President of Knox Machinery Criticizes GM President for Bailout

If you haven’t heard about this exchange, you’re in for a treat.

The president of General Motors, Troy Clarke, sent thie following letter to employees of the Detroit-based company:

Dear Employee,

Next week, Congress and the current Administration will determine whether to provide immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic times in our nation’s history. Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global financial crisis. As an employee, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one of our most effective and passionate voices. I know GM can count on you to have your voice heard.

Thank you for your urgent action and ongoing support.

Troy Clarke
General Motors North America

And then came the reply from Gregory Knox:

banner1In response to your request to call legislators and ask for a bailout for the United States automakers please consider the following, and please also pass this onto Troy Clark, the president of General Motors North America for me.

You are both infected with the same entitlement mentality that has bred like cancerous germs in UAW halls for the last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping the nation, awaiting our new “messiah” to wave his magical wand and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our once great nation to keep “living the dream”.

The dream is over!

The dream that we can ignore the consumer for years while management myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time that our factories have been filled with the worlds most overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and laziest entitlement minded “laborers” without paying the price for these atrocities and that still the masses will line up to buy our products

Don’t tell me I’m wrong. Don’t accuse me of not knowing of what I speak. I have called on Ford, GM, Chrysler, TRW, Delphi, Kelsey Hayes, American Axle and countless other automotive OEM’s and Tier ones for 3 decades now throughout the Midwest and what I’ve seen over the years in these union shops can only be described as disgusting.

Mr Clark, the president of General Motors, states:

There is widespread sentiment in this country, our government and especially in the media that the current crisis is completely the result of bad management. It is not.

You’re right, it’s not JUST management, how about the electricians who walk around the plants like lords in feudal times, making people wait on them for countless hours while they drag a** so they can come in on the weekend and make double and triple time for a job they easily could have done within their normal 40 hour week

How about the line workers who threaten newbies with all kinds of scare tactics for putting out too many parts on a shift and for being too productive (mustn’t expose the lazy bums who have been getting overpaid for decades for their horrific underproduction, must we?!?) Do you really not know about this stuff?!?

How about this great sentiment abridged from Mr. Clarke’s sad plea:

over the last few years we have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our competitors.

What the h*** has Detroit been doing for the last 40 years?!?

Did we really JUST wake up to the gaps in quality and efficiency between us and them?

The K car vs. the Accord?

The Pinto vs. the Civic?!?

Do I need to go on?

We are living through the inevitable outcome of the actions of the United States auto industry for decades.

Time to pay for your sins, Detroit.

I attended an economic summit last week where a brilliant economist, Alan Beaulieu surprised the crowd when he said he would not have given the banks a penny of “bailout money”. Yes, he said, this would cause short term problems, but despite what people like George Bush and Troy Clark would have us believe, the sun would in fact rise the next day and something else would happen. Where there had been greedy and sloppy banks, new efficient ones would pop up. That is how a free market system works. It does work if we would let it work!

But for some reason we are now deciding that the rest of the world is right and that capitalism doesn’t work; that we need the government to step in and “save us”. Save us, h*** we’re nationalizing and unfortunately too many of this once fine nation’s citizens don’t even have a clue that this is what’s really happening but they sure can tell you the stats on their favorite sports teams yeah THAT’S important.

Does it occur to ANYONE that the “competition” has been producing vehicles, EXTREMELY PROFITABLY, for decades now in this country?…

How can that be???

Let’s see – –

Fuel efficient –

Listening to customers –

Investing in the proper tooling and automation for the long haul –

Not being too complacent or arrogant to listen to Dr. W Edwards Deming 4 decades ago –

Ever increased productivity through quality, lean and six sigma plans –

Treating vendors like strategic partners, rather than like “the enemy” –

Efficient front and back offices –

Non union environment –

Again, I could go on and on, but I really wouldn’t be telling anyone anything they really don’t already know in their hearts

I have six children, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten yourself into. My children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did at their age. I do for them what my parents did for me (one of their greatest gifts, by the way). I make them stand on their own two feet and accept the consequences of their actions and work them through.

Radical concept, huh?

Am I there for them in the wings? Of course but only until such time as they need to be fully on their own as adults.

I don’t want to oversimplify a complex situation, but there certainly are unmistakable parallels here between the proper role of parenting and government.

Detroit and the United States need to pay for their sins.

Bad news people, it’s coming whether we like it or not.

The newly elected Messiah really doesn’t have a magic wand big enough to “make it all go away” I laughed as I heard Obama “reeling it back in” almost immediately after the vote count was tallied “we might not do it in a year or in four”! Where was that kind of talk when he was RUNNING for the office.

Stop trying to put off the inevitable!

That house in Florida really isn’t worth $750,000!

People who jump across a border really don’t deserve free health care benefits!

That job driving that forklift for the big 3 really isn’t worth $85,000 a year!

That couple whose combined income is less than $50,000 really shouldn’t be living in that $485,000 home!

Let the market correct itself people, it will. Yes it will be painful, but it’s gonna be painful either way, and the bright side of my proposal is that on the other side of it is a nation that appreciates what is has and doesn’t live beyond its means and gets back to basics and redevelops the work ethic that made it the greatest nation in the history of the world and probably turns back to God.

Sorry, don’t cut my head off. I’m just the messenger sharing with you the “bad news”

Gregory J Knox
Knox Machinery, Inc.
Franklin, Ohio 45005

I will be helping Greg start his Presidential campaign this year. Not really, but what an amazing, level-headed view of the economy and all these bailouts. It’s rather refreshing to see that at least some businesspeople still have sense.


60 Responses

  1. Mr. Knox I am responding to your accusations about assembly line workers. Your article was a fine article except for your misinformation about assembly line workers. I suppose it is easy to sit in a nice air conditioned office and make up stories, do you have a vendetta against assembly line workers? Your accusations are some of the worst “garbage” I have ever read. I have spent nearly 10 years working on a line and there was no resemblance between your accusations and reality! No AC in the summer, no heat in the winter, the line ran 41 vehicles an hour,and you had to move fast from one vehicle to the next. If you didn’t keep up you were out the door very fast. No one was arrogant, and new workers were treated the same as old. Electricians or anyone else got their jobs done as quickly as they could never, ever waiting for another day. I have to believe you knew better but decided to embelish the truth. You owe these workers an apology, but I suppose you are enjoying your dishonesty too much. It is a shame that people spread these stories and people read them and believe them. I could go on and on, but I believe you are not interested in the truth! f you can’t be honest then don’t write anything. Shame on you! E. Kates

  2. Time to pay for your sins, Detroit)

  3. I’ve worked in a union shop(in ohio) and he’s pretty much spot on regarding the work metality of most union folk.

  4. Every paper in the country should run the two letters on their front page.
    Where are YOU newspaper owners, editors and journalists??

    our independence is slowly being lost and no one seems to bat an eye !!!

  5. Unfortunately the problem is much larger than parochial union vs, management disputes. Without government help, THE major American manufacturing industry disappears, the financial system collapses. Not ot worry, new banks will emerge and we can all buy Japanese and Korean, and soon, Indian cars. OK, but how long will that take? And how long do you think those Japanese and Korean plants will operate in a crippled economy? The Great Depression lasted 10 years and half of the American work force was unemployed at some point during that period. How, exactly is Mr. Knox going to feed those six kids? Because small undercapitalized, credit dependent companies, probably much like his, will be some of the first to feel the effects and will be sucked into bankruptcy either because of a lack of sales or the inability to finance inventory. There is a good chance his older children will be privileged to join the ranks of the unemployed before we emerge from the ashes of what was once the greatest economy the world has ever seen or they will begin their working lives in the military fighting the wars precipitated by the economic malaise that has settled over the world. It’s time to get serious and stop recycling the same old partisan cliches and approach the larger problem realistically.

    • Greg, Are you the same GC who comes from Tennessee and lived in DE? If so, tell Ann I said ‘Hello!’. I’m the 8/13 you guys knew from way back in the 70’s.

  6. I worked in a Ford Parts Plant to earn money for university. I was forced to join the UAW. First day on the job I was told by my union rep. that I was picking too many parts and I had to slow down or I would be repremanded. The number of parts that I had to pick could be done in 3 hours. I spent more time being repremanded by the union for trying to do a good job than you can imagine. What an eye opener

  7. When unions were started they did good things for this country now the UAW had given the US auto industry the first nail in their coffin. Over priced workers who don’t do anything is about it. I working there for 10 years. Only left to start my own buisness.

  8. Mr. Knox
    Outstanding and right on the money. I just don’t think anyone can get a powerful ear to stand on their own two feet and actully do anything about it for the fear of losing that power and greed that goes with their position. The Messiah i don’t think has really come yet. Thank you for your outstanding real “State of the Union.”

  9. Having worked in the industrial sector for many years I have seen the havoc that unions cause on the job. While those who join the union are not all bad, the system is archaic to say the least. When a skilled electrician is not allowed to pick up a wrench to keep his job going, but rather has to call in another union member to do the work, there is something wrong. There are thousands of examples that could be used to show how the unions cripple segments of the economy.

    There is plenty of blame to be passed to those at the corporate level, and their excuses are probably even worse. Bottom line is that the country as a whole has become complacent and “entitled.” It is terribly hard to find competent, hard working employees that have a basic education, can pass a drug test and are willing to go the extra mile for their job.

    While the “Big 3” as we have known them for years may go away, to bail them out is not capitalism, it is socialism. Same goes for the banks and any other company that gets bailed out. These are going to be tough times for sure and everyone of us has the possibility of losing our jobs and lifestyles that we have become accustomed to. But when the country spent almost 120% of their income, are we not getting what we deserved?

    The bailout is inevitable, nobody on Capitol Hill has the guts to tell the American people that times are tough and we are all going to need to make some changes. Those are not the comments that get you re-elected. But at the very least, why don’t we have the UAW kick in all the money they have in their reserves and give that to the Detroit 3 to help out. After all, isn’t it their jobs that are being saved?

  10. Thank you Mr Knox , a truly excellent read of the facts . I was born in the Great Depression and lived through the successive ones . Being Canadian , I am appalled with the Idiocy of our current Government for following , the lead of the Bush regime , not only on these Bank and Auto , Bail outs, but the stupidity of the two current Wars , we are now embroiled in .Also the stupendous debt your country now has . We too are going deeper and deeper in debt ., and we are now , not being told how much . Closed Government ! For us , it is like a revisit of the era of , “Trudeau “, who put our country into an enormous debt we have still not paid back and that was 2 generations ago .
    These people are all , terrifying ! with no foresight ! They are ,Greedy ! and selfish , power freaks ! I for one , am right behind you .
    Sincerely , Gord Crossland St Marys Canada .

  11. Mr. Knox,
    THANK YOU !!!
    I wish we had an incoming president and his cabinet members thinking like you.

  12. I have never belonged to a union. I have never worked for any of The Big Three. I have on several occasions toured through the Chrysler Assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario. I was AMAZED by what I saw going on. Assembly line worker operating an On-The-Job Coffee Shop, complete with percolators and doughnuts all for sale to other workers. I saw assembly line workers with a 21″ TV set watching a hockey game while feeding parts onto the line. Other workers reading books and newspapers while On-The-Job. Supervisory personnel could not prevent or interfere with these activities or the Union Reps would institute slowdowns. Family members were employed by Chrysler and can attest to these statements of FACT. The UAW should be like WalMart and ROLL BACK the wages and perks.

    Mr Knox you are 110% RIGHT in your statements.

  13. I have worked in this industry for almost 23 years. Its hard, heavy and dirty work with long hours.
    It just makes me laugh to hear some pencil pushing putz talk about these auto workers like they are leaches on the a** of their companies. Has he ever worked a day in his life that wasn’t behind a desk? Or under one for that matter?
    Perhaps some of the management aspects of this are true. BUT Also true is the fact that Toyota and other foreign companies have been given money and land to move into North America with zero expectation of a government payback ever.
    Its also NOT a bail out its a loan that would be paid back WITH interest, not the free handout the banks who caused the economic crisis of the world were given. In the past there have also been loans paid back to the American government from GM, the government turned a large profit on those loans by means of interest paid.
    Funny that so many do not see the large picture and realize that saying no to a loan to the big three and allowing them to go bankrupt would cause the collapse of the whole economic structure of all of North America not just put a bunch of autoworkers out of a job. We’re all connected and the ramifications would be a domino effect all the way down the line yet short sightedness and a kick em when they’re down attitude seems to be a general theme throughout North America. I wonder how it will all play out? Part of me wants to see these morons get what they ask for and see how they cry when the tables turn when its their jobs and futures on the line.
    Why does someone hate someone simply for working hard to earn an honest living? I’ve read so many outright lies about bonuses paid out to Ford employees for showing up on time every day and about paid sick days and us earning 70 dollars an hour. My hourly rate is $32.85 of which I pay enough in taxes each week to support another whole family who are on social assistance. We cannot even be sure there will be a pension available for us when its our turn to retire. We ruin our bodies to support our families and others like my father lose their lives from exposure to the chemicals they’ve had to use while earning the wage so many of you deem us unworthy of. I can assure you it is not the button pushing job painted by the media and people like you (Mr. Not Important Enough to me to Remember your name). Just yesterday another one of our Forklift driver lost her life in one of our Ford plants her name was Shara Flanigan and she leaves behind 2 children. That makes two within the span of about 8 months. Are these the lazy worthless people you’re talking about? Do you risk your flabby a** when you sit down at your desk? I somehow think we’re comparing apples and I’d say oranges but since you’re sat on your a** talking crap about things you clearly cannot possibly have a clue about I’ll instead say apples and pears. If you could spend a few years working on those lines I doubt you’d still feel that way. AND IF we wanted your opinion or approval we’d shove the nickle into your mouth and twist your ear. Until then hush you very very small man and go home and tell your wife she wants you 🙂

  14. Were it not for autoworkers, steelworkers, coalminers and all organized labourers most Americans would be dirt poor. The same ideology used to pit people against autoworkers and unions is the same rhetoric that was used to promote slavery and wipe out the indigenous people of North America.
    The entire infrastructure of the US is designed around the auto industry, all those luxury suburbs are not accessible to public transportation so that people would have to buy cars. Unsustainable development encouraged by banks so they could make money. Loaning big money to people with low paying jobs.
    Since the 1980s college and university grads have been taking jobs on assembly lines because they were no decent paying white collar jobs. So these educated blue collar workers know that it’s the policies of the WTO and trade agreements like NAFTA which are the problems. These corporations have assets, they just don’t want to spend their own money. And why should they when they have government sponsored union busting which will drive all working people down.
    If unionized workers endure harsh, adversarial conditions in the workplace, we know those workers without protection have it worse. The mexican factory worker goes home to the slum, the brazilian factory worker goes home to the the favella, the US factory worker will soon be going home to the trailer park.
    Isn’t it ironic that the most powerful nation in the world which promotes war on the basis of freedom and liberty is the same nation that impoverishes its own.
    I might add, office jobs are only white collar assembly lines.

  15. i’ve resently retired from a futune 5 company after 40 yrs of service… i can tell you that my former employer, not an auto company, is exactly like GM… they are arrogant, self centered, and knowingly produce substandard product to meet their shipping schedules… let me say; schedules are more important than, quality, honesty, customer relations, you name it…. it’s all about the BUCK…. and we wonder why Japan, Korea, and now China is eating our lunch….. glad i’m old…

  16. To all:

    Thanks for stopping by and for taking time to comment. I appreciate all your input.

    Let me just say that everyone has a different paradigm on the subject of a bailout for the auto industry. Some have worked on the line, others have worked on the corporate side of things, and some of us have never worked for the automotive industry. I’m not going to say whose point of view is right and whose is wrong. It’s all the same. What I will say is that I didn’t start this blog to be a place to demean or belittle fellow Americans. We are all working for the good of our families and our nation.

    So in that spirit, I will not post any comments that directly attack other commenters. We can intelligently discuss the subject without becoming petty.


  17. Mr. Knox

    You raise some good points on entitlement in politics and big business. However, don’t ever down a union worker for what he/she earns. We built this country with sweat.You go ahead and tell my grandfather who worked in the mines in the30’s he got paid too much or he didn’t need a union.If it wasn’t for the start of the unions in this country the non-worker today wouldn’t have retirement plans or health care or a safe place to work. They started all of this. The union for the most part did and still does protect the little guy that actually perform work. I’ll give an example, I’m a Teamster Union member for the last 21 years. I work outside all year round in the Pocono Mountains of Pa. Last night the temp.wasa minus 6 degrees with a windchill of a minus 40. My company had the nerve to work me overtime because they contractually can do so. Are you going to tell me I get paid too much? The only thing I can see wrong with the union today is the leadership currently .They too are bloated with entitlement Again everything points to our leaders. They must be held accountable.

  18. Well said, Mr. Knox. I applaud your candor.

    I sent the following email to Sen. Voinovich (with the knowledge that anything sent to Sen. Brown would be wasted).


    While I have great respect for your credentials over the years, I am disheartened at your stance on the auto bailout.

    The proposed bailout will do even more damage to the rule of law in this country. Chap. 11 bankruptcy was designed for situations facing the auto industry. There is nothing to preclude the government from granting a loan, even in bankruptcy proceedings. The key advantage to Chap. 11 is the presence of independent supervision by a bankruptcy trustee and by a federal bankruptcy judge. There is also appellate review for any party feeling aggrieved by the process. With these mechanisms and legal procedures in place, this bailout/loan makes no legal or economic sense.

    The approach being advocated by Democrats is even worse in that congress and the White House will be creating a niche with no precedent and no real independent oversight. I have no doubt that the new ‘car czar’ will be driven by political machination rather than financial common sense. As an attorney, I find this prospect extremely disturbing, especially when the existing law provides adequate remedies for all parties and independent oversight.

    The proposals . . . appear to be driven by crass politics and emotion rather than reason and fiscal responsibility. It also appears to be more of a payback to union friends of the Democratic party.

    I guarantee one thing. If this bailout/loan comes to pass, I will NEVER buy a GM or Chrysler product, and I will encourage everyone I know to do the same. Any company that grovels to the federal government and insists on special rules to cover its own mismanagement is unworthy of my business and will have earned my contempt.

    As governor, you handled the financial affairs of this State in such a way as to leave behind a budget surplus. Please return to your roots. Do not tarnish your well earned reputation by committing to this folly.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Mark Combs

  19. AMEM – right on Mr. Knox!!! Lets keep this one moving on in forwards.

  20. You be frank and I’ll be ernest. After reading Mr. Knox’s diatribe against Unions and his reference to our next president as the “messiah” we get a pretty good taste of his right wing philosophy. The real fact is that American workers, both union and non union, are the most productive workers in the world. Just google it..and you will see. Hope Mr Knox doesn’t fall on the “axe” he’s attempting to grind with his right wing hot air…….

  21. As just an average income,hard working American, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have heard numerous stories from both sides of the coin. And we as a nation, have gone to the extreme, as far as entitlement. Whether it be a homeonwner feeling intitled to live in a house they cant afford, or a worker who feels intitled to cheat their employer on an injury claim, or the CEO of a company , feeling entitled that puts the company into bankruptcy. This mentallity has to STOP… or we as a nation are going to continue this downward sprial.
    God Bless Us ALL!!! Oops did I say God? Get over it!

  22. we might be the most productive, but we’re producing carppy vehicles that no one wants to buy. if the vehicles are low quality, it doesnt matter “how productive” we are. How good is the product being produced?

  23. I see Mr. Knox has all the answers, so why didn’t he run for president? The banks got a bailout, the auto companies got a loan, big difference. What he did, is pick and choose which facts best suited his rant. What about the past administration’s deregulating of banks to allow them to let people borrow more than they can repay? All for the sake of exorbtant profits, short term at that. You speak of workers being over paid, arrogant, ignorant and lazy entitlement minded, well I’m certain by this statement that you don’t know everyone of these people and just stereotyped them. Shame on you for insulting them. Since when are you better than them? It’s easy to judge without all of the facts, especially if you pick the ones that best suit you. Evidently you’ve had bad business dealings with the industry and are lashing out at them for your own personal gains. What about the unfair trade laws between countries like Japan, China and numerous others? The tariffs placed on U.S. products overseas that we don’t place on them? What about where the profits from the foreign companies go? They sure don’t help our tax base here! Keep buying foreign products and we’ll end up being at their mercy. You talk of Wal-Mart but you probably still shop there. What about Disney selling goods made from child labor? I too could go on and on of the corporate abuse. That’s why we need to regulate them. As far as the government saving us, they are the ones who created the problem to begin with due to all of the greed of companies sending lobbyists to give them the edge all for the sake of Wall Street and their own pockets. Grow up and realize that that greed does not infect all people and realize people should help one another instead of looking out for just themselves. Read some history and you will see that it repeats itself. About unions, yes they too can abuse the system but they wouldn’t be necessary if businesses would treat them fairly. Again, greed is the reason they were created. Oh, by the way, you are not the messenger, you are just an angry person beating on whomever you feel disserves it by your standards.

  24. I just read this article from Mr. Knox. I see his point but unfortunately, the cancer he describes isn’t just the auto industry but even worse, our feckless government. Everything that he reviews concerning the auto industry and unions, can be magnified and said about a majority of those who supposedly govern us. Yes, it’s coming…it’s inevitable at this point and the nation’s going to suffer because of people, elected to govern who have no talent, no ability, and no desire. Those in place and those just elected are indeed poor representatives.

  25. An ounce of sweat is worth an ocean of tears.

  26. Mr. Knox, do you speak from experience as an electrician or auto worker? Just wondered, how you know the specifics of the work so well. Perhaps, it might be what has been written about UAW workers elsewhere.
    It seems to me that ALL the auto companies have globalised ~ does it cost money to open robotic equipped manufacturing sites? This country chose in the 1970’s to turn from manufacturing base to service base industries~ tada~ well, here we are.
    There are numerous points that you make, that I tend to agree with you about, however, not being a fly on the wall in Washington when decisions were made on the 2 bailouts, I reserve my judgement on the soundness of those decisions, I think that I just don’t have on the information to make a true and sound opinion ~ just yet. It was a good read however ~ thanks!

  27. Dear Mr. Knox, I just read your article and am behind you 100%. I’m 69 years old and have sold material handling and weighing equipment to the “big 3” for 30 plus years. I have seen with my own eyes, departmental management sound asleep with feet on the desks, I’ve seen union employees come in drunk, work a short while, leave the plant, drink more and come back in to sign out for lunch. I’ve seen so much waste of time, so much union rules enacted that cause total loss of work, revenue and create overtime pay as an end result.

    You are right on the money with all your comments. I am not working any longer because Indiana has lost all of it’s automotive facilities, supporting manufacturers and caused an incredible amount of small suppliers to go under. It has created the serious loss of city revenue for major cities like Fort Wayne, Anderson, Muncie, Kokomo and countless others.

    If I were to go back to work, I would submit my resume to your company because I know your work ethics are commensurate with what the “big 3” should have done in the first place.

    Congratulations on your guts to tell it like it is. I’m behind you all the way pal….


    Al MacKinnon
    Carmel, Indiana

  28. Mr Knox, Thank you so much for breath of fresh air, unforetunatly we are living in the age of entitlement the current state of affairs only proves that there should be an IQ test to vote because the average american is to stupid to really make an intelligent decision when it comes to business, politics and economics for that matter they keep throwing money at the education system to dumb down children, and continously creating crises with their socialistic economic policies, as the saying goes the poison and the antidote are made in the same laboratory.

  29. Instead of ranting and raving about everything everyone else is doing wrong, perhaps you could enlighten us as to how your company is light years ahead of your competition, has the best equitable pay and benefits package for your employees, and last but not least, why you have not even offered to let us rally around your apparent totally appropriate and sure fire way to fix our economic problems. Like most, I think you have an axe to grind and listen to Rush a little too often.

  30. The man was right about line employees. I observed it first hand as a lead on a production line in Findlay OH for 7 years and for at least 10 as a warehouse foreman. At this latter job the mechanics on our heavy equipt. would sit under the bed of a 75 ton Wabco off road rock truck when they should have been working. On several occasions I came in to work and there around a burning barrel were these same employees on strike for higher wages. I advised them in no uncertain terms that they had the best paying job in that part of the USA and we did. The company moved in and set up shop and gave us production bonues, full insurance, med and dental and eye care and extremely high wages for that time. One lazy bum advised me in no uncertain terms to move on or he would do certain things to my anatomy from the rear.
    About two years later the company ran out of the item being mined and the first thing out of those golden platter expectants was “Oh! We will never find another job like this anywhere.” Did they appreciate it? No!
    Did they work and earn a fair wage? No! Did they find another job like it? No! They had a perpetual vacation with pay and in their greed, blindness and laziness had no clue what that company tried to do for us. This is truth and this is how it was and still is if NAFTA left any jobs in this nation.

  31. Greg,

    I appreciate an independent businessman pointing out many of the issues that have ruined American business. You are correct that sadly, the problems are systemic.

    You are correct that many policies and ideas that have been fostered in the unions are anti-management and smack of entitlement. Unfortunately, management has the sme issues. Cooperation, or lack of it, within organizations will always lead to problems. Engineers or managers will go to an assembly line, as an example, and tell a worker the new procedure for putting bumpers on cars rather than consulting with the people that do the job and finding ways to improve the process.

    Federalization of the education system has led to disasterous results. Since the Department of Education came into being, test scores have plummeted. Let local school districts strive to improve education and involve parents. Education starts at home, not in D.C.

    I hope that this country will soon wake up and re-embrace the values that made us a world leader. We need to look at Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and other socialistic systems and learn from their mistakes before it is too late.

  32. There must be a reason that union membership has fallen from 50+% in the 1950’s to the present 8% today. unions are obsolute. They bring nothing to the table that already isn’t provided for by all the legislation that has been passed since the Civil Rights Act of ’64. and becasue their memebership has fallen so low, these union officials in thehigh paying do-nothing jobs need the EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) that will take away an individuals right to determine what is best for them. A ‘makes more sense’ bailout for the American people would have been the exclusion of federal wage taxes for 2009 for the public earning less than $250,000. Put this money in the hands of the public and they would have decided who should have been bailed-out. They would have saved their money in banks that were run properly, they would have purchased their autos from companies that offered quality products at competitive prices and they would ahve shopped in stores that treated the customer for what they are, the life blood of that retail establishment and accorded them the courtesy that they deserved.
    Right on Mr. Knox !!! Let us stop pandering to every organization that crys ‘foul’ just because they don’t get their way. There are no entitlements, you must work to earn the money, earn the respect and earn the trust of people. I feel like opening the window and shouting from the top of my lungs, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take itany more”.

  33. […] is the best place for this info, and what a read!! – Actual letter from an auto industry supplier… Interesting reading! Auto Supplier Tells GM Where To Go This message says a lot about our […]

  34. What a fantastic and down to the nitty -gritty letter you wrote. I, and my family and friends, have said the exact same thing, but only to each other. You’ve really made a statement and I only wish that more of us felt the same way.
    My business is dying and I’m my sole support-who is going to help me ? But, the topper is, I did not drain my company-I’m living without a paycheck at all in order to keep my head above water.
    You’re so right about the auto industry and their feeling of “entitlement” (this goes for the banks as well). Frankly, I’m pretty sick of people feeling that they are “entitled” to anything they haven’t worked for.
    I loved the sentence about the “overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and laziest “. That pretty much says it all.
    Of course, the big guys have no clue about struggling to pay bills or what it’s like not to have financial security so they too are as arrogant. (and greedy to the extreme)
    Bailout money is a huge joke and our country is destroying itself one day and one dollar at a time.
    If you decide to run for public office, let me know. I know a lot of middle-class, hard-working people who would support someone who thinks as you do.
    Thank you
    Louise Ritley

  35. Way to go! You hit it right on the head. Bailout is BS, let the system work. I agree it is high time to let everyone be respoonsible for the decisions they make. When you lose money at something, maybe you should see what is wrong instead of wanting someone else to bail you out. Tremendous letter and Thank You.

  36. I have a feeling that you are holding back what you would like to say,and I’ll be waiting to here the rest.You have made how I feel seem more important to me and the people that I work with.A bailout for anyone from anyone is only a gift to the Companys that DO NOT DESERVE IT from their past actions.
    Thank You Bart Smith

  37. Just a thank you to Mr. Knox for the wonderful spot on letter he has written.. I sure wish we had politicians in Washington that thought like you do… Our country would sure as the devil be in a lot better shape… Again Thank you !!!

  38. Mr. Knox says much which is true, but to no avail. He is preaching to the choir. The “arrogant” will read his comments and snicker at the inablity of the common man to exert any pressure to contain the disaster we are facing.

    Who says the President of the *U*S*A* has ANY power? When Ronald Reagan was elected President (a professional actor) I realized that all the people in REAL power needed to do was hand him his script each morning and he would act it out. If you want to find out how government works, watch the Hollywood movie “Wag the Dog”.

    My favorite newspaper columnist, Charlie Reese, said “You can evade reality, but you can’t evade the consequences of evading reality”. Now we face the consequences.

  39. I was a cooperative student at General Motors Institute and worked on the line in all the departments of my plant during the five years it took me to get my engineering degree. I can relate MANY stories that support Mr. Knox’s allegations. Obviously, not all union workers are bad or lazy. After a few years being a Process Engineer for Chevrolet I could not take the opposition to automation and productive work systems any longer and I quit to become a dealer of German and Japanese cars. I have visited many plants and factories in japan and Europe and I just concluded a European trip where I visited the NedCar, Porsche and VW factories. If you look at the film clips being shown on TV about production in our plants you’d see two people putting in a windshield, a woman putting on a wheel with the help of “carrier” and a air wrench putting on a nut at a time. Another picture shows a man wrestling a large wheel for a SUV by HAND!! The modern factories have machines that do these jobs and there is no worker in sight! The union workers do not understand that more efficiency means better quality and lower prices and therefore more prosperity for all. I have personally observed maintenance workers working time and a half on Saturday sporting a pint of whiskey in their pocket producing one simple scrap chute that could have been made in twenty minutes. Or the electrician who had to go to “the can” and who spent more than an hour reading the Detroit News while the production crane and a whole crew were waiting for him to undo one little electrical wire so that we could move a stamping press. Pretty soon the crane had to service another press and the millwright unhooked the chains. The machine could not be moved for several days before we could get all the “skills’ together again. Or, the folks in the engine plant picking out the hard pieces in a heap of Mary Jane and then go back to the manufacturing floor to “forget” putting connecting rod bearings in engines. Or the machine operator who promised me four flat tires if I kept on f**** up the job by making it more efficient. I could go on. i have stories for nine years!
    All in all, as an immigrant I am very much in favor of self sufficiency and letting things seek their own level. I think that that GM and Chrysler (A privately owned company BTW!) should go Chapter 11 if that is necessary. A question: is a Honda made in Ohio more an American car than a Ford made in Mexico?
    Captain Wim

  40. What a great letter only problem I have with it is placing all union workers in a category that belittles the worker, yes there are some lazy union workers out there as well as some that are over paid. Unions have made this country great, but the unions of today are a dinosaur they’re slowly dying out and those business agents who are elected to bargain collectively for the worker are too busy lining their own pockets to worry about you & me nowadays. I have seen 1st hand how the union slows down the productivity of someone doing their job because of politics & rules and its not in my contract therefore I don’t have to do that mentality. The unions here in the southern states tie the hands of it members from seeking employment by placing them on an “out of work list” their mentality has always been we tell you when, where, and what to do yet all the member has to do in keep sending in his monthly dues money. The building trades union here in the south does not work all year round like up north because of this catch 22 gimmick where if you’re a carpenter you aren’t allowed to turn a wrench because it’s someone else’s job and by doing so you are then accused of stealing that persons work, but on the other side of the coin you need that guy who only turns wrenches because that is what that person specializes in and is what keeps him employed so he can feed his family. I think Mr. Knox was just sounding off yet not realizing the repercussions his letter would have down the road, I do believe he makes many good points though. Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known.

  41. This speech is profound. I would hope that our new President of the United States has taken the time to read or listen to it. How many of us will forward it to the White House and will all of those emails be regarded as trash? I for one will forward it and to all of the major newspapers as well. Even though it is “old business” by now…. is “NEW BUSINESS” as to the way this country should be run. Shame on the banks, the auto industry, the unions and corrupt politians.
    Thank you Gregory J. Knox.

  42. You go!! We need more people like you. Thank you for writing his letter. I have been trying to find anyone who feels the way that I do! We need to all come together and let Washington know that they are to be representing us! Thank you!


  43. My father immigrated to Canada from Portugal when I was seven for a better life for us. He worked hard and did just that with his own to hands in times and a country that rewarded hard work. One of many important things he taught me was” live within your means” and there will always be change in your pockets.
    Your letter was emailed to me by a friend in Michigan. It took BALLS to speak the truth when the version of truth has been smoked screened for so long and does not want to be heard by so many. Greed, arrogance and more greed got us here by people and companies that continually over price and brainwash it’s consumers to spending. A society and government that punishes you for working hard to produce a better life for your family and rewards you for being lazy. A society that rewards a fellow holding a beer on the beech with beautiful women, a society that glamorizes a sports star and rewards him with more money in a year than I will see in a lifetime. A society that rewards a musician with millions for rapping a tune about abusing woman. An auto maker that sells you a new vehicle that’s a LEMON and consumes almost double the fuel of his competitor and refuses to make good on it because it falls within the so-called industry standard. The bank that constantly harasses you to take a loan or a credit card when you don’t need it. Buy now Pay later….SURE. Biggy size you sir…sure I am to thin. Everyone is being asked to take pay cuts…..Sure…..let the government lead the way with controlling it’s abusive spending habitats of hard earned tax dollars at all levels and take less taxes from that blue collar worker who supports the country. Punish those government officials who dare to abuse the power given to them by the voters. Another one of my dad’s quotes ” hard work never killed anyone ” ” little work made him or her fat and lazy “. Our society has gotten fat and lazy.
    Where does it start Mr. Knox? With your LETTER and a DIET.
    Thanks for being what I always assumed an American to be.
    REAL, REAL and hell, just REAL

    Ontario, Canada

  44. Right on. I worked in Flint Michigan at the Pepsi manufacturing plant in the 80’s as a white coller manager. I got written up by the union for carrying a case of Pepsi to my car. The union hi-lo driver was required to place the case on a pallet, drive to my car and load it into my trunk. Heaven forbid I had to unload it when I got home. I was written up because I was “taking away” work from the union.

    The world has caught up with these ridiclous situations!

  45. I know Mr Knox.
    I too am in the business of industrial tools and equipment and ditto all that has been said by those who believe GM et al don’t need the bailout. OK, there are good union folks and bad union folks. Good mangers and bad.
    Here is the more important issue. Whether you work for the declining industrial sector /or health care/ or government, both Democrat and Republican must agree, that the current administration is hurdling this country toward nothing short of Leninist socialism.
    I don’t care which party has the power as long as the power is not corrupt. Currently, it indeed is!
    The cure to this economic conundrum is easily found but the treatment not painless. This country needs to address the symptom of entitlement (i.e. mortgage welfare), pay the billions of dollars of bad mortgages off for the woeful former renters, and let them temporarily become the welfare queens of 2009. Then tell the banks, “we handled it -now go ahead and go out of business”.
    To all reading this, tell me, how many mortgages are there in trouble in the US? Find the number. Multiply it by (I don’t know–maybe $250,000?) My guess is that number is less than the grand total of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd bailouts by a bunch.
    What people need to hear/know is that we could have already paid off all of the risky mortgages, freed the banks from their toxic assests and then sat back and watch the market flush the weak. Instead this country will bailout everything they can for 5-6 times the cost of
    doing the right thing.
    When do we rise up and demonstrate?

    Dave C.
    Dayton, Ohio

  46. Bravo Mr. Knox. Unfortunately the conventional media will not touch this one, no way, no how. Just like the crooked politicians they won’t talk about, the corrupt CEO’s ruining people’s lives and lifetime savings through fraud and ponzi schemes, and worst of all, OUR GOVERNMENT taxing the AMERICAN PUBLIC and giving it to PRIVATE CORPORATIONS!!! Have we all gone insane!? Taxes are not and never were designed to subsidize private businesses, PERIOD.

  47. I agree, the big three should not get bail out money, Auto makers have know for years that japan has been makeing better cars, and they did nothing.
    I understand its a dirty job and hard with no chance to exhale. But I to have been subjected to the “your working to hard, you need to slow down your making us look bad, conversation from fellow employees.

    Even as the auto industry was begging for money from the fed the union would not make concessions. Even as the auto industry was begging for money from the fed executives were not cuting there own pay.
    Stop throwing good money after bad

  48. Thanks for expressing so well what so many of us feel. Run for office–you have my support.

  49. Mr. Knox:

    Agree with you completely! I am 80 yrs. old and still working p/t for the enjoyment of it and to keep my mind sharp. My investments (stock) have all been reduced to practically nothing, but I don’t expect to be bailed out.
    I’ll adjust my spending to what I can afford, just as I have always done. I resent having to bail out those who have lived beyond their means and now are in trouble.

  50. When do we rise up and demonstrate? What?!? What has anyone who on this blog done in the past 30 odd years? Doesn’t anyone remember Government 101/ We are suppose to have a Republic. Only Congress can make laws. If we do not like what they are doing we vote them out every two years. The President is not the Ruler. Everyone who has not done their homework since they were old enough to vote is to blame. How many of you know how your Rep voted on issues that concern you now? How do they consistently vote on tax issues? I don’t care if your Union, non union, purple, orange, have money, don’t have money, work, don’t work. Do you know your Rep in the House? Do you know how to find their voting record? When was the last time you let them know what you really think? Why wouldn’t you contact both your Senators? Don’t you realize they have a formula for the amount of comments they receive they know there are so many more with the same view? How many of you who complain worked on a campain for someone you can agree with? If there wasn’t any one, why don’t you run? Well? Then shut up, get off your chair, get away from your TV, turn off the Blog, and talk to the one that matters. God is in control, and we get what we deserve. I hope all goes well the rest of your day!

  51. I agree with the allegations completely. In 1948 i went to work for the New Departure Division of GM in Sandusky Ohio. This was a fairly new plant at the time having just moved from New England. I ran a machine that ground the parts for Pump Shaft Bearings. After a very short indocrination period, any person with half a brain (I had a full one) could produce more parts than the union steward thought we should produce. At the time, I did not join the union nor have I since. On several occations the union steward complained to me that my production was too high and that I should take more breaks to the mens room in order to cut back. I was there to earn a living and keep the economy going. After some time though, I had enough of this harrassment by the unions and left. In time, I became General Manager of a branch distribution center in Pittsburgh PA for a national company, advancing to Vice President of Operations for the entire country with the same company. I later left to become President of a Florida based distributor. I did not need, nor want, the assistance of any union. Hard and dilligent work accompanied by honesty and integrity helped me along the way. I am now retired after 49 years in that industry and currently continue to work in the rural water supply industry.
    My age is 84.

  52. From what I’ve read from the blog, it just seems so narrow-minded that some of the workers who weren’t lazy and overpaid should be offended. They criticized Knox for being at the desk and not knowing what he’s talking about. Obviously with many people writing in saying that they see exactly what he said, then there are some who abused the system. The petty comments just show that they were personally offended by Knox and miss the whole point he was making. I’d say, “Good Job!” to those linemen and others who take your work seriously and responsibly. Mr. Knox was not referring to you but the ones who do not have your good work ethics. Also, the union in the past has helped a lot of employees who were abused by their employers. But, now many employees (again, not all so please tune out if you are a mindful union worker) are being hostile to their employers without good reason. It is human nature for greed and selfishness to come with power for many who do not know the Lord. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.” Romans 8:5-6. May we all turn from our sins and ask God for help.

  53. America must be re-born and it must start now! Mr.Knox is no different then any other American in his knowing what is wrong. We all know that greed has put us in this lifeboat and now it is time to sail on and rebuild. Time to stop worrying about the heards of caribu in places we will never! My God people, have we forgotten about the human race? Are you willing to let our elderly freeze to death for they cannot afford foreign oil? Are you willing to watch people lose their homes for the fact of jobs being shipped overseas?
    I’ll make it very clear….if we don’t start making it here and buying it here, we as a nation is lost. Thats fact and I know you American brothers and sister, black, white, red or latino, are ready to let Washington know this one thing. MAKE IT RIGHT OR RESIGN! It is time for talk to stop and action start, action that will put us back on the path to greatness not the path to greed.

  54. Im all for people making an above average wage. But if the company can not afford it any longer isn’t time to rethink the wage grid? That goes for management as well. If each of those workers took a pay decrease mabye at least they wouldn’t lose their jobs. Lets see…make a normal wage or lose your job and make nothing. I work in manufacturing, and unless your a CNC operator the most you make is 20 bucks an hour. And thats Canadian. What do GM guys make?

  55. Gregory Knox, President

    Knox Machinery

    Franklin, Ohio, 45005


    I agree with your assesment that Politicians and Management are infected with an entitlement mentality. Wittnes the AIG debacle and how many Politicians from Illinois are either convicted, under indictment or suspicion. I disagree with lumping American workers into the same group. I have worked as a Telephone Technician,Consultant and Trainer for 33 years and for the last 12 years I have been in many companies. I listen to the workers complain how material quality has been drastically reduced, time to complete a task has been shortened, and the number of inspections have been lessened, but the price continues to rise. The Japanese utilize a system called “Just in Time” to control warehousing and parts flow, I have wittnessed a butchered version that does not provide the correct parts at the correct time.

    All of these issues are not under the workers control, yet issues shch as quality control and missed deadlines are constantly blamed on workers and unions.Our national issues have never been under the control of any one but management working with politicians. If you read a honest history of some of the antics of people such as John D. Rockerfeller you will find murderers, theives and pimps who went to any lengths to acheive great wealth. The unions are not perfect and are not filled with perfect people, but they serve to lessen the abuses of management. Every worker in the world that has a retirement and other benefits can thank a union, If you are not a union member,you only have them to keep the unions out.

    I do not expect you to agree with me Mr. Knox, your title says it all.

    Ulysess Reed

  56. All the arguing back and for will cannot diminish the fact that we do find ourselves in this incredible situation. We (taxpayers) are actually “bailing out” industry after industry. I really can’t believe it. I have lost my job before. Been displaced, downsized, under-valued and over-qualified. That is part of life. Where in our Constitution (assuming that has some significance on this discussion since the US Govt is paying the bill) does it make EMPLOYMENT or HEALTH CARE a RIGHT? Both are privileges. You have the OPPORTUNITY to work and success. You have the OPPORTUNITY to make a better life for yourself and for your family. You are NOT GUARANTEED these liberties under a capitalistic system…but you ARE under a SOCIALISTIC system. So if the shoe fits…we need to be man (and woman) enough to realize and admit it. Is this where we really want to go? Please point out another country in the WORLD where socialism has worked?…or shall I say “worked as well as our past capitalistic system has worked.” One day we’re all going to die. That is a fact. And we will leave behind us one huge mess for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Personally, I love my family and future generations too much to sit bye with my hand out trying to “get mine.” Our parents, or possibly grandparents, had a work ethic which made this country great. We, as a society, have lost it. Do we have the nerve to try and get it back? I do pray to God that we can overcome this challenge. Next thing you know they’ll tell me I can’t pray to my God. I guess when that day comes, it won’t matter if you’ve got a job or not. Please America…wake up before it’s too late.

  57. Linda Kay Says:

    April 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm
    Oh my gosh…………I am hearing a echo !!!!!! (in Mr. Knox’s letter) My father said the exact same things as Mr. Knox, except it was 50 years ago. My father worked in one of the GM shops in Flint back in the late 30’s and most of the 40’s. They made him a forman in the early 40’s. After the union came in it was very apparent to him what the outcome, waaaaayyyyy down the road, would be. He was right, and we are seeing ithe results of years and years of greed and laziness right now. One thing that I have always said (I’m 65), is that the auto workers were going to “wage raise” themselves right out of a job. Another thing they have failed to realize all these years is that Joe Schmoe that DOESN’T work for the Big 3, didn’t and doesn’t earn the big $$$$ to afford the vehicles that the Big 3 had to raise the price on every year, to PAY THE GROSSLY INFLATED WAGES. When a car or truck costs half as much as a person’s home…..something is slightly out of balance. (That statement pertains to the person that buys a house within the means of their income, which is what we did. Sure I would like a 200,000.00 house, but instead settled for 70,000.00 home that we fixed up, again to live within our income.) Unfortunately, this trend trickled, to some extent, to other parts of our working class. I also use the term “working” VERY loosely.
    My father said that the union stripped the working man of his work ethics. No one knew HOW to work anymore. They have gotten to the point that they think they have “got it all coming to them”.This is a generalization of course, obviously, there were SOME men that WOULD go in there and work and put in a full days work, and not “milk the system”
    Before the union came in, it was nothing for my dad, as foreman, to jump on one of the lines to help get the production quota. But called on the carpet for it, after the union came in.
    I could go on and on, but it would not do any good. But I sure applaud Mr. Knox for having the guts to speak his mind on this matter. The bail out? I agree with him. Let them start from scratch, although, as he said it would cause alot pain for everyone. The big wigs at the top of ALL these companies, (not just the Big 3), should step back and really ask if they are worth all of the big 6 and 7 figure salaries and bonuses, when all of this is falling away. But of course, the same thing is happening in government and all around us. Someone can’t see the tree for the forest. And I am tired, as a consumer, and as a taxpayer, of paying for all the poor management of these big companies, toys for these fat cats and other over paid linemen etc., that I myself and my hard working husband, can NOT AFFORD. I am 65 years old, still working, (can’t afford to quit working) and still go out in the woods and help my husband (who also works at least 40 hour week at his job, but no where near 30 bucks an hour) get all the wood up that we will need for the winter,( 25 cords) because propane has gone so far out of sight. I drive a 2003 vehicle, and hope to get another 50 k miles out of it. Because we sure can not afford to replace it.
    Further commenting on another response letter, if he is making 30 bucks an hour, on just a 40 hour week, puts him somewhere around 60,000.00 plus, WITHOUT any overtime. Add in the (approx.) 12,000.00 that the Blue Cross is costing the company, (again added to the cost of my car). Then the life insurance, eyecare, dental, pension or 401K etc. seems to me would be pushing 75k AT LEAST. Agreed, that is less than the 85,000.00 fork lift job. In all fairness, Mr. Knox was trying to make a point of the exagerated incomes compared to the job and job PRODUCTION.

  58. I think Mr Knox hit the nail on the head. Before any UAW/CAW workers shout out read on. As a taxpayer one question that I have asked is give me a breakdown of the hourly employee costs so I may make an informed decision if they have a complaint or not. It appears to be top secret. Because most of these employees have never been employed by another company they have no sense of reality. They haven’t seen that the golden egg they have had for years is available to only them. It’s quite easy talk to the guy next door and see what he gets for free and pays for. You will find that receiving the same benefits as the majority will reduce the hourly cost and head off bankruptcy. Free pension plan, legal costs, kids post secondary, spa days please time to wake up.

  59. Hello Mr. Knox,
    Today an old friend forwarded to me a copy of your response to GM. I applaud you for your guts in doing it.

    Below is my reply to my friend.
    Hello Old Friend,

    I had this same problem when I was just out of the service. I went to work for Black & Decker and this lasted for about three weeks maybe four. During one of the lunch breaks a man asked me “who do you know that works for Black & Decker”? I said “no one”. He replied “no one just comes to work here off of the street”. My reply was “I did and I got the job as a machinist because of my qualifications”. It didn’t take long for me to find out who was running the shop, it was the union. During one of the eight hour periods there was a job for me to make 700 pieces. After I re-adjusted the machine and set it for the maximum output I turned out 7200 in the same eight our period. Then I was approached by the union shop boss and was promptly told ………. “that is not how we work around here”. I believe after the cold shoulder treatment for a few days (3 maybe 4) I told them to stuff it. HELL – THAT WAS OVER 48 YEARS AGO! That should give you some clue of what kind of production “they” wanted then, I was too productive. Yes, I have been fighting socialism for a long time and I make no apologies for being very rigid in that regard.

    This is an excerpt from the letter he sent.

    How about the line workers who threaten newbies with all kinds of scare tactics…for putting out too many parts on a shift…and for being too productive (We certainly must not expose those lazy bums who have be en getting overpaid for decades for their horrific underproduction, must we?!?)

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