Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Following in the steps of the auto industry...

Another industry is going south of the border.
Aerospace companies are streaming to Mexico, drawn by lower wages, enthusiastic government promotion, a new safety agreement with the United States and an increasingly sophisticated workforce.

In a new plant in the central Mexican city of Querétaro, workers who make $3.50 an hour are building rudders and bundles of wiring for airliners. Across town, engineers at General Electric's research center are designing jet engines. In a nearby industrial park, workers are overhauling landing gear at a gleaming new plant.
Engineers fare a little better. They earn anywhere from $5.80 to $8.70 an hour. The lower costs translate into a 30 percent savings on parts even after transportation gets added back in. Mexico's aerospace-related exports have more than tripled since 2004.

How are American workers supposed to compete with those wages? The impact on jobs has been minimal so far, but workers see the writing on the wall.
Companies say that, because of a booming market for aircraft worldwide, the move to Mexico has not resulted in major layoffs in the United States. But American unions are afraid it might if aviation takes a downturn.

"This is a technological base, an important industrial base for our country, and we're just giving it up," said Ron Eldridge, aerospace coordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Industry officials liken the trend to the 1980s, when U.S. companies moved from making auto parts in Mexico to assembling entire vehicles there. Now, Mexico exports $42 billion in cars and auto parts every year.

"Mexico's vision is to do the same thing they did with the auto industry," said Real Gervais, head of Bombardier's operations in Mexico. "There's a lot of potential."
So much for the myth that NAFTA was going to help American workers. When is the United States going to sign an agreement that benefits workers here at home?

Airline maintenance is also heading south, which hits my family personally. My son-in-law recently graduated from an airline mechanics school. He picked that career because he felt it would be stable employment and couldn't be outsourced. We all did, but it looks like we were wrong.
Mexico also is becoming a center for maintenance as airlines look for cheaper places to have their planes fixed. [...]

At least one U.S. airline, Delta, is already sending entire planes to Mexico for maintenance work. In 2006, it signed a deal handing heavy maintenance of 120 of its planes over to Aeromexico, an airline.

The Mexican government is hoping exports will grow even faster in the wake of a new Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement signed with the United States in September.

The pact allows Mexican officials to certify new aircraft parts instead of shipping them to the United States for inspection.

"It's a great logistical advantage," Roch said. "It's going to be a detonator for the industry."
Yeah, right, and it's going to blow up a whole lot of American jobs too.

It's no longer enough for a person to play by the rules, get an education and work hard. There will always be someone in another country willing to work for less. Where is it all going to end? Who will save us? We know we can't depend on the Republicans so it's up to the Democrats. I sure hope they win the White House and lots of seats in November. Workers can't hold on much longer.

(Cross-posted at Blogging For MI.)


abi said...

Even if the Dems win big in November, I don't see them reversing the globalization trend. It's too lucrative for businesses, and Dems feed at the same corporate trough as the Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Course, lower wages don't translate inta lower prices fer Americans, it means bigger profits for them companies. America was damned the day greed became it's official religion.

Kathy said...

Abi, I have my doubts too, but they're our last chance - literally. The candidates have been talking big on the campaign trail. Hillary proposed this yesterday:

At an economic summit in Pittsburgh on Wednesday organized by her presidential campaign, Clinton was expected to propose the elimination of tax breaks for companies that move jobs to other countries and use the savings to provide $7 billion a year in tax incentives to persuade companies to "insource" jobs in the United States.

That's a good start, but like so much in Washington, can it get passed. The Teamsters Union has a statement on their website giving the reasons they support Obama. They feel he is the most likely to help "level" the playing field.

Ron, you're right. They give us one excuse after another for the high prices on oil, food, etc., but that's all they are is excuses. The inequality between the haves and the have-nots in this country got that way because companies are raking in millions and rewarding only those at the top.

Kathy said...

One more thing, McCain has pretty much shown his cards when it comes to outsourcing jobs. Earlier this month, McCain stiffed U.S. workers when he played a key role in the Bush administration's decision to award the contract for the Air Force refueling tankers to a European company.

Larry said...

Later this month in New Orleans, the U.S, Canada and Mexico will once again meet to further the "Strategic Prosperity and Partnership (SPP) agreement which will create the North American Union, a prelude to the New World Order.

This will make NAFTA look like a bake sale.

Kathy said...

Larry, I'm not very familiar with SPP. I'll have to do some Googling and read up on it more. Thanks for alerting me to this.

Larry said...


Check out the article in Dollars and Sense, it explains the SPP, but other sites explain better how it will devastate American way of life, especially for workers.

Dollars and Sense

Kathy said...

Larry, thanks for the link. I'm heading over there as soon as I hit publish. I just wanted to point people to this story. It doesn't look like we can depend on Clinton to do anything about those trade agreements. She won't even distance herself from Mark Penn, her campaign manager. Quite frankly, color me skeptical - highly skeptical.

Kathy said...

Larry, that was an interesting article. I did some more digging and found this article that calls the SPP NAFTA on Steroids. Not surprisingly, corporations will make out like bandits.

The exceptional freedom and mobility of corporations and businesspeople is dramatically contrasted with proliferating restrictions imposed on marginalized communities. [...]

Similarly, the focus on resource extraction and development in the SPP will work to further dispossess and displace indigenous communities.

It's all about corporate profits, eh? Color me surprised - not. Check out the link above. It's good stuff too.