Canadian factory workers $35/hr, twice US counterparts. No agreement with union, plant closing. Jobs likely to new US right-to-work state

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    Feb 06, 2012 1:27 PM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203889904577200953014575964.html

    Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4, 2012, by James R. Hagerty
    Excerpts only:

    MUNCIE, Ind.—Bulldozing its way through a high-profile dispute over wages, Caterpillar Inc. said Friday it will close a 62-year-old plant in London, Ontario, that makes railroad locomotives, eliminating about 450 manufacturing jobs that mostly paid twice the rate of a U.S. counterpart.

    ...At a job fair in Muncie Saturday, Caterpillar will be offering jobs at that plant at wages ranging from $12 to $18.50 per hour. Wages for most workers at the Ontario plant are about 35 Canadian dollars an hour (US$35.03).

    "The cost structure of the operation (in Ontario) was not sustainable and efforts to negotiate a new, competitive collective agreement were not successful," Caterpillar said in a statement Friday morning. It added: "The gulf between the company and the union was too wide to resolve."

    The Canadian Auto Workers union, which represents the workers, called the move "truly rotten behavior. They are immoral, they are unethical and they are greedy," said union president Ken Lewenza in an interview. He said he believed the company had no intention of keeping the plant open and demanded steep wage cuts that weren't acceptable to the union.
    ...
    Caterpillar has made clear it hopes to avoid any union representation at the Muncie plant. Last year, an online job advertisement published by the company sought human-resources managers with "experience with providing union-free culture and union avoidance."

    In an effort to attract more union-shy employers, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on Wednesday signed a "right-to-work law," barring labor contracts that require all workers to pay union dues.
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    Feb 06, 2012 1:36 PM GMT
    Or, it could be that they don't want to pay taxes...

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2159474
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    Feb 06, 2012 1:36 PM GMT
    Christian73 saidOr, it could be that they don't want to pay taxes...

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2159474

    Maybe that too.
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    Feb 06, 2012 1:39 PM GMT
    As a canadian, I've never seen in all my days of job hunting, any labour job paying $35/hr. Half that is more common.
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    Feb 06, 2012 2:37 PM GMT
    Uh huh, nothing like a little lop-sided reporting.
    "Caterpillar bought Electro-Motive in 2010 from investment firms Berkshire Partners LLC and Greenbriar Equity Group LLC for $820 million. Electro-Motive is the No. 2 manufacturer of train locomotives in North America behind General Electric Co. (GE). Berkshire and Greenbriar bought the company in 2005 from General Motors Co. (GM), which had owned Electro-Motive for decades.

    GM opened the London plant 62 years ago."

    Now why would Caterpillar buy an unsustainable venture?

    As well, only SOME production workers made $34.00 an hour, and I notice Socal did not mention how the wages for that particular set reached $34.00 ( IE years of service, skill set requirements etc) an hour, or what those workers' specialty was. Remember it is only SOME workers.

    Lastly, we invite Socal to move to Canada and discover what the costs of goods, utilities and fuel is by trying to live here.

    We think he'd last a week.

    Oh and Socal, there's talk about moving past Indiana to South America, where it's even cheaper.

    We were reading with great curiousity about working people in the US whose wages are so low they're lining up for food stamps and social services etc.
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    Feb 06, 2012 2:44 PM GMT
    meninlove said Uh huh, nothing like a little lop-sided reporting.
    "Caterpillar bought Electro-Motive in 2010 from investment firms Berkshire Partners LLC and Greenbriar Equity Group LLC for $820 million. Electro-Motive is the No. 2 manufacturer of train locomotives in North America behind General Electric Co. (GE). Berkshire and Greenbriar bought the company in 2005 from General Motors Co. (GM), which had owned Electro-Motive for decades.

    GM opened the London plant 62 years ago."

    Now why would Caterpillar buy an unsustainable venture?

    As well, only SOME production workers made $34.00 an hour, and I notice Socal did not mention how the wages for that particular set reached $34.00 ( IE years of service, skill set requirements etc) an hour, or what those workers' specialty was. Remember it is only SOME workers.

    Lastly, we invite Socal to move to Canada and discover what the costs of goods, utilities and fuel is by trying to live here.

    We think he'd last a week.

    Oh and Socal, there's talk about moving past Indiana to South America, where it's even cheaper.

    We were reading with great curiousity about working people in the US whose wages are so low they're lining up for food stamps and social services etc.

    Hey - let's not make this personal. I provided a news article which stated: "Wages for most workers at the Ontario plant are about 35 Canadian dollars an hour (US$35.03)." If you think that is incorrect or there are other facts, fine, provide your info.
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    Feb 06, 2012 2:49 PM GMT
    PS The workers were also asked to abandon their pensions.


    PPS Caterpillar is already posting record profits and a huge surge in share prices. They have problems with production, with back-orders totalling close to 30 billion dollars.

    ...poor things. They can't afford to pay good wages. *wipes eyes with hanky*
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    Feb 06, 2012 2:56 PM GMT
    You mean sources?

    Nadaq and Businessweek, among others.

    btw, this is happening after receiving grants from our Conservative gov't as well as special tax cuts as incentives to continue operations.

    Caterpillar wants global: send the work to whatever country has the cheapest wages etc.

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    Feb 06, 2012 3:14 PM GMT
    Socal said, "Hey - let's not make this personal. I provided a news article which stated: "Wages for most workers at the Ontario plant are about 35 Canadian dollars an hour (US$35.03)." If you think that is incorrect or there are other facts, fine, provide your info."


    It's personal only in respect of you being the topic creator. I was a little disappointed you didn't look deeper in the matter first. Mind you, I see this a fair bit on RJ, mainly in the political forums, and I'll stop there.


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    Feb 06, 2012 3:28 PM GMT
    The environment in Ontario in particular is deteriorating. Our level of debt and inability to rein in spending does not bode well for any business located here - and it's a concern that I've been hearing surprisingly frequently from clients now in the last couple of months.

    When workers aren't generating the productivity they would be elsewhere, those jobs move. You've probably forgotten the high dollar as well. They are moving operations to both the US - particularly Indiana and South American operations where it is more cost effective.

    I understand you may hate the idea that we as a nation and individually have to compete, but labor operates less and less in a vacuum - and that's a good thing for consumers. The CAW thought they could hold Caterpillar hostage and they found out the hard way they couldn't. These labor contracts were apparently negotiated before Caterpillar came in and before production options were far more compelling elsewhere.

    It's also why government should not be in the business of offering subsidies and playing favorites with business. Those dollars were better spent elsewhere - including improving a general business environment - and the fact that they weren't based on jobs but on purchase rebates is something that seems to get left out by some of the leftists who are crying foul loudest.

    Incidentally, your personal attacks were unwarranted - considering that there was still a significant underlying point that seems to ring true in the original article - that giving companies and individuals greater flexibility ironically means more jobs.
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    Feb 06, 2012 3:32 PM GMT
    riddler said, "Our level of debt..."

    Our?!? You're only tenuously connected to Canada (with Mommie and Daddy collecting social entitlements), would rather be in the US, and have manufacturing interests in China.

    O.o

    How about those Harper grants that the company got, eh?

    How about 'your' *still laughing at that* Mr Baird in your conservative provincial gov't in Ontario that contracted out work from gov't to Accenture and had to pay about $257.00 and hour instead of gov't workers doing it for $51.00 an hour?

    Oh my, what a Monday, lol.
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    Feb 06, 2012 3:37 PM GMT
    meninlove said riddler said, "Our level of debt..."

    Our?!? You're only tenuously connected to Canada (with Mommie and Daddy collecting social entitlements), would rather be in the US, and have manufacturing interests in China.

    O.o

    How about those Harper grants that the company got, eh?

    How about 'your' *still laughing at that* Mr Baird in your conservative provincial gov't in Ontario that contracted out work from gov't to Accenture and had to pay about $257.00 and hour instead of gov't workers doing it for $51.00 an hour?

    Oh my, what a Monday, lol.


    I have to wonder if you're deliberately being ignorant of reality or if it's just the age speaking here. I've probably created more sustainable Canadian jobs than you've ever done. You seem to live in an age where you believe that if you hold labor and other resources hostage you can force companies to create jobs.

    The world has changed. You refuse to acknowledge the issues with respect to Ontario in particular right now in particular right now given that they've attempted to buy their way into people's votes. Conservative provincial government? You do know that it's a Liberal government? (as for the "Harper grants" are you really that ignorant not to have looked into what they were for and where)? Too bad it's so easy to call you on your shit.

    Clearly it is quite a Monday for you if you're drinking this early in the morning icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 06, 2012 3:44 PM GMT
    lol, btw, an apology to Mr Baird. Accenture wasn't his idea, it was his Conservative predecessor Janet Ecker. Baird merely refused to cancel the platinum contract Accenture got.
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    Feb 06, 2012 3:45 PM GMT
    riddler said, "You do know that it's a Liberal government?"

    D'oh. Having problems with history? This occurred under the Harris gov't.

    icon_rolleyes.gif

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    Feb 06, 2012 3:53 PM GMT
    meninlove said riddler said, "You do know that it's a Liberal government?"

    D'oh. Having problems with history? This occurred under the Harris gov't.

    icon_rolleyes.gif



    Yeah - because it takes a real winner to think that with a budget deficit of 16.3 billion, that the cost of $100 million in waste is comparable - to say nothing of the fact that if it were done by government workers it would have probably taken far longer with a far larger cost overrun.

    It's a contract where the government wasn't as diligent with - but considering it's 2012 and the McGuinty government has been in place since 2003 it's an odd complaint for you to have.

    Further, it's pretty typical for you not to see the small issue of productivity rather than hourly rate - I mean would you pay someone minimum wage to do your taxes? I'm really curious. Or perhaps minimum wage to design and build your house?
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    Feb 06, 2012 3:58 PM GMT

    riddler said, "to say nothing of the fact that if it were done by government workers it would have probably taken far longer with a far larger cost overrun."

    Wrong entirely, according to the Auditor General at that time. Your ideals, like Janet's, cost the taxpayer dearly.

    Now run along and find some workers to exploit.

    PS it's a good idea to remember that currently I'm Conservative, and like many Canadians, flit from party to party, beholden to none with any kind of ludicrous loyalty and critical of all of them.

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    Feb 06, 2012 4:00 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    riddler said, "to say nothing of the fact that if it were done by government workers it would have probably taken far longer with a far larger cost overrun."

    Wrong entirely, according to the Auditor General at that time. Your ideals, like Janet's, cost the taxpayer dearly.

    Now run along and find some workers to exploit.

    PS it's a good idea to remember that currently I'm Conservative, and like many Canadians, flit from party to party, beholden to none with any kind of ludicrous loyalty and critical of all of them.



    Feel free to quote the auditor general. Have you heard of this little thing called the gun registry? The private sector has a far better track record at implementing IT than the government. It's irrelevant which party you say you belong to - it's the ideas and logic you use that's terribly and persistently flawed.

    Am guessing you didn't even bother to look in what tax breaks were given to Caterpillar - which as it turns out were across the board for capital spends.
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    Feb 06, 2012 4:03 PM GMT
    riddler said, "but the ideas and logic you use is terribly and persistently flawed."

    Glad to hear you say that. Stay in the dark. What you should consider is that perhaps the flaws you're seeing is directly relative to the amount of mental effort I think you're worth.

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    Feb 06, 2012 4:06 PM GMT
    meninlove saidriddler said, "but the ideas and logic you use is terribly and persistently flawed."

    Glad to hear you say that. Stay in the dark. What you should consider is that perhaps the flaws you're seeing is directly relative to the amount of mental effort I think you're worth.



    Lol - yeah - I'm the one in the dark when the guy who claims to actually look into issues is persistently refuted by the basic facts he misses. What you think my ideas are worth are irrelevant considering how often you come across ignorant of the very issues you claim are important and your personal attacks on others as you've done here.
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    Feb 06, 2012 4:46 PM GMT
    meninlove said Socal said, "Hey - let's not make this personal. I provided a news article which stated: "Wages for most workers at the Ontario plant are about 35 Canadian dollars an hour (US$35.03)." If you think that is incorrect or there are other facts, fine, provide your info."


    It's personal only in respect of you being the topic creator. I was a little disappointed you didn't look deeper in the matter first. Mind you, I see this a fair bit on RJ, mainly in the political forums, and I'll stop there.

    The article I posted was a factual piece from a major business daily, even if some here consider it biased. I have never, repeat never, heard you suggest that anyone who posted anything from the likes of the Huffington Post ever do further research before posting. Doesn't this seem quite hypocritical, especially from one who claims to be generally impartial?

    meninlove said PS The workers were also asked to abandon their pensions.


    PPS Caterpillar is already posting record profits and a huge surge in share prices. They have problems with production, with back-orders totalling close to 30 billion dollars.

    ...poor things. They can't afford to pay good wages. *wipes eyes with hanky*

    Well, as long as we're in the mood to lecture about forum conduct, let me offer you a critique in return. You made a statement "The workers were also asked to abandon their pensions" with absolutely no attribution or indication of a source, and you certainly provided no context to the statement. Immediately raises questions:

    Was that a unilateral demand, as you imply?
    Was it for new employees only, or for all employees?
    Was it part of a negotiation, such as giving up the pension in return for keeping the current salary?
    Was it in return for a Canadian version of a 401(k), an employee savings plan with some matching contributions by the employer? BTW, many US corporations have abandoned pensions in favor of 401(k) plans.

    Lastly, many of "you guys" characterize the corporation as the bad, evil entity. You should be aware that a primary job of the senior officers of companies is to maximize shareholder value. Those evil owners are ordinary people who depend on stocks for their retirement, and pension plans who invest directly or via mutual funds. Some of these evil pensioners are retired teachers.
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:37 PM GMT
    Socal, as it's you, I'll address this: "Lastly, many of "you guys" characterize the corporation as the bad, evil entity."

    Au contraire; there are ethical corporations.
    And if I may, 'you guys' think that all corporations are good and noble things. See? Make a silly statement; get a silly reply.
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    Feb 06, 2012 7:09 PM GMT
    meninlove said Socal, as it's you, I'll address this: "Lastly, many of "you guys" characterize the corporation as the bad, evil entity."

    Au contraire; there are ethical corporations.
    And if I may, 'you guys' think that all corporations are good and noble things. See? Make a silly statement; get a silly reply.


    Once again demonstrative of how feeble your arguments and tirades typically are. You're the one who went on the attack and you had the audacity to attempt to attack Socal for not being adequately knowledgeable of the "facts" when you only had a superficial understanding of them yourself. Apparently you are far better suited at feelings than facts.
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    Feb 06, 2012 8:46 PM GMT
    meninlove said Socal, as it's you, I'll address this: "Lastly, many of "you guys" characterize the corporation as the bad, evil entity."

    Au contraire; there are ethical corporations.
    And if I may, 'you guys' think that all corporations are good and noble things. See? Make a silly statement; get a silly reply.


    Exactly. Corporations are neither good nor evil. They are instruments and, of course, not people.
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    Feb 06, 2012 11:43 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    meninlove said


    PPS Caterpillar is already posting record profits and a huge surge in share prices.



    Caterpillar 5 year post-tax profit margin: 6.7%

    Not all that "obscene" now, is it?



    The critical point there is "post-tax" or "net revenue". What are Catepillars sales? What did the executives make last year versus line workers?

    That's where you'll find the obscenity.
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    Feb 07, 2012 1:52 AM GMT
    meninlove said Uh huh, nothing like a little lop-sided reporting.
    "Caterpillar bought Electro-Motive in 2010 from investment firms Berkshire Partners LLC and Greenbriar Equity Group LLC for $820 million. Electro-Motive is the No. 2 manufacturer of train locomotives in North America behind General Electric Co. (GE). Berkshire and Greenbriar bought the company in 2005 from General Motors Co. (GM), which had owned Electro-Motive for decades.

    GM opened the London plant 62 years ago."

    Now why would Caterpillar buy an unsustainable venture?

    As well, only SOME production workers made $34.00 an hour, and I notice Socal did not mention how the wages for that particular set reached $34.00 ( IE years of service, skill set requirements etc) an hour, or what those workers' specialty was. Remember it is only SOME workers.

    Lastly, we invite Socal to move to Canada and discover what the costs of goods, utilities and fuel is by trying to live here.

    We think he'd last a week.

    Oh and Socal, there's talk about moving past Indiana to South America, where it's even cheaper.

    We were reading with great curiousity about working people in the US whose wages are so low they're lining up for food stamps and social services etc.
    Uh I was gonna say Caterpillar has NEVER manufactured locomotives!