GM strike seen as ‘a defining moment’

Union, automaker will keep talking as pickets go out for second day


By Bob Vavra


Plant Engineering


The decision by the UAW to strike 30 General Motors plants Monday was not a foregone conclusion. It was not a matter of corporate greed and union stubbornness. Instead, the strike is seen by most experts as a chance for both sides to come to grips with a problem both helped create %%MDASSML%% the legacy costs facing American automobile manufacturers.

For GM, it needs the union to absorb those legacy costs and manage the massive pension fund that adds a huge price to every car made by the Big 3 automakers. For the union, it is a chance to gain from that concession the necessary job protection their members have been clamoring for.

In the New York Times , author James P. Womack said the strike is “a defining moment. G.M. has backed away from defining moments for generations. And now somebody there has finally said,‘We have to do this because it’s a new era.’ ”

CNN reported that the talks were due to resume Tuesday %%MDASSML%% a sign that both sides believe there is still common ground to keep talking. Indeed, the strike deadline passed for more than a week before the UAW sent the rank and file out to the picket lines.

An op-ed piece in Forbes suggests that a unlike 30 years ago, a GM strike is not seen as a national crisis. GM has a large stockpile of cars thanks to slow sales, and GM’s shaky position as the world’s number one automaker has already been supplanted by Toyota.

For the 73,00 workers who now must make do with strike wages, though, the strike is a very real problem. In small towns like Lordstown, OH , the impact of the GM strike is felt in the kitchen and in the pocketbook. For those workers, the strike put their families in a tight spot and their immediate futures in question.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me