Author Topic: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it  (Read 35105 times)

jim brenholts

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2008, 04:03:07 PM »
there is always a demand for the services that i offer. unfortunately, we are subject to the whims of the government and our allotment has been cut by our governor, ed rendell - prick! fortunately we have other funding streams so we will not be feeling any 'crunches.'
all the best and God bless
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Seren

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2008, 04:07:52 PM »
Not sure how it is biting here, I don't want to spend money, but have to just to keep things going. Odd expenses like car repair bills hitting harder than before. We took out a loan just before the credit crunch, mailnly to consolidate credit card bills arisen out of 3 years of living on one wage and to some extent my music equipment (though almost everything is second hand) - would hate to try and get one now - and the £900 pounds a month mortgage someone offered us about two years ago would have killed us at that level, let alone now they are bouncing up quickly. Lenders want even 30% deposit !!!!!

I work in a hospital as a social worker - trying to ensure people are safe to go home and don't clog up the beds by staying too long - two other people joined since I started so not too worried about last in first out - but even with a couple of people less as experienced recently with illness makes the job very hard work, so would not enjoy any lay offs here.

Lots of service and manufacturing industries suffering, though in entertainment it seems to be hit or miss - cinemas still going strong. We are seeing an increase of £1 shops - selling I suspect, stock from bankrupt businesses.

Wood burning stoves are doing well, as are the logs for them as the increase in gas and electric bills scare people.

I saw recently on the BBC website a list of businesses doing badly or well in the new environment - made for interesting reading.

einstein36

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2008, 05:20:41 PM »
is anyone in our goverment thinking about the long road ahead...like it's our 'tax payer' money that is being used to help bail out the economy.....
maybe it's time to start thinking 'outside' of the box....like for example, oh, I don't know..maybe become a true 24/7 society and let the people that our loosing their jobs maybe actually work a different shift and hey who knows..maybe greedy corp america will wake up and realize the more people are working and making money around the clock, etc and buy around the clock..maybe our profits will go up....
just little things like that..

and for peep sake....come on already..get rid of this BULLSHIT!!!! daylight savings time change..it's not helping us at all...
little things like this I think will in the long run may help our economy...
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2008, 05:44:35 PM »
I'll admit, I don't know crap.  But.....

If the American government has to bail them out again(the auto industry), it should have a few conditions attached.  1:  Start making fuel efficient cars  2:  bring the factories back to the US  3:  stop giving the CEO's multi million dollar bonus's for putting people out of work.

Actually, that would be a good principle for this country to adapt.  End giving a CEO a huge bonus if increasing profits means cutting jobs in America and moving the jobs overseas.  For one thing, it's not good for the over all economy and for another, doing it in the past hasn't worked

Things are bad and they will probably get worse.  The people who are going to bear the heaviest burden are the people over 70.  It's a damn shame that the most technological advanced civilization in history (not the USA but the modern world) is collapsing because a few thousand people weren't happy with being rich, they wanted to be filthy rich.
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ffcal

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2008, 07:20:41 PM »
I've been a freelancer for the past few months, and it's been fairly brutal.  The slowdown in legal work was rather sudden, though there has been a slow motion collapse of the Bay Area housing market over the past year or two.  Though I think I'm positioned to weather this, the current tailspin of the market is very disconcerting.  While I guess I should be thankful that Paulson is capable of changing his mind about things such as the purchase of toxic subprime assets, I wish he had gotten it right the first time.

Forrest 

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2008, 10:17:41 AM »
Quote

I'd recommend the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? for anyone curious about the events around the EV1, which was GM's aborted attempt at an electric car. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Killed_the_Electric_Car

Once you see this, though, you're likely to be so angry at GM that you'll want to see the company go bankrupt.  GM certainly had a chance to get a head-start on the rest of the world, but they decided not to pursue it, for whatever reason.


Here's my thought about bailing out the Big 3: I'm against it. Yes, Mike, you're right, there will be bloodletting,  and many people will be hurt by it. But at this point, I don't see how you can make GM/Ford/Chrysler change their ways. Just giving them 25 Billion dollars when they're already burning through 1 billion a month will not change anything. Give the Big 3 that money now, I guarantee they'll be back in a year, asking for another bailout.

Someone has to be allowed to fail. The industry will fight change until there is a catastrophic loss that makes them realize the old way of doing things is done. Declare bankruptcy, restructure, reorganize, and streamline your operations. There has to be outside oversight. There are still gas-guzzlers on the drawing boards there. Didn't GM just introduce a new Hummer? That kind of thinking needs to stop Today.

It takes years to get a car from the drawing board to the showroom, that's just the nature of automotive design. Once GM makes the choice and says, 'Yeah, this is our next car for the new year,' a plant somewhere has to begin the massive retooling effort to start manufacturing those cars. None of this happens quickly.

If our money is to be used to bail these companies out, it is perfectly reasonable for us to demand that those resources and money be directed into forward-thinking, efficient cars that will eventually replace the cars of today with cars that take the company, as well as the country, into the future. Left on their own, the executives will try to continue business as usual. They are already fighting the suggestion that they be told how to spend the bailout money.

The union stranglehold on the companies will have to be loosened as well. They will have to make concessions on their end. The joke in the auto industry is that Ford, GM and Chrysler are these huge medical care providers that also happen to make cars on the side. The operating costs for retirees alone are staggering.

None of this could be done without shedding thousands of people and jobs. The companies, unions, contractors, line workers and support companies, etc, would all be profoundly affected by this. Not to mention the cities and states that would be devastated by the effects of a vastly reduced auto industry.

But the alternative is to watch at least one of these companies suddenly stagger and collapse under its own inertia, as Lehman Bros. did. Watching one of its own die will be the catalyst that makes the other car companies finally see the light, and start working together. 

Adapt or Die.

And no one wants to buy these cars anymore anyway. They want to pay less for gas, people want cars and vans that allow them to get around, and for soccer moms to get their kids around. And we know there are cars out there that will deliver, but they're not coming out of Ford, GM, Chrysler. They can offer incentives to buy these cars, but you can't take a young family with 1, 2 kids and shoehorn them into a new 8-cylinder Ford Mustang Bullitt.

The mindset in Detroit still seems to be muscle cars and Hummers. People would like to drive more fuel-efficient hybrids, if they could plug them in at night. I see very little effort at the state level to offer support for hybrids. A couple token spots to refuel your electric car....

Change comes from within. Let's see what GM's current 5-year plan is, and then decide whether it's worth rescuing. If there's no real fundamental shift to newer technology that puts hybrids on the streets in massive numbers within, say, two years, then clearly the company isn't planning ahead, and our money shouldn't be used to prop up an outdated business model.
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ffcal

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2008, 10:27:44 AM »
While I don't feel I have enough information to fully weigh in on this, I read recently that the current federal intervention in the markets is in part an attempt to avoid the sort of "let weak businesses fail" approach that was prevalent in the years leading to the Great Depression.

Forrest

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2008, 10:42:51 AM »
I agree that "let weak businesses fail" has a certain common-sense appeal.  But if we look at the issue a different way, maybe some people will come up with a different answer.

For example, which of these two hypothetical outcomes seems preferable?

A) Offer $50 billion in assistance to auto companies in the form of low-interest loans (which mean that money will be returned, with interest) and preferred stock (which means that money will be exchanged for something that will have value in the future), with the assistance offered subject to the kind of terms that would force the recipients to move toward more modern ways of doing business in the future -- more efficient vehicles better suited to today's realities, for starters.  In this scenario, GM releases the Volt, Chrysler and Ford follow suit, and the big 3 auto makers finally stumble their way painfully into the 21st century and figure out how to do better.

B) Let the auto companies go down, resulting in a catastrophic ripple effect driving hundreds of smaller businesses into bankruptcy as well -- resulting in an eventual public cost in the area of $100 billion.  The bankruptcy means that the stock value of the three companies (and remember, many smaller related businesses who were too closely tied to the big 3) decreases to zero, the auto worker unions disappear and all current and former employees see their retirements and their health care plans vanish.  Foreign companies buy up some of the assets of the failed companies and there are still cars being made with Ford and Chevy and Dodge on them, but no more Saturn or Pontiac or Chrysler or Jeep. The majority of the work goes overseas, and even if the three companies enjoy some kind of resurgence in the future it will benefit the GNP of Germany or Sweden, and not the United States.

I repeat that these terms are hypothetical... but given the choice between A and B, which one seems preferable? 
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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2008, 11:08:54 AM »
Obviously A; but that assumes that: A. the companies will remain viable entities, so that the loan (plus interest) will be paid back, and B. the preferred stock will be worth something.  If they're burning through 1 billion dollars a month (is that figure really correct?  wow...), it would take a major shift in their business models to make either of these things true.  And if they're not true, then a HUGE amount of money has been wasted.

In scenario A, it costs the taxpayers $50 million, in direct payments to the automakers.  But there are other coasts as well.  If they retool, and restructure themselves to be competitive, won't that also mean layoffs, changes in what they buy from suppliers (resulting in job losses, potentially, in that sector), reduced pensions (meaning more costs to taxpayers to pick up this slack), etc.  Won't these other costs push the total cost to taxpayers near (or over) the $100 million in scenario B?  I realize these are all hypothetical numbers, but the principle is the same no matter what the total figures. 
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 11:18:09 AM by SunDummy »
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mgriffin

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2008, 11:16:19 AM »
Right, but everybody knows the arguments for NOT doing any kind of bailout of assistance.  If you think it's absolutely inevitable that GM, Ford and Chrysler will all fail regardless of any reasonable intervention then it's better to just let them die off right away. 

But if that's true, then we're almost certainly headed for a worldwide economic depression of enormous proportions, so maybe it's worth trying to figure out ways to prevent that.
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SunDummy

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2008, 11:20:43 AM »
Both scenarios suck, but I agree, doing something is better than doing nothing.  Quite the house of cards our modern society has become, eh?  :-\
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Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2008, 12:38:12 PM »
New York has been hit particularly hard, for obvious reasons, and it was interesting to see the attrition on mass transit in and out of New Jersey.  I feel for those peopleónot the top executives, but just regular middle class people with families/mortgages/SUVs who lost a lot of money and/or their jobs.  In my experience the top executives never suffer at all, no matter what happens.  And now we find out that portions of the bailout money are to be used to maintain executive bonuses, etc?  Madness.

My wife and I both work in publishing; she's in book sales for Random House, and I edit a "literary" magazine.  Things have been kind of tough for the publishing industry for the past several years, so we've already weathered mergers, layoffs, what have you, and there aren't clear signs of future abatement.  What we do most often is place more responsibility on fewer employees.  There was a time when I had an assistant and people in other departments doing things that I now do alone.  And the company hasn't replaced any people who've left over the last year or two.  As the big booksellers teeter (Borders, as an example), and the continuing questions about the future of reading and the medium by which people will read linger, the only certainty is uncertainty.  Job security is a daydream, job listings in my field are a rare as hen's teeth.  So, yeah, we're in "save mode," just in case.

Antdude

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2008, 12:44:31 PM »
Actually, it looks like the Big 3 are each burning through 2.5 billion a month, according to FBN.  So, it's even worse than we thought.

I think the A) scenario is feasible, as there is already precedent, since Chrysler got a 1.5 billion dollar loan in the '80's, and most importantly, paid it back in full. So it's not like this money went down a rathole. I believe the loan option is the way to go, provided there is strict oversight on business operations, and the companies involved show good-faith efforts to change their practices. Just making it a 50 billion dollar cash give-away will only make it possible for them to come back in a year and say, 'We need more money.' The bailout just puts off the inevitable.

Having said that, I don't think this can go forward without a sacrifice. One of the big 3 may have to fall on its sword in order for the industry as a whole to survive and move forward.  It's horrible to consider, but the auto industry needs to understand there is no going back.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 01:59:46 PM by Antdude »
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Joe R

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2008, 04:36:41 PM »
I don't think a 50 billion bailout loan for the Big 3 would be wasted money. If I recall correctly, all 3 were doing reasonably well before this latest economic downturn. And my brother informed me that GM has already won substantial wage and benefit concessions from the union that will kick in in 2010. Once the economy starts to turn around, I think you'll see consumers return to GM, Ford, Chrysler. This is just a stop-gap loan to see them through.

Certainly they'll have to become leaner and more efficient, and that is already taking place. Plus, GM FINALLY seems to be serious about changing with the times.

And a bailout loan is far, far better than the alternative -another great depression.

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2008, 05:27:10 PM »
With regard to helping/rescuing US auto makers, it's my hope that we can find a way to accomplish two goals at once.  First, we give the automakers a boost to help them forward, and second, the nature of the help offered comes in the form of an arrangement to help reduce our country's fuel consumption.

Maybe there's a way to make the big 3 auto makers into partners in a major project to help re-direct our oil-obsessed economy.  Maybe it was necessary for GM, Ford and Chrysler to find themselves backed right up to the edge of the cliff before they see the wisdom in becoming part of a 21st century solution to a 20th century problem.
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SunDummy

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2008, 02:48:12 PM »
I just got some good news today, and after re-doing our company's financial projections for the next year, it looks like we'll weather the storm without layoffs, or even the need of a loan.  I had no idea how stressed-out I was until I finished the projections, saw the bottom line, and got up to do a happy-dance.  My dogs looked at me like I had gone insane.   ;D

But on a sadder note, my brother called me last night to tell me that his company had canceled all appearances at trade shows for the next 6 months, as a way to save money.  Of course, this means fewer orders and new customers, too, so it looks like his company is in for rough times.  He's really worried.   :(
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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2008, 02:53:24 PM »
My company (the day job, not Hypnos) decided this week that we will not have any layoffs this year, and that we would tell our employees (especially the hourly guys on the factory floor, who are most worried about the economic slowness and possibly layoffs) that everybody is safe until the new year at least.

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2008, 07:54:18 PM »
At the P.O. that I work at, my Postmaster has told us he will be cutting 4,000 hours next year.

One route (the shared/auxilliary one) will be dismantled and dissolved into the carriers routes.  That means more work in less time for people, and very little of the overtime people depend on. 

I don't have a route yet and am at the bottom of seniority so I am terribly worried about my security.  They love me there, but when push comes to shove companies will turn their back on you.  I'll just have to take it one day at time. 

Seren

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2008, 06:39:58 AM »
At the P.O. that I work at, my Postmaster has told us he will be cutting 4,000 hours next year.

One route (the shared/auxilliary one) will be dismantled and dissolved into the carriers routes.  That means more work in less time for people, and very little of the overtime people depend on. 

I don't have a route yet and am at the bottom of seniority so I am terribly worried about my security.  They love me there, but when push comes to shove companies will turn their back on you.  I'll just have to take it one day at time. 

Hope things go better than you fear avec, not a good place to be in with all the worry etc.

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2008, 08:14:32 AM »
Thank you, I'm going to try my best to not think about it because it is largely out of my control.  There are people much worse off than me.