Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IT IS A SHAME! Who Is Responsible?

When my children were small I removed certain words, like quit, from the dictionary.  I did not remove the word blame but I wish that I had.  There is a real tradegy taking place in our country.  If there is blame, there is plenty to go around.  I have my own opinion of who is most  responsible.

I just bought a new, gas grill from Sam's Club.  I have had my eye on it since the first of the year and I decided to buy it before they all sold out.  Although I will use it this summer, I really didn't buy it for that purpose.  I grill a lot--ON CHARACOAL GRILLS!  Why?  Although they are a bit of a bother, I am convinced that food tastes better cooked over characoal.
I already have a large gas grill at home.  I told Julie to give it away.  It, like several others before it, was given to me.  I haven't used it.  Why did I then buy a gas grill now?  Well, one of these days, but not this year, I am determined to build me a shanty boat.  Fire is a boat's worse enemy so characoal is out.  This little grill, however, will fit perfectly on the small front deck of my planned shanty boat, when ever, if ever.

So, what is the tradegy?

I bought the grill still in the box  seeing only the floor sample.  When the guys loaded the box in the van I brought it down to the lake and rolled it out of the van, up the stairs and into the front door. (It was too heavy for me to lift and too complicated for me to assemble).  I saw printed proudly on the box MADE IN CHINA ! Made in China.  I mean, don't the folks in the USA know how to make grills?
It is a long ways to China.  I know, I have sailed both the East and South China Seas.  Still and yet, this grill was manufactured in china and shipped all the way to the USA cheaper than it could have been made right here in the USA.


Who is responsible for that?  Well, to some extent I am for buying it, although I didn't know where it was made at the time I bought it.  It is difficult today not to buy a product made overseas.  Buy an American car and probably half of the parts come from overseas.  Mostly, it is cheap labor.  I eat blackberries a lot, they come from somewhere in South America.  Again, cheap labor.

Choosing who is most responsible, I would have to say the American labor unions.  Incidentally, I am not anti union.  I recall my Dad opposing the CIO and AFL merger in the late 1940s.  He was in the CIO.  Both of my brothers were union steel workers.  My youngest brother, Ray, was the union president at a steel mill in Alabama.
None-the-less, when a garbage collector in New York makes more money than a commerical airline pilot, something is wrong.  When the result is grills from China, the end result is quite clear.

A long, long time ago my eldest brother, Henry, was a steel worker working at the Ravenswood works of  Kasier Aluiminium.  The union was on a strike lasting for months.  In the end labor won, or so they thought at the time.  Among the benefits, they got the right to have 20% of the employees on a three month vacation all the time.  My brother, rascal that he was--runs in the family--was elated.  Yes, a lot of new people were hired to make the new contract work and my brother constantly changed jobs to stay in the vacation group.

I TOLD HENRY AT THE TIME THAT THE UNION JUST SIGNED THEIR OWN DEATH WARRANT!  I  W A S   R I G H T!  You have to be an old person today to recall when there was a Kaiser Aluiminium plant in Ravenswood, WV.

One of my very best friends is a member of the United Rubber Workers, the URW.  When he is laid off, which he is from time-to-time, he will not take another job.  He will tell you he cannot afford to work for the money that the potential nonunion job pays.  Seemingly, he always gets called back before his benefits runs out.  I  WISH HIM NO ILL!  My neighbor does the same as does a lot of folks I know.  Where does the money come from to pay these people for not working?  THINK ABOUT IT!

So, what happens?  Business, looking at their bottom line as they must always do, saves money by letting the folks in China make the grill which they sell for more profit and America ceases to be a manufacturing country.  You get the picture, as I see it
Teachers, and I appreciate teachers, my daughter-in-law is a teacher and one of the best, and government workers are destroying the country with their contractual rights.  Rights they have negotiated in times past that today cannot be paid.  Several states are standing up for a responsible correction.  Governor Christy in New Jersey set the pace that is being followed by Wisconsin, Ohio and others.

I blogged a couple years ago on the subject of police retirement in Ohio.  It is way out of line with the retirement pay for police being  about double that of the average working pay for the general public.  More than triple my retirement from two employers where I was an associate vice president at last and, earlier, a senior manager with hundred of employees, uh, a non union senior manager.


I don't know the answer.  I most certainly don't know the outcome.  I think the Tea Party is on the right track.  At 80 years of age I am thankful to have lived in America's golden era.

God bless you and yours and God bless the USA!

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