Thank Trump: GM and Ford make nearly a thousand temporary workers permanent

For the rivetheads, something good is happening for them in hollowed-out Flint and Detroit.

According to the Detroit Free Press:

On Monday, GM made about 930 temporary workers permanent full-time employees at 30 of its 52 UAW-represented facilities in the United States. There are more to come in the months ahead, it said.

Union documents show that at Flint, where GM builds its heavy-duty pickups, 255 temps became permanent. At Lansing Delta Township, where GM builds its midsize SUVS, it hired 103 temps. At GM's smaller plants such as Bedford Casting Operations in Indiana, 17 temps are now permanent.

Ford Motor Co. also moved 592 temps to permanent full-time on Monday, the UAW said, and will do more conversions of temps next month. But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is still working to implement its temporary worker conversions, said the UAW.

That's nearly a thousand people, and they said the good news was a big surprise.  Instead of a low temp salary and abbreviated benefits, along with the uncertainty of wondering if they'll be laid off tomorrow — temp workers are always first to be shed — they've now got a place.  They can work.  They can plan.  They can save.  They've joined the real world, the Trump economy, the good times, the Obama gig economy with them as its most dispensable and desperate cogs — is gone.

The Free Press frames the story as a United Auto Workers union victory.  There had been a strike in October over the issue, and supposedly the union won.

But actually, the credit goes to President Trump.  Taking on a permanent employee is a big thing for a giant like GM or Ford.  It creates major fixed costs and benefits for them, as well as more difficulty shedding such workers in economic downturns.  Unlike temps, they're expensive.  (The story is the same in places such as Germany and France, where persistent double-digit unemployment is typical, under-employment and temp employment is common, and young people have a devil of a time ever getting a proper job.)  Giving someone a job in a hidebound institution like GM or Ford is a major investment that requires a lot of certainties, given the risk.

If companies such as GM and Ford are willing to make these workers permanent employees, it means they're pretty confident their company is going to see growth.  It's also a statement that they value these employees' work, and now these people have a permanent place.  They're now valued.  They're important.  They have a place again.  From their own green-eyeshade perspective, it's an important defensive measure, too, because in the booming Trump economy, workers have their choice of jobs, so taking them off "the market" with a hard-to-get permanent position helps prevent losses of skilled workers to competitors.  Win-win-win-win.  Even the union wins.

None of this would be possible without a glowing economy to start with.  It's not through union muscle by itself that these workers benefitted — unions just leveraged the Trump economy effectively for the good of their members.  It's also not through minimum wage legislation that these workers got their pay rise — wages naturally rise in good economies where all players are profiting and competition for workers is keen.  They collapse when there's a glut of workers and too few companies doing well enough to hire them permanently.  The Trump economy is about benefiting the entire economy, not just a chosen few.

The making of these workers permanent is a sign from GM and Ford that not only are times good, but they expect them to be good down the line.  Trump 2020?  You can bet that's exactly what they see on the cards.

Image credit: The Vogues, "Five O'Clock World" via YouTube screen shot.

For the rivetheads, something good is happening for them in hollowed-out Flint and Detroit.

According to the Detroit Free Press:

On Monday, GM made about 930 temporary workers permanent full-time employees at 30 of its 52 UAW-represented facilities in the United States. There are more to come in the months ahead, it said.

Union documents show that at Flint, where GM builds its heavy-duty pickups, 255 temps became permanent. At Lansing Delta Township, where GM builds its midsize SUVS, it hired 103 temps. At GM's smaller plants such as Bedford Casting Operations in Indiana, 17 temps are now permanent.

Ford Motor Co. also moved 592 temps to permanent full-time on Monday, the UAW said, and will do more conversions of temps next month. But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is still working to implement its temporary worker conversions, said the UAW.

That's nearly a thousand people, and they said the good news was a big surprise.  Instead of a low temp salary and abbreviated benefits, along with the uncertainty of wondering if they'll be laid off tomorrow — temp workers are always first to be shed — they've now got a place.  They can work.  They can plan.  They can save.  They've joined the real world, the Trump economy, the good times, the Obama gig economy with them as its most dispensable and desperate cogs — is gone.

The Free Press frames the story as a United Auto Workers union victory.  There had been a strike in October over the issue, and supposedly the union won.

But actually, the credit goes to President Trump.  Taking on a permanent employee is a big thing for a giant like GM or Ford.  It creates major fixed costs and benefits for them, as well as more difficulty shedding such workers in economic downturns.  Unlike temps, they're expensive.  (The story is the same in places such as Germany and France, where persistent double-digit unemployment is typical, under-employment and temp employment is common, and young people have a devil of a time ever getting a proper job.)  Giving someone a job in a hidebound institution like GM or Ford is a major investment that requires a lot of certainties, given the risk.

If companies such as GM and Ford are willing to make these workers permanent employees, it means they're pretty confident their company is going to see growth.  It's also a statement that they value these employees' work, and now these people have a permanent place.  They're now valued.  They're important.  They have a place again.  From their own green-eyeshade perspective, it's an important defensive measure, too, because in the booming Trump economy, workers have their choice of jobs, so taking them off "the market" with a hard-to-get permanent position helps prevent losses of skilled workers to competitors.  Win-win-win-win.  Even the union wins.

None of this would be possible without a glowing economy to start with.  It's not through union muscle by itself that these workers benefitted — unions just leveraged the Trump economy effectively for the good of their members.  It's also not through minimum wage legislation that these workers got their pay rise — wages naturally rise in good economies where all players are profiting and competition for workers is keen.  They collapse when there's a glut of workers and too few companies doing well enough to hire them permanently.  The Trump economy is about benefiting the entire economy, not just a chosen few.

The making of these workers permanent is a sign from GM and Ford that not only are times good, but they expect them to be good down the line.  Trump 2020?  You can bet that's exactly what they see on the cards.

Image credit: The Vogues, "Five O'Clock World" via YouTube screen shot.