Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's No Fun Being Right

A few years ago, when I was still working, I was sitting in the cafeteria with the other women in the office and we were tsk-tsk-tsking about all the companies that were laying thousands of factory workers off and sending the jobs to Mexico. Our company had not yet started announcing layoffs and closing plants, so we spoke from the viewpoint of people who feel relatively secure, watching others not so fortunate. Little did we know that we would be suffering the same fate in due time.

At that time, I said, "The same thing will happen here. And nobody will get particularly upset until these corporations, ours included, start laying off middle-management people and above, and if they replace them at all, it will be with lower-wage people, and offering fewer benefits. "

I could tell by the looks on their faces that they simply didn't believe me. I was just being that outspoken big-mouth that I had always been. One of the women informed me that it just wouldn't happen. She had worked for the company for 20+ years and she trusted them to be there for her.

Withing a couple of years, our company started closing down assembly lines in its various factories, a line here and a line there, and moving into factories that they had built in Mexico. Even then, we didn't really feel the threat. After they got their factories set up in Mexico and their new workers trained (the irony here is that WE trained them. The company sent our supervisors down there for that purpose and then brought them back to a factory with no one left to supervise.)

Then, the announcement came. They were closing our factory and moving what little was left to another location. They allowed a couple of supervisors to move, and a couple of other salaried people, allowed the managers to take early retirement and the rest were laid off.

Now that factory sits empty, like others around the country. A constant reminder that our manufacturing jobs have disappeared.

So, today, I read that Circuit City is getting ready to layoff not hourly workers, but higher paid, salaried people. They are doing this not to move the jobs anywhere, but so they can replace them with people to whom they planned to pay a lot less. We'll be hearing that more and more companies will be doing the same thing in the future.

I rest my case.


Cazzie!!! said...

Yes, this is a Worldwide thing it may seem. It is always in the NEWS that jobs like call centre jobs have gone abroad, namely for big banking companies. But, in the 1980's I worked for an assembly line, making puch bike helmets. That very company moved from Australia to Kuala Lumpur, getting the helmets made cheaper and cheaper salaries for the workers. Then, they bring the helmets back to Oz...all for cheaper than them being manufactured here!!
Now, I hear they are doing it with sugar from here too. It is going to China or some such place, and they are making food products with it and bringing it back here to sell to us as Ice cream and things like that!!!

Sister--Three said...

Sometimes when you call the help desk of a company you get someone in another country who can barely speak English...let alone help you with your problem.

Hey, glad I am a teacher of US children, as my job will not go

dc said...

So SAD and we end up feeling so helpless to do anything about it. Wonder why that is. Intelligent people sit on their hands and feel that nothing can be done. What are our young people going to do for jobs. They are not all college graduates. Of course they want to be paid like they are. Thats to sad too.

susan said...

The world seems to be changing again right now. So many people in third world countries are more than willing to work for half of what we will, so they get the jobs.

Big business is all about the doesn't matter if you've given them 20 years of loyalty or now. How very sad...

CarmenSinCity said...

I've used the excuse that I got "laid off" before :) In reality I used to have a very hard time keeping a job. I was a shitty worker. I've gotten a little older and a little wiser. Hopefully I won't get laid off. My parents were laid off when their plant shut down and it was really upsetting for them. They worked at the same place and got laid off at the same time when they were like 45 years old. Pretty shitty!

Chancy said...

I also heard the news about Circuit City. I have to say I am not surprised since Best Buy has Curcuit City beat in my area. I would question the financial health of a company that fires and then hires cheaper replacement workers.

Very Bad PR.

Tink said...

America, not so much the land of opportunity anymore. We're sinking ourselves and so few people seem to realize it.