"I had toured the Munich BMW factory and the Goteborg VOLVO factory prior to this, and the Buick City plant was by far the worst."
Buick City SHOULD have been closed years before but GM was keeping it open as a favor to a union guy named Cal Rapson who eventually got to be a VP of the UAW. He wasn't a bad guy, but even he got tired of the stupidity of the UAW locals in Flint. When GM finally had enough, he didn't say a word.
I also went through the BMW plant in Munich. It wasn't a new place, but was better than Buick City for sure. I'll never forget one thing from that tour. When the car rolled off the assembly line, it did so without an emblem on the hood. It then under went some testing and checks. When the car passed all those tests, the guy told me "NOW, it's a BMW" and they put the emblem on. It was a symbolic thing, but made an impression on me, I'm sure it did to the employee's too.
I also was in the Volvo plant in Goteborg for about two weeks. We sold them transmissions and against our advice they wanted to do the calibration software. About a month before start of production, their cal was awful and the chief calibration engineer's wife had a baby and he went on 'paternity' leave. Ah, nothing like Sweden. Anyway, I was over there on a manufacturing item, and the GM chief transmission engineer asked me to stay and shepherd the young guys he was sending over. They did a great job. That's the first time I heard the phrase "When the going gets tough, the Swedes go on vacation".
Local 599 was the Buick City site.
On this site, there was the Buick City Assembly Plant, a V6 engine plant, and a transmission components plant. It was an extremely strategic site in that the 3800 V6 engine was used in several car lines, and the transmission components went into nearly every automatic transmission the company made.
In 1994, Local 599 went on strike and within 48 hours, nearly every GM assembly plant was done. The union made 23 ridiculous demands from adding 500+ more workers across the site (with no new work so the add was totally non productive) to retaining the current caterer (who was paying to remodel the Shop Chairman's house).
Because the strike was costing GM about $25 million a day, they were forced into granting every demand.
After the strike, the UAW played nice for a while, in fact, GM announced they were going to build a new, modern paint shop for Buick City. As part of this project, several 3000 ton presses had to be moved. If you've ever seen a 3000 ton press, you would know this is no job for amateurs, and GM rightfully outsourced this work. The local union decided they wanted OT pay for all the skilled trades workers that would have done this work. To emphasize the point, they arranged to try and trick the plant manager into a situation where he was surrounded by about 300 UAW members in a threatening situation. Fortunately, he outsmarted them and went on to become the VP in charge of global manufacturing operations. Not a good thing for the UAW.
That was the last straw. GM announced they were canceling the new paint shop.
The assembly plant closed in 1999, the engine plant closed in 2008, and the transmission plant closed in 2010. From 10,000 workers to zero.
Local 598, Flint Assembly
A worker from this plant, Ben Hamper, wrote a book called “Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line” bragging about smoking dope at the plant, as well as ‘doubling up’ on jobs and leaving the plant.
This plant is still hanging on by its fingernails.
Local 659 was the old Flint V8 plant and the Metal Fab Plant
Some of you may know of Ron Harbour, the founder of Harbour and Associates. They publish an industry report on productivity where they compare all plants throughout the world that make like products. For instance, they report on all the assembly plants. They compare all the engine plants to each other. Same for transmission and metal fab plants. I was in a Powertrain meeting one year and Harbour asked the plant manager of the Flint V8 plant to identify himself. He did, and Mr. Harbour congratulated him on being in charge of the LEAST productive V8 plant in the world. I had toured that plant a couple of times and he was right. I’ve never seen a bunch of lazier people in my life. The plant closed in 1999.
Of course we all know about the Metal Fab strike in 1998. As a settlement of a previous contract which kept the plant open, both sides pledged to do some things. GM promised to put some additional work in the plant (they did) and the UAW promised to work with management to improve productivity (they didn’t). The UAW decided to go on an illegal wildcat strike. It was an ugly strike and GM began moving dies out and moving them to Indianapolis. GM decided to refer the matter to an arbitrator which was an option for both sides. Before the arbitrator made an official ruling, he whispered in the UAW’s ear that it would be in their best interests that they settle the strike because he was going to rule against them. If that ruling had been issued, the UAW would have been liable for 10’s of millions of dollars that would have wiped them out. So they came crawling back and GM let them off the hook…I wouldn’t have, but that’s just me.
"I know wngr its all the UAW fault Flint went down GM management had NOTHING to due with it."
Management's only role in Flint was to finally get fed up enough to shut it down. And yes, in Flint it WAS the UAW's fault.
Which would you like the story on?
There are other examples, but I think you get the idea. I have never seen a workforce that felt so entitled in my life. The UAW made life so difficult for GM that GM management decided in the 90’s that it simply wasn’t worth it anymore and proceeded to methodically shut down all the major facilities in the city. I was both a witness and a participant in this process. My last job as Plant Manager in one of these plants was to plan the dismantling of the product line which included moving some parts to other GM plants, selling some of these plants, and outsourcing some of the parts. This was decided at the highest levels of the company after input from me and others like me…and I don’t regret a single thing.
The city of Flint is full of vacant land and urban blight. I hope the Dave Yettaw’s of the world are proud of their accomplishments.
"His movie Roger and Me helped to kill Flint."
If that's what you want to believe. In truth he had nothing to do with it...that's giving him too much credit. There's another group that shut down Flint. I think you know who I mean.
"Do you believe Takata will survive as a going concern?"
My opinion is that the Japanese OEMs (who have the greatest exposure) will keep Takata propped up long enough to supply enough parts to satisfy the recalls. After that...depends if they need them. For sure their sales will be curtailed, even by the Japanese who are usually loyal to their keiretsu.
Takata is a $5.7B company that made $98M (2.0%) in their last normal year (2014). Obviously this company will never be able to pay back all of the costs of this huge recall. The only way they can survive is for the Japanese OEMs to forgive the expense.
I'm no expert on Japanese law, but if they were here, I suspect they would declare bankruptcy and reorganize with new management, or be acquired by another firm with a new identity.
"The point is that engineering degrees vary based on the country in which they are granted."
There's no doubt that there is variation. But I would disagree however, that the Indian graduates are "dumb". They suffer from the same issue that hurts the Chinese and to some extent, Mexican engineers. They are trained in the classical engineering curriculum, i.e., tending toward the theoretical sciences. What they lack, and are learning rapidly, is application engineering. That is a good part of the reason why in China, foreign business interests need to be joint ventures. They want their engineers to be able to do practical things. It won't be long until they're self sufficient, trust me.
"Precisely the point, it shouldn't be political. But, since it has become so, it absolutely amazes me that the Democrats have successfully blamed this disaster on the Republican governor when Flint has been run by nothing but Democrats for many years."
Let's not forget why Flint was so desperate to reduce their costs in the first place. Decades of incompetent financial management that necessitated outside grown up management. The same can be said about the City of Detroit, Detroit Public Schools, Benton Harbor, and Ecorse. There is a common thread that runs through these disasters, and that common thread has produced the loudest expressions of shock at the conditions in these communities. Where was Kwami Kilpatrick, where was Jennifer Granholm, where was Coleman Young? In a state that has been a fortress for Democrats for decades, for them to start attacking a Governor that has actually done something is as hypocritical as it gets. I would be a terrible Governor, I admit it. When a community is running out of money and calls me names in the newspaper for instituting an emergency manager, I would say fine...go ahead and don't pay your police, fire fighters, city workers. Let's see how THAT works.
Sure, Snyder will wear this, but while people like Clinton/Sanders/Cher/Damon/Moore/Weaver/Greimel are calling for his resignation, he is doing more to help the people of Flint to recover than all the rest of them put together.
I think anytime I'm on the opposite side of an issue from Michael Moore, I'm in pretty good shape.
""Apparently America doesn't believe that manufacturing is necessary" ----wngr
I don't believe YOU think that."
You are correct. I don't believe that. I believe that manufacturing is the backbone of ANY economy because of it's extensive value stream. That's the reason that all of the developing countries are so intent on building a manufacturing base. It's the same formula we used in this country in the 20th century and the same one we are giving up by our non-competitiveness.
" You offer this and yet you are COMPLETELY aware of the massive subsidy provided to manufacturing in other countries. Why so forgiving of other countries targeting our manufacturing, jobs and tax base?"
And we don't offer incentives to stay here? Every major project that I was responsible for was tax abated for the past 30 years in the US. And I don't think it's a matter of 'forgiving', it's an economic truth...they want it more than we do.
They do so by being a government that is welcoming instead of shouting that corporations have to pay their "fair share" and threatening punitive measures whenever a company wants to make foreign investments. They do so by providing a wage structure that is competitive with the alternatives. And they do so by providing an appropriate infrastructure for business to operate.
“I don't pretend that there is not an issue with America needing more STEM. I guess I just would like to know more clearly what the numbers look like.”
From the National Science Foundation, these numbers are from 2010. They represent the number of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded:
1. China 813,218
2. Russia 135,374
3. India 127,610
4. Ukraine 104,871
5. Iran 99,687
6. Japan 89,523
7. US 74,399
8. S. Korea 73,770
9. Mexico 71,448
"and all of those foreign exchange student's tuition and board were being paid by American Corporations with overseas factories. AND the best part?? The money they are using is corporate welfare."
Nope, they were here at the expense of the Chinese government. That should tell you something.
And they weren't exchange students....there were no American kids going their way.
"At the graduate level, you may be correct, the number of foreign students may be significantly higher overall."
Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the S. M. Wu Manufacturing Research Center at the University of Michigan. Michigan offers a Masters Degree in their College of Engineering for Manufacturing. I was there for a couple of hours and during that time (which included a class change and lots of students were going from one class to another) I never saw an American student. In fact, I don't remember seeing any students that weren't Asian.
Apparently America doesn't believe that manufacturing is necessary. Maybe it's OK that the UAW is chasing automobile manufacturing away, soon we won't have enough native born engineers anyway.
"Yep, its about American jobs. The media is crying about Trump. I love it. Now many states are voting for what I've been saying for Years. Stop exporting our jobs and Importing people."
So you're a Trump fan Jeye. Well, that's not a surprise on many levels.
Search for an article titled "Johnson Controls disputes Hillary Clinton on tax inversion" by Nathan Bomey in USA Today.
Just typical of a politician desperately pandering for votes in an election year.
Sorry about getting all political, but this kind of #$%$ really needs to be exposed.
"I checked the ABT box (Anybody But Trump)."
Normally I couldn't care less about how many thumbs up/down I get, but interestingly I got 4 thumbs down on this post. Which begs the question, who are you and why are you so afraid of coming out of the Trump closet?
C'mon out boys, let's talk about this.
"Trump is my next to last choice."
So who are this 35% that like Trump? I've spoken to no one that supports him, or at least won't admit it. I suppose they're afraid that you'll ask them if they like his position on the deficit, or national defense, or anything of any substance. Nobody knows what he thinks...or maybe he doesn't.
My wife and I were laughing this morning about how he always says that people really have a lot of fun at his rallies. Is that the point? I thought political meetings were places to talk about the issues and how the candidate has thoughtful plans on how to attack the issues.
I went on his web page to find out more. He claims he has positions on 6 issues.
Nothing on deficit reduction, nothing about spending controls, nothing about smaller government, nothing about a plan for the economy, nothing about protecting small businesses (or any businesses for that matter), nothing about foreign affairs (other than building walls), nothing about education, nothing about national security, and on and on and on.
The man is the shallowest person I know of. Amazing.
I checked the ABT box (Anybody But Trump).
I convinced one lady that this polling place is only for non-Trump voters. I told her if she wanted to vote for Trump, that polling place was in Sault Saint Marie. She turned around and got into her car saying "I'd better get going if I'm going to make it before the polls close".
Trump voters aren't too smart. He likes them that way.
"Yes, there are instances where it's very difficult for elderly, disabled and other folks to obtain photo ID's as has been documented."
That may be the case in some states, but my MIL has an enhanced ID card from MI that was easy to get. There is certain documentation you have to have with you, but it's pretty common stuff, i.e., a document with you SSN on it (W2, 1099, SS card, pay stub w/SSN on it), etc. Of course if you have a passport, that pretty much is the only documentation you need other than something with your SSN on it.
In fact my MIL has an Enhanced ID Card which allows her re-entry to the US from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.
"So, you would agree with Questy and me that, in this instance at least, Webby/Clown/Mullah/RDH/Adrian is dead wrong in his rather rude "analysis."
I agree that it's not because they just can't sell them. It's for a lot of reasons...resale, margins, and providing flexibility in capacity.