Automotive Industry Introduction Cathy Walker 2010 3 15
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Automotive Industry Introduction Cathy Walker 2010 3 15 Automotive Industry Introduction Cathy Walker 2010 3 15 Presentation Transcript

  • March, 2010, Beijing
    Cathy Walker
    Former Director, Health and Safety Department
    Canadian Auto Workers Union
    Automotive industryIntroduction
  • Early motor vehicles north america evolved from bicycle, Henry Ford’s quadricycle, 1896
  • Whole vehicles made by one or a small group of highly skilled mechanics, 1901 henry ford
  • Mass production led to production efficiencyford assembly line 1913
  • Interchangeable parts rather than having to make new parts for each vehicle
    Model A, 1903, skilled fitter took 8.5 hours to build a major part of a car
    Model T, 1908, completely redesigned assembly line so that each job took 2.5 minutes
    1913 introduced moving assembly line so workers didn’t have to walk between stations, reducing each job to under 2 minutes
    Cars were painted by hand
  • Fordism, mass production mean that jobs are divided into small parts so hundreds of unskilled workers, together, build hundreds of vehicles
  • Of course there are still skilled workers to maintain the production machines, but the production itself is done by unskilled workers
  • Workers are alienated from the means of production, karlmarx
    Capitalist owns the factory
    And the workers are simply factors of production
  • fordism
    A term coined by Italian Communist, Antonio Gramsci to describe a form of production characterized by an assembly line (conveyor belt factory system) and standardized outputs linked with the stimulation of demand brought about by low prices, advertising, and credit.
  • Ford standardized production and consumer choice
    You can have any colour as long as it’s black
    Henry Ford, Model T Ford, 1921
  • Many myths and half truths about ford
    $5 a day, high wages
    Workers should be able to own the vehicles they produce
    But, the reality is that Ford did much to keep unions out of his factories
  • Ford used his own private police force and company goons
    The company threatened firing and did fire people for ‘talking union’
    Workplaces were full of favouritism and bribery, eg. Workers needed to give the supervisors a bottle of alcohol for better jobs
    Company spied on workers’ personal lives
    Shortage of labour during World War II meant workers had more power
  • Workers fought to get the unionFord rouge workers in Detroit, usa 1941
  • 5 week strike in windsor, canada in 1945thousands of pickets blockaded plants
  • 5 week strike in windsor, canada in 1945thousands of pickets fought police
  • 5 week strike in windsor, canada in 1945thousands of cars blockaded plants
  • 5 week strike in windsor, canada in 1945thousands of cars blockaded plants
  • Finally, union is recognized and collective agreement achieved
  • Taylorismfrederickwinslowtaylor, american, 1856-1915
  • Taylor: task of factory management
    determine the best way for the worker to do the job,
    provide the proper tools and training
    provide incentives for good performance
  • Taylor broke down each job
    into its individual motions
    analyzed these to determine which were essential, and timed the workers with a stopwatch
    scientific management
  • taylor
    eliminated unnecessary motion
    thus workers followed a machine like routine, becoming far more productive
  • Jobs became simple, repetitiveEasy to learn and incredibly boring
  • Lenin thought taylorism made sense
    he, too, sought industrial efficiency
    but did not understand the shortcomings of a system that de-skilled labour
    removing the thinking part of labour made jobs very boring
  • In mass production,Workers became cogs in machines
  • Today, time and motion studies of workers’ jobs measure tiny fractions of a second
    The effect is that workers no longer can work ahead on an assembly line to get small breaks
    They have no time to rest within their jobs but must follow the steps laid out by management precisely or they cannot keep up
  • Lean production, term began in 1988
    John Krafcik, quality engineer in the Toyota-GM NUMMI joint venture in California
    Identify and steadily eliminate waste
    Continuous improvement
  • Toyotism: toyota production system
    Focus on improving flow of production
    Production levelling
    Eg. Kanban, pull system, parts are ready and brought to the assembly line when production requires it, just-in-time (JIT) production
    JIT is basically a system of inventory control and shifts responsibility for stocking inventory to parts suppliers
  • toyota
  • Andon lightwarns of production problems, but what about worker problems?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of working in teams
    Get to work with other workers
    Variation in jobs if there are, eg. 12 jobs shared among 12 workers
    Can help to reduce repetitive strain injuries
    Jobs are still boring
    If a worker is absent, other workers may be forced to do his job too
    If a worker is injured on a particular job and is unable to do it for a time, the other workers in the team are forced to do it, increasing their discomfort and risk of injury
  • Current issues for workers in canada:job loss
    Contracting out, ie jobs go elsewhere to other plants in Canada or to other countries
    Free trade agreements and de-regulation have hurt workers, allowing companies to go where they want, when they want
  • Crisis of overproduction:endemic to capitalism and a market economy, exactly as marx described
    Late 2008, GM and Chrysler faced bankruptcy in US and were bailed out by US and Canadian governments
  • Workers resist, led by the unionOccupATION OF gm FACTORY, 1996Issue, contracting out, 5 week strike
  • June 2008, company lies about closure during bargaining, workers and union occupy GM canadian headquarters
  • Alternatives to assembly line?Labour shortage in sweden 1974strong union demands: workers allowed to take breaks when wantedfinally, assembly line eliminated
  • Jobs became skilled again requiring years of training;but, when labour shortage over, so was the volvo experiment, plant finally closed
  • Labour productivity
    When news stories mention “productivity,” they almost always mean labourproductivity, which measures the output that an hour of labourproduces. Often expressed as “output per hour” or “output per worker-hour”.
  • Productivity at auto assembly plant
    A physical measure — the total number of cars produced in a given period of time (a week, a month, a year) divided by the number of worker-hours needed to produce them, or
    A monetary measure — the total dollar value of cars produced in a given period of time divided by the total number of worker-hours needed to produce them.
  • North america
  • Mexico auto assembly automates;productivity catches up
  • Improving Productivity in auto assembly
    If an auto assembly company can reduce the number of its direct employees by sub-contracting out or in (using dispatch workers), its reported productivity goes up
    And since it is seen as a productive company, the price of its shares goes up
    Today, a plant producing 250,000 or more cars per year is considered efficient and productive