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GM will eliminate jobs bank

Published: Thu, January 29, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Don Shilling

Removing workers’ extra unemployment benefits still is being negotiated.

Workers being laid off from the Lordstown car plant are losing their long-term safety net.

General Motors said Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers to eliminate the jobs bank, which pays workers who have lost their jobs. The change is effective Monday.

Workers in the jobs bank used to receive 95 percent of their regular pay for reporting to the plant even though they had no duties. Last month, GM reduced the pay to 85 percent but did not require workers to report to the plant.

Eliminating the jobs bank is part of ongoing negotiations to help GM meet conditions of $13.4 billion in loans from the federal government, said Tony Sapienza, a company spokesman.

The removal of supplemental unemployment pay is still being negotiated, he said. Loan conditions call for the elimination of benefits for laid-off workers that go beyond normal severance pay.

Labor contracts provide that laid-off workers with at least one year’s seniority receive supplemental pay, in addition to state benefits, for 48 weeks. The combination amounts to 72 percent of a worker’s pay after taxes and fees.

The jobs bank kicks in after these benefits expire.

GM and Chrysler, which also accepted government loans, have until March 31 to meet loan conditions and convince federal officials that they have a plan to be viable, or federal officials can demand immediate repayment of the loans.

Chrysler reached a deal with the UAW last week to end the jobs bank.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said late last year that the union was suspending the jobs bank, pending further negotiations. He has drawn a harder line on eliminating supplemental pay. He has asked President Barack Obama to support retention of the pay.

The UAW and automakers created the jobs bank in the 1980s in response to Japanese automakers’ offering workers lifetime employment without layoffs.

GM is in the process of laying off 2,800 of its 4,200 hourly workers at its Lordstown complex, although not all of them have one year’s seniority. Sales have been slow for Lordstown’s two products, the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5.

The complex is going from three shifts to one Feb. 9. The third shift is being eliminated when the plant reopens Monday. Production has been down all of January.

The first and second shifts will alternate on a weekly basis until March 30, and then the second shift will be eliminated.

In related news, a Flint, Mich., television station reported Tuesday that GM has canceled construction contracts for a new plant in Flint to build engines for the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Volt. The Cruze is to be launched from Lordstown in April 2010.

A GM official said, however, that the company was looking into other plans for the engines, including using an existing plant. GM said late last year it was suspending the engine plant project, adding that the Cruze could use engines from overseas if construction ran behind schedule.



1lv2boat(2 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

About time they end the stupidity. I have never heard of such a dumb idea, pay people not to work! The UAW should also be eliminated, if they were the auto companies would be in much better shape as would the workers. I wonder how the UAW is doing with their golf resort? Still losing millions on the backs of their members?

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2paulydel(1598 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

You don't know what you are talking about. If it wan't for the unions we be working slave labor like other countries. A union is not for some places who treat their employees with respect and not lik a piece of machinery. GM was a company that could care less about their employees they were just a number in the plant. Alot of non-union places have benifitted from what the unions have done without sacerficing anything to earn it. If you hven't been in those shoes you ought to put a sock in it.

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3tll3023(35 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

No one is saying unions aren't good in some ways. But lets face it, they have always recieved over and above whether they have worked or not, they would not be in such bad shape if it wasn;t for all the extras they have always gotten. WE all are sacraficing in these times, and so should they, especially since we have all bailed them out and probably will have to again. So welcome to our world, we get laid off all we get is unemployment and its hard to live on 176.00- 250.00 a week but thats the way it is.

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4act28(3 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

It kills me when I read this blog. I am a working woman an american citizen and I have never rooted for someone to lose their job or take a pay cut. I understand the uaw jobs bank was misused, but it was in place to protect U.S workers from companies shutting down a sending work overseas. It was also for when plants had to idle to retool. Maybe ending this program will get some off the unions back.

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5jimiohoh(88 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Unions at one time were needed to raise wages and working conditions but in todays economy we have to compete with the rest of the world. We could isolate or set tariffs on goods but are Americans willing to pay for union made or made in America. How many UAW workers shop at WALMART for the undeniable savings?

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6electrician101(22 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

This comment is for YSUgrad99

You are another shining example of the unjustified hatred for the UAW in the MV.

I assume you graduated from YSU in 99' from your post name?

Google has been a search engine since 1998 and if they taught you how to use it at YSU I suggest typing in Japanese "employment for life".

There you will discover that it was the Japanese who pioneered the 'jobs bank' NOT the UAW. The UAW just mirrored what the non-union transplant workers were getting. GM like the Japanese automakers liked the idea of the bank because it kept a pool of workers that were trained in case they were needed. Thousands of dollars are spent training employees and contrary to popular MV anti union belief a person doesn't just walk into GM and start building automobiles.

The Japanese transplant auto companies, like Toyota and Honda, currently have people in their 'jobs bank' including the Honda plant right here in Ohio.

So I ask you, why no outcry for Japanese auto manufacturers?

Does the Americans 'current love affair' with Japanese autos allow them to turn a blind eye while bashing the UAW for the exact same policy?

On Monday it will be announced that there will no longer be a 'jobs bank' at GM.

That should make you happy, right?

Of course now you will have to find some other 'dead horse' to beat to feed your jealousy and hatred.

If your opinions represent the majority of students graduating from YSU then I lose ALL respect for the quality of education being taught there.

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7jimiohoh(88 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

The Japanese auto makers are not the ones asking for billions in bail-out money. Their relatationship with their workers must be working.
What is happening with the auto worker building Japanesse products in this country?
Many car companies have come and gone. Why not lose two now? The sad part of the whole ordeal would be the loss of "SATURN" which is a fine car-made by non-union workers.

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8electrician101(22 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

The Japanese auto makers have been subsidized by THEIR government. The Japanese government also funded the battery testing for Toyoda hybrids. Since they are a foreign company they cannot ask the US government for a loan (NOT BAIL-OUT BTW). Of course after the Southern states gave free land and tax abatements to the transplants, I wouldn't put it past out idiotic congress if they would approve US taxpayer money for a foreign company's endeavors.

And to the poster jimiohoh, try posting some factual information next time.

Saturn is represented by UAW Local 1583, Spring Hill, Tenn.

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9ldchian(56 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

on a baseball team they have nine players on the field and a dugout full of players ready and capable of going into the game. they get paid wether they play or not. it's a jobs bank. who complains about that?

so many people write on this blog as if everything is black or white. cut their pay. eliminate benefits, get rid of the UAW and all will be well. what satisfaction is there when they pull the carpet out from under these people? does someone else's loss improve your lot in life?

and ysugrad, how do you know how fat anyone has become? i imagine you at work, sitting at your computer, playing solitaire, eating ho-hos and reliving your glory days at ysu.

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10scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Idchian you are exactly what your nick sounds like.
The "job bank" you are referring to in the baseball dugout is in no way similar to the robbery that UAW got thru. Every one of those players play. A typical 25 man roster will usually consist of only a couple utility infielders who play to give the others a day off in the season. I'd like to see the lordstown workers work 162 days in a row with the physical and mental exertion required in baseball.
Unions served a purpose 30-40 years ago, but have since become antiquated. They now serve the sole purpose of keeping lazy people employed, while keeping others willing to work from getting jobs.
GM has long had a family and friends policy so that when they did hire-you need to either be someone or know someone to get hired.
I hope everyone the best who is associated with the employees and families of the displaced workers. 72% of take home wages still sounds like a decient severance package though.
Bet those guys too greedy to take the buy-out package the last few years are kicking themselves now.

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11standup4ytown(20 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

The fact that it took this long to eliminate the "jobs bank" is almost embarssing to GM. Hello...pay people not to work?!?! I guess no worries when you can rely on a bail out from hard working American citizens.

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12electrician101(22 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago


Did you read any of the other posts?

Since you sound like you didn't I'll reiterate:

The Japanese transplants have 'jobs banks'.
They pay their workers FULL wages and they are NOT building cars.

Why no hatred show for the exact same policies?

Could it be that your comments reflect the fact that you really are just a jealous, UAW hater?

I say yes.

To OldManGrump:

Your statement does not make any sense whatsoever.

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13standup4ytown(20 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Jealous UAW hater?...No. I wouldn't want any part of that mess. Just fed up with it all and the mis-management of GM. I think some consessions should have been made by the auto workers. I seems like a lot of greed. This is what it looks like from the outside. Just an opinion...no hatred.

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14scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Hey electrician;
why is it that the non-union domestic manufacturers can maintain a job bank and STILL keep wages at a fraction of what the UAW demands? Is that due to the japanese subsidy as well? And what the heck to you call $700 Billion if not an american "subsidy"? Get a grip, your union brothers would take a scab job in a second so don't lay all the blame on everyone but the UAW.
I stand by my comment that the union has outlived its usefulness.

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15ldchian(56 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

scrooge: Idchian you are exactly what your nick sounds like.<<<< what the hell does this even mean?

so you're saying it's harder being a baseball player than an autoworker? and they play 162 games in a row? hmmm, the season lasts at least six months, so . . . .

and how long does a game usually last? because most people work at least eight hours a day and five days a week, so . . . .

so you really just don't have a clue, do you?

in the first place, i know autoworkers who have worked years on end without a day off. they were so greedy, work was the most important thing in their lives.

secondly, ask anyone if playing baseball for a living is preferable to a factory job or any other job, for that matter. see what they say.

and when did ball players start making millions? when they unionized.

the point is that there are people who get paid to sit in waiting and be ready to work when called upon. that's what the jobs bank was originally designed for. if it was abused or mismanaged, that's another story. i won't comment something i don't know about.

now if only you would follow my example.

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16electrician101(22 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Well scrooge:

If the so called 'Americans' were buying GM cars at the same rate they are buying foreign cars then I guess GM would have the money to support a 'jobs bank'. UAW labor represents less than 10% of the total cost of a car so even if the UAW worked for free, GM would STILL be going broke. Time to find another 'dead horse' to beat.

How in the name of Zeus is it the UAW workers fault GM cannot design a car, with quality materials, customers want?

"Wages at a fraction of what the UAW demands?" Do you research anything before you post? Obviously not; UAW workers average $28/hr while non union transplant workers average $25/hr. Not much difference there.

The UAW got a $700 billion subsidy??? Thats news to me. Wall Street and the banks got $700 billion; NOT the UAW. The UAW isn't broke, GM is. GM got a government loan but it was only 10 billion so far.

If you are going to post comments that you want people to believe, at least know what you are talking about and TRY and be factual. If you don't, then your post is just a laugh.

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17baboo(43 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

My parents were both in unions- the UAW and IUE. I had the opportunity to visit their plants many times over the years, and I was appauled. Nobody was doing anything. I was 11 the first time I visited Packard, and I couldn't understand why nobody was working. Most people finished their 8 hour assignments after only a few others. Others were sleeping in a corner, playing poker, watching movies, reading books, etc. Management and and unions let this happen over the course of many years. There was no way that any company could continue without serious problems in the future. Well, the bubble did burst. No business can operate with unskilled workers getting payed way over the market value, managemant making poor decisions, and poor quality. I was fortunate to be raised with the help of organized labor, but I will never buy a car from the big 3 again. I have been burned too many times by overpriced and poor quality vehicles.

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18ldchian(56 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

baboo: could these people have been on break or idled out? or are you assuming they were just goofing off?

it's true, some jobs were rated and a worker could finish in less than eight hours. then they got to sit and play cards. but the rates were set by industrial engineers who worked for the company. if a person became adept enough at doing his job, he could get done early.

then the job could be manned by another person or crew and the company got more than a day's production in a shift. rates benefitted the company, too, otherwise they would not have agreed to them.

so you were "fortunate enough to be raised with the help of organized labor" but will never buy american again? seems to me instead of calling yourself baboo, you should be called baboon.

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19scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Idchian= 1d1ot

First off for you drones who have no clue how a business is run. The workers get $28/hr but with benefits and matches it costs GM over $70/hr. Honda does pay slightly less per hour (duh-that's still a fraction) but their cost per employee is under $50.

now as for the baseball comparison.
Big money was realized when the fat TV contracts were negotiated and not because of the union.
A baseball player may play a 4 hr game but puts in countless hours of practice, stretching and prep work before and after each game. Contrast that to the prep work involved in screwing on radiator caps and lug nuts............you get my point.
just read baboo's comment on the "typical" workday. My parents were both IUE retirees as well. Their friends would sit around and compare how long it took to get rate out-about 3 hours on average. A friend of mine was hired recently at Delphi and couldn't believe how little work was actually done in a day. All thanks to the UNION

GM claims about 70% of it's budget goes toward retirees and healthcare. Do they have themselves to blame for accepting the union's proposal? Sure but it was still UAW doing that got them in that position.
I do agree that the big 3 make unenspiring models with very few exceptions, but that didn't keep GM from being the world leader in sales until last month's report.

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20baboo(43 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Hey idchian, please re-read my post. I threw enough blame around to include management. It's not just the unions fault. But, this has been coming to a head for years, and the bubble finally burst. You can't efficiently run a business with "gravy" quotas when the competition is working a full 8 hour shift. Eventually, the party has to end. Gone are the days when the big 3 could put out junk at an inflated cost when there was no competition. To quote Malcolm X "The chickens are coming home to roost". If the big 3 fold, other, more efficient auto makers will come in to fill the void. This is a market economy. Poor run companies die every day, and they are replaced by stronger, upstart companies.

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21electrician101(22 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago


First of all, YOU have no idea what the truth is. $70/hr is about as far away from the truth you can get. You people that promote this lie ruin your credibility.

Secondly, the GM Lordstown car plant doesn't have 'quotas'. So baboo, you're spreading lies also.

And third, I bet both of your parents are proud of you two jokers.

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22baboo(43 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Electrician. You don't get it, do you? The unions are going the way of the dinosaurs. Here is an example. The turnpike booth workers are union. They went on strike a few years ago, because the State wanted them to pay a portion of their health care costs. These people were getting 100% medical coverage plus wages over $25 an hour. All this for making change for a dollar!!! Explain this to any clerk in a store or gas station who does the same thing for $7 an hour. The unions promote inneficiency, protect employees who should have been fired a long time ago, and drastically raise the prices of goods.

Here is another example. If you were caught smoking marijuana and drinking beer while on your lunch break, wouldn't any sane employer fire your sorry a%#? Yet it happened at the Lordstown plant, and nothing was done to these employees. Thanks to union intervention, nothing is done. If they can get away with getting drunk and high at work, what else is going on? I also feel sorry for anyone who bought a car that was built by a high employee. GM is just as bad for making a crappy product and rolling over to union pressure. I am not bitter or a union hater. I just believe that GM makes a poor product, and the concept of a union is not feasible in the 21st century. Unions were created to protect workers from unsafe working conditions, paltry wages, 16 hour days, no benefits, child labor, etc. No reasonable person now will work under these conditions and the government has regulations against these practices. So the question is, what is the purpose of unions now?

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23ldchian(56 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

baboo, the electrician is right, rates were done away with years ago. the system is designed for every worker to be busy 54 seconds out of every minute. but you don't have to worry about that anymore, do you? most of those people are losing their jobs.

your argument that gm makes junk is bogus. you use it as an excuse to buy un-american and try to explain to your parents why a honda is parked in their driveway.

and the electrician is right again about the $70 an hour scrooge keeps harping on. that was arrived at by someone who took the hourly pay of all production workers, plus the cost of their benefits, plus all the retirees' pensions and the cost of their benefits, added it all up and divided by the number of employees currently working. it's wrong.

when i made $27 an hour, my benefits package was $23. they sent me annual reports with the amounts spelled out. and today, the pay and benefits have been drastically reduced.

notice i'm not someone who knows someone who works there. i'm not someone who walked through once or twice and think i know everything. i worked there for over thirty years.

also, it's an L in my name, scrooge, not an I--Ldchian. so you used up all your cleverness for nothing.

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24ldchian(56 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

so baboo, you don't think some doctors get high before surgery? pilots never fly drunk? bus drivers? truck drivers? office workers? teachers? professional atheletes? movie stars? all these people never drink or get smoked up on the job. only autoworkers. interesting.

see, i can recall four or five guys who were summarily fired from the lordstown fab plant for beng under the influence while at work. who are you talking about?

and you want to know what's the purpose of a union now? ask someone who works at the deli at wal-mart what he or she makes an hour. then ask the person who does the same job at giant eagle what they make.

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25standup4ytown(20 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

unions = greed thats all there is to it

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26baboo(43 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Idchian, I'm sure there are people out there everyday who drink or get high at work. And, I am sure that they get fired if they are caught. I am referring to the big bust that happended in the Lordstown parking lot a few years ago. Were these people fired? No, the union protected them. One guy was even quoted as saying "what I do on break is my business" while holding a beer in his hand. How many employers would find this acceptable behavior?

I am a hard working professional. I worked full time while going to college. I have the fortune of having a good job by working hard and studying hard. How many poor slobs out there hit the "lottery" with GM by being recommended for a job by a family member. These unemployable losers who couldn't do anything else were "lucky" enough to land in a position where they were seriously overpayed with no skills whatsoever. And if they were really lucky, they ended up in the Jobs Bank.

Let me ask you, when was the last time you picked up a piece of paper on the shop floor? Oh wait, it isn't in your job description. All you guys do is whine about your company and go on strike when they ask you to co-pay for your insurance. You could care less about the company that employs you. The only thing that matters is the union. Where are they going to be when GM folds? Perhaps then you will realize that you have been brainwashed into thinking how great the union is.

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27ldchian(56 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

it's impossible to reason with people who know as much as you do, baboo. you got your degree and as a result have that air of superiority about you that i find so cloying. do be too uppity, though, you're not the only one who worked full time while going to college.

i won't continue this discussion except to say that most of the men and women i worked with worked hard all day long, never drank, slept or abused the system. some people are proud of the job they do even if they weren't "a hard working professional" like you.

several have died of lung cancer although they never smoked, most have bad backs, carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical spine issues, hearing loss and a host of other maladies that result from factory work. many had degrees (ahem) but stayed at gm because they got paid more than they could get with their education.

some smoked pot or got drunk on the job but the union had to protect them as well as the decent workers. many of those abusers were rehabilitated by the in-plant programs designed to help them. had they been fired, they might have gone on the public dole and became everyone's problem.

you make generalizations based on what you imagine to be true. we all had the responsibility of keeping the plant clean. you're comment about picking up a piece of paper is simply inane.

so i have a question for you. you made four posts regarding this article, yesterday afternoon at 1:44 and 4:47 and today at 10:45 a.m. and 4:42 p.m.. just what hours do you work?

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28lebronjeremy(16 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Baboo, my father works at General Motors. Are you calling him a poor slob? Where did you get the right to insinuate such nonsense? Was it at college? Because I go to college, and I never learned such an ignorant sentiment. I also work full time doing grunt labor, and I have no healthcare or benefits or pension despite the re-occuring lung infections I get from the poor air quality. Fortunately, I get enough coverage from my father's plan that I can afford to go to the hospital if I had to. He still pays monthly on that plan, too. What's all the talk about great benefits?

If everything is so great there, then why weren't you smart enough to get hired? How did you graduate college? Or maybe you were just like the rest of us who go to college to aviod working in a factory. The fact is, you simply couldn't handle a job like that. We both went to college to avoid the rigors of physical labor. The difference is, I'm smart enough to recognize that, and you, well...

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29scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

It is a scientific fact that people with lower IQs are better suited to jobs with monotonous actions. This did not take into fact degreed or non-degreed workers, so I guess it doesn't matter the level of education achieved.
Guess both of the previous posters have a point

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30baboo(43 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

To lebronjeremy and idchian. I guess we can agree to disagree. For your information, I worked in a factory while going to college, and I still do. I didn't need a union in my corner fighting for me. I worked hard and did things right, and I was rewarded for my effort. I didn't try to take the easy way out and stumble into my position. And the people who work for me are the same way. We work hard every day to improve, eliminate waste, and achieve goals together. We don't feel that anything is owed to us or the company is screwing us over. Instead we focus on the important things, like insuring that we make a good product and staying competitive.

As far as my time, I am on vacation. And according to your reasoning a deli counter person should make more at one location because they are union. That is insane. Wages should be determined by market value, not union intervention. What are the skills needed to run a deli counter? And where do you think that additional wage premium goes to? The consumer!!!!! Do me a favor, go to the deli at Walmart and Giant Eagle. Tell me why there is a $2-4 higher price per pound at Giant Eagle for the same thing? No thanks. I'll buy my $5.49 per pound roast beef at Walmart versus the $9.99 per pound at Giant Eagle. These prices are effective as of yesterday. Since the roast beef was cut by a union hand, will you be willing to pay the premium?

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31electrician101(22 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago


You, like a multitude of other college grads, think they are infallible in the current job market. One hiccup and everyone could be sent packing. It doesn't matter how good you think you are, in a global market, someone is always better and willing to work for less.

I hope it doesn't happen to you but if you could talk to the thousands that had your attitude only to be let go by the companies they previously held so dear, prior to being downsized or relocated overseas, they would now tell you how they were screwed over.

I too am a college grad, and I also worked hard and did things right. I didn't take the easy way out and didn't stumble into my position either. But I'll tell you this, my company would screw me over in a heart beat if it would save them an extra dollar.

So don't be so cocky; karma has a way of biting you in the arse.

I could be wrong since I don't shop Walmart, but I think there is a difference in the quality of meat offered at Walmart as compared to that which is offered at Giant Eagle. Are you positive your Walmart meat doesn't come from China?


The average education level for a GM auto worker at Lordstown is 2.5 years of college. So, if you are trying to insinuate their IQ's are lower than those of others with the same or even less education levels, simply because they work in a production facility, I would say your theory is flawed.

Judging from your posts you wouldn't want to get into an educated debate with some that I know because you WILL be embarrassed.

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32baboo(43 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Electrician, I mean no disrespect to you. I am not cocky, and I know the global economy is brutal. I go to work every day with the mantra that there is a Chinese supervisor kicking my butt. This helps me to be the best I can be. I am also fortunate to work for a great company that values its employees. Believe me, I have no love for GM. The big wigs would gut their own mother if they could. I may be off a bit here, but does the troubled history between labor and management affect the relationship where the company would be willing to gut thier employees when there is a hiccup?

The global economy is big enough for everyone. Yes, the other countries don't play fair. But, what can we do about it to stay competitive? For one, eliminate programs that pay people to do nothing (job bank) is a start. Delivering a superior product with superior customer service is another. These are serious times, and we need all workers and companies to come together and say We Are Americans, we don't take crap from anybody. We are getting our butts kicked because of the woe is me crowd, the whats in it for me crowd, or the not my problem crowd. All of us have a stake in the sucess of this country. It is time for all of us to look ourselves in the mirror and vow to do better.

ps- the roast beef at Walmart is pretty good. Since everything else comes from China, I must be used to it. I couldn't taste any difference.

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33electrician101(22 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago


Drive by Howland's Giant Eagle parking lot during the day. You can't find a parking place. I would say it is every bit as busy as Walmart's food section. Doesn't seem like the meat cutters union is causing THEM any problem. I would also wonder about the quality of meat that is prepackaged and shipped as opposed to FRESH and cut on-site like GE.

No thanks, you can have Walmart; I'll stay with GE.

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