Monday, April 17, 2006

Ford has announced the 2008 closing of the Norfolk Assembly Plant, which manufacturers F-150 trucks. With 2400 employees, local angst is running very high.

Governor Kaine arrived today, promising "to persuade Ford executives to reverse, or at least delay, their decision to close the plant in 2008."

We all know that will be fruitless. But a discussion I listened to this morning on local talk radio shed some light on the root causes of the situation.

The substitute host, trying to generate call-in discussion, noted that he knew people working at the plant that are pulling in between 60 and 70 thousand dollars a year for the solemn task of driving a couple screws into a door panel over and over again. Where, the host wondered, would these people make that kind of money with such a limited skill set.

To which I would ask, why was this task "worth' so much in the first place? The real tragedy of this plant closing is that unions have created thousands of very highly paid unskilled workers.


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