We’re making a list. We’re checking it twice. We’re singling out those who’ve been naughty and nice!
Lumps of coal go to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for giving us a choice between Scylla and Charybdis. An extra lump goes to The Donald for running a campaign that set new lows in civil political discourse.
A sleigh full of presents goes to the leadership at the Detroit Three automakers, the UAW and Unifor, the Canadian auto workers union. Contract negotiations between the unions and the OEMs this year were concluded quickly and without acrimony. The unions’ main goal was to secure jobs and long-term investments at North American assembly plants, and that’s just what happened. Ford, GM and FCA will be pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into North American production over the next few years, and we could not be happier about it.
Lumps of coal go to the management at Carrier Corp. and United Technologies Electronic Controls (UTEC). In February, Carrier announced that it will relocate its furnace assembly plant from Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico, eliminating some 1,400 jobs over the next three years. That same day, UTEC said it would also be moving its assembly plant in Huntington, IN, to Monterrey, eliminating 700 jobs by 2018. That facility makes controls for HVAC and refrigeration equipment. Carrier and UTEC are units of United Technologies Corp.
A sleigh full of presents goes to Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, which is investing $52 million and creating 100 jobs at its assembly plant Greensburg, IN. The investment will support production of the Honda CR-V, which the company is moving to Indiana from Mexico.
Lumps of coal go to the management at Volkswagen Group. Last year, the German automaker admitted that it had intentionally programmed turbocharged, direct-injection diesel engines to activate certain emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing. The programming caused the vehicles’ nitrogen oxide (NOx) output to meet standards during regulatory testing, but emit up to 40 times more NOx in real-world driving. Volkswagen deployed this programming in some 11 million cars worldwide, and 500,000 in the United States, during model years 2009 through 2015.
The scandal has cost VW dearly. In October, a federal judge approved a $14.7 billion deal to settle some U.S. civil claims stemming from the scandal, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The debacle could hamper VW for years to come, and VW’s human resources chief recently told a German newspaper that the automaker expects to shed 25,000 jobs over the next decade.
A sleigh full of presents goes to local leadership in Madison County, KY. Personal finance and research company SmartAsset recently graded 400 U.S. metropolitan areas on six metrics related to manufacturing employment. The Richmond-Berea region came out on top, enjoying a 40 percent increase in manufacturing jobs and—not coincidentally—a 9 percent increase in average worker income.
Who’s on your naughty and nice list in the world of manufacturing?