Most readers are probably tired of reading about the automotive industry, but we cannot let today's news from Detroit pass without comment. It seems as though Ford is cracking down at its truck plant in Wayne, Michigan on employees violating a term of the labor contract that limits time in the restrooms to 48 minutes per 8 hour shift.
The UAW, of course, thinks such pressure is unfair.
A manufacturing consultant by the name of Sandy Munro (probably a soon to be ex-Superfactory reader) says, "It's a giant throwback to the bad old days of the '70s and '80s, when you squeezed the guy at the bottom of the heap any way you could. That only causes lots of discontent, and only someone from Harvard could think of something as stupid as monitoring bathroom time."
Just a few thoughts on the matter:
I have hammered the management of Ford and others to take responsibility for the agreements they entered into with labor. No one held a gun to their head, so they need to stop whining and hold up their end. The same goes for the UAW. Why on earth someone wasted time and paper writing legal agreements about bathroom time is a mystery to me, but they did. So shut up, UAW, you signed it so honor the deal.
Second no healthy person spends 10% of their waking life in the bathroom. Do the math. If the employees at the Ford plant cannot live within a 10% bathroom cap, they should either seek medical help or bring their own box of Depends with them when they come to work.
Has the world gone mad? According to the Harbour Report, the labor cost per vehicle in the U.S. is a little better 20% of the total. So a car or truck with a total cost of $15,000 includes $300 for somebody sitting on a toilet. How could Ford have been so insane as to agree to this? How can the UAW defend it and call it nitpicking to keep it from being even higher? How can a manufacturing consultant belittle Ford for trying to cap the toilet time cost per vehicle at $300? Do any of these people think they can compete with Nissan, Toyota or Honda with insanity like this in their cost structure?
Take the math a step further. Buy a Ford, finance it for five years so you have 60 payments. That means every Ford owner is taking a five dollar bill out of his or her pocket every month and putting it into the pocket of some guy sitting in an outhouse in Detroit.
Sorry, UAW, Sandy Munro, Fox News and the rest of the media who are making Ford out to be petty nitpickers. American manufacturing cannot continue to serve as the backbone of the economy when ten cents out of every labor dollar goes to someone sitting on the can. It's not nitpicking. It is common sense.