By on March 31, 2008

scabrat.jpgAn interesting "help wanted" ad appeared in several cities' papers yesterday: "Employment offered to applicants responding to this advertisement will be to fill anticipated attrition replacement openings after negotiations or in place of employees involved in this strike." [Emphasis added.] You guessed it– the ads were placed by American Axle. CBC News reports the company ran the ad in cities where they have a plants which have been shut down by the UAW strike. Of course, the official AA party line, as espoused by spokeswoman Renee Rogers is: "We expect that once an agreement is reached with the UAW a significant number of associates will participate in buyouts and early retirements. We are currently preparing a pool of potential new associates." The auto supplier also sent letters to workers who were laid off before the strike began, asking them to come back to work. The UAW responded by calling for a mass picket today outside AA's headquarters. Meanwhile, there's no apparent break in the impasse between labor and management; their full negotiating teams haven't met since March 10.

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20 Comments on “Scabs Wanted; Immediate Employment Available...”


  • avatar
    gamper

    The Detroit News is reporting that GM may not accept parts built by scab labor. I dont know about that but it adds an interesting variable. Personally, I think it is just posturing by American Axle in an attempt to scare the hell out of the UAW workers.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Memories of the Caterpillar strike years ago. Unions gave themselves the right to shut down a company, the company has the right to respond with replacements. This is going to get ugly.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    Now this is a strike! Both sides are playing to their strengths – AA is a profitable company – and wants to stay that way. The UAW (correctly) sees the big picture problem if they start letting suppliers get the same deal that GM/Ford/Chrysler got – so they’re playing for keeps too.

    Here’s my question to fellow TTAC’ers – It’s not unreasonable to ask managers of profitable companies to keep them in the black (like AA), however the UAW’s position is that only companies on their last legs get a special labor deal (profits are supposed to be shared with the workers – why reward stockholders with pay concessions?) It’s a conundrum!

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    You have to love it when an employer refers to their employees as associates.

    At that point you are one step away from having no pension plan and becoming an 1099 independent contractor.

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    This is like Rocky vs. Apollo Creed. Only Rocky’s moving to Mexico after the match.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I see a couple of issues here.At what time did AA offer the same deal as the big 3.The one where the exsisting employees keep thier pay and benifits.New hires in non core get the 14$ an hour.AA hasn’t put that on the table yet.
    Does anyone think that maybe the CEO could have,at least defered, if not give up his 835,000$ raise?
    This is going to get ugly?It is getting ugly.
    This week the Cobalt plant is threatened,{sales up 54%}Here in Oshawa wer’e running the Impala flat out.Rumour has it,parts are getting short.
    somebodys gonn’a blink real soon.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    It’s already ugly if you’re shutting down plants due to lacking parts.

    And get uglier when the company put press ads to replace the workers.

    Don’t know a thing about the CAT strike, but unions should not have the “right” to shut down a company

  • avatar
    thalter

    AA employees were never offered the same deal as the Big 2.8 workers. If they had, we might not be in this situation. All AA offered was a 50% pay cut, with no buyout or buydown. How much would you like a similar “offer”?

    As I’ve said before, both sides are waiting for GM to come in and fund the buyouts/buydowns, like they did at Delphi. GM doesn’t want to do this, or else every single supplier is going to come to them with their hand out.

    This is truly a no win situation. Someone is going to file for bankruptcy before this is over (GM, AA, or the affected UAW workers).

    No doubt, the worst is yet to come.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I still can’t believe that GM has no legal redress against the UAW. In my opinion, the UAW has a conflict of interest that makes them unable to serve as the union for both companies. GM should threaten to stop paying wages of workers at the shut down plants.

  • avatar

    This is blasphemy! This is insanity!

    Insanity?
    THIS…IS…AMAXLE!!!!!!

    Seriously this is some crazy shit. And GM’s got what power to find another supplier? While I think AmAxle’s “offer” is basically unfair (yes, those folks appear to be paid an over-market salary, but HALF?), the conflict between the UAW choking the pipeline upstream and also representing the affected workers downstream…GM’s no doubt holding back some kind words at the moment.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    Re: thalter“All AA offered was a 50% pay cut, with no buyout or buydown. How much would you like a similar “offer”?”

    You ask a fair question and it is one of the issues that goes to the heart of the matter. So, what would I do? I’d quit and go get another job. But that’s not the issue here. The takeaway point is that while I can quit my current job; and not suffer to much, most AA workers (and most autoworkers right now) can’t quit and find comparable paying work.

    Please, before the flaming starts I’m not trying to puff myself up at the expense of UAW members. I’m just trying to make the point that the only long term leverage any of us have over our employers is a realistic and probable threat of leaving – and right now many if not most autoworkers don’t have that leverage.

    As for myself, I fully realize that the day corporations figure out how to live without my job skills and/or position, my next career will involve the phrase “would you like fries with that sir?”

  • avatar
    Ryan Knuckles

    This isn’t meant to sound condescending or arrogant, it was just my thought process.

    My dad works at a union plant near where I live. I could have got on there after I graduated high school, but we both thought it would be better to go to college (although I would be making the same or less money with the degree I have). Here I am four years later and sure enough, I could be making more money as an electrician at that plant, but I have the mobility of being an engineer. I made the conscious decision to side step working for a union because I want to be in control of my job. Getting forced into a strike I don’t agree with (happened to my dad in ’88) or being stuck in a job because I have no other experience or training did not seem ideal to me, so here I am. It turns out I made the right decision.

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    If AA (or any car maker, for that matter) could find a President who will do the job equally as effective at a cheaper price, I’m sure they would.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Stingray
    I think the union should have the right to shut down a company. I also think the company should have the right to fire them for doing it.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “An interesting “help wanted” ad appeared in several cities’ papers yesterday”

    Just as long as the cities are in the USA, not Vietnam, or Thailand.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yes Ryan you did make the right decision,as did Mike in Canada.Plain and simple there is no future in unskilled factory work.
    Its not too bad for us older guys,but I urge the younger folks take the buy out and get an education.
    This AA thing is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    It’s never too late!

    I’ve got Statistics class tonight and the guy sitting next to me got his law degree at 50.

  • avatar
    02chuck

    I am graduating in May with a BSN (Bachelors in Nursing) I am 55yrs old. I was in the grocery business for many years (Safeway) with the low cost labor pressure applied to this business. Wages have not gone up much at all for the long time employees and there is now a two tier wage/benefit scale. Retirement benefits are rapidly going away. I was able (many thanks to my wife) to go back to school.

  • avatar
    Eric_Stepans

    @Ryan Knuckles and MikeInCanada:

    Congratulations on your educational and career successes.

    But your own success may be obscuring the ‘bigger picture’.

    The bigger picture is that not everyone can be an engineer, or a lawyer, or a statistician.

    And even if everyone could, all that would do is transfer the wages race-to-the-bottom from low-skill labor markets to higher-skill labor markets.

    Furthermore, there will always be a need for someone to be janitors, hotel maids, short-order cooks, etc.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI8hcthsTpU

    For the past 20-30 years, the US has largely relied on immigrant labor (legal or otherwise) to do low-skill low-pay work. But we’re starting to run into both social and economic limits on how much we can do that.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Eric_S,

    That is the biggest bunch of bull anyone ever threw out.

    The percentage of the population that is incapable of ever rising above low skill labor is very small. Also, if everyone capable of doing moving up would, then the wages would rise.

    The other thing that would happen would be that technological and productivity advances would result that would increase everyones standard of living drastically.

    The idea that the race to the bottom for wages (which is built on a bunch of phony statistics to begin with) would move up the career scale is based on a zero-sum world view. You sound like one of these demagogues running around talking about how average household income has fallen. Of course household income has fallen – WE HAVE SMALLER HOUSEHOLDS and they contain less working age members. Average wages have increased in real dollars.

    The vast majority of the so called poor today have a car, air conditioning, multiple tv’s, DVD players, iPods, cell phones, and no sign of a bare cubbard. Most of these people are living better than I did for most of my life for Pete’s sake.

    So what are these so called social and economic limits keeping us from attracting more people to take the jobs that our poor are too wealthy to want?

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