Once Again, it is Obama’s Fault

 

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The disaster that is the Obama Presidency has struck again. His abject failure to improve on the robust economy handed to him on a silver platter by the Bush administration has caused the loss of more jobs.

Carrier Corporation, a division of United Technologies, is closing its Indiana plant and putting 2100 workers out of a job. The company cites labor costs and their inability to compete with other companies that made similar moves south of the border.

They did not say they would find better, more qualified workers. They did not say it was a shortage of workers. They did not say it was for better business prospects (they fully intend to sell things in the US, just not make them here.)

What they said they would find is cheaper labor. I bet they will.

Of course, this is Obama’s fault. Obama’s economic policies have not improved the economy and have hurt business according to his critics.

Odd, since the numbers do not reflect that. According to Factcheck.org, an independent non-political organization (http://www.factcheck.org/2015/01/obamas-numbers-january-2015-update/) under Obama:

  • 2014 was the best year for employment growth in 15 years (6 million more jobs since Obama came into office in 2009. Under George W. Bush the country suffered a loss of 4.4 million jobs in his last year)
  • Overall inflation under Obama has been moderate, 11.8%
  • Real weekly earnings (adjusted for inflation) has risen 1.7%
  • Corporate Profits have soared under Obama, after-tax profits are running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.9 TRILLION
  • Stock market is up 156% since Obama came into office.

There are some negatives as well. Long-term unemployment (those out of work for more the 27 weeks) is higher than before Obama. The number of families on food stamps is higher as well. Much of this is the hangover from the 2007-2009 recession.

I wonder if these negatives are compounded by business decisions like Carrier Corporation moving to find cheap labor in Mexico.

Now if I understand his critic’s positions, Obama has not done enough to improve the economy. What he has done has not worked and the Affordable Care Act has been a disaster. How can finding a way to provide health care to all Americans be a disaster?

If there are problems within the economy, I think much blame goes to companies that put profits before people. Some would argue that a company has an obligation to stockholders to seek cost reductions and increase profits. At what cost? It would seem at the expense of loyal employees that helped build the company in the first place.

We should not only accept but also applaud their narrow-minded, single purpose pursuit of profits over people. This is what made America great according to some. They would contend that is Capitalism.

Now I am not advocating socialism or any artificial redistribution of wealth. The opportunity to pursue the American dream IS what makes this country great.

What I am advocating is reinvigorating the essence of American capitalism. A capitalism with a heart for those that provide the bulk of the energy for that economic engine.

Funny how the same people that approve companies running to Mexico to avoid paying fair, negotiated union wages and benefits are the same ones with bumper stickers proclaiming Buy American.

I bet many of these same detractors of Obama also trumpet the idea of building a fence to keep the Mexicans from coming to the US.

Take heart, if Americans continue to support companies that flee the US to avoid paying fair wages, it will be Mexico building a fence to keep the unemployed Americans out of their country. Maybe Mexico can hire the unemployed Americans to build the fence as a form of foreign aid.

Somehow, that will be Obama’s fault as well.

Oh, and by the way Mr. President, since you haven’t done anything to help the economy why don’t you take the rest of your term off and NOT nominate anyone to the Supreme Court either. We got this.

 

Where is the Old Southwest Airlines?

Where has the “old” Southwest gone?

Southwest Airline’s Ramp agents have been without a contract for four years.  I was reminded of this by an image posted on Facebook of a group of rampers (as they are known within the company) proudly boycotting an Employee Appreciation Day in protest over the lack of a contract.

Why should this matter to anyone outside of the company?  Let me explain.

Southwest Airlines became a legendary company through the hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence of it’s employees.  Everyone from the comedic routines of the flight crew, the care and kindness of the customer service agents and operations agents, to the dedication of mechanics and other support staff all made Southwest successful.

Somewhere along the way, those in management have lost sight of that.

Four years without a contract is criminal.

Herb Kelleher, the legendary founder and original CEO, built the Southwest brand. He was proud of the fact he did it with an organization that was 85% unionized.  Kelleher understood the protections of a union were important to the overall satisfaction of the members.

Kelleher recognized that management changes were inevitable and other CEO’s might take a different approach to employees.  Unions insure fair and equitable treatment for their members.

These unions made the company successful.

I find it interesting that with the decline in union membership nationwide, the disparity between those in the lower economic range and the highest has grown exponentially.

CEOs and upper management salaries far outstrip those of labor, perhaps due in part to this decline of unionized representation.

I do not begrudge Gary Kelly, Southwest’s CEO, his salary.  I just do not understand why he has abandoned the philosophy that made Southwest the success that it is, people.  Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.

Do not put profits before people.  Southwest has made record profits.  Invest in those that made you successful.

I am not saying the union is blameless in this.  I worked for Southwest for several years. I know understanding the language of the contract can be frustrating. That is what negotiation is about.  The language was negotiated in, change it through the same process.

I also know some union members spend more time trying to figure out how not to work, or gaming the system, exploiting the contract language, than doing the job.  However, it is a small minority of the workforce.

The process of negotiation has to be fair and open; in this case, the company holds all the cards.  They have taken the approach of waiting the union out, at the expense of the very people that made the company successful.

Here is a little perspective. The next time you fly on Southwest watch the ground crew.

There is more to what they do then load bags.

A ramp agent has to plan the weight distribution and the off-loading order of the bags.  They are not randomly put aboard; there is a method to it.

But here’s the thing to really pay attention to.  Something most people do not know.

Everyone has seen the First Officer (commonly known as the co-pilot) checking the outside of the aircraft.  They do that whenever they begin their day, or change aircraft.

There is one person responsible for inspecting every aircraft just before pushing back from the gate.

A ramp agent.

They are the last set of eyes that checks the outside of the aircraft before pushing off the gate.

Think about that.

The lead agent, the one everyone thinks is just loading bags, is the last set of eyes that checks the outside of that aircraft before every flight.

The lead agent then operates the vehicle that pushes that aircraft worth tens of millions of dollars, holding up to 175 passengers and 6 crewmembers off the gate. I’ve done it, it is no easy task.

Yet Southwest thinks it is okay to leave them without a contract for 4 years.  That says a lot about the value they put on people.

Where did the old Southwest go?