Chrysler UAW Workers Caught Drinking on the Job

Friday, September 24, AD 2010

Less than two months after President Obama visited the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit to highlight the billion dollar government bailout of Chrysler, Chrysler UAW workers were caught on tape drinking alcoholic beverages on a 30 minute lunch break.  Not to mention what looks like marijuana joints in between swigs of grog and then littering a public park with the empties.

That’s a nice liquid lunch… if it were a public holiday!

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10 Responses to Chrysler UAW Workers Caught Drinking on the Job

  • Given the future they have to look forward to under a government owned Chrysler, I can’t say I blame them.

  • Drinking beer at lunch? Not so bad… being drunk very bad… Smoking a jot ummm… WTF?? My stance is alcohol is fine only if not getting drunk or impairing the ability to perform. The Jot thing is a gov’t issue they should be going to jail it is illegal??? Although I do beleave we should legalize it .. still illegal at the moment… and doing that on the job is a def no no …

  • It’s okay! They work for the government.

  • I worked for the government in a Summer internship during college, and boy this stuff is minor to what else occurs “on the job”!

  • Yeah. Going out for a beer isn’t a big deal (as long as one isn’t impaired from doing one’s job or driving), but smoking joints and drinking a lot is a problem. While I doubt this means much for Obama, it is kinda embarrassing.

  • Think about this, If any one of those people in the video would have in anyway gotten hurt on the job and needed to go to the medical dept. in the plant, they would have been tested for drugs and alcohol!!! Wow if it should (would have)come back positive for either no workman’s comp. and immediate termination.
    So who’s the fool here the drinking pot smoking workers or the UAW for protecting them?

    I personally think if I where upper management in today’s UAW I’d vote to cut them loose from the union so that union could protect the image of the truly good loyal workers and to say the New UAW doesn’t tolerate that kind behavior any more!!!!!
    How many people do you think would be happy to come work in this economy for 1/2 the pay those guy’s where making?????
    I’m Proud to be an auto worker but not with fools like that.

  • Not to defend these workers for what they did — it was stupid and (as far as the pot smoking and littering) illegal — but… how is it that a bunch of blue collar workers drinking a beer or two at lunch is any worse than a bunch of white collar executives having a three-martini “business” lunch?

    If they were not impaired in their ability to do their jobs, the beer drinking should not have been an issue. The pot smoking and the littering are another matter.

  • Elaine, I agree. But for what it is worth drinking at lunch among white collar workers is pretty rare in most cities. Companies have policies against it, and customs have just changed.

  • As Mike said, the days of a three martini lunch are pretty much history. Even if it weren’t I don’t think the comparison holds up. I worked in factories for over 20 years and have recently transitioned to a corporate job. The difference is that if someone in a factory is impaired or even a little off their game (overly tired, hangover, etc.) people can die or get maimed. The white collar guy might make a mistake that costs millions of dollars but at the end of the day everyone went home to their families. Not saying it’s okay for the white collar guy or trying to set a double standard, just pointing out that the consequences can be quite different.

    The large modern factories are spectacular and the safety measures in place are very impressive, but they’re still not foolproof and never will be. One of the biggest challenges a factory supervisor faces is complacency. Trying not to keep people from taking safety (and quality, but that’s another story) for granted is a never ending battle. Someone pounding a couple tallboys or smoking a joint at lunch is just asking for trouble. We have a responsibility to not endanger our coworkers even if we’re too shortsighted about our own well-being. That is why these policies are in place and why they should be enforced. The unions should of course welcome rules like this, but they lost their way over a generation ago.

  • When I was in college I spent a summer working on a die press in a truck body plant. I kept counting the ways people could lose fingers or limbs if someone got careless. Anyone doing that type of work high, drunk or hung over is just asking for a trip to the emergecy room for themselves and the people they work with.

20 Responses to Res Ipsa Loquitur

  • A consistent pattern since the DC sanitation engineers swept up the trash from the Inaugural Hope And Change Bash. Market has pretty much said pfffft to this President since election. Seems to be the response from those companies whose executives did not arrive on Capitol Hill, tin cups in hand. Which is to say the majority of entities trading shares, Non Financial Services Division. Probably means panicked trips north on Amtrak to have heart to heart chats by new Treasury Secretary Timmy The Tax Dodger Geithner. As in c’mon guys get with the program. Doesn’t happen that way. To look at stock markets, take a rational view of the irrational. Fear greed worry over the future always mixed with the number. Any amount of jawboning by the Paragon of Hope and Change or his Tax Dodger/Treasury Secretary may not help. Meantime sit tight. Buy good Americano companies. The market always goes up and may do so around June. Regardless of any Porkapalooza Bills.

  • His Messiahness (PBUH) seems to have failed in ‘inspiring’ investors.

  • Don’t be fooled. 0bama likes what he sees. A slipping market means more government intervention is warranted.

  • Let me try this…

    …ipso facto mucho taxo…

  • I would agree with Henry (Karlson that is, not John). When the stock market goes up or down, there is a tendency for analysts to look around for some piece of news that might plausibly explain the change, and then assume that the news caused the change. A funny example of this is recounted in Nassim Taleb’s book. On the day Saddam Hussein was captured, Taleb recalls getting a news alert from Bloomberg News: US Treasuries Rise; Hussein Capture May Not Curb Terrorism. Half an hour later, he got another: US Treasuries Fall; Hussein Capture Boosts Allure of Risky Assets. So if bond prices go up, that’s because of Hussein’s capture, and if they go down, that’s because of his capture too.

  • Right, and then we just need to invent theories to explain why his capture either caused the bond market to go up or down. I would agree in principle; but when the market drops 4% on the same day as a significant financial event (or non-event based on the lack of specificity in the plan), I think there is a much stronger argument for causation rather than just correlation.

    If you are making the general observation that reporters can draw erroneous conclusions, I agree. If you think in this specific case that the announcement of the Banking plan had little to no effect on the market, despite a 4% drop, well, you are in a distinct minority. That minority may be right, but generally the minority (as with AGW) should produce a stronger argument than ‘maybe they aren’t linked’. Do you really think they are unrelated?

  • Here are some of the accounts I’ve been reading:

    Noah Millman (arguing the rollout of the plan was very poorly handled):
    http://theamericanscene.com/2009/02/10/might-not-want-to-bother-unpacking-tim

    McArdle (the same):
    http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/02/im_from_the_government_and_im.php

    Major financial news services linking the two:

    Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aC.r9M_1vPd8&refer=home

    Yahoo: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Wall-St-tumbles-on-bank-plan-rb-14312204.html

    Reuters:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSTRE5160AM20090210

    Sure, reporters look for narratives to sell papers/attract traffic, and all these people could be wrong. But you’re tempting me to accuse you of armchair thinking. 😉

  • Semper ubi sub ubi.

  • John,

    In the case of global warming, the consensus is based on more than a bunch of people looking at the same single data point. If it weren’t, then I’d see no real reason to defer to it.

    If I had to guess whether the stock drop was related to the Treasury proposal then I’d say it was. But I don’t have to guess. And more generally, I think that trying to infer much about the wisdom of a particular policy based on the day to day (or even hour to hour) movements in the stock market strikes me as being a very bad idea.

  • “I think that trying to infer much about the wisdom of a particular policy based on the day to day (or even hour to hour) movements in the stock market strikes me as being a very bad idea.”

    Agreed. But if the plan is meant to reassure the market (which is one of its primary goals), it wasn’t initially successful. Many commentators have suggested this is because there was little detail presented in the ‘plan,’ which creates uncertainty and undermines market confidence. Maybe the details, when they come, will be brilliant. Maybe they won’t. But either way, the initial presentation did not go well.

  • I always where under where.

  • Blackadderiv,

    In the case of global warming, the consensus is based on more than a bunch of people looking at the same single data point. If it weren’t, then I’d see no real reason to defer to it.

    but if the globe stops warming and starts to cool almost 10 years ago, can you still say it follows that it’s man-made? If the warming was man-made, was the cooling necessarily man-made?

    Henry K,

    Post hoc ergo proctor hoc, is a question, it’s not an argument. Just because the thing follows doesn’t mean it is NOT causative. The market is not completely random, it responds to internal and external stimulus. These stimulus can be examined, after the fact and likely causes can be analyzed.

  • but when the market drops 4% on the same day as a significant financial event (or non-event based on the lack of specificity in the plan), I think there is a much stronger argument for causation rather than just correlation.

    Henry’s right about the fallacy employed here by both John Henry and some analysts. As a college philosophy instructor, I am particularly sensitive to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy as it is raised repeated by those who really possess no real knowledge about the connections and correlations of data in a given field. That’s what we find here today in this post.

    The problem with the post is twofold: 1) Who here really is an expert on economic analysis and is equipped to interpret a few hour drop?; 2) As of 9:30am this morning, the markets are rebounding.

    So using the logic expressed in some of these comments, shall we conclude that the stimulus bill caused the rebound today? Probably a bit too hasty for that. I think Blackadder, who along with MM are better read on economics than anyone at Vox Nova and here (this is a belief, not something I can prove), nailed it. In a world of internet news and soundbites, it’s good to know that at least some people actually study this stuff before posting on it.

  • Post hoc ergo proctor hoc, is a question, it’s not an argument. Just because the thing follows doesn’t mean it is NOT causative.

    Of course, this is a trivial and obvious point. The fallacy (it’s not a “question”) was imputed because a causal relation was implied in some of the comments without sufficient evidence. No one argued that that there was NOT a causal relation, so your point here is rather irrelevant.

  • “The problem with the post is twofold: 1) Who here really is an expert on economic analysis and is equipped to interpret a few hour drop?; 2) As of 9:30am this morning, the markets are rebounding…In a world of internet news and soundbites, it’s good to know that at least some people actually study this stuff before posting on it.”

    A few responses:

    1) Your supercilious tone is unnecessary and unappreciated.

    2)It’s a stretch to call a .5% uptick after a 5% drop a ‘rebound’. But even a rebound wouldn’t disprove that the initial reaction to the plan was quite negative.

    3) If you think working as a financial analyst for five years, and having an MBA and extensive legal academic coursework in corporate finance topics makes me unqualified to comment, then I hope you hold yourself to the same standard. But since you obviously do not, perhaps you’ll be more generous to others.

    4) Please, cite one expert in the field who has stated the market drop was independent of the bank plan roll-out yesterday. Until then, hold fire on the “I’m a philosophy professor and an expert in logical fallacies” argument. Notice, everyone’s favorite nobel laurete is making the first part of the argument (i.e. the plan was unspecific and uninspiring). When an uninspiring plan is followed by a sharp drop in prices, we have a pretty good case for causation, as BA more or less conceded.

  • While it’s true that a short term (though very sharp) drop in the stock market isn’t an economic indicator in and of itself, there’s a sense in which the stock market as a whole can serve as a sort of informal predictions betting market. A broad sell-off can indicate an expectation that the economy as a whole will either not get better or will in fact get worse. Thus a broadly held expecation/bet of this sort right after a major financial policy announcement is essentially an prediction on the part of those holding securities that the policy will not do any good.

    It’s not something I’d take as armor-plated proof that something was a bad idea (for instance, it might be that there were widely held unrealistic expectations about the policy) but it strikes me as a moderately good indicator of lack of confidence.

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Rescue Packages & the Automobile Industry (II)

Monday, November 17, AD 2008

Last week, I questioned the wisdom of Congress making investments investors are unwilling to make in the automobile industry. Responding to similar arguments by smarter people, Jonathan Cohn suggested (citing a report showing productivity improvements in Big 3 factories) that the Big 3 are in the process of turning around, and that the bailout would help these companies complete the transition to profitability. Jim Manzi has posted a fairly devastating rebuttal to Cohn’s arguments. Here is an excerpt from Manzi’s response:

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