Le déclin du système manufacturier Canadien (7)

Extrait de: It’s too easy to kick union for saying no to Caterpillar, Michael Babad, Globe and Mail, Feb. 08, 2012

Too easy to kick CAW

The decision by Caterpillar Inc. (CAT-N112.83-1.21-1.06%)to shut down its locomotive plant in London, Ont., has sparked a lot of controversy.

It's a crucial debate because the issue of competitiveness is one that's going to dog Canada in this post-crisis era.

But it's far too easy to criticize the workers who said no to the multinational giant, leading to a lockout and then the loss of 700 jobs at the 62-year-old plant.

Caterpillar's subsidiary cited costs and the competitiveness of the London operation when it announced Friday that it's closing the Electro-Motive Canada plant and moving the work to other sites in North and South America.

It didn't say exactly where those jobs would go but expect at least some of the work to go to Indiana, where Caterpillar already has an operation and where it held a weekend job fair that attracted more people than it could handle. It came at the same time that Indiana became the 23rd state to bring in "right-to-work" legislation that says employees at a unionized shop need not pay union dues if they object to that.

Critics of the Canadian Auto Workers say the union is killing jobs by not agreeing to company demands for deep concessions, wage cuts of up to 50 per cent among them.

The union, they argue, has to come into a 21st Century of globalization where jobs will go to low-cost producers.

That the Canadian dollar is now far stronger than it once was. And that it's better to have half-pay than no pay, etc.

It's true that the job seekers in Indiana would be happy for that work, which is being offered, in some cases, at about half the equivalent pay in London. It's also true that many of Canada's 1.4 million unemployed would jump at the lower wages rejected by the CAW.

I've heard some arguments that are valid, and I do understand that, as the company says, the plant must be competitive. But how are we measuring this? The workers weren't being asked to just hold the line, or take even small cutbacks. They were being asked for much, much more. For those among us with jobs, imagine if that were you.

Workers in general assembly jobs, for example, were asked to cut their hourly base rate to $18 from $35.90, the union says. Others were asked to take lesser cuts, but still in the range of 45 per cent, and for skilled trades 20 per cent. On a weighted average basis, according to the CAW, it works out to 45 per cent, as well as concessions in other areas.

There have been wage freezes and cuts in Canada, of course, but Caterpillar is the extreme. For the last two years, annual wage increases won by unions have averaged 1.8 per cent, according to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada data.

That's well down from the 3.2 per cent of 2008, the year the crisis was setting in, and below the pace of inflation. Which means wages are losing ground, but there are base increases nonetheless.

There's a troubling, if only indirectly related, issue, as well. Because some of the London work appears headed for Indiana, there's a natural inclination to point to the fact that it just became the first state to bring in right-to-work legislation in about 10 years. It becomes the 23rd state to do so.

Look at some of the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, whose latest numbers measure median household income averaged over three years, from 2008 to 2010, in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars.

Of the previous 22 right-to-work states, not including Indiana, 16 ranked in the bottom half. And seven of them were the bottom 10.

(I'll caution that the numbers include rural regions of many southern states, and thus tend to bring down the measure, but the trend is clear.)

This is not to suggest that the union should not have given some ground, but that we have to balance this push for lower costs with other issues.

When you're ready to cut your pay in half, and decide how you're going to keep up mortgage payments and feed your family, then, and only then, are you in a position to critizice the workers in London.

Exactement, il a tout à fait raison, jusqu'où, doit-on baisser nos salaires à cause de la libéralisation du marché.

Alors, quand l’entrepreneur exportateur voit cela, qu’est-ce qu’ils voient ?

Plus de 48 millions de pauvres Américains qui sont prêts à travailler à 14 $ de l'heure, ce qui dépassent la population entière du Canada, beau problème ! quand la masse salariale de l'entrepreneur canadien se situe facilement entre 30 $ et 35 $, on est loin d'être sortis du bois.

Alors, on s’en sort comment ?

Voici un exemple parfait des effets pervers de la mondialisation, il faudrait que les politiciens et les journalistes, vous arrêtiez de faire du bruit juste pour faire du bruit, arrêtez de tourner autour du pot, car vous perdez toute crédibilité et que l'on parle sérieusement de la problématique.

Examinez les avantages que la compagnie a eu pour se faire délocaliser :

The state of Indiana helped out with $3.5-million (U.S.) in performance-based tax credits, up to $1-million in cash for training, another $1-million in infrastructure assistance and aid in applying for a $1-million U.S. government grant. Another $22.5-million in tax abatements and other financing was also available from the local county.

About 36 hours before the announcement of the London closing, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law so-called right-to-work legislation, which hinders the ability of unions to organize. (1)

De plus, c’est le seul pays qui peut imprimer de l’argent en toute impunité.

Bienvenue dans notre Réalité Économique, car nous, ont y est confronté chaque jour, alors, oubliez-nous, on ne bougera pas pour l'investissement privé, tant aussi longtemps que la situation ne soit pas plus propre.