So when we discussed the evils of the UAW in the thread about why the Chevy Vega failed the importance of unions in assembly plants and their subsidiaries were diminished. Many said the UAW is horrible and blamed them for all kinds of troubles in the automotive world.
Now we see a subsidiary of Hyundai was busted using child labor in one of their plants. Now I can see no better example of why we need the UAW, do we really want to go back over 100 years? Is this truly what we want?
A big part of the reason why the Chevy Vega was unsuccessful was because of “Lordstown Syndrome”, the workers could not take the ridiculous pace the line moved at and resorted to sabotaging cars as an outcry. These were humans being treated as robots.
It was terrible enough how these adults were abused by GM, though comparing it to the absolutely atrocious behavior we are seeing in Alabama the whole Lordstown debacle seems to be such a 50 years ago problem. Now thanks to the attack on the UAW for many years we are seeing abuse of labor to the likes of over 100 years ago.
I mean if we keep up this nonsense what’s next?
Now I’m sure I will get plenty of people saying “UAW=BAD, Non Union Hyundai=Good”, however I just do not see how anyone can defend this practice or the company. I am very upset by this, my heart breaks for these children. I am truly speechless.
The news article I read said they were temporary contract employees. Since they were temps they would not be IN the union. The UAW does not care about temps.
Another comment…Lordstown did not treat the workers like robots because the robots don’t come back drunk after lunch.
Exactly what do.you think an assembly line job is like? It is repetitive and mindless by its very nature. If a worker doesn’t want that, don’t apply. Many of the tasks have already been automated. Many more will.
@Mustangman Here is an article you can read to educate yourself a little about the horrible travesty that occurred 50 years ago at Lordstown. Let’s try to understand the discontent at the Lordstown plant instead of demonizing the workers and labeling them all as drunks and druggies.
Lordstown Syndrome was the name given by journalists to a particular kind of discontent among auto workers at General Motors’ Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio in the early 1970s. These workers were reacting to a newly built, fast-paced assembly line which took away much of the control they had over their own work, and forced them to work at a greatly increased speed. The term became a catchword for workers sick of their jobs and ready to let their bosses know how they felt, be it through striking, or through more physical means. In a sense, this “syndrome” is characteristic of many of the changes in American manufacturing in the 1970s, and the workplaces forged out of this back and forth between workers and management are the factories and offices of the twenty-first century American economy. The wages, benefits, pensions, workplace rules, union representation, and management styles of today have all been shaped by the politics and economics of the few years that followed the outbreak of Lordstown Syndrome in northeast Ohio in 1972.
You know what, I guarantee if that was a UAW plant there would be no children working there, temporary or not. These companies run amuck when they can get away with stuff because there is no representation or solidarity among the workers, and the more they get away with the more stuff they pull.
Eventually they get so greedy they get to the point they will hire children. Do you not understand how bad this is? I mean honestly this is sickening. The UAW needs to make a resurgence. Let’s start to have a little respect for assembly workers.
Unfortunately, you are correct I am afraid. Of course, now companies are crying “Wah! No one wants to work anymore!”…FAKE NEWS!
No one wants to work for substandard wages and little to no benefits anymore is the accurate statement. Corporate greed is out of control and has been for a long time and it really got out of hand thanks to an evil man named Jack Welch. When he took over at GE he started common practices that make the Robber Barons look like philanthropists. There is an excellent book about it that just came out. I am currently reading it and it really lays it out on the line.
About 10 or so years ago a couple of young men here were crippled for life. In the farm world, a grain augur is one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment around. A 17 year old working in the summer for a grain elevator got caught in one and lost his leg mid thigh. Another 17 year old tried to save him and he also lost a leg mid thigh. That second 17 year old is a bona fide hero in my book as he plowed in with no concern for his personal safety.
The people who owned the elevator (and a mountain of other stuff from here to CO as they are beyond filthy stinking rich) did not have insurance on them. The elevator owners tried to reinstate the insurance after the fact and the mother of all court fights broke out. Eventually the young men received compensation (hidden by court order) but no matter what it is it’s not enough to make up for the loss IMO.
I never thought I would say these words but I agree with Rick on this one. If you don’t have a union to protect you from being fired for refusing to do illegal or overly dangerous things you choice is “Do it, or there is the door.” Even with a union it requires more guts than many people have. Company executives are not stupid. They will fire you for something else and falsify evidence to back it up.
They just passed an ordinance in our county, the county exec can fire any department heads at any time with no review and without cause. Don’t support my policies you are toast. More coming your way soon. OSHA getting hamstringed, a bad time for many coming soon, as workplace safety is being eroded.
My attitude is that if an employer asks me to do something which I believe is unethical, illegal, or unreasonably dangerous, then I won’t do it. The fact that I might be written up and/or fired for refusing is not a big concern. That is the whole point of living frugally and saving money–so I don’t have to worry about “how am I going to pay the bills this month if I lose my job for standing up for myself?”.
The bottom line is that if I refuse to do something dangerous and as a result I get fired, whatever. As long as I am healthy enough to work, I can always find another job. On the other hand, if I was foolish enough to obey the orders, and as a result was injured, I fully understand that the company would deny having ever asked me to do whatever led to the injury, and attempted (perhaps successfully) to weasel out of paying a worker’s compensation claim.
I have refused to do things which I felt were unreasonably dangerous, and paid the price of being fired from three different employers as a result. I have also been fired from several companies due to unreasonable customer complaints, or unwillingness to work at a speed which I considered unsustainable. However, each time, I was able to find another job fast, for at least as much money as I was making before. In fact, the last time I was fired from a job–which was for inability to meet unreasonable performance standards, I was literally fired on a Monday, and had a new job by the Friday of that week.
I heard a consultant guest lecture about Lordstown when I was in college (in a previous century) His story about welders was that a new worker could not completely finish a weld, so the first car was 3/4 welded, the second 1/2 welded, the third 1/4 welded, the fourth skipped. Repeat the process. After a few weeks the welder became proficient and could weld the entire car and pause before the next car came down. Workers then traded off, doing two jobs for 15 minutes while one rested, then they switched. People can work intensely for short bursts. An efficiency expert saw this and declared that Lordstown had twice as much labor as necessary. There is no way a worker could operate at that level of intensity for a full shift. Lordstown became known as the junkyard. Other GM divisions knew they could send subpar parts to Lordstown as they would never catch them. After many years Lordstown turned around and became a quality shop. If incoming parts had an unacceptable reject rate they would send the entire batch back to the supplier, not just the bad parts. They insisted on 100% inspection. It was unfortunate that Lordstown had such a shabby start.
Educate me… if Hyundai’s contract house has no fear to violate US Federal law (NO manufacturing employees under 18) and Alabama State law (requires underage worker permits) exactly what would being represented by a union do to help this problem??
Rick, that link claims little more than you did and provides no discussion or evidence to suggest what Lordstown Syndrome IS, only gives it a name… By a Brit academic who would do well to analyze his own country’s automotive industry failures.
Which is why I posted;
I have worked in assembly plants, but as a salaried employee in plants represented by the IUE and the UAW. My wife worked in assembly at AMD (non-union), Frigidaire (IUE) and Delco Moraine (UAW). I am very well aware of what the job entails, the protection the union provides, and what employees can get away with while represented by these unions.
One of the first instructions both my wife and I was given as an intern and she as a new hire (in 4 different plants with 3 different union locals) was, “Watch the forklift drivers closely, especially after lunch, they drink…” Yeah, 20,000 lb machines piloted by drunks protected from firing or reassignment by the IUE and UAW.
If the union (the UAW) was so effective in protecting the rights of workers, why did this happen?
I am, in no way, excusing Hyundai for this violation nor am I saying GM did not make their own problems at Lordstown… but, The UAW did nothing to help their workers.
Seems like the Federal and state laws were effective in stopping this. The UAW is NOT thee end-all. Sure it’s helped many people over the years. I’ve had at least 40 relatives who were in the UAW over the years. Not one had anything good to say. Especially during the strike years where they were out of work for years and gained almost NOTHING when they returned.
Living in a GM and union city, I had family and friends working in various manufacturing plants as well as trades, mostly union represented. The universal perception was that unions protected the incompetent while providing little for the rest.
The article tells us even the machines couldn’t keep up with the breakneck pace! The UAW is far from perfect, unions are far from perfect. There is a factory I know of that has a sad union, I question what they really do for the workers. ITS TIME TO STRENGTHEN AND EXPAND OUR UNIONS!