originally published January 23, 2010-
I read a couple of articles this week that I want to share with you. Both had positive news about employment and labor-management relations.
On January 19, Wall Street Journal reported the number of manufacturing jobs increased in 2010. The 1.2% increase was the first since 1997. Even more promising, economists in the article believe the total will grow another 2.5% this year and continue to average about 2% a year until 2015.
While these numbers alone will not make up for the loss of manufacturing jobs in the last decade, we hope this trend will be a start of recovery in these jobs that are so important to our economic recovery.
The article also notes in the third quarter, U.S. manufacturing productivity increased as output rose 7.1% from a year earlier while hours worked grew just 3%. In this blog, we’ve written about how employee involvement can help improve productivity and efficiency. The knowledge and skills of existing employment can help produce these types of results, preserving existing jobs and creating opportunities for new ones.
We’ve seen some promising signs over the last few months. Ford announced plans to add 7,000 workers over the next two years and significantly upgrade its Kansas City plant, preserving 3,750 more jobs. This $400 million dollar investment will help maintain the jobs in the plant as production shifts to a new vehicle.
The Kansas City plant is the fourth plant in North America that Ford has or plans to overhaul as it looks to better compete against foreign auto makers.
The other encouraging news came from Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas, who said, “Ford is committed to doing everything it takes to work with its partners, including the United Auto Workers, to remain competitive.” Union President Bob King also said last week that the UAW has embraced “radical change” and dispensed with its “us against them” mentality in negotiating with management of domestic automakers.
That’s great, but not unexpected news. Ford and UAW have already recognized the benefits of working together and the mutual interests they have. Hopefully, that attitude will prevail in the upcoming round of bargaining.
For 26 years, the employers and unions that make up CALMC have believed in the importance of labor-management cooperation. Ford and UAW have also recognized its significance in preserving manufacturing jobs.
The articles referenced in this entry are:
James R. Hagerty, U.S. Factories Buck Decline, Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2011David Schepp, Ford to Overhaul Kansas City Plant, Dailyfinance.com, January 18, 2011, http://srph.it/hgH8bo