Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wish I Had Some Mafia-Type Heavy to Keep Me Employed

The signs of an economic slow-down are everywhere – housing prices are dropping, employment stats are dropping, and the major automakers are closing plants and laying off thousands of people.

Though all those people GM, Ford and Chrysler are laying off have one thing going for them most of us could only ever dream of – a bully to put some muscle on their bosses, to keep them employed.

For most of us, if the company we are working for unfortunately hits a financial conundrum, and we lose our job because the company has to lay us off, we say thanks for the memories, and move on.

Not if you are lucky enough to have a powerful union like the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) behind you. If you have the CAW behind you, then it doesn’t matter if your employer is so hurting for cash, that they have to sell off everything including the kitchen sink, your union will fight for you to ensure you still have a job.

I wish I had a someone fighting in my corner like that. Then I’d never worry about being unemployed, why would I have too – the union would flex it’s muscles and I’d be safe in it’s care.

Unions do some good for their members. If it wasn’t for unions, we’d all still be working for employers that didn’t care about our health and safety on the job. If it wasn’t for the union movement, benefits packages wouldn’t exist. If it wasn’t for unions, we’d probably work more days than we have off in a week. Oh wait, we still do . . .

But, when it comes to unions and job security, unions just don’t live in the real world. Granted, unions are there to protect their members, to ensure they get the best deals in employment and unemployment. But when the wheels of the economy fall off, and companies have to make tough choices, unions make unrealistic demands.

It is one thing to fight for good severance packages for those who must be let go. It is quite another to hold rallies and protest the closing of a plant or factory. We all have to make tough choices in our lives – and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for those executives at the top to choose who gets to keep their job and who gets the proverbial pink slip.

During an economic downturn as we are in, people stop purchasing big ticket items like cars and trucks. So naturally, the automakers will suffer – people can’t afford their products and services, so they don’t bring in the money they need to keep afloat.

Unions don’t appear to see it this way – they think the automakers are evil, have some sinister plan to the United States. They even got up the nerve to wear red t-shirts at a recent protest claiming Canadian-built cars are better.

Many cars are assembled in Canada, but as far as I know, Canada doesn’t have it’s own automaker.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are all American-born, and made. Up here in Canada, parts are shipped in from all over the world, and these American companies products are assembled here. But that really doesn’t make it a Canadian product.

Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, and Hyundai are all from countries outside of North America. Some of these are also assembled here in Canada from parts sourced around the globe, but none are truly Canadian-made.

If the automobile unions wanted to really benefit their members, they would lay off the unrealistic demands, and form their own Canadian auto manufacturing company. Then, they could realistically guarantee their members a route to job security, when one of them has major cutbacks – just transfer the jobs to their own Canadian company.

Then too, the real benefit, would be a truly Canadian-built car. One which wasn’t just assembled here, but really made here.

Now there’s a good Canadian idea.

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