Well we both had a laugh at that one – what my husband told me to say. My husband will be the first to tell you, that he doesn’t really tell me anything. Or if he does try to tell me what to do, he usually adds, “though I doubt you’ll actually do it”. There seems to be an understanding that I will take what he says under advisement but generally, I’m going to do my own thing. Last night was the first night he asked me to write a post for him. “Sweetheart,” said my groom, “I’d like you to write a blog post for me.” Since he’s never asked me to do that before, I thought I should do as I was asked. Here’s what my husband told me to say.
The CAW is currently negotiating a new contract with the big 3. Now my groom has been part of the CAW off and on for years. For the most part, neither of us give unions much credit as we’ve seen too many members who engage in zoophilia with canines while on the job and not get fired to be particularly impressed. The union did come through in one spectacular shining moment a few years ago, which saved my husband’s job from a company unwilling to follow procedure, but I suspect that was more to prevent a precedent being set than a personal, vested interest in my husband.
With this impending strike by the CAW, my husband asked me what most members are asking right now: what are the CEO’s, CFO’s and other O’s going to give up in order to avert a crisis strike ? What are they willing to personally concede on in order to contribute to the financial stability of their companies ? Daniel Akerson, CEO of GM, was paid $7.7 million for 2011 and Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, was given a $29 million package for 2010. These two men combined made the equivalent wages of 553 people at $65,000/year. These two CEO’s will never have to work again but the people upon whose labour they depend will have to work 20 years just to make $1.3 million. And of course that’s before taxes which is something I think Dan and Al probably don’t worry about too much.
Now the CEO of Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne ? He has declined salary and bonuses for the second year in a row in order to make the company solvent again after requiring government bail outs to stay afloat. That’s not to say he hasn’t received minor compensation for living expenses, etc. but it’s sure a far cry from $29 million. This man recognized that he needed to make some serious changes to the finances of his company and started with himself. He didn’t expect the employees of Chrysler to accept a wage freeze or other concessions without leading by example. People are far more willing to accept to changes from upper management when they see CEO’s taking a cut too. GM and Ford ? They seem to have more of a do as I say, not as I do approach.
Now my groom will be the first to admit that members of the CAW, for the most part, have a sweet deal. They are paid well, have great health packages and are somewhat secure in their jobs. An employee went after another employee with a screwdriver at one company my husband worked at and he got off with a warning. In my world ? I would have been on the street with my box of personals so fast, and slapped with a charge of aggravated assault to boot, that I wouldn’t have had time to file a grievance much less try to defend such unprofessional and dangerous behaviour. And you know what ? Serve me right. Should have served screwdriver boy right as well but I’m sure he’s still pumping out car parts somewhere thanks to the union. This, I think, is where the union falls down and loses credibility. There is a time to protect jobs, like right now, and there are times to kick the brother to the curb and show that the union stands for quality, professionalism, safety and higher standards than what is expected. That, I could respect and is an example to be followed.
What my husband told me to say was that he hopes at some point the CEO’s of Ford and GM will realize that they are making huge mistakes right now. They are endangering their future salaries and bonuses. They are disengaging and disheartening the very work force that helps them earn their millions. They are showing poor leadership and worse personal character by not acknowledging that some sacrifice during this hard economy should be made by them. They should be willing to do whatever it takes, just like Sergio Marchionne, in order to secure the future of their company and employee engagement. They should listen to what my husband told me to say. I know I did.