Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet Marc Martel -- the next Freddie Mercury?

Maybe not Freddie Mercury, but he has a good chance at becoming the next Arnel Pineda. Marc's audition for the Queen Extravaganza, a tribute to the band Queen featuring the original Queen drummer, Roger Taylor, has garnered millions of views on Youtube in just a few days. Not only can he virtually duplicate Mercury's most bombastic performances, Marc can apparently hit the notes live and at will, something Mercury didn't even try to do. Where did this guy come from? Apparently Martel has been fronting a Canadian Christian Rock band called Downhere for about 10 years. They are well enough known Canada to have won several Juno awards.

Rick Perry - "Save a Pretzel for the Gas Jets"
-Bad Lip Reading Goes Political

Thanks to Jack K. for the link.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Det. Free Press Updates UAW/Ford Talks
- In it's own particular idiom

(photo via

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dead Squirrels Aren't Much Fun? A dissenting opinion

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reality Hits You Hard, Bro.

Last week I posted George Lindell's description of his car accident. He's probably the fastest growing meme on the web. What a great catchphrase.

Oh the Humanity - Toyota Commercial

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Haters Have Their Say -
Detroit Free Press Cackles with Glee over GM's Legal Services Benefit Elimination

It's clear which way the political wind is blowing. Joe Public is behind the race to the bottom in wages and benefits. Check out this one-sided article in the Detroit Free Press talking about the proposed elimination of the legal services benefit in the GM contract. When you're done with the articles, read the comments.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Whatever Happened to Jeff Spicoli? He had an accident

UAW-GM Contract - If You Need Me, I'll Be Under the Bus
Well, my last post was on the prospects of a UAW Contract. I got it partially correct. Little or no raise - check. Significant signing bonus ($5000), check. Slowly closing the gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers, check. Give and take on benefits - check. They are getting some new work. Good, they need that. Wow, they're getting composite fillings and wigs for cancer patients. Uh oh, something has to go - what about legal services? Oh, no, here comes the bus.

Here's the link to the tentative contract. I couldn't find the legal services provision through Adobe Reader. (You'd think it updates often enough to have a clue when indexing a big document, but apparently not.) Here's the entire language on the subject from the summary

Legal Services plan
All current plan benei ts will
remain in force until Dec. 31,
2013. At that time, any pending
legal matters will be processed to
their conclusion

There you have it. I posted in the members area for my fellow Afscme3357 areas who want a place to express themselves.

What we need is a good pep talk.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Predictions for the UAW Contract

 The UAW's bargaining with the Detroit 3 is in high gear right now. There are news stories saying that the UAW will be pressured to take no wage increase and others saying the UAW is going for a 10% signing bonus. I have some educated guesses on the outcome. This is an unusual environment right now. All three automakers are currently profitable, but the economy as a whole is sick with unemployment over 9%. This means that If the uses its strongest card, the strike, it is likely to face a significant backlash from the public for being greedy in a time of unemployment. On the other hand, the UAW has to justify its existence by using the collective bargaining process to obtain a tangible benefit. Added to the difficulties, the UAW has three diverse constituencies which have divergent objectives. First are the mainstream long term workers. They have seen their real earnings decline since the past contract due to give backs. Many of them have gone through transfers and relocations. They want to recover some or all of their lost purchasing power. The second group are the "Tier 2" workers. They only make about half of what the mainstream workers make. The Tier 2 workers cannot support families on their earnings, and they resent making half the wage of the people with whom they work side by side. Finally, there are the retirees. They don't have voting rights, but in the ballot, they are represented by the large number of soon-to-retire workers who share their stake in the outcome of the contract. The retirees are still steaming over decreased health coverage and higher deductibles that came with the last contract.

 Given these factors, here's where I think the bargain will be struck. The UAW will settle for a very small base wage increase, maybe only 1%, for the tier 1 (older) workers. All of the employees will get a significant signing bonus, but it will be well less than 10%, and the signing bonus will vary depending on the automaker with Ford getting the highest Bonus and Chrysler workers getting the lowest bonus. The tier 2 workers will come out with the biggest gain, probably narrowing the wage gap by as much as a half by the end of the contract. Fringe benefits will be little changed overall, with a cut in one place being balanced by an increase somewhere else. The retirees will get basically nothing. Feel free to put your two cents in the comments.