Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Let's Write: Our Entry in the MSW Pro-Union Contest

You may recall a recent post about a contest the Missouri Studies Weekly newspaper, which is distributed by Missouri elementary schools to their students. The contest seeks to have the student think about being a union leader and what he or she would demand from management.

We at the Kansas Citian have went on record that we believe this contest is nothing more than pro-union propaganda. A MO teacher was kind enough to comment and found our take on the subject a bit off base. He believes the exercise, which in all fairness is not required, is purely educational. We disagreed, of course.

If it were about education, the contest would allow students to choose whether to write from the point-of-view of the union leader or management. This would not only help them with their writing skills, but with their reason and logic skills.

So, because we like to practice what we preach, we've written the following letter from the factory owner to the head of the union as a response to one we imagine the union head would have sent. Enjoy!

Dear Mr. Union Head,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us about the seniority concerns your members have. We truly appreciate and value them, as we do with all of our 145,000 employees.

We understand you feel that hard work and dedication to our company should be rewarded. We do too. This is why, as you already know, we have aggressive pay scales that provide a well above inflation pay increase year-over-year to these loyal employees. We also provide health benefits that provide a very high level of coverage for each employee's entire family. On top of that we provide a pension plan that will allow our long-term employees to receive, after retirement, a significant portion of their income every year.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for us to place these veteran employees on line positions that require little training. We feel the jobs these employees are currently doing are critical to our product and require the most experienced of our team.

As you may know, our company exists in an ever expanding global economy. We face competition from companies located in countries all over the world. These companies benefit by not being held to the same standards as we American companies are. For example, in China auto manufacturers have
no fuel standards to live up to. There are no environmental regulations for them to meet or exceed. There are also no organizations like OSHA looking out for the rights of workers.

Last quarter our company as a whole lost $3.3 billion dollars. Our analysts project we may lose close to one billion dollars over this fiscal year. As you can imagine, our share holders are extremely concerned.

In order to ensure our company is around ten or even five years from now, we must look to cut costs and unfortunately, our single greatest cost is labor. We are under tremendous pressure from our share holders to move our factories overseas to take advantage of foreign labor markets and regulations. We reject this pressure and want to make every effort we can to continue to provide the 145,000 families that rely on us for employment.

Therefore, we must reject your request to allow senior employees to work the entry level line positions. We are able to fill these positions at a considerably lower wage and must do so in order to continue moving our company into the black.

We sincerely appreciate all the work you do for our employees and look forward to many, many more years of working together.


The Factory Owner

We'll be watching our mail box diligently for our $5 check and certificate of recognition.


emawkc said...

The assignment should have been to wright a piece from the pro-union perspective and a piece from the perspective of management.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I had such assignments when I was a wee lad in school.

Dustin said...

Now, let's here your thoughts from the other side!