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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Janesville GM Had No Chance With Ryan And The Gazette

JG Editorial Excerpt: (June 26, 2009)
Here’s another way of looking at news that Orion will get the plant. Even if Janesville had been chosen, GM wouldn’t have rehired all those laid off; workers probably wouldn’t have earned the same pay, and there is no guarantee that the cars will sell well and the plant would stay open.
After spending the last decade never offering any sort of genuine editorial support for the local UAW while simultaneously enabling a willfully ignorant handful of morons to whipsaw the workers wages and benefits with cheap shots in their weekly anonymous "Sound Off" column, the Janesville Gazette NOW laments over the fact that the UAW conceded to wage reductions so low that they are frankly...not worth fighting over.

Those latest remarks from the Gazette follow closely in lockstep with all of their positions during the past two year run-up leading to the closing of the GM plant. Consider the time they attacked Sen. Feingold over his position on CAFE.
JG Editorial Excerpt: (July 9, 2007)
It might already be too late for the local GM plant. By voting for the Senate bill, Feingold turned his back on Janesville.
To which I responded...
If they soften the gas mileage requirements as per Paul Ryan, GM WILL NO LONGER BE AT THE FOREFRONT ON ANYTHING. ANYBODY can build a gas guzzler. If autoworkers really believe gas guzzling trucks and SUV’s are the future, stick with Paul Ryan. If anyone thinks that gasoline will never pop to five dollars a gallon or more within the next ten years, stick with Paul Ryan. Building EnergyStar Trucks and SUV’s will be the future market and to the contrary, Janesville can be the future if we don’t turn our backs on this reality.
Although it has been assumed that GM decided to build a fuel efficient small car in the states instead of China as a concession to the UAW, I believe there was another pressure point on GM to build here.

Last year most everyone felt the damage done by the oil speculators appeared irreversible. As a result, Janesville will probably never manufacture large-engined SUV’s ever again. With the loss of the SUV plant under its belt mainly from the crashing economy coupled with $4.50-a-gallon gasoline, who would think the only thing remaining that could possibly bring new production to Janesville would emanate from the most unlikely legislation – CAFE. With CAFE, Janesville at least stood a chance along with two other major GM facilities to gain small car production. Without CAFE, there was no impetus for GM to build small cars in the states to balance fleet mileage. They could build them in China.

So, back in July 2007, what course of action did the Janesville Gazette and the befuddled Paul Ryan take? They double-teamed Russ Feingold over the proposed CAFE standards and then played off the eminent demise of the Janesville factory as a victim of the legislation.

JG Editorial Excerpt: (July 9, 2007)
"This bill is a big problem for us," Ryan said of the local GM plant.

What's amazing is how the UAW blindly supports Feingold and other Democrats seemingly at every turn, while members of Local 95 jump at every glimmer of opportunity to bash the Republican Ryan.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. Ryan, completely out of touch, was gleefully leading the sing-along Gazette into a blind curve.

Sadly, Ryan and the Gazette weren’t the only ones to rail against higher fuel standards. Some local Democrats and UAW members literally embarrassed themselves standing against CAFE.
JG Editorial Excerpt:(July 9, 2007)

So, Mr. Sheridan, any comment on this?

"I can say I'm disappointed with our senators on this vote," he told the Gazette. "I don't know where they're coming from."
I was surprised by Sheridan's remark. Particularly since he has a long history in the auto manufacturing field. But when your source of information happens to be the false choices offered from the immovable and closed mindset of golden parachute executives, he may have had no choice. Corporate GM was as clueless as Paul Ryan.

In hindsight, we now know that tighter US fleet average standards did not bring about the demise of Janesville's SUV plant. And in fact, CAFE at the minimum gave Janesville a one in three chance to acquire new production. Had Ryan and the Gazette succeeded in fooling everyone back then, it would have had zero in zero chances.

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