Random Thoughts To End The Week
There are also many things that I want to write about. However, there are only so many hours in the day for me to do so and for you, dear reader, to read. So here are a few odds and ends for you to consider.
Perhaps Councillors Postma and Jones are not such rookies after all and there is hope that they can lead us on the border issue. Their Motion to defer the discussion on the Science Centre was brilliant politics. The Budgeteers on Council with the impressive weight of the Windsor Star behind them were ready to kill the project. After all, who would oppose the Star if one had future ambitions?
Their Motion effectively gave the organizers time, and the Centre received publicity, that may help save it. Mr. Agnew can earn his salary by getting some Government monies too.
OMERS and The Taxpayers
Listening to Sid Ryan was very interesting the other night as he spoke about the revisions to the OMERS Act. I went to hear him because of my interest in matters involving OMERS and Borealis and their ownership of DRTP.
If what he says is true, and I have no reason to doubt him since I have not read the proposed Act, then what the Government proposes to do is shocking.
It is even more shocking since the FSCO who has been investigating OMERS for over a year has not issued its report and I was told their report might not now come out until spring! How can the Government legitimately cause changes to the OMERS Act if they do not know what went wrong, if anything, in its Governance to date?
As for Mr. Ryan and CUPE, he asked his 3-4,000 members in Windsor to flood the politicians with letters. That technique works. But he missed a golden opportunity to get even more thousands of letters sent to Sandra and Dwight.
CUPE should be partnering with taxpayers across Windsor and the province. After all, it is the poor souls like us who have to pay increased taxes to fund the increased contributions that we must pay if OMERS demands we must!
As I told Mr. Ryan when I spoke to him after his speech, I and a leading financial institution in town are working on a better way to fund CUPE member retirements that we believe meets his objectives, the CUPE members retirement goals and taxpayer pocket-books. I will be talking about this approach when the City budget process starts.
Dwight And More Money For Windsor
Just because he is Minister of Finance does not mean that more money will be coming our way. Wasn’t it only a short time ago that our Council was told not to expect very much more from the Province because we had already received more than our fair share and other areas were quite jealous.
As for the relationship between the Mayor and the Minister of Finance, that will be interesting to watch.
Huge Lay-off Potential for Autoworkers
Is this what the future of the auto industry and jobs for Windsor holds? If so, what do we do about it?
From the Windsor Star:
"Almost entirely automated, the GEMA plant will be run by a relatively tiny unionized workforce of only 250 when it reaches full production of 840,000 units per year sometime in 2008, if market conditions warrant.
At that point, GEMA's total workforce is expected to be only 530 people. UAW staff will be supplemented by 130 engineers and 150 outsiders who work alongside the union in the plant running things like the tool crib.
At Ford of Canada's Windsor assembly operations, by comparison, it takes more than 5,000 unionized staff under dozens of employee classifications and hundreds of managers to build about one million engines per year."
It's time we solved the border problem already and started focusing on our economic future! A tenth of the workforce producing about the same output scares the hell out of me.
I hope that Eddie enjoys his taxpayer financed trip to Japan, if needed, to beg Honda to come and build a new plant here.
It may be too little too late now anyway. Were auto companies who might want to build in North America approached from Day One of his term? Is Windsor the first city that they consider when thinking about expansion? There have been stories in the news about companies considering expansion into North America. What have we done about approaching them? I remember actually forwarding news stories to City Hall about that.
Interestingly, just the other day, I had coffees with a union member and a leading businessman in town. The businessman told me that Windsor had no chance of getting a new auto plant, blaming the militancy of the Unions here. The union member told me that his union was out of touch if it thought that a lot of people would take a buy-out. What good is a one-time payment inducement to go when one is earning $90,000 per year.
Frankly, what I took out of both sessions was the reality that we needed to do things differently here.
My union friend recognized that his salary was pretty high. Receiving a few dollars less an hour might mean more jobs here and not having to accept the pressure and the guilt that, if he did not retire, a younger member with less seniority would be out on the street. My business friend also had to accept that the CAW was doing things differently too.
With a new CAW leadership about to replace the Union heads, perhaps it is time to talk about the future of the auto industry. We need to do that now and not just when negotiations open in three years.
As for the Mayor, asking our Sister City to help won’t work. He should learn from the experiences of successful US cities that have captured new plants. He should dust off the work that was already done that almost won us a new Chrysler plant a few years ago. Most of all he needs to have the City, the unions, the region, the Province and the Federal Government onside with detailed plans before he gets his passport.