yet, out of the country.

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  33. Brian, when your side loses 92% to 8%, that's a crushing defeat. Doesn't it make you think you might be on the wrong side of this one?

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  34. Bruce - When Gore didn't even win his own state in the Presidential election, did you think you were on the wrong side? I'm assuming from your still-radical socialism stances that you didn't just say "well, I guess Bush and the Republicans are right!" and go about with your life.

    You are daffy Bruce.

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  35. I don't understand Bruce. Are you happy about this? It sounds to me like you are rooting for Ford to fail. You are always accusing Brian of not "giving back" his wages, benefits, etc. Well he has shown that he is willing to do what it takes, to sacrifice, so that he has a job in the end and everybody prospers. Sounds to me like you are siding with the selfish, money-grubbing people that you claim to despise. Hell, even Gettelfinger wants this to pass, unless I am missing something? So you are siding against the unions and the automakers. Explain yourself, idiot Bruce. You have been making the same stupid statement for days. You are chock full of nonsense.

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  36. Thanks John, It's hard for me to respond to someone who is such an obvious hypocrite.
    You're right, I'm in favor of some minor concessions for the greater good of keeping jobs and work here in Michigan.
    Sometimes the union members get drunk on their illusory "power" and screw themselves. I will continue to stand on principle and fight for what is right ... keeping Ford competitive and profitable !

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  37. John, Gore didn't lose 92-8. In fact, Gore really didn't lose at all. But that's another story.

    If Gore had lost by 92-8, yes, I still would have voted for Gore, but I would have realized that the rest of America must know something I don't know.

    Maybe the union members have chosen incorrectly, but maybe, must maybe the union management should go back to the bargaining table and fix what it takes to get the agreement ratified.

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  38. The UAW will kill the golden goose. Well maybe when they are making $14 hr at some shop in Detroit they will wish they gave up some of their $28 + bennies. Unlike Bruce I don't want to see that happen but if it does they did it to themselves.

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  39. Bruce I bet you were a real bitch when Gore lost. I bet you went ape shit all day long with your rants. I wish I knew you then.lol

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  40. John, I don't want Ford to fail, but I also don't want all those union families whose brothers and sisters fought so hard to get a union and who have fought so hard over the years for good wages, good benefits, pensions, etc. to bow to their corporate masters.

    If the ratification vote was 92-8, there must be something fundamentally wrong with the contract in the minds of the UAW members, especially when they go against their leadership.

    If it was a close vote, maybe I'd be agreeing with Brian, but 92-8 says something is fundamentally wrong.

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  41. "fundamentally wrong"
    Yes,it is what others have said about the mind-set of reverting back to the days of old.It is the economy stupid.The 92% are looking to vote themselves and others out of a job!

    Even B. Hussein is against that yet you support him? You seem only to stand-up for Ford/UAW workers in this vote because Brian is in the 8%.And you wish to stoke the fire at the remaining domestic auto company that is NOT in federal control.

    I believe that had Ford taken a federal bail-out,Bruce would be on Brians side of this issue.

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  42. Bruce - God, I didn't want to say it, but you are so STUPID! I just can't help myself. These idiots are going to bargain themselves out of a job. That union that "fought so hard for years and years and years waaaa waaaa waaaa? They're going to have to organize the unemployed if they want to continue to exist, because there aren't going to be any factory jobs when they get done "killing the golden goose", as Chris succinctly put it.

    Bruce, you are sooooo knowledgeable about everything, why don't you inform everyone as to exactly what IS wrong with the proposed contract? In other words, if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem. And crowing about how largely the vote failed is definitely NOT a part of the solution.

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  43. No Bruce you want the corporate masters to bow to the unions. Bow until they can't get up again. The greed of the unions can distroy the companies that feed all those people. Bruce the greed of the union members is what is wrong. Do you remember the Detroit news strike? That union got greedy too and where are those union members that were making 3 time more then any other company. They are porters at the dealers making $10 hr. That is what Brian and I don't want to see happen. No one wants a out of work union member as an employee. They don't make the best employees for the most part. I know I worked at a Ford factory as a UAW member. On my blog I have an old post about about Clowerd and Piven. Take a look at it and you will understand what Bruce and others want to happen.

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  44. Old habits die hard, and since the UAW spent decades making the company out to be "the enemy", now it is hard for the old school UAW officials (like Gary Walkowicz in Dearborn's local)and members to understand that without a competitive and profitable company, they have no job security. Remember, we work for Ford Motor Company, not the UAW. Alot of the UAW members that voted "No" don't seem to understand that.
    I think the people "on the wrong side of this" are the folks who would vote to send their jobs to North Carolina because their mad about Alan Mulally's salary.

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  45. Brian, but don't you think when a contract goes down by the numbers that we're seeing in local after local, that the problem COULD be with the contract and not the workers' perception?

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  46. Fealk, you have made the same comment 5 times without any direct knowledge of the situation, why don't you just shut up?

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  47. Bruce do you remember the Detroit News/Freepress strikes? They voted against their contract too and look at what that got them. The UAW is pushing their luck with every contract turn down. If Ford went into a death role like the News did then they will have nothing to loose. Ford would have no problem filling non union scab worker possitions in the plants. And at the current times I don't think the public sympathises with the unions much. So with all those people not respecting the strike the union will either have a long strike or get fired.

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  48. Thanks Craven, Bruce does get a little annoying, doesn't he ?

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  49. Brian - when are you going to start removing John's posts that refer to Bruce as an "idiot, dumb-a$$, stupid" and the like? You said you would not tolerate this from any posters and now you allow this because they happen to be attacking someone you don't agree with?

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  50. i think it's a shame that Brian here claims that its just an old school mentality and not the truthful reaction to a badly worded and extremely unpopul;ar contract. Act like the rest of us are stupid or not understanding, and please don't give the rank and file any credit. Thats Brian. We're all wrong and he's right. Just stop by the welders in dept and he'll tell ya how it is.

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  51. Ryan, Thanks for reminding me to enforce the rules. John, please refrain from calling Bruce names. I know he asks for it, but you can make your point without all of the name calling. Some of it is funny, but it goes beyond humor sometimes, and even though Bruce asks for it, we need to try not to lower ourselves to his level, O.K. ?

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  52. Ford just announced $1 billion in profits and the workers, according to radicals like Brian Pannebecker, think the UAW should be making major concessions?

    It seems to me that Ford should be offering UAW members raises for their hard work and dedication and certainly not taking away their right to strike.

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  53. Joey, why don't you stop by my Dept. and I'll explain why I supported the contract. It's not because I think "you're wrong and I'm right" like you said. I just believe we need to be competitive with GM and Chrysler/Fiat, as well as Toyota and the other transplants !

    Frankly, I think our union did a poor job explaining the modifications and why they are important to Ford and it's workforce (us).

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  54. And now the censorship starts, huh, Brian. I see you took down my latest comment disagreeing with you in a respectful way.

    Ford posts $1 billion profit and you say the workers should be making major concessions, such as not being allowed to strike.

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  55. Brian, i realise that you feel the union did a bad job of explaining things, but the reality is that there was no good explanation for this contract.

    There was no reason for a no strike clause, except for the simple fact as stated yesterday, that Ford expects to return to return to solid profitability in 2011 and they don't want to give us our monetary concessions back. What part of that isn't obvious to you? We gave up our raises & Cola to keep jobs in april, because they were not profitable and then they want to restrict us from striking over wages when they return to making profits.

    Also the move to mechanical teams was sure to cost production jobs like yours. Trades gets combined, volumes drop and then those with production time (apprenticeship grads) get to bump out a lower seniority production worker and they get to keep their rate. Who gets screwed? Production. Ford starts coming closer to trades working production and you unskilled workers are slowly edged out.

    I think you missed the obvious within the contract and failed to look at what the costs were.

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  56. That must be it, Brian, the contract just wasn't explained well enough. It couldn't be that it was a bad contract with provisions that were bad for labor.

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  57. Thanks labor experts JoeC and Bruce Fealk for your analysis.

    JoeC is letting us know up front that he wants to be able to shut Ford down by striking, to get retro-active raises as soon as Ford starts making a profit. No wonder people accuse UAW members of being greedy. Some of them, like JoeC, are !
    Ford has not even had a profitable year yet, after losing 30 BILLION DOLLARS, and JoeC is itching to go on strike to get his "lost wages" back. Some sacrifice Joe ! You're circling like a buzzard waiting for those first pennies of profit so you can threaten to shut the plant down if you don't "get your money back" ...

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  58. I'm glad we've got a representative of the militant wing of the UAW here on the blog. Everyone on the World Wide Web can see what's important to some greedy UAW members and how their old-school mentality is "Us against the company ...".

    Attitudes like JoeC's are why Ford will not be allowed to rise too far. UAW members like JoeC will make sure they don't become "too successful". He wouldn't want people to actually respect and admire Ford workers like they were just starting to do ...

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