If you are from London you no doubt have been following Caterpillars shameless lockout of their employees in one of their Electro-Motive factories. If you haven't, let me give you the low down...
"Hi, I'm Mr. Union worker. I've been working hard for Electro-Motive diesel, owned by Caterpillar Inc. We make diesel trains. I've been doing my job for years and years. A lot of my skills, while not trades per se, have been passed down to me from previous employees. You can imagine, that helping in the construction of building complicated diesel trains is a little bit harder than your average factory job. Regardless, I put long hard hours into my work and these trains, which take weeks to complete, and is something I can be proud of. We've worked hard to agree to wages which are fair. Sure there was a recession in 2008, but our company has come through it, the orders are rolling in, and we are working hard!"
Now lets look in on a secret executive meeting at Caterpillars headquarters...
"Hey there, how are you doing this fine evening?" - Evil Exec #1
"Fine fine... I'm just about to read this report on our 2011 profits... First let me finish drowning some kittens." - Evil Exec #2
"Ah yes! There is nothing like drowning a few kittens to get me in the mood for our 2012 agenda!" - Evil Exec #1
"There, that about does it... Where were we.... Goodnight! We profited 4.9 billions dollars last year! Can you believe it? That's an almost... Why yes, an 83 percent increase from the previous year!"- Evil Exec. #2
"$4,900,000,000 may sound like a lot... But I think we can get more next years! I have a brilliant idea! We should slash our London Ontario factory wages in half! It's perfect, sure they are helping us making billions, but just think.... We will save.... 30 million, best case scenario! Let me figure it out here.... I never really was too good at math.... Wow... geez... Hey guys, that only represents like.... 0.6% of our total profits..." - Evil Exec #1
Suddenly, a low chant arrises from the meeting, and in unison they all chant...
"UNIONS RUN THAT FACTORY AND UNIONS ARE EVIL. ALL HAIL THE DARK LORD S-T-O-C-K-H-O-L-D-E-R WHO INSISTS NO WORKER SHALL EVER SUCEED ALONG WITH THE DARK LORD."
"It's settled then. Screw the Union workers! They are a bunch of idiots who probably won't understand just how little we actually need their salaries anyways...."
I really want you think about this for a moment. Let's pretend for a moment that you and a business partner own a small business. In that business, you have five employees. Let's say you both do fairly well in your business and each profit about 50k annually. Now pretend for a moment, that you decide that you would like to save an annual amount representative of 0.6% of your total profits. Do you know how much money that would represent? $600. Which is roughly what a person in Ontario, making minimum wage, would make if they worked 60 hours in a two week pay period. Now let's put this in perspective. Don't you think you would be a bit of well, a jackass, if you attempted to save that amount of money by completely devastating the financial security of one of your employees? From our perspective, $600 a year is about the amount of money one person spends on one coffee a day. Don't you think you would find other options to save money?
It's no different from Caterpillars perspective. Stop trying to pretend it is, and look at it from an average point of view.
Very rarely would a company, who is profiting so well, try to offer this type of outlandish saving philosophy. There are very few reason they are doing this - their hatred for Unions, and their blinding greed to exploit lesser economies. It has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do making Caterpillar a better company. There is a reason Canadian labour comes at a price, it's quite frankly, the best in the world.
I understanding making the hard choices when companies are crumbling. This is not one of those times.
The world needs to stop viewing stockholders as some type of demigod, whose father is the all worshiped act of squeezing every dollar from society, and whose mother is the economy itself. They are not special. They do not deserve special treatment. If they are willing to dangle the lives of 500 people so they can, from their perspective, find the lost quarter in the couch, their name should be scorned, hated, dragged into the street and beaten. They should be shouted at with every ounce of will power. They do not deserve our respect.
If this happens, other heartless companies will follow suit. Don't you dare blame the people who make these companies billions. They haven't priced themselves out a job, for as long as their is a way for the sheep of corporate globalization to make a little bit more no job security will ever exist.
It's time companies start to treat the working class with respect, and allow the working class to share in the profits they helped create.
Source: Caterpillar racks up huge profits while Electro-Motive lockout continues