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Dear Caterpillar, please go back to the pit where you came from.

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...


"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


Anonymous said…
The thing that bothers me the most about companies going after employee wages is I really do think it is a very bad business plan. We live in a consumerist economy; the entire system runs on the selling and purchasing of goods. What buys goods? Money. Where does money come from? Wages. Where do wages come from? Companies who profit from the buying of goods. I always thought that this was a pretty obvious cycle, but time and time again, I see companies destroying the exact market that is buying their products. The worst part: NOBODY is talking about it from this perspective! Removing the purchasing power from the Canadian public may increase profit for the next fiscal review, but it is going to eventually decimate any future revenues, especially now that this culture of wage-slashing is become epidemic. Are we expecting the Chinese and Indian markets to pick up the slack as they continue to develop? Sure, that might work, but where does that leave us North Americans? Are we to be abandoned and watch our level of development and attainment crumble before our eyes because we can no longer afford basic necessities?

I don't know, maybe I am getting a tad dramatic, but it just bothers me that people are going against the organizations that are trying to protect our wages (unions) without making the connection that these unions are also helping out corporations by maintaining Canadian purchasing power. And it's not only those in power who are attacking unions, it's people like you and me, blue collar workers, who depend on wage-labour for their livelihoods. I just can't believe that the propaganda against unions spewed by 'those in charge' have actually rallied public support. People forget that unions were established to protect their labour rights. It's disheartening. I understand that there are issues with the current state of unions, and I would definitely advocate for some re-vamping, but lets not throw the baby out with the bath water.

But here's an overall novel idea: why don't we cool it on the whole 'increasing profit' thing and realize that growth is not the most important thing. How about we focus on stability- work towards creating stable markets with lesser degrees of fluctuations and discrepancies. Maybe with a more stable economy, we will stability in other fractions of our life. Imagine that.

But really, what do I know?

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