Thursday, November 06, 2008

Peoria - A Look Back in History

I could start with a list of all the unionized companies that left Peoria, companies that paid a living wage, but the list would be too long. There were many reasons but the major reason was the militant attitude of the unions.

Our new president has made the unions many promises and will make every attempt to push through legislation that will further deplete the federal budget. The most overlooked fear is legislation that increases union power and what it will do to the selling price of the product produced. I do not believe the average union worker understands, that union workers will pay more the items they purchase. Companies such as Walmart, still non-unionized where many union workers and union supporters do their buying.

Also, what it will do to companies that can move production overseas. There has been enough outsourcing for manufacturers to now know who are the relatively stable countries for outsourcing.

Boeing, in order to cut costs, outsourced some products to the wrong countries and factories. They have paid a price through delays and quality. In their new contract with the union they will do less outsourcing which will mean higher costs of their completed product. But as the union gains more power in the work place, companies will be forced to outsource more, or move all manufacturing out of the United States and cut back on hiring and expansion.

What happened in Peoria was that almost all the manufacturing of product left town with one major survivor, Caterpillar. Even Caterpillar who had a workforce of over 35,000 not too many decades ago is now down to less than half that size. Thankfully, Caterpillar does much outsourcing locally which benefits the overall communities.

What should worry Caterpillar and other unionized companies is that we now have an administration in D.C pledged to spread the wealth and bring up the earnings of the middle class by granting greater power to the unions. The more it costs a company to make profits for the stockholders, the more these companies will need to raise the price of their products.

I don't think the average worker fully understands the system. I believe the average worker feels that instead of raising the price of the product, the company should reduce the salaries and bonuses of administration. Most agree that the era of excess salaries, golden parachutes and excessive bonuses are over for those companies that seek governmental bailout money. But, while these dollars that will be saved are sizable, they will not offset the the drain on revenues for rising workplace salaries, health plans and pensions. Thus the costs of goods can only go up for all buyers; union or not.

Fortunately, the demand for health care, services and facilities have been a major asset in offsetting the loss of industry in Peoria. We are expanding rapidly to become the major health provider within 150 mile radius.

After President Obama picks his cabinet he will need to turn quickly to all the special interests on his dance card. It will be interesting to see he (they) set as most desirable to dance with first and I predict it will be the unions, especially the UAW and the teacher unions; first, the tort attorneys, second, the radical environmentalists third, the welfare people fourth, alternate energy and then the middle class and the stacking of the courts with left leaning liberal Democrats.

These are just a few that will get their requests honored on the special interest scene while he attempts to unravel the mess that was smoldering for years and erupted into a Pompeii on September 14.

We should all be concerned that what happened to businesses that produced a product in Peoria doesn't happen to the whole country and we become a country with a static number of big businesses and service providers and our major growth will be in importing.

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