Union Members Vote Themselves Out of their Jobs....

@ParaTed2k (22983)
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
August 24, 2009 6:07am CST
Mercury Marine builds outboard motors or boats (among other things). They have major manufacturing facilities in Fond Du Lac, WI and Stillwater OK. The company asked for pay and benefit concessions, which were rejected in a member vote on Saturday. The union members voted knowing that Mercury Marine was trying to decide which facility to keep open in their consolidation. The union members knew this, and voted the way they did anyway. The real losers here are the people who don't work for Mercury Marine in the Fond Du Lac area. Mercury Marine is a major employer in the area, the city will have a hard time adjusting when the income and revenues from the 850 jobs do south. They had no say here, but they will be forced to live with the consequences. The consolidation of Mercury Marine is a direct result of the fact that people just aren't buying boats in this economy. Low boat sales means low orders, wich means less work for employees. There's simply no reason to continue operating both facilities. All things being equal (both states offering generous incentives to consolidate in their cities), why on earth would Mercury Marine officials choose the Wisconsin plant? After the vote, union officials said that they were willing to work with company offiicials, they just weren't willing to give them everything they want. Good job union members! You stood your ground and really showed those corporate suits where you stand. Now you can stand on the unemployment line while Stillwater residents thank you for your support.
2 people like this
4 responses
@Rollo1 (16658)
• Boston, Massachusetts
24 Aug 09
My father had to belong to a union to get work in his field at one time in his life. The sad fact is that the members' votes are really cast based on how union officials tell them to vote and members don't feel free to vote their conscience. The union officials get paid whether those workers have jobs or not.
1 person likes this
@ParaTed2k (22983)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
24 Aug 09
Exactly! The union bosses don't give a flying flip about the jobs they cost the workers... they get their money either way.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Aug 09
Ted, I think this is the fist time in history that a republican understood what it means to a city when they lose a factory. For years, republicans have said that manufacturing in this country is a lost cause, and we all should just work at Wal-Mart (except the elected officals, they want to keep their jobs). I am surprised that Mercury kept their manufacturing in this country, it surprises me that they didn't do what Lee Scott told all American manufacturers: "Move all factories to China". It is sad to hear your area losing another major manufacturer, but the workers didn't decide to move the plant, it was the corporation that made that decision.
@ParaTed2k (22983)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
25 Aug 09
The realities of the industry motivate the consolidation. The company did try to keep both open, but to do that, the higher paid unionized workers were asked to make consessions. The consessions didn't even reduce the pay for existing workers. However, it did include pay freezes and transfering retirement to a 401K. In other words, the workers turned down a contract that didn't require a cut in pay. They knew that the alternative plan was consolidation. The workers in Fond du Lac were given a choice. Accept the contract or not. They chose not to accept it, which means they chose the known consequences of that choice. The people of stillwater, Ok have just as much right to opportunities as the people of Fon du Lac. Both states made their case and offered incentives. In the end though, it wasn't just the contract dispute that lead to this decision. Wisconsin has worked hard at creating a very antagonistic atmosphere for industry. For instance, they just passed a law that not only taxes Wisconsin based companies for the money earned in the state... but everywhere else. That means that Wisconsin based companies will be double taxed (both in Wisconsin and in the other states they do business. Wisconsin is bleeding jobs, not so much to other countries (although that does happen), but to other states. If Wisconsin doesnt' figure out how to compete with other states, we will soon join our neighbor across the pond.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Aug 09
Ted, I have a friend that works for a company that moved down to Georgia. They moved there because their biggest customer moved down there to save money on labor. Both companies found out quickly that employees aren't the same down there. His company hired 8 people to start with, all 8 people worked for 1 - 2 weeks, and then didn't show up. Three of them came back after they spent all of the money they made, and were upset that they didn't have a job. At the major corporation, they hired 1100 people, of those more than half did the samething. So both companies paid employees from up north to come down and work in Georgia. Because the labor force down there doesn't know how to work more than three weeks (most employers down there pay their employees every week, but they hold the first week). It is much worse in Mexico, and the further south you go, the worse it is. The problem with corporations today is they have so many states throwing money at them, if they aren't happy, they just move, and save even more money. I think that these corporations should be held accountable for these agreements they make with these cities, and states. If they want to avoid paying taxes, than they should be fined for that.
@ParaTed2k (22983)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
26 Aug 09
Leave it to a pro totalitarian like you to think that it should be a crime to decide where to live based on taxes. You forget, the company isn't relocating at all, they are consolidating. The factory in Oklahoma isn't new. The company already knows the area and what to expect of the workforce. It's simple, the company makes outboard engines for boats. People aren't buying new boats, nor are they replacing older engines. The company has two choices, either lay off workers so they can continue running both plants, or consolidate to one plant. The company was willing to keep both plants open, but asked for concessions in return. The consessions didn't include any cuts in rate of pay for the existing employees. It did include pay freezes though. It also included changing from a company based retirement plan to 401k. The upshot is, the company didn't have to even bother asking for the concessions. They could have simply chosen one of the two facilities and informed the workers of the decision. The workers didn't go into the decision blind. They knew the consequences of their decision. Why should a company be required to keep facilities open just because they are open? They aren't moving to China or India, they are moving to another state. Apparently, to you, the company has nothing but responsibilities, but no rights whatsoever.
@GardenGerty (113518)
• United States
25 Aug 09
Unions had their place, but like government, seem to have gotten out of control. I am glad that at least one plant will remain open. How did the Union vote determine which plant stayed open. Was the Wisconsin plant union and the Oklahoma plant not union.?
@ParaTed2k (22983)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
25 Aug 09
Yeah, the one in Oklahoma is a non union shop. Hundreds of Okies will now have jobs, since the workers in Wisconsin decided they'd rather be unemployed that make simple concessions.
@piasabird (1737)
• United States
24 Aug 09
OK, as a union member myself, I have to say that my fellow members are not very smart. The union reps here don't even know their own contract and admin knows it! Plus they don't really represent us in a pinch. They have loose lips and if they don't like you, well ..... forget about it! I wish I could get out of this union!
@ParaTed2k (22983)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
30 Aug 09
What do the union leaders care, they get their huge pay and bonuses whether the workers get a paycheck or not.