Trouble at Black Lake: The UAW's property exposure

“They were asked to take pay cuts…but if they did it would mean lower payments when they retired. Most of the workers are very close to retirement age…So they voted against the pay cuts…Mean while people like my nephew who’s only in his 40’s is going to be out of job when the plant closes later this year or next.”

That’s why the Detroit 3 asked the UAW for a 2-tier wage system. It allows the older workers a chance to continue earning at a high level and achieve the big retirement money they covet. And it allows the US plants to remain open. The UAW went along with it, but they want to eliminate the 2-tier system now. It seems to me that eliminating the 2-tier system would surely close the plants.

Hey Cig, “That said, do some history. 150 yrs ago none of these things really existed” Thus the birth of the union for decent working hours, conditions and pay. 150 years ago there were no child labor laws,

"As John D. Rockefeller is reported to have said: “the growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest.” This “Social Darwinism,” as it was known, had many proponents who argued that any attempt to regulate business was tantamount to impeding the natural evolution of the species.

Yet the costs of this indifference to the victims of capital were high. For millions, living and working conditions were poor, and the hope of escaping from a lifetime of poverty slight. As late as the year 1900, the United States had the highest job-related fatality rate of any industrialized nation in the world. Most industrial workers still worked a 10-hour day (12 hours in the steel industry), yet earned from 20 to 40 percent less than the minimum deemed necessary for a decent life. The situation was only worse for children, whose numbers in the work force doubled between 1870 and 1900. "

And who wants to go back to those days? Not me but maybe the corporations.

"In June 2011, republicans in wisconsin revealed plans to repeal child labor laws. Here is the expectations of this new law:

-16 and 17 year olds will be able to work unlimited hours per week.
-16 and 17 year olds will be able to work unlimited hours per day (except during school hours)
-14 and 15 year olds will be able to work until 8PM
-Teens of all ages will still be banned from working during their school hours.
-16 and 17 year olds will no longer be required to work a maximum of 6 days per week, but instead be allowed to work 7 days per week.

This means that teenagers are going to be allowed to work unlimited hours.

For the education: Teenagers can do their schoolwork BEFORE going to work. This way, their job won’t interfere with their education.
And yes I have heard the republican rhetoric about anyone who does not produce anything is a leech, Thank the leech fireman patrolman teacher or garbage collector if you appreciate the services. If Government leech jobs are so despicable why are teabaggers spending millions to try and get one!

Registering Poor To Vote Is Like Giving Burglary Tools To Criminals

I don’t think that was the intent of the conceal carry law passed by Republican walker in WI.

So waterboy, I’m not sure what you’re saying to me about it all. My point was that BIG business is actually what spawned the very conditions that made BIG labor necessary - all of that ugly stuff you mention. It doesn’t exist somehow “naturally” and all by itself. It came along with a particular kind of business organization - the massive corporate one.

This is all in a context of a thread where the tendency will be to beat up on big labor. Well, big labor is bad - because big is bad. But as long as there are big corporations, you can’t do without big labor since the ugly it brings will be a lot less than the ugly you have without it.

The days I would go back to are the ones before the massive corporations.

I will not defend bigness when it comes to organizations except in the limited sense of making clear that as long as there are big corporations I want big government and big labor around to counter the power. But its all bad.

As for the Social Darwinism stuff - yes, the builders of big were very clever in the ability to justify the activities and protect their interests. What is even more perverse is the cloaking of massive corporate activity under the guise of good old-fashioned individual freedom. People are still buying that crap hook line and sinker.

when my great grandmother died several years ago, we found some old newspapers in storage. I don’t remember the year of the paper, but it ad an article in it that said a 4 year old committed suicide because they weren’t promoted at work.

It also had a mail-in clipping you could send in to get a kit to make a lamp out of a squirrel.

Cig I was thinking from reading your post you wanted to go back 150 years as far as the average worker is concerned, and 150 years ago the conditions were deplorable. I see the elimination of medicare, social security as proposed at the Federal level, elimination of homestead credit and earned income credit as already passed, along with massive cuts to communities schools and social programs to fund tax cuts for the rich and corporations as already passed in our state of WI as morally, fundamentally and intrinsically wrong.

Oh - well, all I was saying was let’s not make this a special occasion for bashing organized labor. If anyone wants to bash they have to bash it all and not make labor somehow special. I was also implying (implicitly) that anyone that wanted to bash big labor had to start by bashing big business, because if it wasn’t for big business and what it does to people then big labor wouldn’t exist.

150 years is fuzzy since by the middle of the 19th century things had started to make the turn. Let’s call it more like 200 years - right at the turn of the 19th century. In the US a very small percentage of the population could be counted as “workers” at all in the sense that they worked for someone else. So the kinds of legendary horrors for labor just didn’t really exist on the grand scale - in the sense of affecting most people who spent their time making a living.

On the subject of unions/deplorable working conditions–

After being out of work for 2 years, I finally landed a full time job in February at a small garage here in Pennsy. First thing I noticed was, there was no facility to expel exhaust fumes from idling cars in the shop in winter with the garage doors down. The bays are about 50 feet from either garage door, & there’s no overhead fan, etc. What makes this situation really ironic is that one of the guys, who’s one of the best mechanics I’ve ever worked with, has terminal lung cancer! He’s slowing down but is still the “go to” guy when everybody else is stumped.

So I googled on some OSHA web pages for hours one night, but couldn’t find where this situation was actually illegal. Finally I dialed an OSHA toll free number and was told I must request OSHA to come out and do a threshold test for the presence of CO, etc. If the levels happen to be below threshold at that time, my company’s in the clear.

In microcosm, I guess this is why we still have, or should have, unions.

Karl, call OSHA when it gets really cold so that there is not much chance it will warm up enough to open the garage doors for very long. Make sure they arrive when a lot of engines have been running. You know what time of day that is. I suspect that the are willing to work with you. Call more than once if you have to.

“Karl, call OSHA when it gets really cold…”

Thank You, jt. We’ll see how it goes.

Who Called OSHA? You can buy a cheap battery operated CO detector that will warn you if CO limits are bad, then call OSHA. The working without proper ventilation sounds like poor planning. The bean counters must figure it could cost a few grand, and we can save that money. Oh I am sorry, you don’t like the conditions, I have 100 applications on file. Oh you might have harmful side effects? Not MY problem.

I thought about the CO detector, but what if the shop owner/manager has a cow? I don’t know the people Karl works with and chose a low common denominator.

A co detector would be less threatening than to a call to OSHA. Is it not sad trying to promote a proper work environment evokes fear?

I could probably put a CO detector near my work area w/o getting in trouble. The immediate bosses are cool; it’s the corporation that’s the stumbling block.

That’s what I’ll do & then go from there. Thanks to everyone for their input.

The contact information for reporting is at that link.

"Workers, or their representatives, may file a complaint and ask OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA standards. A worker can tell OSHA not to let their employer know who filed the complaint. It is a violation of the Act for an employer to fire, demote, transfer or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights."

Portions of the act of 1970 (with paragraph numbers), but aimed at abrasive dust control:
Clean air. Air of such purity that it will not cause harm or discomfort to an individual if it is inhaled for extended periods of time.

Exhaust ventilation system. A system for removing contaminated air from a space, comprising two or more of the following elements (a) enclosure or hood, (b) duct work, © dust collecting equipment, (d) exhauster, and (e) discharge stack.

I’m sure with a tad more searching I could find more. But that’s enough to get you started. You can ask for anonymity in the request. Having said that, if you’re the newest employee and the others have been there for years, it may not take Sherlock to figure out who made the call.


“I could probably put a CO detector near my work area w/o getting in trouble.
That’s what I’ll do & then go from there.”

I’d get one with a digital readout. I woudn’t have one without it. It’s possible to have a CO detector alarm, but not indicate very dangerous levels of CO. With the Digital display you can see when the CO that’s detected is at a level that’s high enough to be a health hazard.

You probably wouldn’t want OSHA to come out only to find a very low level of CO at that particular time. Also, you can record the levels and keep a log for reference.

My home monitor comes with instructions that inform one of danger levels and recommended procedures to follow at the different levels.


chaissos said, “1910.94(a)(1)(viii)
Exhaust ventilation system. A system for removing contaminated air from a space, comprising two or more of the following elements (a) enclosure or hood, (b) duct work, © dust collecting equipment, (d) exhauster, and (e) discharge stack.”

Wow. Thanks, chaissos. I hadn’t come across that. But are you sure that applies to auto repair shops as opposed to auto body shops?

Well, as I said, it applies directly to abrasive dust control, however, there’s nothing that says it can’t apply to automotive work…like brake pads and such, although there are other directives that may apply more (asbestos).

There’s quite a bit of info on those links. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to spend it all researching. I believe a guy I used to know did it, and the OSHA worker who showed just stated they were doing spot inspections, and it wasn’t prompted by anything. They do have the right (and duty) to promote safe work environments, and go into virtually any building (except those covered by another federal agency) and see what it’s like.

If there’s a motor running, open exhaust, into a sealed room, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it’s not healthy.

I was concerned that the management might fire karl if he brought a CO detector to work. An anonymous call to OSHA is hat I had in mind. But since karl’s immediate bosses would not be a problem, a CO detector would be less confrontational.