Archive for the ‘I Love My Job’ Category

Twenty-Four F-in Years

June 20th, 2012
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I started my current gig, overpaid lazy autoworker (and if you have ever used the phrase you should be sentenced to 8 hours in a car factory on a day like today) on June 20, 1988. I remember it like it was 24 years ago yesterday. If I could have my life to live over again, I would never had set foot in the dump, but truth be told, things have turned out pretty good overall.

Strangest thing is, every year on this day, I get Martin Mull’s This Takes the Cake stuck in my head, and can’t get rid of it. Not sure why…

For the record, Peter Frampton is playing the nice lead guitar licks.

I Love My Job ,

Ford to CAW: WE Want Pattern Bargaining

July 8th, 2009

Now that Ford has told the Canadian Autoworkers Union they want the same concessions bankrupt GM and Chrysler got, what choice does the CAW have? From day one their motto has been the same deal for all. It’s called pattern bargaining, and they insist it’s necessary for a variety of reasons, one of which is to not provide a competitive advantage to any one company.

ford-mustang-shelby-cobra-gt500kr_fs1“Wait,” I hear Ford workers saying. “Ford didn’t go bankrupt; Ford didn’t take government money; Ford is doing just fine, why should we give concessions?”

The answer: pattern bargaining. It works on the way up, and it works on the way down. Chrysler and GM weren’t good enough at doing business to survive with that contract, so why should Ford have to?

Thus, Ford Motor Company will get their wish, they will recieve the same concessions that the other companies got, and Ford’s workers will be pressured and threatened and cajoled into accepting those concessions, because that’s what’s good for Chrysler and GM employees.

Auto Industry, CAW, I Love My Job , , , , , , ,

Chrysler Files for Bankruptcy

April 30th, 2009

President Barak Obama today announced that Chrysler has entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but will emerge stronger from the filing. He also announced that Fiat and Chrysler have entered a partnership, and that Daimler is out.

As I tweeted earlier:

hard to imagine being bossed by a bigger bunch of a**h**es than those Germans, but Fiat is trying.

There is already rumours that suppliers are wary about supplying Canadian operations until things become clearer, and that some operations could close down for more temporary lay-offs. In case the media get this one wrong as well, Brampton is already scheduled to be down next week, look for more than one week before you believe anyone who tells you Chrysler is down because of the filing.

Here’s President Obama laying blame and taking credit.

And a little analysis. Note: hedge funds represent small investors, compared to the Presidents blame gaming.


Update: David Akin’s On the Hill:  Governments of Canada and Ontario will give $2.42B and have a 2% stake in Chrysler.

I Love My Job

Audacious Hope

January 20th, 2009

I was going to leave the blogging to the Obamaites today, let them have their day of celebration and hope. But then Fiat bought a 35% stake in Chrysler:

Fiat is to take 35 per cent of Chrysler as part of a deal to give both groups the scale to weather the economic storm buffeting the global motor industry.

The partnership is not a cash deal, but in return for the equity Chrysler will gain access to fuel-efficient Fiat engine and transmission technology, and Fiat will also be building two compact vehicles to expand Chrysler’s product portfolio in the US, as well as providing distribution for its vehicles in Europe.

I'll take two of these, please.

I'll take two of these, please.

Since it’s a day to celebrate hope, inside the Chrysler plant today that’s exactly what there was. The specifics will be available in April, but this deal provides real hope for Chrysler and it’s employees.

As for the new President, there’s been many an article written lately about how much he has to do, what a bad time it is to take the job. But with this announcement coming on his inauguration day, perhaps the opposite is true. Perhaps the economy has hit bottom and analysts down the road will look at this day, this deal as the day the economy started lifting off of rock bottom.

Or perhaps that’s just the hope talking. Either way, time to bone up on my Italian:

Nel paese in Hespeler ama il suo lavoro


Update: Workers hail Chrysler-Fiat deal. What this line is doing in the story, I have no clue:

One worker on his way in for the afternoon shift said he hadn’t heard the news because he was too busy watching the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Toronto Sun of yore would never have let such an off message sentence in the story.

I Love My Job

Say Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

December 9th, 2008

If you’re a Chrysler worker, like say… me, this morning there’s more than snow falling from the sky:

Chrysler Canada Inc. has warned Ottawa and Queen’s Park that it could close its two assembly plants in Canada, eliminating more than 8,000 direct jobs, and shift the work to the United States if the two governments fail to provide $1.6-billion in emergency financial help.

A submission for government money and the best business case these guys can come up with is blackmail?

Meanwhile, in the US, Chrysler has hired bankruptcy specialists, with expectations that they can’t make it to the end of the month:

Chrysler LLC has hired a prominent law firm to provide counsel on a possible bankruptcy filing, people familiar with the matter said, adding to concerns the auto maker could go into default by the end of the month.

It’s worth noting that Chrysler is owned by Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. one of the largest private equity investment firms around. They have mucho dinero, but won’t move money into the Chrysler arm. The question the Canadian Government needs to ask itself: if Cerberus won’t throw good money after bad, should you?

Interestingly, in the comments to the Globe article sentiment is running at almost a consensus to let them fail.

I’m not going to comment further, because I can’t possibly be objective, but I will add this: Previously production decisions were made on a month to month basis, even quarter to quarter. Recently, that changed to week to week. It now appears to be day to day. Whatever their plan is, it’s not long term.

I Love My Job

Low Blogging Month

November 10th, 2008
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I decided to take some time from my normal November schedule to challenge the National Novel Writing Month. I had hoped to keep up the blogging, but have found writing a minimum 1666 words a day, and working a full time job means less blogging will occur.

For those interested in how it’s going, you can follow my progress here:

So far I’m on pace with 15,643 words written. I have a 1,300 word excerpt, under Novel Info, for those who are interested, but here’s a shorter excerpt:

For The Sake of the Dog

It was the dog. He was the reason Kate and Paul stayed together all those years ago: for dog’s sake.

And now, the dog is sick.

Paul had an affair, a passionate, torrential wild affair that lasted about a week-and-a-half before Kate found out. Some people are good at cheating: they can lie easily, keep calm and cool, juggle a wife and another: Paul could do none of that; and it was obvious from day one that he was up to something. It took Kate a week to figure it out, another few days to prove it.

The dog Nicky, named after Nick Hornby, Kate’s favourite writer, is an Australian shepherd with grey hair and patchy grey fur around his eyes. He was about six months old at the time, three as the family dog.

Kate threw Paul out, but the dog moped around the house all night waiting, impatiently, for his return. After being kept awake a second night by the dog pacing and, she swears it, crying, she decided to call and say, “move back in.” Not because all was forgiven, not because it was OK. Not because she was two months pregnant with their first child, a fact unknown to Paul then, but for the sake of the dog. “I can’t do it to Nicky,” she said at the time. “But you sleep in the spare room.”

He moved back into the house that day, sleeping in the guest room at first, the marital bedroom a month or so later. Zach, now 14 and so pubescent, was born seven months later. Stephen was a year-and-a-half behind Zach, and Jeff two years after that.

All for the sake of the dog, and now the dog was sick.

Blogging won’t stop altogether, if nothing else, I’ll update my NaNoWriMo status periodically. And hey, I work for Chrysler, I could have all the time in the world to do both by the middle of the week.

I Love My Job, NaNoWriMo

It’s Canada Day…

July 1st, 2008
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Not Canada week. Not Canada season – this is not your birthday which these days run from the Friday before your birthday to the Sunday after. Sorry, but Canada Day should occur, and the holiday be on, July 1st.

On July 1st we celebrate the forming of the Dominion of Canada by the signing of the British North America Act (BNA Act). That signing occurred on July 1st, 1867. Note that it is not “on or about the first Monday in July”, but on July 1st. This folks, is the holiday.

Lorrie Goldstein and the ever more communistic (“…richer people are bigger polluters and should be treated accordingly”,) Paul Berton had point/counterpoint on this subject today – irrelevant point/less relevant point would be more accurate: why do Canadians seem to think Canada day should always be a long weekend? Apparently it’s bad immigration policy and not enough Canadian history taught in schools.

I say it’s personal narcissism that is the problem. We all think that life should evolve in a way that’s convenient for us. If the founders of our country didn’t have brains enough to write the BNA Act in such a way as to make Canada Day on a Monday, then the pimply minions of bureaucracy should make it so. Too many Canadians think patriotism can be found in a beer commercial, knowing how to say “rrrrroll up the rrrrrim” and agreeing/disagreeing with Don Cherry. We brag about the greatest country in the world but think it’s over the line to have a holiday to celebrate this great country on a Tuesday. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what more your country can do for you, preferably in perpetuity &tc.

Today is Canada Day, and should be the holiday. There is no reasonable argument against it except the purely selfish one. Yet last week radio shows were full of hosts and callers who thought the holiday should just be Monday. It’s a great country, get out there tonight and celebrate it: I know I will, just as soon as I’m finished work.

Ca-na-da, I Love My Job, pimply minions of bureaucracy

Buzz of Irony

May 26th, 2008

I have been at two events with union speakers the last month. At the first, an in plant celebration of the launch of the new Challenger, Jerry Dias, assistant to Buzz Hargrove and, I’m told, the next CAW President, spent his time at the mike taking pot shots at Jim Flaherty. This was a celebratory function. Everyone else talked about the great car, the great company, the great workers. Jerry Dias whined about someone who wasn’t there. I was standing beside a guy who was the head of one of our locals chapters (i.e. chairperson for one of the companies), and he says to me with a roll of the eyes, “classy guy.”

Ten days later I went to the “hurry up, get the vote in during a long weekend, we only have six months to get this done” ratification vote for a new contract. Local bargaining committee is not even in place yet, but we have one day to decide on the contract. So naturally you would assume it would be an informative meeting: you would assume wrong.

Instead CAW economist (and Globe and Mail columnist) Jim Stanford spends over an hour explaining why we had to sign the contract now: note the difference; not why we should like the contract, but justifying the contract they got. The reason they negotiated early, and got us the contract they did: Evil money traders, Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty. An hour of cheap political shots, very little real information.

I mention these stories to explain to the wife why there’s cornflakes all over the kitchen. It’s Buzz Hargrove’s fault, honey. You see, after these two events, I thought cheap political points where OK, that’s what we do. Then I open todays Toronto Sun and voila:

Cheap shots at Premier McGuinty are unfair


Oh, grow up Buzz!

So when Bob Runciman and Howard Hampton stand in the legislature and question giving money to a company who is laying off a few thousand Ontarians, it’s a cheap shot, and unfair to boot (unfair, by the way, is the official whine of the CAW).

On the other hand, attending a corporate celebration, or an unrelated contract ratification meeting, political thoughts are fair game. But doing so in the legislature, not so fair. Or rather, poking Conservatives in the eye, with other peoples money, is fine. Poking Liberals is cause for another bottle to go with the glazed chicken in truffle sauce.

One thing is becoming clear, I was right three months ago, Buzz is running in the next election, and auto-workers got sold down the river to accommodate that ambition.


Update: Progressive blogger Mack the Hackistan (i.e. Kevin Wilson) has written a piece for Now Magazine Blowing off Buzz.

Auto Industry, CAW, I Love My Job, Wasted Away Again in Buzzistan

Further Inflexible Unionism

February 8th, 2008
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A few weeks ago I wrote about the closing of Ledco in Kitchener and the CAWs refusal to negotiate concessions, even though their members wanted the negotiation to occur. The refusal to negotiate directly resulted in Ledco closing it’s doors and declaring bankruptcy. The CAW then occupied the plant, blamed Stephen Harper/globilization/the big three. Pithily, I commented:

…you have to wonder if the CAW has no shame: this closing is directly attributable to their refusal to negotiate, and now they are occupying the plant demanding the company do just that.


… does the CAW, today, still refuse to negotiate wage and benefit cuts? And if so, what car will GM put in Oshawa when they are done putting 16 cars in US plants?

Yesterday, Peter Shawn Taylor, a “Waterloo based Freelance writer,” with quite a resume, has written a piece on Ledco, CAW Kills Jobs, Then Demands Severance, and the unions involvement. Taylor makes a few interesting comments:

The union then picketed the empty building for a while. CAW head Buzz Hargrove dropped by once to blame the factory owners and Ottawa. The CAW’s most recent gambit is to demand that Ford, Chrysler and GM ante up for Ledco’s missing severance. This is based on the heretofore unknown financial insight that companies have an “obligation” to cover the payrolls of firms they do business with. Of course none of this makes any practical sense.

The real point of the CAW riding off madly in all directions — casting blame, flexing flaccid muscles and taking nonsensical actions –is to distract everyone from the fact that the demise of the Ledco workers’ jobs was a strategic decision on the part of the CAW itself. In short, they were expendable.

He’s right too. In order to prove to the big three that the CAW is serious about no concessions, they had to let Ledco die. Taylor then points out the CAW position on concessions

It’s worth consider the wording of the CAW’s no-concession statement: “We will not cut our wages, pensions, and benefits. That will never save our industry; at absolute most, it slightly defers the inevitable.”

While Taylor considers this a fatalistic view, I had a different thought. If the above is true, would it not also be true for government bail outs? Especially when you consider a one time bail out of half a billion dollars would be about one years (give or take a hundred or so million) payroll at a big three assembly plant. In other words, Paul Martin’s $200M to GM Oshawa would have equally been saved by now had the union gave a 30% wage concession.

The material point, however, is that an apocalyptic showdown is coming this fall, the big three vs. the CAW. The big three have US concessions from last year in their pocket that may make Canada the most expensive place in the world to build cars. The CAW has it’s stubborn refusal to save Ledco as proof, that concessions are off the table. If you think the Ontario’s manufacturing has been in trouble up to now, a storm is coming to the Canadian auto industry this fall that will determine the future of the industry in Canada.

Auto Industry, CAW, I Love My Job, Wasted Away Again in Buzzistan

Building the Challenger

February 7th, 2008
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Bad news tends to reign in the Canadian auto industry, and it’s easy to be pessimistic. Today, however, I am going to allow a little optimism to run it’s course.

Chrysler’s Brampton Assembly has had it’s share of tough news in the past few years, not the least of which is a shift cancellation later this month. Yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show Chrysler was showing off the new Dodge Challenger, which will be built at the Brampton Plant. I won’t go into the parts of the article relating to fuel efficiency and long term prospects for the car, although they are fair comment. As I said, today I’m running with optimistic. So instead, here’s some pictures of the nice looking Dodge Challenger.

Auto Industry, I Love My Job

Question For Buzz

July 10th, 2007

I work for Chrysler, and we are always told “buy Chrysler, it protects your job, it’s good for your community &tc.” We hear it from Chrysler, we hear it from the union. Makes sense, really.

Until now. Since Chinese Chery is going to be building cars that Chrysler will sell in North America, if I buy one of these “Chrysler” cars, aren’t I supporting outsourcing my job? And isn’t my community better served if I buy a Corolla, which is built here in Cambridge?

It seems the CAW has been awfully quiet on this one. C’mon Buzz, where’s the guidance?

CAW, I Love My Job

Show Me The Money!

May 15th, 2007
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Daimler Chrysler has thrown off the Chrysler moniker, selling off it’s American arm to Cerberus Capital Management. (What will they call the new company, Cerberus-Dodge?)

What’s been fun the past few months, is listening to analysts, and unionists, saying that whoever buys Chrysler will need the blessing of the unions. Talk about letting Buzz control the buzz. But it was always a ridiculous argument, that somehow the union controlled the destiny of the company. And thus it has been proven, as Magna selling out it’s own workers wasn’t enough to get it the company:

The offer by Cerberus Capital Management for the Chrysler Group is far superior to other bids including one from Canadian corporate titans Magna International Inc. and Onex Corp., industry sources say.

Chrysler’s German parent, DaimlerChrysler Group, announced yesterday that Cerberus, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, is taking an 81 per cent stake of the auto maker’s North American operations and its related financial services business for $7.4 billion (U.S.).

“It was substantially higher than the others,” said one official familiar with the bids.

Under its offer, Cerberus will also assume Chrysler’s long-term liabilities for pension and health-care benefits.

One analyst indicated recently that Magna-Onex was a leading contender and would value Chrysler at about $5 billion, excluding Chrysler Financial.

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. publicly bid $4.5 billion in cash but industry watchers said DaimlerChrysler was seeking an offer in the $8 billion to $9 billion range. Other equity funds including Blackstone Group in the U.S. also showed interest in Chrysler.

So it was about the money, not who could get along with the unions? Really? After Daimler spent all those years playing nice with it’s workers, now the CAW is surprised it wasn’t consulted on a $7B deal?

On the eve of what could be an important day in Chrysler’s history, the Canadian Auto Workers’ union was disappointed Sunday it had yet to hear from Cerberus Capital Management LP, which recently emerged as the likely winning bidder to buy Chrysler Group from DaimlerChrysler AG.

The New York-based private-equity firm has not approached the CAW, said Local 444 President Ken Lewenza, expressing his disappointment over reports that Chrysler’s fate could be sealed today.

“(Cerberus) has never, ever talked to the CAW,” Lewenza said. “All I know is what I’ve seen and heard in the media, but I would be very disappointed if an equity firm came in and took over.”

The United Auto Workers union in the U.S. and CAW have objected to Chrysler’s sale to a private-equity firm, saying they fear such a buyer would try to return the company to profit by wringing savings from labour.

“Whoever buys Chrysler is going to have to respect our collective bargaining agreement,” CAW president Buzz Hargrove said.

UAW spokesman Roger Kerson couldn’t be reached for comment.

Lewenza said he was not surprised by Cerberus’ sudden move into the spotlight.

“By hiring (former Chrysler Chief Operating Officer) Wolfgang Bernhard, they put themselves on the map and got people’s attention,” he said. “The focus on Magna was mostly because (CEO) Frank Stronach made his bid public.”

Hargrove said Bernhard has a strong personal relationship with DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche.

“From DaimlerChrysler’s standpoint, it’s purely about who could put the most cash in their pockets the fastest,” said Dan Luria, an analyst for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Institute in Plymouth, Mich. “Cerberus clearly has deep pockets.”

Note this bad habit Buzz has: he bad mouths the guy with power. He spent an election saying anyone but Harper. When Harper wins, of course, he’s shocked and surprised to find himself on the outside. They did the same thing with Mike Harris. Now, the ink isn’t dry on the sale, and Buzz is bad mouthing a) the new company and b) the new guy in charge. So here’s a prediction. Sometime in the next year, Buzz will be publicly complaining about how the new owners are not respecting/not listening to/not concerned about the CAW and the workers.

And then he’ll wonder why.

CAW, I Love My Job, Wasted Away Again in Buzzistan

Unions for Magna Workers: Consessions For Chrysler Workers.

May 9th, 2007
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Quick question. If traditionally union-bashing Magna is buying Chrysler, and negotiating with the CAW to unionize Magna’s 30,000 workers, what is the CAW giving up in return?

Frank Stronach’s recent overtures to let North America’s auto unions organize Magna International Inc. may lead to a high-stakes swap whereby the unions agree to co-operate in Magna’s potential takeover of Chrysler Group in exchange for a much-needed boost to their membership.

Mr. Stronach, Magna’s founder and controlling shareholder, began discussions several months ago with leaders from the Canadian Auto Workers and the United Auto Workers unions on a new work arrangement for Magna’s North American employees that would involve unionizing Magna’s plants. He has said the current labourmanagement model in the auto industry is broken.

Magna’s recent efforts toward reconciliation with the labour unions may be the first step in what could be a lasting partnership, should Magna take a stake in Chrysler,” Fadi Chamoun, an analyst at UBS Investment Research, said in a new research report. While Magna is looking for flexibility from the unions on work terms, the unions see the potential for adding 30,000 Magna workers to their ranks. “It is this potential that is influencing the unions to favour Magna as an acquirer of Chrysler,” Mr. Chamoun wrote. “Inevitable concessions may be exchanged with a possibility to organize Magna’s non-unionized plants.

Isn’t this collusion? Is Buzz selling out Chrysler workers to gain unionization of Magna? Sure sounds like it. At least, this would be what in the real world of governance laws and conflict of interest guidelines, very questionable. But in the world of Canadian labour law, just another day. Question, what if those Magna workers don’t want to be unionized?

Oh, and where is the NCC on this? Workers rights were once one of their signature issues.

Update: I e-mailed Gerry Nicholls about this post, and in the process made a few more points. Here’s part of what I wrote:

I can’t think of another area in life where it would be OK for a middle party like the CAW to be negotiating two different, and so conflicting deals. Magna workers look like their about to get screwed – unionization whether they want it or not – and us Chrysler workers are going to be asked to take concessions from the same guy who’s handing his workforce over to the CAW. Martha Stewart went to jail for less.

CAW, freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, I Love My Job, Wasted Away Again in Buzzistan

I Love Belinda

May 7th, 2007
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Have I mentioned how much I love Belinda Stronach lately. Cute, sexy, smart, great taste in men. Yes sirree Bob, sure love that Belinda, always have. No problems here boss.

We’re all just one big, economic pie baking family.

Belinda, I Love My Job