Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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We are nearing close-outs of important businesses in the upper Midwest.
The mechanics' union has chosen not to vote on a proposal by Northwest Airlines to eliminate 4,000 of their 4,500 jobs. So, Northwest has stepped up the pace in hiring replacement workers for them.
The Ford Motor Co. plant in St. Paul is also rumored to be up for closing. Delphi has declared bankruptcy and General Motors has such massive losses that "restructuring," as they call down-sizing is imminent. The wages and benefits to workers are always cited as the reasons American companies are not as competitive in the global market place as many of their foreign competitors. Airline employees and auto workers are accepting cuts in wages and benefits to keep their companies afloat.
Union membership is declining simply because unions cannot bargain against ultra-cheap in other lands.
Strikes are irrelevant in the global economy. An executive from a major corporation on his third single-malt Scotch went into his advice-to-unions mode at a gathering recently. In vino veritas.
He said that if labor unions wanted to be effective in global marketplace, they would be taking very hard looks at what companies their workers helped to survive and which ones their workers could help to increase business.
We think they should start with Northwest Airlines. There has to be a better way to run an airline.