Monday, February 15, 2016

The unions at Carrier are the bad guys, not the management

1,400 unionized workers at a Carrier air conditioner plant in Indianapolis were given pink slips last week.  They were told that the A/C units manufactured in Indiana were now going to be made in Mexico.

That kind of headline surely makes the average American seethe with anger, right?  Those nasty, heartless suits at Carrier have no loyalty to U.S. workers, and without hesitation will throw 1,400 Americans into the unemployment line.  How callous.  How dastardly, how low.  

Not so fast, there, Che Guevara.  There is one major factor that went into this decision that is not getting any ink in any of the mainstream media: the United Steel Workers union bosses were given a choice before this decision was made.  They either had to agree to reduce their union benefits packages, and thereby save these 1,400 jobs, or the management had no choice but to shutter the plant and move to Mexico.  The A/C biz is highly competitive, and they just couldn't compete when they had to pay these United Steel Workers union members $48/hour to sit at a production station and screw in some sheet metal screws into a compressor unit.  That kind of skill is just not worth $48/hour.  It just isn't, as you could easily train a chimpanzee to the same skill level.  And something had to change.

The union didn't even blink: they dared the management to make this move.  They gave nothing back, nada, zilch, bumpkus. The management didn't blink, either: they did their fiduciary duty to the shareholders of United Technology (Carrier's parent company) and adjusted their assets to maximize the shareholder's equity positions.

The bad guys here are clearly not management at Carrier and United Technologies.  The villains in this episode are primarily the United Steel Workers union bosses.     


LL said...

And you know that those union officials won't be missing a meal, or be bothered in the slightest as they move on to organize some other poor bastards with the promises they toss out.

Gorges Smythe said...

I used to be anti-union. Then, I reluctantly went to work in a union factory, because I had to pay the bills. I came to learn that unions were needed to deal with crooked companies. Truly good companies rarely get unionized. HOWEVER, unions are automatically crooked also. They're organized from the top down, not from the bottom up, as they pretend to the public. You already know that those who profit most from unions are the bosses, so they're just as willing to play with people's lives as the companies were. As in this case, too often, THEY become the problem more than the company. I can't blame the company for moving to Mexico. At least they didn't move to China.

Thankfully, I no longer have to be in a union. Still, I'm no longer anti-union, as I've seen BOTH sides all too well. The company I worked for would have happily used slaves, had they been legal. The amazing thing is that wages in that company ever got to $48 in the first place. That alone tells you that their product is grossly over-priced, that such wages were EVER economically feasible.

Brighid said...

The days when unions are looking out for good of the workers are long gone, if they ever were.

byGeorge said...

This can be filed in the Greed box. High $ hourly pay. I live a week on abit more than that hour's pay. I imagine those workers learn to live on less now, hmm? 1400! This is a lot of mouths needing feeding soon. I too was stunned on reading this news item yesterday.

Fredd said...

Gorges: I have lived on both sides of the table myself. On the union side (I was a Teamster in my misspent youth) I saw all of the skulduggery and malfeasance that the bosses used to get a leg up on the hated management. When I was in management, I had marching orders to keep costs low and the unions had absolutely no interest in that.

Unions are scum, they only add to the cost of labor, and produce nothing of value. They are parasites.

Fredd said...

Brighid: no, unions never ever gave one fig about the very lives that often were shattered when the bosses refused to budge.

Fredd said...

LL: and those meals that were not missed by the union thug bosses, you can bet your bottom dollar that table carved chateau briand was on the menu, along with lobster claws and bottomless jars of caviar, all washed down by never ending bottles of Dom Perignon.

Those fat cats don't know the meaning of the word 'scrimp.'

Kid said...

The unions are the problem today.

sig94 said...

We lost a fine company, one of te oldest knife factories in the US, Camillus Cutlery, just down the road from us in the same manner. The union went out on strike and the non-union replacement workers did a better job.

Since the turn of the century, Camillus Cutlery saw its revenues decline due to stiff overseas competition and alleged poor management practices. As a result, employees implemented a four-day workweek after the normal factory shutdown at Christmas 2005. A few months later, Camillus’ management proposed large wage and benefit cuts. Workers didn’t agree and the company was subject to a months long strike. In response management locked the workers out for several months.[13][14] In November 2006, the striking employees ultimately accepted the original contract offer[15] but the company only retained 15 of the 78 union members and laid off the rest.

Fredd said...

Sig: yes, Camillus Cutlery suffered the same fate as the Indiana Carrier plant: the parasite union infection eventually killed its host.

That's what unions do: they, just like parasites, suck energy from the host but provide nothing in return. By definition, unions oppose management desires for higher production: more work for a static paycheck. Unions demand less work for more paycheck, meaning lower productivity.

The union movement has seen its usefulness come to an end perhaps 50 years ago: it is a zombie philosphy now - it is dead, but just doesn't know it.

Ed Bonderenka said...

I've known, and I say known, a few union officials in the UAW.
Some were out and out crooks and belonged in (and went to) prison.
Vote rigging, attempted murder, sodomy and public lewdness, burglary and forgery.
Others were decent guys who were doing their best for the local.
One president told me in confidence that a plant we were competing against to stay open, offered to leave the UAW to retain the work. They won. We closed.
One local president went on to become head of the UAW. I saw him at Cracker Barrell one day during his term. Still a down to earth guy trying to do a job for his constituency.

Yet I always chafed at having to pay union dues to support liberal causes.
And the thought of five guys being called in to work on a Saturday so that the fifth guy's skills could be utilized (due to rotating overtime) was galling.

LL said...

The blue collar vote, which means the union people, seem to be gravitating to Trump, if polls are to be believed. I don't think that he slipped something past the union overlords in the way of promises or cash (which they also accept). You know that they will officially back the Democrat, but is that but one more sign of erosion?

Fredd said...

Ed: the one union guy you knew who you thought was doing best for the local was probably lying to you, while he put on his 'good guy' suit. Beneath it, was a thug. Only thugs qualified as bosses, because the thug union bosses know thugs from non-thugs, and you don't go places in any union without thug blood coursing through your veins. You just don't, Ed.

Fredd said...

LL: Sure, union thug bosses will throw their 'official' support behind whoever greases their palms the thickest. Thanks to secret balloting, however, they have no real control over the rank and file when they actually pull the lever: I think that these rank and file blue collar schlubs find The Donald's tough talk very, very appealing. They will cast their vote for Trump in secret, and they will tell the union steward that they voted Democrat. Once you are in a union, lies become more comfortable as they fall from your lips.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Do you think these union members learned their lesson? NOT!

Fredd said...


These union thug bosses are nothing less than high stakes poker players, who use rank and file union jobs as chips.

Their standard play when they hold no cards is to push all the rank and file jobs into the middle of the pot and try and bluff their way into unsustainable benefits concessions from management.

Management calls their bluff, closes the plant, and 1400 wage earners go begging. And then the union thug bosses move on, to the next high stakes poker game.

Union thugs have learned their lesson? Ha. Those 1400 job losses are just the way the game is played. You win some, you lose some.

Those union boss thugs will never give another thought to those 1400 souls that have been thrown to the wolves.