(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
“People who are my age have no idea what they are going to do,” Suter said, trying to angle a workbench into his trailer. “How they are going to live on $12 an hour without benefits when we’re used to $29 with benefits? You can’t make an economy on cleaning somebody else’s shirts or selling mutual funds. What are towns like Ypsilanti going to do?”
Ypsilanti is not the most besieged city in Michigan, but is an auto town, and its problems mirror those of the larger industrial Midwest. Just four square miles and 35 miles west of Detroit, it has lost more than 25 percent of its population since 1970. Schools have closed, as did its two other auto-related plants. Outside the Visteon plant, located on Factory Street in Ypsilanti alongside Interstate 94 and Ford Lake, the building that housed the UAW Local 849 is for sale. –snip–
Critics blame the soaring trade deficits for a loss of 3 million manufacturing jobs since mid-2000 and they argue that Bush’s push to strike free trade agreements eliminating all trade barriers between the United States and other nations has opened American workers to unfair competition from low-wage countries.
The United States set deficit records with most of its major trading partners including a $12.1 billion imbalance with the 25-nation European Union, a $8.1 billion imbalance with Canada, the country’s largest trading partner, and a record $4.8 billion deficit with Mexico. CBS News, 2005
All LM Cities/Feb. Jobless Rate (% Not adjusted)
St. Clair Shores/15.3
This morning there were Suter and Phillips. There was a man named Thomas, who used to work for General Motors, and now collects scrap to make ends meet. There was Bob, the $29-an-hour union man pushing around a broom with one hand. There was the custodian, vacuuming the foyer and arranging the chairs as if he were expecting company. Suter was cleaning out a tool shed that might have some resale value to some yuppie who collects such things.
He pulled out a bound contract from 2000 between the UAW and The Company.
He read from Article V Section 1: “The Union reaffirms its adherence to the principle of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, and agrees to use its best efforts toward this end …”
“If only everybody would have lived up to their end of the bargain,” he said.
And then he tossed the contract in the garbage.