How Employees Can Fight Back

Don Searles, Machinery Maintenance for Extended Life

Some recent headlines seen on television and in newspapers across the country:

“Boeing Lays Off 10,000 Workers.”

“Ford Loses 1.5 Billion in the Last Quarter and Will Lay Off 15,000 in Their North American Operations.”

“Bethlehem Steel Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.”

“United Airlines Is Losing Over Ten Million Dollars per Day and Announces the Layoff of 12,000 Employees.”

These are only a fraction of the headlines we’ve seen in the past year. The recession has been devastating to many industries and to the millions of employees who have lost their jobs. In addition to the recession, thousands of businesses, and even complete industries, have moved their manufacturing to China, Taiwan, Indonesia and other counties. Our basic metals industries are a good example. Steel mills and foundries in the U.S. are, for practical purposes, a thing of the past.

What Can We Do To Fight Back?

  1. The first and most important point to understand is that a business must make a profit. If it doesn’t make a profit it will move manufacturing to another country (in search of cheaper labor) or go out of business. In either case, all the U.S. workers lose their jobs.
  2. Employees must improve efficiency, cut waste and help cut expenses. They cannot wait, simply thinking everything is OK, until the company begins to lose money and is ready to close its doors. They must act now, and every day, to assure the profitability of the company and to assure future employment.
  3. Machinery maintenance is one of the main areas where expenses can be cut, and efficiency, production and profits can be increased. When procedures are used that have been proven to extend machinery and lubricant life, maintenance costs are substantially reduced. With the machinery running more of the time, production and profits are increased without any additional expenses. This adds up to additional profits. With additional profits, companies can continue to pay competitive wages as well as provide job security.
  4. While the U.S. is at war against terrorism, we are also in another war - a war of survival for manufacturing industries. We must call a truce to the past battles between management and labor and work together to win the war of survival.

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