Archive for the ‘contracts’ Category

Detroit’s Auto Industry, Failure’s a Done Deal

November 18, 2008

“Nothing,” said a General Motors spokesman last week, “has changed relative to the GM board’s support for the GM management team during this historically difficult economic period for the U.S. auto industry.” Nothing? Not even the evaporation of almost all shareholder value?

By George F. Will
The Washington Post
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GM’s statement comes as the mendicant company is threatening to collapse and make a mess unless Washington, which has already voted $25 billion for GM, Ford and Chrysler, provides up to $50 billion more — the last subsidy until the next one. The statement uses the 11 words after “team” to suggest that the company’s parlous condition has been caused by events since mid-September. That is as ludicrous as the mantra that GM is “too big to fail.” It has failed; the question is what to do about that.

The answer? Do nothing that will delay bankrupt companies from filing for bankruptcy protection….

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/17
/AR2008111703101.html?hpid=opi
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By Martin Feldstein
The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 18, 2008; Page A27

The Big Three U.S. automakers need more than an injection of $25 billion from the federal government. Because of their ongoing losses, they would burn through that money in less than a year and would soon be back for more.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler can make excellent cars, but they cannot sell them at prices that are competitive with the prices of cars produced in the United States by Toyota and others or with the prices of cars imported from Europe and Asia. The basic reason is the labor costs imposed by union contracts.

The Big Three pay much higher wages than production workers are paid in the nonunion auto firms and in the general economy. And the health-care costs of current workers and retired union members are an enormous additional burden.

The simplest solution is to allow GM and the others to file for bankruptcy. If the companies file under Chapter 11, they would be able to continue producing cars, and the workforce would remain employed while the firms reorganized. The firms would also be able to get short-term credit under bankruptcy protection.

The bankruptcy court could require the unions to rewrite contracts, bringing wages down to levels that would allow the firms to compete and therefore to maintain employment. Scaling back employee and retiree health benefits would further improve price competitiveness and allow better cash wages. The firms’ bondholders and other creditors would have to take losses. Shareholders’ fate would depend on how firms responded to this restructuring.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/1
7/AR2008111702917.html?hpid=
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Vietnam: Jobs Disappearing In Asian Tiger

November 12, 2008

The Philippine Embassy in Hanoi warned jobseekers against unauthorized recruiters promising work in Vietnam after it received reports that certain Filipinos based in Ho Chi Minh City have recruited workers from the Philippines for jobs in that city.

However, upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh without valid job contracts, work visas, and work permits, the victims found out that there were no employers and no jobs waiting for them.

The “recruiters,” who allegedly earned from the overpriced plane tickets paid by the victims, leave the recruits to fend for themselves.

By Pia Lee-Brago
Philippine Star

Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Laura del Rosario said concerned members of the Filipino community in the city brought the matter to the embassy’s attention and noted that Vietnam’s labor market may be affected by the global recession.

The victims allegedly pawned their properties and availed themselves of loans to be able to pay the Manila-Ho Chi Minh City-Manila plane ticket arranged for them by recruiters.

The victims paid from P25,000 to P30,000 per person for the plane ticket, which is around $535 to $640. 

The airfare of Cebu Pacific and PAL ranges from $150 to $400 only.

The embassy urged all Filipinos who want to work in Vietnam to go through the proper channels of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) for proper documentation to avoid being victimized by illegal recruiters.

As in all other countries, proper documentation (i.e., valid contract, work visa, and work permit) is a must for foreign workers in Vietnam.

A majority of Filipinos working in Vietnam occupy executive and managerial positions in fields such as construction and engineering, accountancy, banking and investment, education, garment/textile industry, hotel and restaurant management, food and beverage, marketing, furniture industry, medicine, and foreign investment projects.

Defense Trade Currents

March 16, 2008

By William Hawkins
The Washington Times
March 16, 2008

The legacy of the draconian cuts in military force levels and procurement during the 1990s continues to cast a pall over U.S. national security planning. That American soldiers and Marines have been overstretched by repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan is well-known, and steps are being taken to expand their strength.
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It is not just the combat forces, however, but the defense industry upon which they depend for arms and equipment, that also needs to be reconstituted.
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The “procurement holiday” of the Clinton administration cost the defense industrial base a million jobs. The Pentagon promoted a consolidation of firms and elimination of “excess” capacity. This reform was supposed to improve efficiency but it also reduced domestic competition. Now, to stimulate competition, or even just access sufficient capacity, foreign firms are invited to supply U.S. forces with hardware.
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The most recent example is the awarding of a $35 billion U.S. Air Force contract for 179 new KC-45A aerial refueling tankers based on the Airbus A330 airliner built by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS). Boeing has built every previous USAF tanker and has won contracts for its KC-767 tankers from Japan and Italy. But it lost the military competition at home to the foreign firm that is also its main global rival in the commercial airliner sector.
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The USAF contract comes at a critical time for EADS. Its A380 “superjumbo” airline project is well behind schedule, and there have been problems in the Airbus A350 midsized airliner project (crucial to its future battles with Boeing), and in its A400M military airlifter.
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EADS is Europe’s largest defense contractor yet is much smaller than Boeing because Europe went on an even deeper disarmament slide after the Cold War and has done little to reverse course.
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The once-mighty NATO armies deployed to stop a Soviet blitzkrieg across Germany have melted away to where they can hardly maintain a few brigades in Afghanistan to fight lightly armed insurgents. European firms are desperate for American taxpayers to bail them out with military contracts. .
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The question is: Can the United States depend on a steady supply of production, including decades of space parts and upgrades, from foreign industries in decline — and where military investment and research are funded at only a fraction of what America devotes to defense?

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United States firms recall over 90,000 Taiwan, Vietnam-made toys

October 13, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007
By Natasha T. Metzler, AP

WASHINGTON — More than 90,000 children’s products, most imported by J.C. Penney Co. Inc., are being recalled for containing dangerous levels of lead, a government safety group announced.

J.C. Penney recalled Chinese-made Winnie the Pooh play sets and decorative ornaments with a horse theme, as well as art kits made in Taiwan and Vietnam. Totaling 70,400, the toys imported and sold by J.C. Penney all had excessive levels of lead in their surface paint.

Lead is toxic if ingested by young children. Under current regulations, children’s products found to have more than 0.06 percent lead accessible to users are subject to recall.

Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman Julie Vallese said this round of toy recalls is “the direct result of the commitment that was made earlier this summer of cleaning the proverbial house.”

Read the rest at:
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worldbiz/archives/2007/10/13/2003382982