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LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 2:32 PM

Laid off

By: DETROIT JOBBIE

Who would have thought that this would have been happening multiple times to so many individuals in such a short duration of time? Corporate America, well America in general considers the "American Auto Worker" to be over paid and lazy. This dangerous perception couldn't be further from the truth. My experience as a Cad Designer over the years has been one filled with examples to the contrary. So much so, that I would say the dedication of my piers in the automotive design business is nothing short of heroic. Consider the environment in which they work. A day doesn't go by that your not exposed to the inevitable layoff. You go to work in the morning knowing that it may very well be your last day. That's everyday, everywhere in the automotive industry. Many designers/engineers have opted out of the business of making cars altogether for this very reason. I don't blame them. Dads no longer encourage their Sons and Daughters to pursue Engineering degrees. I have a friend in this business that was laid off 7 times from 6 different companies last year. Suppliers lie constantly. They say the programs are long term. I suppose long term anymore is 3 months. The days of any assemblance of job security are seemingly lost forever in our industry. We only have this blind hope (Don't Hold Your Breath) that maybe the north American automotive industry will actually wise up and realize that we are the ones that buy there products, and that's why its worked for so many years. You can't keep sending our jobs out of the country and stuff your coffers forever. Look Guys, (Yes, you butt heads at the top.) It's like a fossil fuel. Eventually the resources just, run dry and its dryin' up in Detroit. The reality of the problem is those corporate decision-makers CEO's bean counters, whatever, simply don't care about longevity they especially don't care about the middle class people in Michigan. They personally have Millions of dollars. They can leave the industry, the state, Hell, the country for that matter and wherever they wind up, surrounded by family and friends and whoever. They can live like kings for the rest of their lives. They will chalk it up to their incredible business savvy and corporate prowess. I can see them patting themselves on the back holding umbrella drinks in there hands telling each other what a wonderful thing NAFTA did for them before they closed up shop in Detroit. They are killing the American dream for so many millions of hard working dedicated MIDDLE CLASS American people in this business, and we are left out in the cold with minimum resources. Hell, I was thinking about leaving Michigan and going out west to design in the Aerospace industry. The problem is, even if I could sell my house. (The housing crunch has reduced my equity by 46% so I would loose huge money.) Who the hell would actually want to move here? There's no work, the cost of living is ridiculous. Its 12 below zero today and my furnace turns on constantly trying to keep the cold off my family. I'm 52 years old. I'm a better than average designer, dedicated, and hard working but I got laid off for the 4th time in 3 years yesterday after 6 months working my butt off for this supplier. As soon as we got the design close to completion, they sent it to India, and laid us off. The program was represented at hiring date as a long-term minimum 2-year program. I'm not really surprised. I'm just getting to old for this crap and I needed to Vent. Thanks for the soapbox.

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#1

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 2:53 PM

I have been tied to the semicon industry - well had been - for many, many years. That and the oilfield.

Recently, through what I have come to see as an act of Providence, I left tech altogether.

I am now a rug maker. That's right - a rug maker. Well actually the production manager for a very small company that makes custom leather, hair on hide rugs.

If you had asked me 10, hell 3 years ago what I'd be doing, I could assure you this would not be the answer.

I have given up some $. But what I have in exchange is remarkable. Often we can't tell a miracle from a catastrophe.

I do not want to, in any way, discount the validity of your comments. To the contrary. I agree with you from my heart.

Like Grand Dad used to say "Boy, if the world quits usin' nails, it ain't no time to be in the hammer business."

Best of luck. The weather's good in TX.

cr3

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 2:59 PM

THANKS CHARLEY

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#3

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 3:01 PM

Keep in mind that in the modern age of electronics long term is counted in nano seconds at best. I agree, it truely sucks that what once was our greatest industry is now turning to crap. There is no security anymore. And as more automotive jobs are sent away from this country, many of the associated companies are also suffering. It's a shame that our own government allows this. I suppose only money matters to those who have money, not where it comes from or who suffers for the loss.

Good luck buddy, hope you are able to sell your house for at least what you owe or paid for it and can find employment somewhere warm. I hear GMC is hiring in southern Mexico.

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#4

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 5:17 PM

Hey jobbie, Went though this myself in the steel businesss, last time at the hands of the detroit purchasing geniuses that threw the entire steel supplier industry into bankruptcy.

When you say " well America in general considers the "American Auto Worker" to be over paid and lazy. " That is because by american standards, they (UAW) are overpaid and for the most part do not share in the risk of their failure to perform (until now) nor do they take responsibility for what they are paid to do. The UAW wages and benefits are a multiple of US median wage; And their work rules are unbelievable. Their guaranteed salary and benefits (even on lay off) exceeds over half of the US's wage earners. "As David Leonhardt pointed out in the New York Times (countering, in a sense, the earlier piece by Sorkin), the average GM, Ford and Chrysler worker receives compensation – wages, bonuses, overtime and paid time off – of about $40 an hour. Add in benefits such as health insurance and pensions and you get to about $55. Another $15 or so in benefits to retirees (known as "legacy costs") brings the number to roughly $70."

Using the $55 dollar per hour figure puts them at $114400 per year...


Compared to the median US personal income ($34,926 males, and $23,546 females, 2006 data). That sounds like overpaid to me. Most people challenge the $75 dollar an hour rate because it is said to include retrirees benefits, but I don't know any UAW families making less than six figure incomes.

Stories of abuse are rampant, here's one from detroit, we have them in cleveland and other markets all the time as well:

http://www.clickondetroit.com/video/10235271/index.html

"UAW workers are among the world's most affluent. They take home an eye-popping $75 an hour in wages and benefits -- triple what the average private-sector worker earns. They get seven weeks' paid vacation and holidays.

UAW workers retire after 30 years on a generous pension. If they don't qualify for Social Security benefits because they're in their 50s, they get special bonus payments until they do.

Not to mention gold-plated health coverage. For $10 a month and a $250 deductible, UAW workers and retirees get comprehensive medical, hospital, surgical and prescription drug coverage. Most retirees in Medicare, by contrast, must pay thousands of dollars annually in premiums, deductibles and copays.

Worse, under the union contracts the automakers do not lay off workers when plants close. Instead they transfer them to the JOBS bank. There they get nearly full pay to not work. Detroit automakers actually pay thousands of workers six-figure salaries to sit around and play Trivial Pursuit." source:http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/archive/s_599972.html

Now they want and are getting people who make less than them to bail them out through the govt. bailout. I don't get it.

The Auto company Management reacted to this by moving work overseas where they do not have this same UAW problem; and magically, they are quite successful there in China, say or brazil.

I have no doubt that you are a capable, competent, and tired of the BS from the auto companies. but You are included in a class that is currently not well regarded and not held with much sympathy, just as there was no sympathy for all the laid off steel workers when that industry needed to readjust.

in 1997 I had 37 engineers and metallurgists as direct reports. in 2003 i was down to three. I left the industry to go to work for a customer industry trade association. Where I help them understand what and where to find among whats left and what to watch out for when purchasing...

I have supplied critical steel for new domestic companies (honda and toyota)as well as the Big 2-1/2:Ford GM Chrys. The supplier focus at the new domestics was always continuous improvement. The focus of the detroit companies and their suppliers was ALWAYS cost reduction and supplier abuse. That was their only focus. Cheapening the vehicles even as they charged more for them. All fantasies come to an end, and the fantasy of "we' re GM( or Ford or Chrysler) and we make good cars in america for americans" came to an end. Despite all the US flags in the commercials, there is more domestic content in some Honda's than in say, a ford escort. And no where near the quality issues.

As they told me in 1984 when they let me and 174 supervisors go at once from a major USS plant "this is a necessary adjustment. Like the medicine that mother gives you, it doesn't taste very good at the time, but in the end you'll be better for it."

I hated it at the time, But they were right. I'm amaking a heck of a lot more than I would have had I stayed in the mills. And had I stayed in the steel industry.

I'm certain you'll get though this. There's no respect for refugees most places, so get yourself out of the refugee mindset sooner rather than later.

Do you have any quality control, lean, or precision machining skills? if so send me a private email by clicking on my name at the top to share your email address. If you can relocate, I usually have a couple of shops looking for competent skilled people, especially with CAD and Inventor competencies. If You're a sheet metal Guy, I have a few contacts in that industry too.

Best of luck.

milo

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 6:25 PM

GA, yet again Milo.

Allow me to tag back in as well as on.

This is my point. If the ship is sinking get a life raft. Be proactive. Begin your search NOW.

I have a family to feed. When a large chip plant shuts down a project 15 million into a 50 million dollar project over night I know there is a problem. Do I want to continue that way. Are the fat days with all that comes, worth the lean days?

For me it was a no. Job security is available - not like it was - to a degree.

I have found that when I take the action needed, with the intent of an honest man, good results find their way to me. I should not think it different for anyone else.

This (auto crisis) is not new. I would make a decision - one only you can make.

Like Grand Dad would say, "Boy, you can have problems; or you can have opportunities. It's entirely up to you"

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 6:55 PM

Thanks Texas Charley. I Loved your grandad's quote. I worked for a boss (let's call him Thor) who thought everything looked like a nail, You can imagine how that went.

Your experience points out the value of niche vs industry thinking. In a major industry, one's skills may be commonplace and generic, in a niche industry, those skills may be special indeed.

I believe I've used a few of those rugs you are talking about. With a gal. Near a fireplace, usually some wine...

Great product

milo

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#7

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 7:24 PM


John Smith started the day early having set his

alarm
clock

(MADE IN JAPAN ) for
6am.

While his
coffeepot

(MADE IN CHINA )

was perking, he shaved with his

electric razor

(MADE IN HONG KONG .)

He put on a


dress shirt


(MADE IN SRI LANKA ),


designer jeans


(MADE IN SINGAPORE )

and

tennis shoes


(MADE IN KOREA )


After cooking his breakfast in his new


electric skillet


(MADE IN INDIA )


he sat down with his


calculator

(MADE IN MEXICO )


to see how much he could spend today.


After setting his

watch


(MADE IN TAIWAN )

to the radio


(MADE IN INDIA )


he got in his
car

(MADE IN GERMANY )


filled it with
GAS

(from Saudi Arabia )


and continued his search


for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.


At the end


of yet another
discouraging

and
fruitless day

checking his


Computer


(Made In Malaysia ),


John decided to relax for a while.


He put on his
sandals

(MADE IN BRAZIL)


poured himself a glass of


wine


(MADE IN FRANCE)


and turned on his


TV


(MADE IN INDONESIA),


and then wondered


why he can't find


a good paying job


in AMERICA



S

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/17/2009 8:48 PM

Not bad. brief but perhaps a bit over simplified.

Here's another take. Apologies for the length)

Milo got up, to a warm house , thanks to the Gas furnace (made in Tenesseee USA) and the Natural Gas (Texas USA). He was pleased to see fresh fruits and berries from South America (imported by air freight on Boeing airplanes (Washington USA) in the refrigerator (USA) He added a little water to the flowers that brightened his table that were on a similar flight from ecuador, twodays earlier. "If I had to eat what was available here in ohio in the winter, I d be sick of squash, potatoes, and bacon by now.

"Dad, how come the teacher at school says that free trade is bad and that there are no jobs left here in the usa. Don't yo work in manufacturing?"

"I'll need to think on that, Dear"

He worked out on his weight machine (Made in USA) and vacuumed the carpet (dalton georgia USA) (vacuum cleaner made in USA) before taking a shower ( shower head, pipes, and mixer valve made in USA) The Hot water (Heater made in USA) felt good and he was confident that he would have a great day.

As he put on his underwear (hanes made in USA) he wondered how hanes could make knit underwear here, but all his shirts came from overseas. It must be the expense of all that hand work, he remembered, having seen advertisements for dress shirts made at the local tailor for $150 apiece. At least the truck drivers, and warehouse people at the retailers carrying the shirts are american, he thought.

After reading the news paper (Printed in Cleveland Ohio USA) that was left in the tube at the end of his driveway (made in USA, as was the post) he decided that he wouldn't need to carry his smith and wesson (made in the USA) to work today The crime forecast was light to moderate.

As he got out into the garage, he chose the toyota camry (georgetown Ky USA 80% domestic content) rather than the Pontiac aztec (Made in mexico). he pushed the button on his screw type garage door opener (made in USA) and backed out into traffic, stopping at the stop sign,(made in USA) at the end of the street.

As he stopped at dunkin donuts for a donut and coffee (baked and brewed locally, helping a couple college kids get spending money), he looked at all the USA made trucks Peterworth kenworth, etc, going past, and thought how good that we had enough foreign trade that we needed all these trucks moving and giving jobs to all those lads who didn't want to go on to university.

As he pulled into the parking garage, the controlled access gate (usa) read his card and opened up. HE got onto the elevator, (otis made in USA) and sat down in his herman miller chair (made in USA)

He picked up his pilot pen (made in USA) grabbed a tablet (made in USA)and went to the conference room where the 3m Stickypages (made in USA) from yesterdays meeting on USA EXPORT GROWTH were still hanging on the wall (materials and construction made in the usa):

Exports growth in USA

Exports comprised 13.7% of U.S. GDP in the third quarter of 2008. To put in historical terms,

exports were 9.4% of U.S. GDP five years earlier (Q3 2003), and 5.4% 40 years ago (Q3 1968)

In 2006, exports of manufactured goods supported 6 million U.S. jobs. Of those 6 million jobs, 2.6 million were directly employed in manufacturing. An additional 3.4 million jobs were nonmanufacturing jobs, such as services and other non-manufacturing activities required to manufacture exported goods.

In 2006, California (692 thousand jobs), Texas (580 thousand), and Ohio (318 thousand) had the most jobs linked to manufactured exports. Twenty-one states each had more than 100 thousand jobs supported by manufactured exports.

Nearly two-fifths of all jobs in computers and electronic products are supported by manufactured exports in 2006. In seven major manufacturing industries more than twenty-five percent of all jobs are supported by manufactured exports.

Over 431 thousand jobs in transportation equipment were supported by manufactured exports in 2006. Nine major manufacturing industries each counted more than one hundred thousand jobs supported by manufactured exports.

In 2007, U.S. goods exports to Free Trade Agreement partners totaled $472 billion, up substantially from $399 billion in 2005. FTAs in force through November 2008 accounted for $480 billion in exports, or 39.6 percent of total U.S. goods exports.

source:

http://www.commerce.gov/s/groups/public/@doc/@os/@opa/documents/content/prod01_007686.pdf

Have to remember, that these estimates dont include

Direct exports of non-manufactured goods (e.g., unprocessed minerals or agricultural items) and services .

After jotting a few notes, he went to the mens room where he noticed the toilets and fixtures all said "ELJER made in USA."

"I wonder why everyone thinks we don't make anything here in the USA any more," he thought to himself as he used some disinfectant sugar beet based hand soap from the dispenser (both made in USA) and then pulled the paper towel(made in USA) from the shiny stainless steel dispenser (made in USA) Perhaps he should have used the electric hand dryer (made in USA) but he thought that using electricity (made in USA) to dry hands was foolish.

As he looked in the mirror, (made in USA) it occurred to him that it doesn't matter so much where the things are made, as much as how much the value that they bring to ones life does. Jobs are created to move goods, as well as to make them, and when you look at the US's exports they have grown tremendously in our economy.

I have to tell my daughter to look into engineering. There is a real need for talent in manufacturing here in the USA today!

When she graduates, we will celebrate with a nice bottle of napa valley wine (california usa). Last kid out!

milo

PS more info here:

http://www.dallasfed.org/fed/annual/2002/ar02.pdf

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/18/2009 8:58 AM

I do like your version better.Thanks!It makes me feel better about my situation. We need to concentrate on keeping it that way and making others,those in charge, see the damage that can come from the export of american work.Americans are the best workers in the world,proven time and time again, now is the time to step up and show the rest of the world that we are still here.

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#10

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/18/2009 11:15 AM

I could not agree more, those at the top have not a clue of how the society around them are suffering from their never ending desire to put the share holders first. At one time buying stock in a company meant you were sharing the risk and hoped the long term plans would make you some money, now the focus seems to be next quarter and who cares what happens to anyone else. I just cannot believe how these companies have systematically destroyed the economy of so many areas when all the signs were pointing out that what they were doing was completely against what people wanted or needed. Another fine example when accountants run things rather than accounting for where the money went. I wonder if anyone will learn from this?

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#11

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/18/2009 12:22 PM

LAID OFF

Thanks for your constructive comments and suggestions. I do appreciate you guys taking the time to respond, with such conviction, sincerity and passion. I thank you. I wanted to say that I have never been a Union Brother. Never paid union dues. Most designer positions here are non-union contract jobs. As a senior designer I was always well compensated for staying ahead of the technology curve. Learning new CAD SYSTEMS, tooling advances, materials etc., and, I'm not necessarily for or against the UAW for all of its flaws and successes. But I do know that I was making $10.00 less per hour, than I made 10 years ago, and I was the highest paid guy at my previous employer. We were doing Nissan work. In addition the guys that made it through the lay off were told that the position they had, "Has been eliminated" and would they like to take on a new position that they had available. When they asked what the position would involve. Management told them "Its pretty much what you've been doing but the rate will be different". Its amazing but they reduced their pay buy almost half. That's a skilled tradesman making $15.80 an hour. Hell, if they offered that deal to me I probably would have taken it just to stay workin'. UNION or no UNION? I don't know. Maybe they have out lived their usefulness. I'm just a guy that needs a job and they're working overtime Shanghai.

I'm open to other things. I'm a survivor. Ive always been kind of a CAD GEEK, Not much shop experience, Did a little Quality engineering and Design engineering. Mostly plastics experience. Surfacing, some sheet metal some mechanical. Anyway, it looks like there is nothing around here right now. So, Ive done some Design consulting and Training around the country. Ill probably do some of that again. Mostly SDRC I-DEAS, and UG nx 5 and 6. Some CATIA V5. Thanks again all. Ill keep in touch.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: LAID OFF AGAIN

01/18/2009 12:25 PM

Please do keep in touch. Many of the questions posted on this forum could benefit from your experiences. Past present and future.

Best of luck.

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