The Christmas box from Vermont just arrived; hopefully the one going will leave tomorrow.
The letter I still have to write; the shopping's at about 98% but the stuff isn't wrapping itself very quickly. Tonight we're keeping Dillon overnight and my sister is keeping Talia and Caleb so John can take Noel out for her 30th birthday. Tomorrow we're taking her "antiquing" for her birthday and perhaps part of Christmas, since we hadn't gotten a list from her yet.
I shopped yesterday and bought what I needed for Noel's "birthday dinner" tomorrow after we come back...she wants chicken breasts and mushroom and pepper skewers in Italian marinade off the grill.
A friend asked what I think of the bailout package...I had pretty much said my piece a few weeks ago but seeing the fiasco of the last few days has made me wonder...
Not very long ago the entire "raison-d'etre" for the GOP was "America First"..."Country First"...
Yet we have the "Senator from Toyota" (Richard Shelby of Alabama) and some others ready to flush not the 3 million jobs they count as UAW workers down the toilet, but also all the related ones, with the additional foreclosures and repos and everything else that will entail, to please their contributors from across the ocean who above all, beyond losing their tax breaks beyond losing their incentives, fear having to deal with a unionized workplace.
The payscales in the plants that Toyota, Nissan and others have scattered through the South are within a dollar an hour of what I made when I retired. In the last contract the UAW signed with the big 3, they agreed that new hires would come in at half that, and not only would they not come up to scale for 3 years, but if they are involved in anything except putting parts directly on the car (sub-assembly, material handling and delivery, sanitation) they never come up to that scale!
They also gave up pensions for anyone hiring in from this point forward.
Retiree health care, mine included, was no longer the companies responsibility after next year.
So the "wages and benefits" argument was already slain; it just makes nice soundbytes...
The thing that those other companies fear is being told "you can't"
You can't fire someone because you don't like them...
You can't fire them because of their skin color,
their sexual indentity,
or their religion...
You can't fire them because they asked you to make something safer...
You can't fire them because they told you you were wrong about something...
You can't fire them to cover up your own mistakes...
You can't fire them because they needed to go to the restroom...
You can't fire them because they missed a day because they were sick.
You can't fire them because their parent, or child or their grandparent died!
It's sad that those who would like to wave the flag come election time don't think those are important things!
It's sad that those who would claim "Country First" as their mantra mean as long as it suits the shareholders.
I never built as "tight" a car, or well-engineered a car as the last ones I built. Finally, after 30 years of my banging my head against the wall, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel...all that was left was letting the last vestiges of "old management" retire and move out of the way.
Had the credit market not "locked up" like it did, there would have been no need for any of this discussion. The fault lies not at the door of the "big 3" but the door of Wall Street and the Treasury that did nothing except throw money at the problem and hope it went away!
Already the ripple effects had begun here...lay-offs, downtime, people knowing that by the end of January they will be drawing unemployment without any of those additional benefits everyone thinks we get because they don't have enough seniority...those were given up in that last contract as well for those new hires I spoke of.
Hopefully, the whispers of someone finally acting like a President and doing something about this are true and by Monday it will be "old news".
It won't save the 350 being laid off from my old plant, or the thousands across the country in the same shoes.
But that number will swell into the millions very shortly if something isn't done; and for every one of those others are going to lose their jobs as well.
The writing is on the wall for those who would care to read it...
Or even those who don't!
Sorry to be such a downer at what should be a happier time of the year, and on a Friday no less!
May your weekends be kind!