I have no compassion for the Big Three. They should go belly up despite the pain it will cost countless thousands of families. From top to bottom the employees are overpaid and, like all exponential growth, there comes a point when the costs are too high. I know of what I speak. I worked for GM for six years back in the 80's and I was making $15.95 an hour then plus bennies. I have two ex-husbands who have retired from GM after 30 years, each with a $3,000/month or more retirement check, plus bennies. One of these men went through company paid dry-out clinics three times, was on sick leave at least 10 times for anywhere between five weeks and six months, and managed to have six operations to boot. And now I hear through my oldest son that he's real concerned he'll lose his bennies and retirement. Boo, hoo. Too bad. I say who the H needs a $30,000-$45,000 truck or car anyway, especially one getting 15-28 miles to the gallon. Give me a break. I am not stupid enough to buy a new vehicle in order to admire its shiny surface and various interior comforts while paying full coverage insurance and car payments to boot. I could build a comfy little house for that kind of money.
And the "work" these people do is laughable. Here's an example of a typical day I had: Drive an hour to the plant, clock in, get some coffee, do underhood inspection while the guy in the pit cracked dirty jokes and the repairmen came by with the latest gossip. Take a break when the line went down; when it was really break time; and when someone got sick of the monotony and casually walked up to a car and ripped wires out or stabbed a tire with a screwdriver - wha-la, the line's down again. At night a some of the guys gained a few pounds with the parts they had stashed in their lunch buckets or up their jacket sleeves. And then there was the booze and drugs. That's a whole other post.
I also had a neighbor who managed to sit during the entire shift looking at the cars go by. He either read comics or snorted coke. The union rep protected him whenever his excesses got out of hand. The good ol' boy network was and is alive an well in the plants.
And, despite their high wages and bennies, most of the workers I knew were in debt up to their eyebrows. Whenever there were rumors of a layoff, they panicked. $1400 a month house payments, $600 a month car payments, child support, utilities, etc., etc., etc. - and this was in the 80's.
I got sick of it and decided there must be more to life. So one Saturday I told the supervisor I'd be there two more weeks. The guy looked like he would drop. Word spread fast that I had given notice and slave after slave came by asking "why?" As time went by some people came by and said they envied me: a single mother of three children with no debt leaving a lucrative job. Wished they could do it but they'd placed too many albatrosses around their necks. And those two ex's? They're still indebted to the banks, credit card companies and even a loan shark. For what? So they can brag that they're retired from GM with a big pension.
Now, you're free to disagree with my observations. But this was my experience, the experiences of others I know and I've listened to most of them reminisce about all the good times they had screwing the company and doing very little to "earn" their pay. So they and the company are getting what they deserve.
Well, it's time to go shopping for Thanksgiving. Debt free and very thankful, Treesong