Though the Valukas report may have reaped 15 employees linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall — including a number of senior executives — one former General Motors employee’s experience suggests doing the same to the lower levels of corporate leadership.
Jalopnik reposted a comment by a former engineer made during an op-ed about using the word “culture” in place of “people” as far as what was liable for the overall indifference expressed within the automaker. The engineer spent 10 months with GM, his employment ending at the same time the company found itself thrashed upon the rocks of the Great Recession, where he saw just how indifferent his then-employer could be.
The engineer said he spent more time in meetings that had little if anything to do with his work on the company’s eAssist hybrid system than he had doing the actual work he believed he was hired to do. Asking why his presence was always requested — especially if eAssist was not ever on the agenda — was met with admonishment by those higher on the totem pole. When the subject of doing actual work came up, they said he should spend 70 hours per week on work-related tasks without the expectation of overtime pay. Finally, upon doing his job — making a design decision for a press-in coolant tube — an alleged supervisor raged against the engineer for making the decision without having the proper authority to do so, claiming his prior experience meant nothing if it wasn’t earned at GM.
The story ends at the unemployment line — the engineer was let go because he installed a weather app on his assigned computer — where he had to fight the company for his benefit claim. He adds that while it’s easy to blame the senior executives for all of GM’s woes then and now, true change can only happen by clearing out the middle and lower levels of management of those who can’t and don’t want to be bothered to do the right thing.