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General Motors Company Message Board

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  • wngr123 wngr123 Dec 30, 2011 4:54 PM Flag

    UAW built products are the Best

    <<They must have known eventually it was going to cost them more than not wanting to shut the plants down 90-120 days.>>

    In retrospect, I think part of it was that GM always tried to make an agressive quarterly forecast and meet it at all costs. At that point in history, and even now, there is tremendous pressure to meet Wall Street's expectations each and every quarter. A strike of more than a week or two would certainly blow the forecast out of the water.

    I can relate an incident about 15 years ago. I was the Plant Manager of a plant that historically made a certain component that we were not competitive at because of the wage structure. In previous times, there were only 2-3 outside manufacturers of this component so we continued to make them to manage the outside prices. If the outside guys tried to raise their prices, we would make more inside.

    Well, after a few years there were 8-10 suppliers and the outside guys were competing among themselves enough, so I decided we should no longer be in the business. I had my finance guys put together the business case and at that time for projects the size of this one, it had to be approved by the officers of the company. When I presented the case, they were all gung go and show them SOB's who's running this company, so I did.

    Wasn't too long in the process when the UAW gave me what is know as a 5 day letter, i.e., a notification that if the issue isn't resolved they would do a local strike. Since my plant was pretty strategic (supplied components for nearly all passenger car production), the senior guys started getting nervous although they kept telling me 'full steam ahead'.

    When we actually did go on strike it was quite an experience. You know in the army when they ask for volunteers and everybody except you takes a step backwards, that's what I felt like. I looked around and all my friends were gone. Then all I heard was 'do you know this strike is costing us $50 million per day?'
    To make a long story short, the strike was settled by us caving in. I was able to get rid of the component years later by doing it a little at a time and having the engineers design this particular component out of production.

    In those days, there just wasn't the stomach to do the job.

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