Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mercury Marine Workers Veto Concessions, So Expect Political Storm

The decision by workers at Mercury Marine to decline substantial givebacks after recently ratifying a four-year contract - - including a seven-year wage freeze - - will mean two things:

* The company will follow through on moving the jobs and the corporate headquarters to non-union Oklahoma, blowing a hole in Fond du Lac's economy of staggering proportions.

* Talk radio and their GOP puppeteers will blame Gov. Jim Doyle, as if he has any control over a union vote.

Talk radio and Republicans like Scott Walker will shed alligator tears over the decision - - as if they ever lifted a finger for workers' interests - - but they will be hard-pressed to smother their glee at ginning up and broadcasting another fake political issue with which to beat Doyle, regardless of his lame-duck status.

I covered for The Milwaukee Journal many union contract disputes during the economic downturn of the early 1980's. Believe me, union members and their leaders do not take direction from politicians.

Regardless, get ready for the sh**storm.


vic said...

so i hear a 30% giveback and a 7 yr contract for the union. does that mean that management is consenting to a 7 year salary freeze?

what is so disheartening about this is what does mercury marine gain long term with these ridiculous conditions? They are certainly setting themselves up for huge union negotiations problems in the future.

and what about community support? hold a town hostage has to do something to the long term relationship with the city.

it is like the wife that cheats on you. can you ever really trust her again?

this goes for whoever "wins" in this contest.

i don't have any historical knowlege of the situation but the future looks pretty rocky.

Anonymous said...

Lets be honest James. The marine market is not willing to pay the price for their products that allow them to continue paying these employees the wage they have become accustomed to.

If management continued to pay these employees more than their customers were willing to pay for the product, the result would have been the same. Mercury Marine would have gone out of business.

Management is now choosing to relocate to Oklahoma – a right to work state with lower corporate taxes, lower personal income taxes and lower property taxes.

And before you start yammering about unions and income, Oklahoma has enjoyed a substantially higher growth in personal income than Wisconsin has over the past ten-years.

The vote itself justifies the decision to leave the state. Who would want these idiots on the payroll? The workers chose to eliminate their jobs and that’s the end of the story.

Anon Jim said...

Much to do about nothing imho.

Mercury was going to be leaving Wisconsin sooner or later regardless which way the vote went for a variety of reasons and there is plenty of blame to go around.

It's sad and unfair - but that's life.

Anon Jim said...

After hearing almost 2 weeks of non-stop chatter on this matter and a lot of criticism of the vote by the Union the last 4 days, have to say both sides are justified in their positions.

The company is asking for contract concessions that would allow them to keep their operations in Wisconsin vrs Oklahoma from a cost standpoint.

And in light of what concessions were being asked and the demographics of the Union members voting, they made the "right" decision to reject it.

Again, it is sad and unfair for Fond Du Lac and the region - but that's life.