By Sally Klingel, Ann M. Martin
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Extra info for A Fighting Chance: New Strategies to Save Jobs and Reduce Costs
None of this, however, prevented management from presenting the bid as an ultimatum to the officers of Local 686 of the United Auto Workers. Initially, the shop committee was shocked by management's announcement of the bid. Other responses followed traditional adversarial labor relations lines. 2 million by cutting thirty-five jobs in the distribution center, one committee member said that the bid was just "another management blackmail tactic" to cut jobs. It was business as usual as far as the union was concerned: the union had not been consulted about how to improve the efficiency of the distribution center before the bid from Autocon was received.
Although the Mexican vendor was within Xerox quality specifications, the members of the executive committee and of the CST agreed that the quality was higher in CMO than in the vendor plant in Mexico. Nonetheless, some management representatives who were familiar with the Mexican vendor argued that its quality could be raised to CMO levels at little cost. The union argued that just-in-time delivery requirements could not be met or quality requirements maintained without a substantial change in costs.
Even when workers took the utmost care, it was possible to lose a unit at the last step of the process because of the porosity of the aluminum used. Overhead costs were particularly high, and reductions in the work force to tighten up the operation had increased the percentage of overhead costs even more. The team approach was introduced in department 465 in 1981 as a last-ditch effort to see whether costs could be reduced. Some union leaders now believe that management had already decided to close the department when the teams were introduced.