This is the direction American manufacturing and technology development has been going and needs to go. We cannot compete head-to-head with emerging world workers who are happy to make 1/10th of our salary to do the same work. Either they'll come here (legally or not) or the work will go to them. Forget about large numbers of Americans making a living bolting or welding parts together. Where we must compete is in more "advanced" trades/jobs.
Computers and programs we develop are supposed to take over the simplistic grunt work, and they do, meaning the same person - perhaps with some education - who used to simply push buttons and flip levers can now do more of the design, as cited. Let's see the dirt-poor laborer in any of dozens of 2nd or 3rd world countries do THAT. (Just give them a generation or two, and they will. Then we'll have to take another step up the value-added stairs.)
I've seen the "blue collar" syndrome too, though. I served ten years of hard time in the video game industry. Engineers need to look at forming unions in SOME cases, or finding other ways to keep The Man from over-exploiting our talents. The soot-covered manufacturers of yesteryear did it. If "management" expects "white collar" to do "blue collar," then maybe "white collar" needs to utilize some of "blue collar's" tricks.
Ignorance is no sin. Willful ignorance is unforgiveable.