Whose Interest is Being Served?

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  • Multi-national corporations, Corporate greed and the death of the middle class. I believe Henry Ford once threatened to drop a supplier who was playing hardball in salary negotiations with his staff. His rationale. A very pragmatic one. If we don’t pay people well enough, who will be able to afford my cars? Globalization is a reality but it seems to have advantaged a very small percentage of the population to the detriment of the many. We in North America have become the Discount Store generation, conditioned to accepting mediocre, low priced, low quality products. Stagnating wages and wage concessions have become the order of the day. Nations are powerless to protect citizens against global commercial enterprises that know no loyalty except to the almighty dollar. On the positive side, the emerging economies are developing a healthy middle class with a taste for quality, brand name products.

    Stephen Abbass | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  • I just feel unions have outlived their true usefulness and need to adjust to the current global environment. I think we are starting to feel the pinch of the double edged sword we have been dodging for years. Unions fighting and demaining more and more, companies increasing prices to cover the cost that unions drive into the products and now consumers that are refusing to pay the higher cost and going with alternative brands or solutions. After all wether the product comes from this web site or that web site its all the same to teh consumer. The US is driving a build it home approach and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to see it is going to work for them given their very high patriotism. They will bring home a high degree of the offshore work and companies will cut the fat to be able to do it. It may have taken a global economic meltdown to start the ball rolling but I fear we have only seen the thin edge of the corporate “cost management” sword so brace yourselves union leaders. I for one hope more old style unions get the wake up call and start finding ways to help their employers be successful in these changing times. Paying someone 30-40 dollars to sweep a floor is not sustainable. I fully support HRM in the bus strike situation based on the rostering issue alone.

    blair | March 6, 2012 | Reply

  • Caterpillar, through it’s purchase of Progress Rail, had plans to take over an existing facility in Muncie Illinois and proffering a massive expansion including test tracks expressly for the purpose of fulfilling “made in the USA” public rail requirements. They were going to do the final assembly of the very locomotives that were built in London. Caterpillar planed this facility even as they finalized the purchase of EMD, specifically to join locomotive construction to their larger diesel engines. They bought Progress Rail specifically for this amalgamation, and our plant was never going to survive the overall plan. Caterpillar does massive business in this country, and rightly expects that the Harper government won’t mess with that in any form, but we the people can apply the sort of pressure needed to insure another Caterpillar doesn’t screw us over for profit. We need to make sure our local and municipal government stops buying Caterpillar equipment. It will hurt the dealers but if we act and if we make this public, it will announce to other international corporations that screwing us over has a cost. If we can hurt Caterpillar to the tune of what they saved by moving the plant, we as a nation win.

    Lorne Warawa | February 11, 2012 | Reply

    • Lorne thanks for your comment. I am no fan of Caterpillar, and perhaps what you are suggesting would hurt them ( as well as their dealers) , but it does not make us a winner. The workers at Electromotive and the city of London still have a big loss.

      Bill | February 11, 2012 | Reply

  • Unionization was a RESPONSE to overly authoritarian power structures of a century ago. As practiced in America unions became confrontational (whereas in Europe they were cooperative). They are not truly democratic for there isn’t the ‘right to work’, seniority protecting mediocrity. (It’s called collective BARGAINING; but have unions ever had to bargain for less?) Situations like Caterpiller are becoming all too frequent as unions are unable to ‘protect’ these jobs in more globalized labour markets (since the Berlin wall came down). With every collective agreement renegotiation, there should be a proper secret ballot, to check on whether a majority still wish it (with tampering/intimidation follow up measures). Let’s face it, in these more competitive times, the majority of any workforce would prefer to be rid of the refuseniks (who would be gone in a hurry). If that changed arrangement wasn’t ageeable, recertification could occur.
    The public sector should not be allowed to withdraw its services, unless they are organized into private service providers (where competition could be expected).
    Philosophically; the purpose of ‘workplaces’ is to keep citizens busy (think busyness…get it?). It has little to do with ‘greedy’ employers. Those employers risk. If workers don’t like the job ( their risk) they are free to leave.
    If workers have been too busy arranging for their collective well-being, there must come a time when there are too few workplaces to maintain prosperity. Such is where we are in certain governances, and the only job opportunities are in the public sector (that can only be paid for with ‘recirculated’ tax funding, rather than prosperity created wealth. (Think descending standards of living, with the ablest relocating to governances where they are free to do their thing.)
    (“It’s the economy”[‘s labour laws],” stupid!” as President Clinton once said.
    Is it time for a corrective RESPONSE to current ‘Talibanish ‘entitlement’ beliefs?

    gordon stanfield | February 8, 2012 | Reply

  • Agree with you in general, but there is an argument for a “living” wage!

    Ron Gregor | February 8, 2012 | Reply