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Dr Stan
01-07-2013, 03:44 PM
http://businessonmain.msn.com/browseresources/articles/smallbusinesstrends.aspx?cp-documentid=255135741&wt.mc_id=msnbcspotlight#fbid=XcDV7a8cwuX

Carld
01-07-2013, 04:34 PM
As I have said in many conversations, when the American cost of living comes down and the wages go up to a living wage then the production of American made products will flourish. As long as the cost of living exceeds what the prevailing working wage is the only thing most people can afford is cheap foreign made products.

One of the causes of the Great Depression was the rising cost of living and the low wages prevailing in the 1920's. The workers could not afford to buy the products they were making and the manufacturers wouldn't raise wages and the inventory was collecting in warehouses. Collapse soon followed. If you look closely we are in or close to the same situation now.

Right now it takes about 18 months to get all the permits and licenses to start a business in Louisville Ky. Who in their right mind would submit to that? Louisville likes to call it the Can Do City but it's a worthless catchy phrase.

oldtiffie
01-07-2013, 05:21 PM
Two of the higher costs which are invariably "shaved" are labor and idle machine time.

Automation can be a full or partial solution to either or both.

Skill levels where required are kept to a minimum whereas "machines per person" are maximised.

All of this reduces disposable income which is required for consumer/optional spending which may severely limit the items sold and the margin/s.

Having a good product is one thing but without a sustainable market and margin the outlook is dim at best.

And then we are back to "cost cutting" - or bankruptsy.

You are going to need a very good "working capital" and "lines of credit" which can evaporate very quickly - with your credit rating.

BigJohnT
01-07-2013, 06:22 PM
I can say for a fact that working smarter pays off. The worlds largest small engine manufacturing is in my back yard and they stay there because the people here work at staying competitive. Case in point another plant about 100 miles away went under because upper management didn't care enough about producing quality at a competitive cost and that feeling rippled all the way down to the workerbees. All that production is now here in my back yard. Can you sit on your fat ass and draw $40 to clean the floor and not allowed to clean the walls cause the union says that is a separate job... nope cheaper to import from anywhere than pay for that.

John

firbikrhd1
01-07-2013, 07:14 PM
In my point of view there are a number of reasons that manufacturing has moved overseas, all at fault to one degree or another. Government, local and Federal, taxation and regulation which foreign producers don't have to contend with to the same degree, unions that get overzealous with demands and make companies unable to compete, workers who could care less about doing a good job, and corporate greed all play a part. When all these factions can get on the same page and each decide to make some concessions manufacturing will return. It is my belief that America is as capable as ever of producing the highest quality goods at competitive prices while paying workers a decent wage and allowing businesses to profit. All that need to happen is for the stars to align and it will come to be.

oldtiffie
01-07-2013, 09:01 PM
The USA manufacturing as a whole will only survive and perhaps prosper if it is a good competitor in the international market as the "local" (USA) market soon gets saturated with product in the best of times - which self-evidently is not now and won't be for some time.

Europe is already a fierce competitor for selling good product at reasonable prices and they too have to fight/trade their way out of the mess they are in as well to survive and be profitable.

So if it isn't already it soon will not be just "China/Asia" as the "culprit" as the perceived cause of the USA trading problems.

China is still trading into (and out of) Europe and they are somewhat inter-dependent too.

bborr01
01-07-2013, 10:03 PM
Can you sit on your fat ass and draw $40 to clean the floor and not allowed to clean the walls cause the union says that is a separate job... nope cheaper to import from anywhere than pay for that.

John

There was a time when that was almost true but that has been a long time ago. When I worked in a union shop (big 3 automaker) we did away with most of the janitors in the late 80's. Clean your own area. As to the $40/hour, when I retired in 2006, top paid production workers made about $28/hour. Much less now with 2 tier wages. The few janitors that were left made less, and they were kept for hazmat situations, etc.

Brian

Carld
01-07-2013, 10:04 PM
Yes, if and when real manufacturing comes back to America it will take changes in tax laws, business laws and cooperation between workers and management/owners. The cost of living compared to wages has to be better balanced for a recovery.

The market, as oldtiffie said, will have to be world wide. If the US market is higher than the world market it will never make it. It's all based on competition and it's world wide now.

firbikrhd1
01-07-2013, 10:30 PM
There was a time when that was almost true but that has been a long time ago. When I worked in a union shop (big 3 automaker) we did away with most of the janitors in the late 80's. Clean your own area. As to the $40/hour, when I retired in 2006, top paid production workers made about $28/hour. Much less now with 2 tier wages. The few janitors that were left made less, and they were kept for hazmat situations, etc.

Brian

Brian, how can paying production workers $28/hr to perform janitorial work be cost effective? That setup sounds like Union tinkering to me, keeping Union people employed at high wages while janitors were done away with.
I've seen it before. Unions tell journeyman to do whatever job they are asked to do as long as they are paid at their rate for it while applying pressure to companies to lay off or eliminate other positions in order to keep their people working. I've also been told by a Union friend of mine who worked at Eastern Air lines about the shop foreman coming to him and telling him to slow down because he was making the rest of the Union workers look bad.
I, myself, am a Union member. Even so I realize that every employee has to give their employer a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. When that stops happening no business can remain profitable for long. Eastern and GM are two fine examples. Curiously, even during times when auto sales slumped Toyota USA had no such issues. Instead they had happy employees happy to have a job and happy with their pay.

oldtiffie
01-07-2013, 11:33 PM
It should come as no surprise that "Employers" and "Employees" view the value of a "Fair day's pay" some what differently.

I doubt that it will change for the "better" anytime soon.

DR
01-08-2013, 06:40 AM
.................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ...............................................


Right now it takes about 18 months to get all the permits and licenses to start a business in Louisville Ky. Who in their right mind would submit to that? Louisville likes to call it the Can Do City but it's a worthless catchy phrase.

Can you explain that a little more? What sorts of permits and licenses?

I find that awfully hard to believe. Unless there are special circumstances like non-conforming zoning or such.

I have started several businesses, the first in 1970. At that time the process was a little confusing, in later years most cities, counties, etc have made the process easier with packets containing all the required applications and references to applicable codes and so on.

BigJohnT
01-08-2013, 07:24 AM
There was a time when that was almost true but that has been a long time ago. When I worked in a union shop (big 3 automaker) we did away with most of the janitors in the late 80's. Clean your own area. As to the $40/hour, when I retired in 2006, top paid production workers made about $28/hour. Much less now with 2 tier wages. The few janitors that were left made less, and they were kept for hazmat situations, etc.

Brian

Glad to hear that, but that still goes on today in some areas like VA hospitals. I was just guessing on the $40hr part.

John

Dr Stan
01-08-2013, 08:31 AM
There was a time when that was almost true but that has been a long time ago. When I worked in a union shop (big 3 automaker) we did away with most of the janitors in the late 80's. Clean your own area. As to the $40/hour, when I retired in 2006, top paid production workers made about $28/hour. Much less now with 2 tier wages. The few janitors that were left made less, and they were kept for hazmat situations, etc.

Brian

Yes "unions are the problem" is the common excuse of the Bain Capital set when in reality it is management who decide to over load the company with debt and then shut it down to move operations overseas. Its way past time to quit bashing the hourly employees and quit treating them like serfs. Companies have an obligation to support the society in which they belong, from the local up to & including the national level. However, the multinationals do not have any sort of loyalty/patriotism to the countires in which they began.

fjk
01-08-2013, 09:16 AM
Two things

First, I've noticed that over the past 1-2-3- years, as we've slowly bottomed out in The Great Recession and have since started climbing out of it (also slowly) that manufacturing jobs seem to grow just about every month. It might be only 5,000 or 10,000 in a month, but it seems continuous. This is probably A Good Thing

Second, lots of blame for the decline in manufacturing has been laid at the feet of unions, workers, management, bankers, Wall Street, The Government, etc. What blame can be laid at the feet of the consumers who often seem to shop solely on price ... even if it means that what they buy is lower quality (or even "disposable") and was made by political prisoners in that Colossally Huge Industrial Nation in Asia?

Just wondering.

Frank

BigJohnT
01-08-2013, 09:20 AM
Yes "unions are the problem" is the common excuse of the Bain Capital set when in reality it is management who decide to over load the company with debt and then shut it down to move operations overseas. Its way past time to quit bashing the hourly employees and quit treating them like serfs. Companies have an obligation to support the society in which they belong, from the local up to & including the national level. However, the multinationals do not have any sort of loyalty/patriotism to the countires in which they began.

Really the problem is being uncompetitive in a global marketplace. It is a joint effort that requires unions to gouge employers and teach workers to work slower, management to be unfocused on being creative to remain competitive and last but not least the workers not putting in a good days work and using peer pressure to slow down other workers and not working toward the goal of being competitive.

If you point a finger you have to point it at yourself first!

John

MasterMaker
01-08-2013, 12:37 PM
There was an article in SGN about leapers and about how many(not all) of their products were produced in house(town just outside of detroit, can't remember the name) so there are some that can compete while making things in the US.

Carld
01-08-2013, 02:13 PM
DR, these's been some discussion on the radio here about the length of time it takes to start a business. I think that length of time was from the time of picking the property and getting zoning clearance to begin the process of getting all the permits needed in Jefferson Co. Ky. to begin building the structure. If your going to rent a building you may get it all done in a few months. From what I have heard Louisville, Jefferson Co. is a very restrictive place to start a business. They say it's easier to buy an existing business than start one up here.

Where I live in Spencer Co. next to Jefferson Co. we are easy to start a business as long as you start it in a location zoned for what you will do. A machine shop requires light industrial zoning and those spots are few.

Machine
01-08-2013, 02:47 PM
A lot of things have changed since the American manufacturing heyday that make returning to it once again not very likely. The biggest boom for the US was during and after WWII. Today we somewhat romantically think of that time as one of our nation's best moments, and we long for some semblence of those days to return. But the reality is that we live in an entirely different world today, the circumstances surrounding our post war boom were unique and unlikely to be replicated ever again.

After the war, Europe was in ruins and heavily indebted. The biggest industrial nation in Europe - Germany - was divided, occupied and in absolute ruin and disarray. Millions upon millions of European men and women of prime/peak productive age were dead and gone (as compared to about ~250,000 in America). Europe's productive capacity had been shattered, economically they were largely destitute. This made both human and investment capital scarce, while at the same time there was huge demand for raw materials and new products to rebuild. China was an incredibly backward serf/peasant agragrian society that had drank the Soviet styled communist kool aid of their time (quite different than the quasi-capitalist communism they embrace today). This made them a very minor player in terms of the global economy (as strange as that seems today). The Soviet Union enjoyed the spoils of their victories throughout Eastern Europe and grew internally, but their form of governance did not facilitate capitalism nor competition in a global free market. They sold very little product outside of their domain, and what little they did, no one wanted (with the exception of the AK47 rifle). Japan was an industrialized nation before the war, but again was largely destroyed and similarly at a loss in terms of human resources and investment capital. We would help with that in the years to come, but it would take decades for them to recover and become the economic juggernaut we know them as today.

In contrast, immediately after WWII, America was untouched by the war. All our factories were up and running and ready to be retooled away from machine guns to refrigerators, artillery to Packards, flamethrowers to lawnmowers and so on. A massive logistical train had been built up between Europe and Asia. Billions upon billions of $$$ in war profits were ready to be unleashed as investment capital. We had a huge workforce just back from the jungles of Asia and fields of Europe that were ready for work. Even millions of women also skilled for factory work were available. Our productive capacity SOARED after the war, satisfying the domestic and foreign demand for our products. At the time they were some of the best quality products available and were usually cheaper than anything the "crippled" competition could come up with of comparable quality. There simply was very little competition, massive global and domestic demand for our products and an untouched America fully embracing capitalism - with all our natural resources brought to bear, with almost no environmental laws and minimal governmental regulation. It was the perfect storm for a 25 year boom cycle. And that's just exactly what happened.

But that was then and this is now. On all levels this historically unique series of events and circumstances does not exist today, nor is it likely to ever exist again. I'm not suggesting "made in America" can't make a comeback, because I believe it could. But, it's a different world we live in today and it's a different America. There won't be a boom like that again in our lifetimes. There won't be an economic up-cycle based on manufacturing in the sense there was after WWII ever again. Some things will be made here in smaller quantities and some foreign products for domestic consumption may be assembled here to get around tarriff/trade restrictions. But in my opinion, there wiull be no return to anything we've seen in the past; those days are gone for good.

And of course none of this discusses our $17 trillion debt, soon to be $20 trillion and beyond. Europe's in a similar situation. The next big global economic cycles - down and up - will be driven by currency crises.

Rich Carlstedt
01-08-2013, 04:34 PM
Well said Machine !
You outlined it very well in my opinion.
The causes are many, and most have not even been discussed.
Being a Manufacturing Engineer by trade, and a member of Industrial Study groups, I believe the whole picture needs to be looked at.
We also have to realize that we are not as hungry as we were at one time. There is a tremendous desire by some to have the "Government" do this or do that.
That attitude was not previlent in the past and adds to the complication of regaining the "crown"
To understand "our' situation here in the USA, i think we should look to the UK, as the fore-runner of industrial might.
Back in 1800, England ruled the world in machinery and industrial development.
Names like Nasmith, Wilkerson, Richards, Armstrong, Watt, Maudsley brought to us the wonderful metal working equipment we all use today.
The biggest inprovements came from Great Britain
Why did they loose it, and how did America offer the future ?
Let me list some reasons
1. America had cheap energy. The rivers and creeks of our New England provided almost free energy sources.
England relied on steam produced energy that consumed coal, a very expensive comodity at that time

2. America had a willing work force, that wanted to make the business they worked for a success.They were willing to learn and talent was rewarded
England was resorting to Crafts and Skill Trades associations ( Unions). They sounded good, but really restrict developement of people because seniority issues
which keeps the good prospects from developing the inate skills they posess, while less capable workers were placed into critical positions

3. America had non restrictive government. England controlled the Engineers and Machinists.
It was illegal for a tradesman to leave England as they believed that the industrial secrets they had would be lost
The British government even told the steam industry for example, how much pressure they could use ( 6 PSI) in boilers.

4. Taxes were low in the USA and very high in England

5.Patents were contested in England agressively, while many developements in the USA went un protected
There were many "protected businesses" in early England

6. Social issues were high on the list of Englishmen as the "Luddite's " demanded curtailment of industry operations and expansions.

So what have "we" got today

1. We had cheap energy. It cost 2 cents a KWH for atomic power and 3 cents for Coal . But what does our citizens and government want ? 15 cent + for solar or wind
China is putting a coal fired plant on line EVERYDAY ! Think we can compete ?
2. Our willing workforce has deteriorated. Where is the willingness to start at the bottom and work up ? Where is the willingness to work long hours to achieve?
Where is the willingness to go to school after work to improve ? Why do we pay 400 dollars a week to someone to not work ?
3. Government Control is what it is all about today . Where are the foundries ? They didn't disappear because China had better sand !
They left because the government didn't want them ( epa, osha). We had iron ore, and cheap energy , but lost them.
We are being told how big a soft drink we can drink, do you honestly think it's not worse for manufacturers ?
4 USA now has the highest corporate taxes in the world...makes you feel good, doesn't it ( forget the Bain capital crap, it's just to confuse us !)
Taxes are lower in the rest of the world folks ( except Greece ), so does that mean we should expect manufacturing to rush to the USA?
All we have to do is look at the current protectionism policies here by our leaders ( millions of dollars to unsucessful wind mills and electric panel makers ) and we can see Great Britain is being imitated again
5 A Patent today is a joke. It has become a 900 page rant that will end in court . Today, over 3600 patents are filed in legal suits every year, up three fold in the past 20 years.
Patents are being filed for lawsuit purposes, not R&D !
6. Today, we have the conservationists, or greenies, who try to stop any and everything that is being developed here in the USA. Much of the claims are weak and not productive
This is no more apparent, then 20 years ago when a company tried to solve the asbestos problem by trying to bury it back in the asbestos mine where it came from. Denied of course !

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that once the foundries were gone, the machining of large machines and heavy industry will go offshore as well.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know we lead the world in electronic development , but our tax policies will drive that away.

In the mean time, we sit here and blame others for our apparent lack to understand the past, and what it may predict for the future. So be it.

Rich

goose
01-08-2013, 05:10 PM
To me, it seems, many of these “manufacturing making a comeback“ stories are little more than empty cheerleading revolving around lameass examples like there’s a guy in Vermont making goat cheese or whatever.

The article referenced by the OP speaks of ceramic mugs for Starbucks, black V neck T shirts and hand sewn holiday aprons. Whoopee...........:p

Here’s the real story:

http://creditwritedowns.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/us-employment-in-manufacturing.jpg

oldtiffie
01-08-2013, 11:04 PM
I think some need to realise that "manufacturing" has many forms and not many will employ "machinists" as seems to be defined or presumed or assumed here.

So while "manufacturing" is perhaps increasing "at a great rate" - ie "spin" - what is not mentioned is that it is from a very low base.

Many industries have large inventories and very large cash reserves which they can either "sit on", invest and hold in reserve until their prospects for the future look a whole lot better and that may not be for a while yet.

Consumers are doing much the same and while that continues both wholesale and retail will stay low and "manufacturing" will stay low as well.

You can't blame consumers for not buying "made in USA" stuff as they are quite entitled to get the best deal they can afford - which sounds very much like some here who proclaim they are "cheap" etc.

You will have a hard time convincing the advertisers in most related BBS's and magazines that the non-"made in the USA" is better or good value - so it seems that "cheap" works well for the buyers who keep coming back - and paying for advertising.

So while I will admit that its "drawing a long bow" but it could be said that those "cheap" buyers of cheap(er) non USA-made are cutting their own throats and that of others - but I doubt you'd convince them of it.

Its no use sitting on your collective ar$es complaining to each about "others" (of course) - like a dog on a thorn bush and nobody (ie the owner of the dog and similar others) all moaning and doing nothing constructive about the perceived "problem/s".


Life Gets Tedious , Don't It?

The sun comes up and the sun goes down,
The hands on the clock keep going round,
I just get up and it's time to lay down,
Life gets tedious, don't it?

My shoes untied but I don't care,
I was'nt figuring on going nowhere,
I'd have to wash and comb my hair,
And that's just wasted effort.

Water in the well gettin' lower end lower,
Can't take a bath for a month or more,
But I've heard it told and it's true I'm sure,
That too much bathing weakens yer.

Open the door and the flies come in,
Shut the door and yer sweating again,
And in the process, I cracked my shin,
Just one darn thing after another.

Ole brown mule, he must be sick,
I jabbed him in the rump with a pin on a stick,
He humped his back but he did'nt kick,
There's something cockeyed somewhere.

Ole mouse chawing on the pantry door,
Been chawing there for a month or more,
When he gets through he's gonna be sore,
There aint a darn thing in there.

Hound dog howling so forlorn,
Laziest dog that ever was born,
He's howling cause he's sittin' on a thorn,
And he's just too tired to move over.

Tin roof leaks and the chimney leans,
There's a hole in the seat of my old blue jeans,
I 'ate the last of my pork and beans,
Just can't depend on nothin'.

Cows gone dry and the hens won't iay,
Fish stopped biting last Saturday,
Troubles piling up day by day,
And now I'm gettin' dandruff.

Grief and misery pain and woes,
Bills and taxes and so it goes,
And now I'm gettin' a cold in the nose,
Life gets tasteless - Don't it?!

http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_rn=1&gs_ri=hp&cp=22&gs_id=2i&xhr=t&q=dog+howling+on+a+thorn&pf=p&tbo=d&rlz=1R2IRFC_enAU360&sclient=psy-ab&oq=dog+howling+on+a+thorn&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1357316858,d.dGY&fp=1b06cd1115cee478&biw=1280&bih=545

http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&tbo=d&rlz=1R2IRFC_enAU360&sclient=psy-ab&q=drawing+a+long+bow+meaning&oq=drawing+a+long+bow&gs_l=serp.1.2.0i10l2j0i30l2.42711.56556.0.95008.42 .25.2.3.3.5.523.6921.2-16j4j2j1.23.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.yQaHKO6u5gU&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=1b06cd1115cee478&biw=1280&bih=545

Yow Ling
01-08-2013, 11:59 PM
Here is a good example of manufacturing in America, just a new company, highly ambitious.
http://www.legacypresscompany.com/
Watch the videos, this press would be comparable to entry level machines from other countries, if I were in the market for this level of machine I would buy US.

An earlier post mentioned that the corporate tax rate in the US was the highest in the world, how high is it ? is it higher than the personal rate, here its about 30%

Is the US an export led economy ,or more like a huge internal economy with some exports, watching from the outside for the last 50 years it looked like massive consumption and indulgence like nowhere else on earth, now its time to pay the credit card. Not criticizing just observing.

The lead article in the first post seems to be a bit deluded, it will take way more than t shirts and aprons to turn things around, it will take brave guys like Liberty Press Company to re establish small to medium manufacturing, its the same here just not as bad from what I can tell

Rich Carlstedt
01-09-2013, 12:28 AM
Corporate tax rate is 35 % in the USA, and if money is paid to the investors, there is an additional 20 % charged ( Capital gains)

What has killed America is the cost of Fuel. In 1974 , The Department of Energy was formed in the Federal Government to resolve the oil supply isssues. They have done nothing to improve oil supply in 38 years. They have attemped to reduce demand ( smaller /lighter autos and efficiency standards ie) but have done nothing about supply. Their complaint is that America consumes 25 % of the oil. They forget America was producing 25 % of the worlds GDP. Without Cheap energy for manufacturing, you die !

Grind Hard
01-09-2013, 12:36 AM
General manufacturing will never return to this country. By the time costs spiral out of control in Asia, we'll be well on our way to developing Africa.

What we can do and should do is focus on developing advanced technologies found no where else -- oh wait we can't afford to do that. I forgot.

Well then lets focus on infrastructure and utility -- right. Can't afford that either.

Lets build ships. The world needs more -- wait.

Aircraft -- same thing.

Despite the best efforts of companies to create a low-wage dynamic labor-force that can be used and tossed like tooling labor costs are still out of control.

Companies want to drive down costs yet the ones I hear about ONLY focus on the labor metric. Lets squeeze as much blood out of someone for $8 an hour then fire them... rather than invest in robotics, machine vision, expert systems... so on so forth.

The argument I hear is "oh that will take your job away." Bull****. I can program and run multiple machines, just because YOUR skill is "screw bottle cap onto bottle, place in box" doesn't mean everyone is at that level. :D

Show me a company that is investing in all the required technologies to bring manufacturing back: Energy savings, automation and labor elimination, and sustainable manufacturing technology. Show me that and I'll show you a company serious about bringing jobs back to this country.

Until then... I've seen articles like this one go by at least one a month every month since 1996, and yet the economy is the worst it's ever been. Take that as you will.

Yow Ling
01-09-2013, 12:47 AM
Is there no minimum wage law in the US ? $8 isnt alot , the minimum here is about 13.00
How much does a machine operator get (not a machinist, somebody that operates a machine like a clicking press or a filling machine).

lakeside53
01-09-2013, 12:59 AM
Minimum wage varies by State - $9.35 here in Washington. Most workers except very low end or entry level get paid more.

Grind Hard
01-09-2013, 02:51 AM
$7.25 here in NY.

Expect to make $7.50 - $9.50 an hour in this region working through a service. Companies do NOT hire directly around here they all go through services to keep wages depressed.

I know they want to kick minimum up almost a buck but 'business in general' is revolting at the thought of actually having to pay more.

bborr01
01-09-2013, 10:29 AM
Bigjohnt.

Eliminating most of the janitors was not our union's idea. As we automated more, the people who ran the automation had more time that they were not glued to their machines. It also put the responsibility of keeping a clean work area on the people who made the mess in the first place. Lots of my fellow employees ran millions of dollars worth of machinery each. When things are going good, the operator is just baby sitting the machines. But when things go bad, it takes a very well trained individual to run things. Some shops are very low tech and operators feed machines by hand. That is not true at my former employer.

Your references to eastern airlines are kind of out dated. Eastern went under in 1991, kind of ancient history if you ask me.

You say that you are a union member. I can't figure out how some people can despise unions so much and then work for them anyway. Your posts clearly show your disdain for unions but you still work there. Can you say "biting the hand that feeds you"?

As the old saying goes, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Brian

lwalker
01-09-2013, 03:19 PM
...
Show me a company that is investing in all the required technologies to bring manufacturing back: Energy savings, automation and labor elimination, and sustainable manufacturing technology. Show me that and I'll show you a company serious about bringing jobs back to this country.


These two are not the same! Manufacturing output is growing, manufacturing jobs are not. The companies exist to build products and make profits; creating jobs is peripheral to that and not the business' core function.

People need to take responsibility for themselves. I have a friend who is a Software Quality Assurance Engineer. He used to be a Union worker in a paper mill being paid $25/hour to sweep floors (I couldn't believe it when he told me that!). He was smart enough to realize that there was no way they could keep that up indefinitely. So, before the gravy train dried up, he went to college and got an MIS (Management Information Systems) degree and is now making a heck of a lot more than he was, and has an upward career path. A lot of people who were content to stay there and be paid an unsustainable wage ended up unemployed when the mill was bought out.

Ries
01-10-2013, 07:56 PM
Its very true that "manufacturing" and manufacturing jobs are two very different things.

When my dad was in college, in the late 40's, he worked summers at the Gary Works of US Steel. And, at that time, there were between 30,000 and 40,000 employees at that facility.
Tonnage at that mill was about twice what a modern EAF mill, like a Nucor mill, puts out, with around 500 employees.
Figure 30 times the employees to make the same amount of steel.

Same thing with car factories- he worked Studebaker one summer- maybe ten thousand guys in one factory. Currently, a Toyota or Mercedes or Honda factory in the USA will make MORE, BETTER cars, with a quarter the number of employees.

in 1900, something like 80% of americans worked in agriculture. Farmers in my area can outproduce 1900 era farmers by many times the crop, with just a few guys.

in both cases, those jobs are gone, and they are never coming back.

But that doesnt mean steel mills in China employ 30,000 guys- they all use the same computerized, high tech equipment the world around.

So, we have two different problems-
Employment
and
Manufacturing

we actually do pretty well in manufacturing- we make MORE steel now than in the fifites. MORE cars. HAAS makes thousands of machines a year in California, with a tiny fraction of the number of employees bridgeport used to have.

And, by world standards, the USA has low taxes, low overhead, and low wages. Ikea has a factory in the USA that pays half the wage they pay in Sweden, and they still have factories in Sweden. Mercedes and BMW take advantage of low US wages, compared to Germany, to export SUV's and Z-4 sports cars from the USA to many countries.

firbikrhd1
01-10-2013, 09:32 PM
Bigjohnt.

Eliminating most of the janitors was not our union's idea. As we automated more, the people who ran the automation had more time that they were not glued to their machines. It also put the responsibility of keeping a clean work area on the people who made the mess in the first place. Lots of my fellow employees ran millions of dollars worth of machinery each. When things are going good, the operator is just baby sitting the machines. But when things go bad, it takes a very well trained individual to run things. Some shops are very low tech and operators feed machines by hand. That is not true at my former employer.

Your references to eastern airlines are kind of out dated. Eastern went under in 1991, kind of ancient history if you ask me.

You say that you are a union member. I can't figure out how some people can despise unions so much and then work for them anyway. Your posts clearly show your disdain for unions but you still work there. Can you say "biting the hand that feeds you"?

As the old saying goes, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Brian

Brian, it wasn't BigjohnT that wrote that post, it was I, and I stick by my words.

EAL may have happened a long time ago but that process continues in many unions even today. Certainly no one can say the the UAW wasn't complicit in the downfall of GM. No company, even one the size of GM, can pay people to sit around and watch TV. In that case, as well as EAL, I hold management accountable as well for the problems. Any company that would agree to a contract such as the one GM workers got cut their own throat as well and should have shut the doors then.

Regarding the Union I am a member of, and "biting the hand that feeds me", I can say that all Unions are not created the same. My Union has done a great deal for me and my co workers but there is a balance of power between the Union and management, not a one sided power grab. We don't have the right to strike for one thing. That insures we will bargain in good faith. In my nearly 30 years of service there has never been a work slowdown, Blue Day or any such measure to force an issue. Further, 99% of the workers love their jobs and respect them. They try their best to give 100%, 99% of the time. They depend upon each other for their well being as well. Many times in the past, including recently when funds were tight the Union made concessions to balance the budget. At other times in the past we got nice raises or better benefits when monies were more plentiful and the economy on better footing. Our contracts are voted on and passed or sent for renegotiation by the Union membership. Things are hammered out until there is a good and fair outcome for all. There is another reason things work that way which I have saved for last. See, I am a member of a Firefighter's Union. I am also a taxpayer in the County where I work as are many of my friends and family as are those of most other Union members. We have skin in the game both ways. We don't want higher taxes nor do we want outrageous salaries and benefits. We want to provide a service we can be proud of for a price that is not only affordable but also keeps out privatization. One last thing, lest you think this can only work with a tiny organization in a small town, I can tell you we are the 7th largest Department in the nation with almost 2000 union members plus retired members. That may be small compared to GM or EAL but the size isn't as important as the attitude. We know which side our bread is buttered on. We respect our jobs and do our best every day. We expect fair compensation for hazardous duty but don't use that or force to obtain benefits or raises. In almost every election propositions we have supported have passed overwhelmingly. We have the support of the public (our customers) as well as management. We are respected not only because we are firefighters but because we treat the County and taxpayers fairly. In return we are treated likewise. Other Unions could take a good lesson from the example our Union sets as could many workers who don't respect their jobs.

Bill736
01-11-2013, 12:05 AM
When that business returns to America, I hope we can improve the quality of our own products. In recent years, I've battled major and multiple defects in American made furnaces, water heaters, well water pumps, washing machines, and motor vehicles. All of the defects were from sloppy assembly by American workers, and not defective foreign parts or poor design.

oldtiffie
01-11-2013, 12:33 AM
All good points as to why manufacturing will/may increase in the medium/longer terms but manufacturing jobs (labor) units per manufacturing unit will progressively decline - perhaps more than it is now - who knows? - but it will decline never the less and so will "machinist" jobs as they are known or thought of here.

Continuing and up-graded automation will see to that.

So as the current "machinists" grow older or stay on unemployment benefits or work in some other role there will or may still be more job-ready machinists than there are even a significant number of reasonable good jobs and wages ahead.

This will certainly act as a powerful disincentive to newer entrants to the "macvhinist" pool of available labor - and who could blame them as in many cases their prospects or outlook for a medium or longer term employment and wages and benefits will be bleak at best.

It is inevitable that there will be some very few diversified and very skilled and well qualified machinists who will be in high demand and who will or may be in a better position (have sufficient "leverage") to negotiate better wages and conditions.

Machinist will need to be regularly updating their skill-sets as technology advances as well as taking "further education" for updated or new skills and further formal education at least at the College certificate level and probably to university degree level at least.

So perhaps there is to be a continuing "shake-out" yet.

It might be instructive to go back to the immediate post WW2 era and and see how the USA paid huge sums to upgrade/restore the economies of: West Germany, France and Japan in particular to "re-tool" (from new) - although the polical and foreign policy benefits to the USA were huge as well.

The USA "forgave" the UK huge amounts or "leand-lease" debts owing - as to enforce even more than the little they did would probably have bankrupted the UK.

So the USA gave a huge "kick-along" to countries which are now or could have been its fiercest competitors.

Read these items:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Us_occupation_of_japan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_post-war_economic_miracle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-Lease

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-Lease

A lot of food for thought there as it may seem that history (in reverse?) is or may need to be reversed.

Mike Amick
01-11-2013, 02:02 AM
No company, even one the size of GM, can pay people to sit around and watch TV.

we are firefighters

Hmmm ... yes I know that kettle is black

Grind Hard
01-11-2013, 06:55 AM
When that business returns to America, I hope we can improve the quality of our own products. In recent years, I've battled major and multiple defects in American made furnaces, water heaters, well water pumps, washing machines, and motor vehicles. All of the defects were from sloppy assembly by American workers, and not defective foreign parts or poor design.

This comes from companies using the lowest-tier workers, and not retaining workers beyond the "latest busy spell."

Liger and I have extensively cataloged the cycles in the employment rags here. Every spring a certain manufacturer puts out a call for workers for 'anticipated growth.' Said company then lays off 400 workers at the end of every summer. There is a rubber mill that runs help-wanted ads right around the holiday, every holiday. Two big food manufacturers do the seasonal worker routine as well. And many many smaller manufacturers try to get away with it as well.

You can't expect to hire hundreds of temps at $8 an hour, give them the short version of the job training, and cut them loose on high-end production.

Yet it happens.

And these very same companies complain about skyrocketing costs! :D

That's another thing that has to change if we are bringing jobs back: While I understand the need for a flexible work force, don't expect people to work at the same level as 30 year senior worker for $8 an hour. People recruited by staffing services at that wage can barely breath unassisted let alone weld heat-exchangers or manufacture food under sanitary conditions.

Dr Stan
01-11-2013, 08:24 AM
You can't expect to hire hundreds of temps at $8 an hour, give them the short version of the job training, and cut them loose on high-end production.

Yet it happens.

And these very same companies complain about skyrocketing costs! :D

That's another thing that has to change if we are bringing jobs back: While I understand the need for a flexible work force, don't expect people to work at the same level as 30 year senior worker for $8 an hour. People recruited by staffing services at that wage can barely breath unassisted let alone weld heat-exchangers or manufacture food under sanitary conditions.

Well said. There is a manufacturer that builds heat exchangers for all the big name furnace companies, Lexon, Trane, etc. in Mississippi that learned this lesson many years ago. The plant manager told me they finally figured out it was better to have a stable workforce and warehouse finished products by building 12 months out of the year instead of just building like crazy for 6 to 8 months then laying off most of the employees. The cost per unit, quality, productivity, workforce turnover, and any other measure of business you can think of improved dramatically.

JIT manufacturing is a very good practice for many, but not for all companies at it just did not work for them.

bborr01
01-11-2013, 09:50 AM
Firbikr,

Both you and bigjohn had about the same take on unions. You were the one that brought up eastern airlines.

It seems like the media did a very good job of making the American public think that all union workers at GM and other automakers just sit around watching tv all day. Who do you think built all of the US built GM cars?

Here is what happened regarding GM employees watching tv. GM agreed with the union that they would staff at certain levels, regardless of outsourcing. If GM outsourced work and then found that they didn't need as many employees in a plant, the employees would still be paid. Some that I knew built playgrounds in poor inner city neighborhoods. Some volunteered/worked at senior centers. And yes, some watched tv. GM had the option of pulling outsourced work back into the plants and shutting down the "jobs bank". GM didn't do that. So they were obligated to pay employees that had no work to do. You can't really blame the union workers for that.

As to firefighters, I would guess that the same thing goes as auto workers. I read a few years ago that firefighters in Las Vegas Nevada earned on average 200K / year. Battalion chiefs were at 280K/year. Very few auto workers that I worked with ever topped 100K/year. Those that did pretty much lived there. As to sin of watching tv while being paid, what do firefighters do when there are no fires to put out? No tv's in the fire stations? From the stories that I have heard, the non fire fighting time for a fire fighter is pretty easy. Yes fire fighting is a dangerous job. Working in a factory can also be hazardous. Riddle me this. EXACTLY WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE ON DUTY BUT NOT FIGHTING FIRES?

Do I think that all firefighters make 200K. No i don't. But I think the media would like to have the American public believe that all firefighters, who tend to be mainly unionized, make 200K. Do you think that all auto workers sit around watching tv all day. It kind of appears that way from what you posted earlier. The media would like to have the American public believe that all auto workers sit and watch tv all day.

When you look at how much the automakers spend on advertising with the media and compare it with how much the auto workers unions spend on advertising, it is not hard to figure out how the media might be biased towards corporations. Businesses usually try not to bite the hand that feeds them.

It just bothers me when I see other union members blasting unions. It reminds me of the mess we have in politics. Most people seem to agree that politicians that are in office too long are a problem but they usually never vote their politician out of office. It is always the other peoples politicians that they see as the problem.

Brian

firbikrhd1
01-11-2013, 11:16 AM
Hmmm ... yes I know that kettle is black

Yeah Mike, I know the old public opinion that firefighters sit around at watch TV and play cards all day and get paid. Sorry, not on my department nor in any real world big city department. In addition to my Station running between 15 and 22 calls a shift (24 hours) we also have hydrant maintenance, Station maintenance, building inspections, building surveys, drills, and a myriad of other chores to perform. Counting response time, time spent on calls and time to return to quarters that doesn't leave much time for TV or even to use the restroom. Most days when I get off duty I sleep for several hours in order to catch up on the sleep I didn't get fighting fires, holding an old person's hand while they throw up, cutting someone out of a crushed vehicle, or going to a residence at 3 AM because a parent called me saying they promised their kid he could see the fire truck if he would go to sleep afterwards. Not only are we able to watch very little TV, we usually aren't able to finish a meal. However, if you think it's such a soft touch why don't you try it out for while? You might actually get an education that is beyond folk lore or some Andy of Mayberry TV show.

firbikrhd1
01-11-2013, 11:46 AM
Firbikr,


As to firefighters, I would guess that the same thing goes as auto workers. I read a few years ago that firefighters in Las Vegas Nevada earned on average 200K / year. Battalion chiefs were at 280K/year. Very few auto workers that I worked with ever topped 100K/year. Those that did pretty much lived there. As to sin of watching tv while being paid, what do firefighters do when there are no fires to put out? No tv's in the fire stations? From the stories that I have heard, the non fire fighting time for a fire fighter is pretty easy. Yes fire fighting is a dangerous job. Working in a factory can also be hazardous. Riddle me this. EXACTLY WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE ON DUTY BUT NOT FIGHTING FIRES?

It seems like the media did a very good job of making the American public think that all union workers at GM and other automakers just sit around watching tv all day. Who do you think built all of the US built GM cars?

Do I think that all firefighters make 200K. No i don't. But I think the media would like to have the American public believe that all firefighters, who tend to be mainly unionized, make 200K. Do you think that all auto workers sit around watching tv all day. It kind of appears that way from what you posted earlier. The media would like to have the American public believe that all auto workers sit and watch tv all day.

It just bothers me when I see other union members blasting unions. It reminds me of the mess we have in politics. Most people seem to agree that politicians that are in office too long are a problem but they usually never vote their politician out of office. It is always the other peoples politicians that they see as the problem.

Brian

Brian, how much firefighters are paid, or anyone else for that matter, depends greatly on the locale and the economy of that area. When local taxes and the general cost of living eat up a huge portion of your paycheck as they do in NY or many places in CA you have to be paid higher accordingly. Yes, the media would like to make this seem outrageous and they accomplish this in areas where costs of living and hence wages are lower. Low information people are often sucked in my the media.

No doubt the media did a good job of bashing auto workers at GM as well and the company shot themselves in the foot by agreeing to pay workers not to work or to do whatever community service they did at a cost to the company. On the other hand GM had to choose to agree to that ridiculous provision or face a strike or walkout.

I never made 200k, or even close, in my entire career, even with a great deal of overtime. Our battalion chiefs don't make that either. Only top management does, and the Director's executive secretary.

It bothers me to blast Unions. It also bothers me to see union members not give a good days work knowing they are protected by the union. It bothers me to see union members take drugs or get repeated DUIs and keep their jobs because they are protected by unions. It bothers me to see unions make and agree to contracts that they know will negatively impact the solvency of a company and kill union jobs in the long term. It bothers me that some unions are so short sighted they will take whatever they can gt today and not look at next year or five years from now. There is a lot to be bothered about on both sides, management and labor and plenty of blame to go around.

With regard to what firefighters do when they aren't fighting fires, I suggest you read my post responding to mikeamick. It may be that your idea of what firefighters do is somewhat outdated. In the case of my Department we are Fire and Rescue with about 83% of our call volume being rescue related. Suppression units run EMS calls just as rescue units do, perhaps more often since Priority Dispatch has been instated. Most large departments today have become both fire and rescue providers with call proportions similar to ours. EMS has picked up where fire suppression has fallen mostly because new building construction is more fire resistant and the population is aging and requiring more medical attention. Illegal immigrants, the uninsured and those just too lazy to see a physician also add greatly to our call volume. We have become the doctors that make house calls for everything from a headache (" I have a headache and need an aspirin but ran out") to CVA, Cardiac Arrest Chest pain and everything in between including paper cuts, knocked out teeth, shootings, stabbings and MVAs.

Even if none of what I have said were the case and firefighters did sit and watch TV, they are still doing what they get paid to do, be ready for an emergency when called. Firefighters are like an insurance policy, you pay for it, hope you never need it but are glad you have it when you finally do.

bborr01
01-11-2013, 12:57 PM
Even if none of what I have said were the case and firefighters did sit and watch TV, they are still doing what they get paid to do, be ready for an emergency when called. Firefighters are like an insurance policy, you pay for it, hope you never need it but are glad you have it when you finally do.

Same is true with autoworkers watching tv. They are doing what they get paid to do. In most cases the people sitting around would rather be making parts. The day goes a lot faster if you are doing something constructive.

My point is that you can usually find abuse in any system if it is large enough and if you look long enough. But largely the masses do their jobs and the work gets done. We can likely both should agree that firefighters don't generally sit around a lot watching tv and neither do auto workers.

Brian

Mike Amick
01-11-2013, 01:58 PM
Were cool firbikrhd1

I just think you yanked a lot of chains talking as though your union was so much different than
other union (workers). Have you ever visited an auto worker plant (any one). Those people are
humping ... and I suspect showing as much pride in their work as you do.

And it probably wouldn't have been so bad .. but .. the claim is coming from one of the highest paid, best
benefit jobs in the country. I am talking about non administration jobs.

I honestly believe that these views come from a particular partisan perspective .. which really amazes
me because I suspect that you voted for the side that thinks that we have "enough fireman and police"

When you and I were young .. one parent worked, making enough to own a home and support a
family. And Yep ... some of them were even janitors. And the plant/business owner had a big
house on the hill. And the nation flourished. It was a symbiotic relationship with respect going
both ways.

Now .. when a company gets so large that they have a board of directors ... answering to other rich
investors ... the labor costs are literally a line on a spreadsheet. A high percentage of the companies
that have moved overseas ... were making huge profits while here. The decision to move was
purely a bottom line decision. Nothing to do with survival .. just a bigger bottom line. A capitalist
see's nothing wrong with this.

I do.

But seriously .. I do enjoy your posts.

Mike