The August issue of "Stamping News Brief" (SNB) featured comments from an SNB reader responding to an item in the previous month's issue about employment in the metal stamping sector. This reader said, "I am soon to be unemployed, and there are really not many prospects around here for employment as an engineer. I currently am traveling 55 miles one way to work for 25 percent less than a year ago. As more and more people here in the U.S. have to accept lower paying jobs, I really do not know where the off-shoring companies expect to find their markets. China sure is not much of a market.
"[The company I work for] is a former automotive supplier with a <10PPM, but yet all of the former Big 3 are off-shoring the parts we made. With our bailout money, they are transferring our equipment. I used to be a staunch buy-American, but I believe [domestic automakers] have lost about 150 potential automobile buyers here. I sure hope they find their market in Costa Rica."
The August SNB then described how some talk show hosts and others in the U.S. have been calling for a boycott of GM and Chrysler and asked subscribers about their car buying plans.
Articles making the case for a boycott have been published, and Boycott GM (Government Motors) & Chrysler can be found on Facebook. June 14, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article about why boycotting the two automakers is a "bad road." The article cited a report that said 17 percent of Americans are supportive of the boycott.
Some SNB readers are among that 17 percent, and others are not.
A reader who works for a hand tool manufacturer said, "No I will not [buy GM or Chrysler cars), nor will most of my friends and relatives. It's too late for them to say they are sorry (and they aren't anyway)."
A reader who just bought his first nondomestic vehicle wrote, "I had my car stolen; a Saturn Vue that I considered a wonderful example of what America can produce.
"When I had to go out looking for a replacement I naturally looked first to the Saturn. Boy was I shocked! They had taken my beloved vehicle and dumbed it down and cheapened it to the point I no longer wanted anything to do with it. Then before I had to make my final decision GM announced plans to dump the brand.
"Considering the way the auto-makers in this country, and I'm talking executives here, have abused the system and gone for shoddy at the expense of the taxpayers, I'll never buy American again. Of course, considering that so many pieces out of every car you buy today are made someplace other that America that statement isn't too much of a stretch regardless what you buy.
"For the record, I went with Kia. And to further enhance on that, this is my first foreign-branded vehicle."
A reader from a company that stamps appliance parts said, "Currently I owned two GM cars and two Fords. Since the new GM is now government motors, I will never even walk on a GM lot. Ford has all my business, unless Ford takes the government money. Then I will find a new auto company for my needs, most likely Nissan, which is built in Tennessee."
A New Jersey-based stamper said, "I am planning to buy a new car this fall. I am 71 years old and have only bought GM or Chrysler cars in the past. My last six cars were Chrysler. I will not buy GM or Chrysler this time.
"I do not trust a company run by the government and the union as opposed to business people motivated by profit. I don't want my car designed and serviced by people motivated by politics.
"For the first time in my life I will probably buy a Japanese car, if I can still afford a new car this fall."
An automotive supplier wrote, "I work for a Tier 1 Supplier to the Asian Big 3. We also supply parts to GM, and had supplied some Tier 2 level parts to Ford.
"Of all the OEMs, I feel that Honda and Toyota definitely treat their supply base more fairly. While they are very competitive and cost conscious, they do not try to ruin the supplier; there definitely is the ability to communicate and 'give and take' that is definitely missing from GM and Ford.
"I have always purchased Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep vehicles, and never had any major issues with the vehicles — drove all of them for over 130,000 miles. Having said that, my next truck will probably either be a Nissan or Toyota; they are both built here in the U.S., not Canada, or Mexico. These vehicles typically have a higher starting price, however the majority of the parts are also sourced here in the US, not Mexico, Canada, etc.
"The biggest reason I will probably never purchase another GM/Ford/Chrysler vehicle is the UAW, and the complete and shameless pandering that the current administration is giving them to keep votes.
"My suggestion to GM/Ford/Chrysler is to kill the UAW, hire some engineers to run the company, eliminate the waste and laziness from their manufacturing plants, hire a work force that doesn't feel it's entitled to high salaries and low work volumes, and try lowering the costs of their vehicles so more people can hope to afford them over a reasonable time span.""Joining his fellow automotive supplier, another reader said, "I'm a Tier 2 auto supplier. I will never buy another product that the UAW has any part of."
First to respond to the newsletter was a reader from Michigan who wrote, "I have been and always will be a loyal GM girl!
"I work in the automotive supply base as an engineer and am working for less money, with a 30 mile drive one way, but I am still working. My company is taking on a bunch of business from what we call the Asia-Pacific group or transplants and it is keeping me working! All automotive companies are forced to find the lowest-cost product, and then quality is questioned, but never used as the major decision driver.
"OEMs such as GM or Chrysler have always bought product overseas, it was just not as publicized as it is now. Suppliers got lazy and felt they had a right to the BIG 3 buying from them, never reduced cost, labor, overhead, etc., so now they are paying for it in a horrible way. Overseas markets have taken these drivers and used them to gain market share, and I honestly can say I don't blame them.
"My parents are either retired from GM or still there, so I am loyal! Plus I like the product! My Acadia is fabulous!"
An Indiana stamper thinks a two-million-man march on Washington is a better option than a boycott: "I think that anyone who considers boycotting any U.S. Manufacturer is way off base. Just as I believe that any auto manufacturer is way off-base shipping or buying manufacturing offshore. Many years ago now, I used to believe that when the Big 3 felt the market crunch (a lack of sales due to sending manufacturing jobs off-shore to everywhere, but especially China) they would start to lobby Washington, D.C. Likewise, I thought the UAW and all associated unions would do the same. I thought that this would help bring jobs back to the U.S.
"Well, I was completely wrong. Neither did anything. I know that from 2002 until present I have contacted U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives about the problem with free trade and its exportation of our Nation's wealth. No one in Washington hears the lone voice I am sure. However, I have yet to hear of any group of large corporations or trade unions using their lobbying powers to reverse the economic death spiral known as 'free trade' or the 'global economy.'
"I would like to know who in our government collectively decided that this was the course to take at the expense of millions upon millions of American jobs. I never heard it as a political party's platform or a goal discussed by politicians or journalists (which by the way, where are the journalists on this news story).
"What we need to do is not boycott, but demand that our politicians and government do something to correct our failed trade policies. We all need to march on Washington, D.C. as the Two Million Man March. If every worker in manufacturing that has lost his job to offshore trade would march on the Capitol, that would get their attention and that would make the news. The only way our economy will every recover and the only way we will ever see a return of our jobs, is to quit free trade with poorer nations, especially China. Even in their depressed economy, they are getting richer while we are getting poorer.
"We need to see a coordination of all manufacturing (furniture, textiles, automotive, stamping, casting, steel mills, etc.) to make the loss of our industries jobs heard in Washington, D.C."
One creative reader summed up his thoughts about boycotting by saying, "Boycott? Strike? Both are akin to increasing egg production by choking the chicken."
This is just a small sampling of responses, which revealed a neck-and-neck decision between those in favor of choking the chicken and those opposed.
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