Respect For A Plant Manager

26 10 2007

Auto plant workers are paid a fair wage

I am responding to the Oct. 8 News story, “Union-bashing in a union town.” I enjoyed 38 years of employment at General Motors, the last 20 years as plant manager of the Tonawanda Engine and Forge plants. Let me state unequivocally that the employees of these plants are not “slackers.” It is also my opinion that they are not overpaid. I’ve spent years standing in their shoes on the assembly lines and machine floors before moving into management, and the work is downright tough and demanding.

I witnessed the turn-around in those plants as union and management spent untold hours planning and executing a strategy for success. My experience with the UAW managers revealed that with teamwork, most of the obstacles to success could be eliminated. We even introduced our own form of job security for the employees, and as a result our productivity and quality rose to unprecedented levels. I will never criticize any employer that tries to pay its employees a good, decent and appropriate level of income. The one employment issue that remains untested for the most part in our country is job security. We were able, with the assistance of our UAW partners, to operate for about 20 years without a permanent layoff, which led to the unprecedented successes.

Don Rust

Orchard Park

Unfortunately I never got the chance to work for this particular plant manager. What you have to understand is this man is basically a legend at Tonawanda Powertrain. But within the last eight years at Tonawanda I cant tell you how many good things have been said about this guy. That is one thing none of his predecessors can say. From what I understand he was the type of guy that went well out his way to go to bat for Tonawanda. This is probably the third time that I’ve seen him write a piece for the Buffalo News. I just thought it was something that was important to blog about because even in his retirement he is still going to bat for Tonawanda.

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