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Tales from a small town

Short stories about life in a small town. Non-fiction. Great reading.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Afraid of your job moving to Mexico? You're not alone!

I'm sitting here writing this in total air-conditioned comfort. It's August outside; it really feels like August. There's so much moisture in the air, that you can see a haze around the streetlights. It's twenty till two in the morning, and it's so hot outside, the sweat just oozes out of every pore. Lucky for me, I'm inside, writing this.

So what does this have to do with being afraid of your job moving to Mexico? Alot. The thing that inspired me to write this blog, was watching an episode of "Becker."

Becker's set in NYC, so the characters have to bundle up before leaving Reggie's breakfast diner. Watching the characters go out into the cold, NY winter, reminded me of the cold winters we have, where I'm from. I thought the idea of watching people bundle up to go outside, in the middle of August, was kind of ironic.

That got me thinking about the climate control I enjoy with the air conditioner on. That got me thinking about how expensive it is to run, which got me thinking about how I'll miss the creature comforts of climate control, once my job moves to Mexico, which is why I'm writing this blog.

You know, it's crazy. I remember when I was growing up, my dad didn't have to worry about global trade, outsourcing, or where he'd retire from. That was then. This is now.

We have a tire factory here. The president of the union at the tire plant, recently wrote an editorial in our local paper, that got everyone talking at the factory where I work.

In his editorial, the union president reflected on his military service in Viet Nam. He said he was drafted to fight the spread of communism. He lost friends of his, in that fight.

Now, he works for a company that's about to move to China - which is a communist country. He asks in his editorial, "What did those guys die for?"

Interesting quetion. The factory where I work will probably move to Mexico, sometime in the next five to ten years. (My money's on the five year side.)

You know us blue-collar types: we don't ask for much. It cracks me up how people tell us that we make too much money for the "menial" tasks we perform.

It cracks me up, because while I'm being told this, I read news articles about guys like the CEO of Tyco. His lawyers defended the millions of dollars in company money he spent on his Manhattan townhouse by saying, "Since the rare paintings (bought with company money, worth millions,) weren't in his direct line of sight while walking from the study to the bathroom, he did not actually recieve the enjoyment of those paintings, therefore, technically, the money could not be considered as a "personal" expense." PLEAAAAAAAASE!

All we ask, is to be paid a decent, living, wage, and we're told that what we do, is "costing" the company too much money?

Before global trade, companies made a profit by paying people a decent wage. They didn't make a killing by today's standards, but, they made money.

This NAFTA thing is going to turn North America, (everything north of the Rio Grande,) into a third world country.

I think it's ironic, that only when white-collar jobs get outsourced to India, Lou Dobbs starts listing all the companies who are guilty. This has been happening to blue-collar workers for years!

So while we're both standing in the unemployment line, you with your fancy degree, and me with my vast fork-lift experience, we can debate whether or not corporate greed is "progress." Meanwhile, we'll both miss our climate controlled lives.