Thursday, June 25, 2009

**ACTION ALERT** Cap & Trade HR 2454 Coming Up for a Vote!


The Cap and Trade bill (H.R. 2454) is coming up for a vote on the House floor at any time after 9:30am EST today and COULD be voted on this Friday, June 26! before It is unclear when the Senate will vote on the bill, so our Senators need to be contacted also.

Unfortunately like the so-called stimulus

H.R. 2454 is yet another stealth bill
On the fast-track in Congress, meaning it will not be read or debated
Unknown quantity of other bills being embedded by amendment process
Will not / cannot be read prior to a vote based on its size, prior to a vote

Cap-n-trade will be devastating to our economy and citizens and when combined with numerous other amendments, a disaster of epic proportions

WE MUST TAKE ACTION NOW!

Effective action steps:

Most effective means of contact is fax or phone call. (Numbers to call below)

When you call your district / state representative, be sure to provide your zip code so they know you are a constituent
Remember to be polite and tell them what you think, make as many calls as you can.
Try to get on talk radio today about the issue
Forward this message to anyone you think would call

Goal of our calls, faxes, and emails:

Members of Congress should, at minimum, work to delay the vote
We want to see visible, vocal, and articulate opposition to such damaging legislation


Talking Points to use:

Sen. Harvey Waxman, one of the bill's co-sponsors admitted he doesn't know the bill's content; he's relying on "experts"
Is projected to cost at least $3,100 per household in increased utilities
Will negatively impact public and private energy generation, transportation, building codes, appliances, and more
Is projected to lower gross domestic product
Will cause a loss of jobs
Impacts most aspects of our daily lives
Will hurt small business
Creates a "climate exchange", a commodity-type market based on nothing of real value, literally on carbon credits

Targeted Republicans who need calling:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman are reaching out to the following House Republicans for their support on Waxman-Markey, according to Carbon Control News:

Timothy V. Johnson

Illinois-15th, Republican
1207 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-1315
Phone: (202) 225-2371


Vernon J. Ehlers

Michigan-3rd, Republican
2182 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2203
Phone: (202) 225-3831

Todd Russell Platts
Pennsylvania-19th, Republican
2455 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3819
Phone: (202) 225-5836

Jim Gerlach
Pennsylvania-6th, Republican
308 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3806
Phone: (202) 225-4315

Mary Bono Mack
California-45th, Republican
104 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515-0545
Phone: (202) 225-5330

Michael N. Castle
Delaware-At Large, Republican
1233 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-0801
Phone: (202) 225-4165

Frank A. LoBiondo
New Jersey-2nd, Republican
2427 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3002
Phone: (202) 225-6572

Thomas E. Petri
Wisconsin-6th, Republican
2462 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-4906
Phone: (202) 225-2476

Peter T. King
New York-3rd, Republican
339 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3203
Phone: (202) 225-7896

Mark Steven Kirk
Illinois-10th, Republican
1030 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-1310
Phone: (202) 225-4835

Leonard Lance
New Jersey-7th, Republican
114 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3007
Phone: (202) 225-5361

MICHIGAN HOUSE REPS

You may look up your Rep by zip code

Vernon J. Ehlers

Michigan-3rd, Republican
2182 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2203
Phone: (202) 225-3831

Dave Camp
Michigan-4th, Republican
341 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2204
Phone: (202) 225-3561

Dale E. Kildee
Michigan-5th, Democrat
2107 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2205
Phone: (202) 225-3611

Fred Upton
Michigan-6th, Republican
2183 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2206
Phone: (202) 225-3761

Mark H. Schauer
Michigan-7th, Democrat
1408 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2207
Phone: (202) 225-6276

Mike Rogers
Michigan-8th, Republican
133 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2208
Phone: (202) 225-4872

Gary C. Peters
Michigan-9th, Democrat
1130 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2209
Phone: (202) 225-5802

Candice S. Miller
Michigan-10th, Republican
228 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2210
Phone: (202) 225-2106

Thaddeus G. McCotter
Michigan-11th, Republican
1632 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2211
Phone: (202) 225-8171

Sander M. Levin
Michigan-12th, Democrat
1236 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2212
Phone: (202) 225-4961

Carolyn C. Kilpatrick
Michigan-13th, Democrat
2264 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2213
Phone: (202) 225-2261

John Conyers Jr.
Michigan-14th, Democrat
2426 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2214
Phone: (202) 225-5126

John D. Dingell
Michigan-15th, Democrat
2328 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2215
Phone: (202) 225-4071


Michigan Senators
Carl Levin

(202) 224-6221

Debbie Stabenow


(202) 224-4822

You may consider calling these Blue Dog Democrats

Blue Dog Democrats who need to be contacted are listed below, Senators are listed last name first.

A
Congressman Parker Griffith Alabama, 5th District Phone: (202) 225-4801
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Arizona, 8th District Phone: (202) 225-2542
Congressman Marion Berry Arkansas, 1st District Phone: (202) 225-4076
Congressman Mike Ross Arkansas, 4th District Phone: (202) 225-3772
Begich, Mark - (D - AR)(2 02) 224-3004 Arkansas
Lincoln, Blanche L. - (D - AR) (202) 224-4843 Arkansas
Pryor, Mark L. - (D - AR) (202) 224-2353 Arkansas

C
Congressman Joe Baca California, 43rd District Phone: (202) 225-6161
Congressman Dennis Cardoza California, 18th District Phone: (202) 225-6131
Congressman Jim Costa California, 20th District Phone: (202) 225-3341
Congresswoman Jane Harman California, 36th District Phone: (202) 225-8220
Congressman Adam Schiff California, 29th District Phone: (202) 225-4176
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez California, 47th District Phone: (202) 225-2965 Congressman Mike Thompson California, 1st District Phone: (202) 225-3311
Congressman John Salazar Colorado, 3rd District Phone: (202) 225-4761
Udall, Mark - (D - CO) (202) 224-5941 Colorado
Lieberman, Joseph I. - (ID - CT) (202) 224-4041 Connecticut

D
Carper, Thomas R. - (D - DE) (202) 224-2441 Delaware

F
Congressman Allen Boyd** Florida, 2nd District Phone: (202) 225-5235
Nelson, Bill - (D - FL)(202) 224-5274 Florida

G
Congressman John Barrow Georgia, 12th District Phone: (202) 225-2823
Congressman Sanford Bishop Georgia, 2nd District Phone: (202) 225-3631
Congressman David Scott Georgia, 13th District Phone: (202) 225-2939
Congressman Jim Marshall Georgia, 8th District Phone: (202) 225-6531

I
Congresswoman Melissa Bean Illinois, 8th District Phone: (202) 225-3711
Congressman Joe Donnelly Indiana, 2nd District Phone: (202) 225-3915
Congressman Brad Ellsworth Indiana, 8th District Phone: (202) 225-4636
Congressman Baron Hill Indiana, 9th District Phone: (202) 225-5315
Bayh, Evan - (D - IN)(202) 224-5623 Indiana
Congressman Leonard Boswell Iowa, 3rd District Phone: (202) 225-3806

K
Congressman Ben Chandler Kentucky, 6th District Phone: (202) 225-4706
Congressman Dennis Moore Kansas, 3rd District Phone: (202) 225-2865

L
Congressman Charlie Melancon ** Louisiana, 3rd District Phone: (202) 225-4031
Landrieu, Mary L. - (D - LA) (202) 224-5824 Louisiana

M
Congressman Mike Michaud Maine, 2nd District Phone: (202) 225-6306
Congressman Collin Peterson Minnesota, 7th District Phone: (202) 225-2165
Congressman Gene Taylor Mississippi, 4th District Phone: (202) 225-5772
McCaskill, Claire - (D - MO) (202) 224-6154 Missouri

N
Nelson, Ben - (D - NE) (202) 224-6551 ** Nebraska
Shaheen, Jeanne - (D - NH) (202) 224-2841 New Hampshire
Congressman Mike Arcuri New York, 24th District Phone: (202) 225-3665
Congressman Mike McIntyre North Carolina, 7th District Phone: Phone: (202) 225-2731
Congressman Heath Shuler North Carolina, 11th District Phone: (202) 225-6401
Hagan, Kay R. - (D - NC) (202) 224-6342 North Carolina
Congressman Earl Pomeroy North Dakota, At-Large Phone: (202) 225-2611

O
Congressman Dan Boren Oklahoma, 2nd District Phone: (202) 225-2701
Congressman Zack Space Ohio, 18th District Phone: (202) 225-6265
Congressman Charlie Wilson Ohio, 6th District Phone: (202) 225-5705

P
Congressman Chris Carney Pennsylvania, 10th District Phone: (202) 225-3731
Congressman Patrick Murphy Pennsylvania, 8th District Phone: (202) 225-4276
Congressman Tim Holden Pennsylvania, 17th District Phone: (202) 225-5546

S
Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin South Dakota, (202) 225-2801) 225-2801

T
Congressman Jim Cooper Tennessee, 5th District Phone: (202) 225-4311
Congressman Lincoln Davis Tennessee, 4th District Phone: (202) 225-6831
Congressman Bart Gordon Tennessee, 6th District Phone: (202) 225-4231
Congressman John Tanner Tennessee, 8th District Phone: (202) 225-4714

U
Congressman Jim Matheson Utah, 2nd District Phone: (202) 225-3011

V
Warner, Mark R. - (D - VA) (202) 224-2023 ** Virginia

W
Kohl, Herb - (D - WI) (202) 224-5653 Wisconsin


Tweeters:
Example Tweets:

With links:

Cap & Trade Bill HR 2454 coming up for a vote! ANOTHER huge bill they're not reading. Call your REPS Today! http://bit.ly/349fpO

Need your Congressman's contact information to tell him to vote "NO" on HR 2454 aka Cap & Trade? Here: http://bit.ly/z6hld

Pres. Obama said "electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket" Now Congress will vote to do just that to your utility bills.

HR 2454 aka Cap & Trade is the largest tax increase in history http://bit.ly/RMn96 Tell YOUR Congressman to vote NO

"Global warming": the debate is NOT over! Scientists say sunspots are the cause http://bit.ly/GG4GB

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Margaret "Elaine" Fabiano My Mom

I am so grateful that we prayed together and the Lord gave me the opportunity to ask if Jesus was her Lord and Savior. And she confessed when I asked that "Jesus IS my Lord and Savior" and she then said, "I don't what I would do without Him" (Romans 10:10).

The next day she went home, to the Lord, her husband(my dad)and loved ones.

So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11


And..Revelation 21:4, Revelation 7:17 , I Corinthians 15:26

Mom we will see each other and until that day, you will always be in my heart, your loving daughter, Joanie

Margaret Elaine Fabiano Lansing Age 92, went home to her Lord and Savior June 17, 2009. She died peacefully surrounded by her family. Elaine was born in Charlotte, MI on July 9, 1916 to the late John and Helen Schooley. She was preceded in death in 1963 by her husband Victor Fabiano.

She is survived by her sister Pat Gray "Aunt Pat"; her six children, Victor Jr., Karen (Joe) Charlie, Steve, Joan, Jeff and Joe (Carol); her 12 grandchildren Jon, Ashli, Lisa (Rick), Victor (Amy), Joe, Angel (Loren), Alicia (Ken), Sam, Joey, Matthew, Abby and Jacob (Tracey); and her 11 great-grandchildren.

Elaine was a woman of remarkable strength, raising four of her six children alone after her husband of 25 years passed away; and as a result, transitioned from a homemaker to a career woman. Elaine's passions were evident in her daily activites. She was an amazing cook and had an endless love for animals. As an avid sports fan, she devotedly followed her beloved Detroit Tigers, even listening to the game in her last hours.

Elaine gave generously to many charities, was a pioneer of organic and whole foods, and was a continuous reader and loved learning new things, one being her recently purchased laptop computer. She was a devoted and loving Nana to her grandchildren and great grandchildren, playing an active and important role in each of their lives.

A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Casimir Catholic Church, Monday, June 22 at 10:00am. A luncheon, in Elaine's honor, will immediately follow in the Parish Hall until 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation, in her honor, to your favorite charity. To sign online guest book

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

In the News: Michigan Bulldozed, Dumping Ground for Terrorists and Losing Population



The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

The radical experiment is the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint.
Telegraph UK


Could Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspects end up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula?

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler created only a minor stir when he suggested earlier in the month that prisoners from Guantanamo Bay could be moved to the Upper Peninsula.

Now Sen. Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has signed on, and people are paying attention.

And the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. John McCain, said he was open to the "possibility."

And

State likely to lose seat, maybe two, in Congress

2010 (infested by ACORN) US Census will likely show Michigan population decline

BLOWN AWAY JENNY, BLOWN AWAY!


"...in five years, you're going to be blown away."
Gov. Jennifer Granholm at 2006 State of the State address

Friday, June 12, 2009

STOP HR 676!

Committee hopes to have healthcare bill passed by Oct. 1

Posted using ShareThis

Dissecting HR 676 Overview FINAL
Dissecting HR 676 Overview FINAL apackof2

To get started right now, having an impact in stopping HR 676 by doing as many of the following as possible:


* Email, call, fax, or write your representatives
* Write a Letter to the Editor
* Post to opinion sections of newspaper websites
* Call talk radio.
* Send information to your entire email address book
* Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about the facts

Friday, June 5, 2009

Announcement-New Tea Party and Activist Event Listing Site!


Looking for a tea party or other event?
Don't want your contact information "harvested" just because you listed or looked for a tea party or event?

Factoid #1: You are organizing local events and working very hard, but want a consolidated site for listing events and ways to be connected to others doing the similar things. Some groups are trying to take credit for what you are doing, have their own agendas, are attempting to raise money from these efforts, and building databases of contact information.

Solution #1:
A site that is run by the grassroots for the grassroots that does not try to solicit for or capture the general publics’ contact information, does not appeal for fund donations for no clearly stated purpose, and whose agenda is transparent.

With all of that in mind, and along with my fellow grassroots activists, Shelli Dawdy, of Lincoln, Nebraska, tea party organizer, and Sandra Crosnoe, of Tulsa Oklahoma, long time grassroots activist we have created Tea Party Grassroots

Because we started from scratch, we decided to strive for a listing venue that would be useful to activists for many kinds of events and activities. So in addition to a section for All Events, we have added the following categories:

We decided, with all of that in mind,
• Tea Party
• Other Rallies and Protests
• Conferences and Conventions
• Media Events
• Volunteer Activities
• Liberty Rider Itinerary

Next we will be exploring creating listings by states. As time allows, we are featuring individual events as a top post on the site. Featured events are automatically propagated through a number of channels including automatic feeds on Twitter and Facebook.

We have employed a number of tools on the site that offer extendable functionality; Google Calendar and Maps. Full calendars (by category or All Events) can be copied over to people’s personal calendars using the iCal (.ics) technology and map links are embedded. When events are listed, we copy the information over to the map and use a specific pin for each category. The map is located here. Like the Calendar, the map can be copied over to a visitors’ own Google map.

In addition to the features noted above, we have a growing group on Facebook, which will be updated regularly and “bigger” events listed. For example, for July 4, a “national” Independence Tea Party Event has been created. We will list links to individual location events for that date from the primary listing site (to prevent exclusion of multiple events on same date from occurring).

In addition to the event listings, we are providing some helpful information and resources to site visitors such as signs and slogan ideas, suggestions for getting involved, and founding documents.

Factoid #2: People are looking for ways to connect with others of like mind and work on projects together.

Solution #2: Those of us who have been putting these events on and bringing people together in our local areas to have an impact on swiftly moving events have many good ideas which we can share with one another. We all need input from others, and we all need support from those who have “been there” in dealing with the many issues that arise. We need to be able to communicate with one another, so we have also created a site for organizers and activists: Tea Party Grassroots Organizers

This is the place where the listing form for submitting events is located, along with a form to offer to volunteer to help us with this project, and a form to submit a blog post. We are adding resources on a daily basis to assist organizers and activists in their efforts.

We created a blog site, Tea Blogs: Tea Party Tales, specifically for organizers to share their stories and thoughts about the movement. A blog post submission form is available on the Organizers site.

In addition to the site and blog, we created a Twitter ID and Hashtag for Tea Party Organizers, TPOrg #tporg. This is one id that has posts from the Tea Party Grassroots and Organizers sites automatically fed. We encourage organizers to use the hashtag in communications with one another, and many have already begun to do so.

If used widely, this tag could enable very fast communications among a large number of people. Not only could we all retweet events and other important information for one another, but, we could also provide quick support when help is needed.

Finally, there is further work to be done in providing the kind of communications ability for organizers and activists for which we are striving. We do have a forum, which is currently turned to private (that means you cannot see it yet but if people are ready to take care of it that could be changed quickly). We are currently looking at options, however, to be installed on the Organizers site, to keep communications all in one place. If you would like to help with this part of the project, let us know.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

R.I.P General Motors

I am a GM retiree. If someone told me even 2 years ago that GM would be taken over by the government and her CEO fired by the president of the US, I do not think I would have believe it.

Yet it has happened. Along with so many things that only a few years ago would be considered fodder for the "tin foil" hat crowd.

I have said I believe that bankruptcy would be the best thing however only as a private bsuiness and not engireed by the Federal governemnt.

However I can not completely divorce my emotions as a large part of my adult life was spend as a GM employee and I mourn the passing of a great American car company. And even more than that but GM was a large part of Americana.

In that vein I have decide to re post an article from November 19, 2008

The article can be read in its entirety below:


I ran across this paper from my 2005 Writing class, titled "The times, they are a-changin’" in which I wrote about GM’s financial woes. Since then I have retired and the question I asked then " "Will it be too little too late to save GM?" is still being answered.

As a retiree who worked for General Motors for 30 years, my ties are not just financial but emotional as well. I remember the "hay days," when we sold a history making amount of autos. I remember working six days a week, nine hour days in order to supply America with the cars they wanted. I remember the Toronado line, Oldsmobile 98's and 88's, and Cutlasses that were produced here in Lansing.

And its from that perspective, as an insider, a former employee, a current retiree of General Motors, I believe the best interest of the company would be to go into Chapter 11. I do not say this lightly as I have a huge financial stake in the outcome, my health care is on the line and my pension could be reduced. However, with that being said, I believe Chapter 11 to be in the best interest of not only GM but Michigan and other "Union states" for several reasons.

1. The ability to make the UAW Union contract null and void

In 1984 the Supreme Court ruled that employers can unilaterally break an existing collective bargaining contract upon filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.

2. Keeps doing business and its stock and bonds may continue to trade in our securities markets. This is extremely important as almost 4% of the Gross Domestic Product is auto-related. Three million U.S. jobs ( and families) are dependent on the health of U.S. automakers, and they are not all in the Midwest.

3. Hold debt at bay while restructuring for profitability

Federal bankruptcy laws govern how companies go out of business or recover from crippling debt. A bankrupt company, the "debtor," might use Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code to "reorganize" its business and try to become profitable again. Management continues to run the day-to-day business operations but all significant business decisions must be approved by a bankruptcy court.

The question is, do GM Executives have the fortitude to try and entangle themselves from the chains of the Union in a Chapter 11?

In an e-mail I received from GM which asks employees to write/call their reps to encourage the "bridge loan", GM addresses the Myth of "GM’s biggest problem in North America is its union contracts" :

As The most recent GM-UAW agreement, signed in 2007, helps close fundamental competitive gaps with our import competitors, and we anticipate significant savings as we implement the key provisions of the agreement between now and 2010.

GM’s unionized North American factories compete with the best in terms of quality and productivity.

We are confident that a collaborative relationship with our unions continues to be in everyone’s best interest.

August 26, 2008

But then at this point what can they say as the UAW with its support of Barack Obama and Democrats is the best hope of a "bridge loan".

However with all the GM bashing, the fact is that GM has made significant improvements. In the last contract in 2007. GM freed itself of its obligation to pay health care benefits to its nearly 400,000 retirees and their dependents by setting up a multi-billion-dollar union-controlled trust fund—known as a Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association, or VEBA, that will pay out benefits. In addition, the agreement establishes a two-tier wage system—the first ever in a national UAW contract—that will drastically reduce wages and benefits for the next generation of auto workers.

Cost-of-living increases will be diverted to help offset the cost of retiree health benefits. The four-year contract includes three lump-sum bonuses but no wage increases, The two-tier wage agreed to by the UAW will reduce labor costs (wages and benefits) for new-hires in so-called “non-assembly jobs” to an average of $27 per hour, compared with the current average of $73 per hour. The union and company will offer buyouts and early-retirements to move current workers out of their jobs, so they can be replaced with far cheaper labor

The jobs bank, which pays laid off workers while they are jobless, will be changed so that the geographical area within which workers will have to move to an open position or lose their incomes will be expanded

In addition:

GM cars and trucks have improved significantly over the past decade. Critics are taking note, and customers are responding.

In 2007, the Saturn Aura, and Chevy Silverado won North American Car and Truck of the year.

In 2008, the Chevy Malibu was named North American Car of the Year, The Cadillac CTS was Motor Trend’s 2008 Car of the Year.

Customers have responded just as enthusiastically as the critics. Although total U.S. vehicle sales are down almost 13% so far this year, a number of GM cars and crossovers have enjoyed significant sales increases:

Saturn Vue +5%
Chevy Cobalt +6%
Pontiac G6 + 8%
GMC Acadia +8%
Saturn Aura +10%
Cadillac CTS +25%
Chevy Malibu +36%
Pontiac Vibe +39%
Buick Enclave +124%

October 1, 2008

However as I have said I also have an emotional tie to GM as a large part of my life up to this time was spend as an employee and part of the GM culture. But its not just that, GM IS part of not only Michigan's heritage and culture but America's also, a great American automobile company,conceived and build by Americans.

From the 1905 song, "In My Merry Oldsmobile", to the 1950's image of Dinah Shore throwing a kiss after singing,"See the USA in Your Chevrolet". Mel Torme's "What a thrill to take the wheel of a Rocket Oldsmobile!" To Bob Seger’s "Like a Rock" Chevy Truck To Cadillac's "Breakthtrough" commercials with Led Zepplin. Great GM "muscle cars", Chevy Chevelle ss 454, Chevy Camaro Z/28, Olds 442. And GM cars and trucks in the movies

Add to that the GM cars and trucks driven by millions of Americans throughout its history. And generations of Americans who worked hard, raised their families and built their communities as GM employees.

GM is a part of the American Landscape and Experience. There is an old saying, What’s good for GM is good for America”. Although perhaps in a smaller measure now, I still believe that’s true.


November 23, 2005

The times, they are a-changin’
Bob Dylan

September 18, 1978. To most it’s just another day without any significance To me, this date proved to be a milestone in my life.

September 18, 1978 was the day I started my career at General Motors (GM).GM had just opened a new assembly plant that summer in Lansing. I was one of 20,000 new GM employees. My staring wage was $6.50, per hour (good money then) plus benefits. GM employees build over 359,825 Oldsmobile’s that year. (Lansing Production 4 )

Fast-forward 27 years. The same plant where I started working in 1978 closed in May of 2005 and will soon be demolished. Total number of GM employees in Lansing is approximately 6,200. My hourly wage is over $27.00 plus benefits. GM build approximately 240,000 vehicles the year before the assembly plant was closed. Most astonishingly, GM’s debt rating has been downgraded to junk bond status. Immediate costs saving cuts are needed to stave off bankruptcy. As I write this paper, the United Auto Workers (UAW) has just set a precedent by opening up its contract with GM before it expires in 2007 to re-negotiate for concessions in health benefits and wages for its membership.

So who is responsible for the financial descent of one of America’s largest corporations? Some will say the culprit is management, while others contend the UAW as a whole is to blame. As a GM employee of 27 years, I feel I am in the unique position to make a qualified judgement regarding the downfall of GM. I believe that both management and the UAW share the responsibility. However, ultimately, I believe that the burden of blame rests with management.

First, let’s review the UAW’s role in GM’s current crises. Foremost is the UAW contractual costs incurred by GM. Contractual demands for higher wages and benefits have increased with each contract. These costs have made it unfeasible for GM to be competitive with other automobile companies and make a profit in a global economy. Health care costs are exponentially higher for GM than many other companies and are unaffordable. For example, “UAW workers currently pay 7 percent to 10 percent of their health-insurance costs, compared with 20 percent for GM’s white- collar workers and 40 percent for Americans generally, according to union data.” ( GM Powertrain par 33 )

In addition to unaffordable health care costs, there is another unsustainable contractual cost, the “jobs bank” This is a program that is initiated after a large layoff or plant closing. A displaced employee attends a job bank and may not do any work, yet still receive a full paycheck and benefits. In Lansing, because there is a lag between the old plants being closed and the new Delta Plant being built, some job bank employees show up at a given place and spend the entire day doing nothing. Others may do community service, while others, like me go to school as my “job".

I estimate because of my position of being in the job bank, that there about 200 people in Lansing’s job bank. The payroll, based on my weekly salary, for job bank employees is over $216,000 per week! What business could possibly survive by paying its employees full wages not to work?

Another indefensible contractual cost to GM in light of a global economy is the “30 and Out” rule. An employee who hired in at the age of 18 may retire at 48 and can collect pension plus fully paid health care for another 30 years or more. For health care alone in dollars and cents…”GM provides $5.2 billion in health care annually to 1.1 million workers, retirees and dependents. Retirees outnumber current U.S. employees 2.5 to 1. About $4 billion goes annually to retirees does not go into developing products people want to buy.” (Will, pars. 11)

GM cannot continue to incur these costs and survive in the face of manufacturing moving into and competing globally with companies that pay far less to their employees,in wages and benefits, and therefore can design and produce less expensive cars which generate the kind of profits necessary to survive, prosper and grow in a global market. Of these companies, most are non-union including those with plants in America. And because they are non-union, these companies are not forced into contracts that they can ill afford.

To illustrate the difference in union and non-union on profits, “Toyota generated the highest revenues per vehicle last year, an average $26,514, once you stripped out incentives and other discounts. By comparison, General Motors’ net was a meager $20,659 per vehicle. “That’s an alarming number,” stressed Harbour, “all the more alarming because it hasn’t changed much in seven years.”

It is clear that GM cannot continue to give in to Union contractual demands and be profitable. (Eisenstein, pars. 21)

On the other hand, although GM management has been burdened with these demands, management is not without blame.

Management has capitulated to the Union’s unrealistic demands despite the reality of the monetary bottom line needed to successful compete in the global market place. Moreover adding to the financial overtaxing to GM is the huge salaries and bonus packages given to executives and CEOs even in the face of the coming financial maelstrom.

One case in point, according to Richard Freedman, for Executive Intelligence Review,Counting some other benefits, GM CEO Rick Wagoner’s total compensation came to over $10 million; this does not count an additional lavish pension benefit. GM’s Chairman Bob Lutz, and its chief financial officer, John Devine, each received total compensation packages of $6.4 million in 2004. It is estimated that the GM top management team took in more than $50 million in compensation for the year. (Freeman, pars.17)

In the final analysis, both management and the UAW are responsible for the GM’s current financial woes.

I believe that at one time the union was necessary to fight for the working conditions and wages of the “Average Joe” However, the UAW has become what they have fought against, a bureaucratic organization that has lost focus of what is good for the company is good for its employees.

I acknowledge I have benefited from many of the UAW benefits, good wages, health care, benefits such as tuition assistance and I am grateful. But at what cost to GM, my employer of 27 years and to my post retirement life?

In summary, the UAW shortsighted and prohibitive costly contractual demands in the face of a changing business economy has contributed to its membership not just losing pension and health benefits, but also perhaps their jobs as well.

Conversely GM management’s own self-created bureaucratic management hierarchy has contributed to highly paid executives, whom in turn, capitulated to UAW’s demands of higher wages and costly benefits in spite of the changing market in the automobile industry. Such demands have made it impossible for GM to compete with other automobile companies and make a profit.

To GM’s credit some changes have been made. GM has consolidated its divisions at the RenCen in Detroit to facilitate communications, implementing new assembly technology, cutting salaried and blue-collar jobs and closing aging plants and cutting benefits.

But will it be too little too late to save GM?

Nevertheless, the ultimate responsibility and blame for GM’s current financial position must lie with GM management. Management is the final arbitrator of all company decisions and as such carries sole responsible for acquiescing to the unworkable, and unrealistic UAW financial demands, in addition to paying huge salaries and bonuses to non-producing executives.

Of course I cannot view these events dispassionately. Not just because I face a monetary loss but in view of the fact that a large portion of my adult life was spend as a GM employee. But also in a much larger sense because General Motors is a part of Americana. Cultural and historically, GM, is a part of our American heritage, a great American automobile company, conceived and build by Americans.

There is an old saying, What’s good for GM is good for America”. Although perhaps in a smaller measure now, I still believe that’s true. So then it is my hope and prayer that like the mythical Phoenix General Motors will rise from the ashes to a new prominence.

WORKS CITED


Dylan, Bob, “The Times They Are A-Changin’” The Times They Are A-Changin’
Atlantic, 1964.
Eisenstein, Paul A. “Detroit’s productivity gains aren’t enough to outclass Japan.” The Carconnection.com. 6 June 2005. 23 Oct. 2005 21 pars .
Freeman, Richard. “Corruption in America:Big Three Execs Get Huge Pay To Ruin Auto Sector .” Executive Intelligence Review 2 Sep. 2005. 23 Oct. 2005 17 pars .
GM Powertrain. 23 Oct. 2005 (http://uawlocal14.org/News/Regional/04-14GMBoard.htm)
Lansing Production. 2004. Lansing: GM Heritage Center, n.d.
Will, George. “GM Makes Turn Toward Fiscal Sanity .” The Grand Rapids Press 20 Oct. 2005. 11 pars. InfoWeb. NewsBank. Lansing Community College. 23 Oct. 2005

Monday, June 1, 2009

Videos from Grassroots in Michigan Counter-Protest of HR 676 in Grand Rapids,MI

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Name calling socialist