Here's some data on Ed Whitacre, who is now being considered to run GM, based on my experience working at AT&T during the 2004 labor contract negotiation period.
Whitacre's approach was to play the office workers against the unionized workers. He did this by requiring all nonunionized (office) workers to work twelve-hour days, seven-day weeks, doing the work normally performed by unionized workers. If we were a minute late reporting to work, we were fired. If we failed in any way to perform the work assigned, we were fired.
The stress level built to where some people had to increase their normal medications. Food was situational. In the San Francisco office, food workers honored the strike, so food was often not delivered and there was no time for AT≈T workers to leave the premises to buy it. In other facilities, food was provided, though was pretty unpalatable.
The strike lasted only little more than a week. Apparently, Whitacre's ploy broke labor's back. It would have broken many of us in the office ranks had it continued much longer. This whole scenario is a pathetic testament to what passes for business management in the US. But it is in keeping with an industry whose profits rely not on quality or care but on strangulation of state legislatures and other regulatory authorities.
Jun 10 2009 - 6:37am