The ASSEMBLY Blog is written by our team of editors and industry experts. It provides thought-provoking opinions on issues and trends in manufacturing, as wells tips, tricks and suggestions for implementing assembly technology.
China’s ongoing economic growth, while globally beneficial in many ways, has always had a dark side. State-mandated currency imbalances, blatant copyright and patent infringement, a complete disregard for the environment, the possibility that one of these days those millions of low-paid workers laboring in sweatshop conditions are going to say “enough is enough”: The Chinese “miracle” has long created the unsettling feeling things can’t keep going on like this forever.
As the UAW continues contract negotiations with Ford, GM and Chrysler, the union may want to take note of an automotive labor agreement signed recently in Europe.
The workforce at Audi’s assembly plant in Brussels, Belgium, agreed to measures that will lower the German automaker’s labor costs. More than 62 percent of blue-collar workers and 94 percent of salaried staff voted in favor of the agreement.
Whenever my family gets together for dinner, the men at the table invariably talk about sports, and the women inevitably complain about our sports-mad culture and the outrageous salaries paid to professional athletes.
That someone could get paid millions of dollars to throw, catch or hit a ball is debatable. What I find ironic, however, is that no one ever complains about the salaries paid to corporate CEOs. Yet, according to a recent study conducted by the Associated Press, the compensation granted to America’s top CEOs has vaulted to the level of pro athletes and movie stars. Half the CEOs of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 make more than $8.3 million a year, and some make much, much more.
Amid all the coverage of the recent unveiling of Boeing Co.’s new composite jetliner, the 787 Dreamliner, perhaps the most impressive image of all was the one at right. Granted, there’s no close-up of Tom Brokaw singing for his supper as master of ceremonies. Nonetheless, this image is nothing less than revolutionary in terms of what it says about the current state of aerospace manufacture.
Every year, J.D. Power and Associates (Westlake Village, CA) recognizes a handful of automotive assembly plants around the world for their outstanding quality. It honors facilities that produce vehicles with the fewest defects. The winner of the 2007 Platinum Plant Quality Award is Ford’s plant in Wixom, MI. However, the only problem is that Ford management decided to shutter the 50-year-old plant a week before the award was announced!
Last week, the board of commissioners for the City of Tallahassee, FL, voted unanimously to pay Piper Aircraft $80 million to finance construction of the company’s new assembly plant. It’s part of an incentive package they hope will lure Piper to Tallahassee, instead of five other cities the company is considering for the facility. The stakes: 1,500 new, high-paying manufacturing jobs.