Tag Archives: free trade

Episode 30 – The GM Bridge Loan / Will Restructuring Really Save the Economy?

Winter Solstice / Christmas ’08 episode.

General Motors Logo

The Free Traders are getting the economy that they have been wishing for: cheap labor, disappearing unions, a killer trade deficit, and runaway corruption due to the lack of regulation and Laissez-faire economics.

In this episode I talk about the auto industry bridge loan and GM’s promise to restructure.  GM promises to become a sustainable American company and build “a bridge to a sustainable American auto industry”.  GM has already cut wages to $14.20 for new workers.  The number of workers at the Flint plant where my Dad worked for decades has already gone from a peak of around 6,500 workers to merely 900.  Now GM is planning more cuts, including eliminating 35% of its dealerships by 2012.  With so many people either making close to poverty wages or kicked out onto the street, there is not going to be many customers for GM’s new “green” cars.  So just how is this going to be sustainable for GM or the automotive industry?  How is this supposed to help save the economy as GM claims in their blog? You can view the “Bridge” YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqo2uwA-_eE.  They turned off comments so no one can comment on their YouTube posts.  They also have several other posts there to review.

One thing that wasn’t so bad in the last contract negotiation between the UAW and GM was the VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) solution for retiree medical benefits.  This benefited GM in that they no longer had to record retiree medical benefits on their books, as well as took retiree benefits off the table and out of jeopardy during future contract negotiations and potential bandruptcy proceedings.

Happy Holidays and I wish you the best in what promises to be a very bad new year.

PS: If you have a Facebook account, be sure to become a fan of WashTech’s new Facebook page.

Even with an interview cheat-sheet, an over-40 American Citizen can’t get the job

I went in for an interview for a job last week for which a recruiter from a local recruiting firm had submitted my resume.  The recruiter had already placed someone from India in this particular downtown Seattle company about a month before.  In fact, the Indian made note of all the interview questions that he was asked in order to get the job, and forwarded those questions, with the answers, to the recruiter in an email.  This cheat-sheet was then forwarded to me via the recruiter, and I was even given contact information for this Indian so that I may get a first hand interview prep if desired.

I didn’t contact the Indian, but I did look over the cheat-sheet containing over 25 questions.  At the top of the list were two semi-tricky SQL questions, one involving a “Left Outer Join” and the other involving a table “self join” where you have to use aliases to complete the SQL query statement.  The remaining questions on the list included some .NET questions, as well as some more general questions.  It was a pretty thorough list.

The cheat-sheet was very accurate.  When I appeared for the interview that was scheduled to last 2 hours, I met with 2 people simultaneously.  Both are managers for the development of the software product that the company was built on, which is a web based investment management application.  After the initial small talk was over, they started the interview off with those two SQL questions right off of the cheat-sheet.  Of course, I worked out the problems in front of them (I didn’t rattle off SQL statements like I had them memorized from a cheat-sheet).  They seemed very happy that I came up with the correct answers.  They proceeded to ask a few more questions that were on the cheat-sheet.  However, they only asked about 8 of the questions off of the list of over 25 questions.  They didn’t even ask any of the .NET questions.  Then the interview was over in less than an hour.  That was when they told me that they have several other candidates that they are interviewing over the next couple of weeks and that it would be at least a week before they could get back to the recruiter or me with a decision.

The next day, they told the recruiter that they were turning me down for the job because my .NET web experience wasn’t recent enough.

???

About two months before this, I had an interview at Amazon.com here in Seattle.  This interview had a computer programming problem for me to solve.  I didn’t have a “cheat-sheet” for this interview, but I was told at the interview that I had the best solution that they had ever seen in an interview.  That sounded great.  Amazon is right up there with Bill Gates saying that they want to hire the “Best and the Brightest”, and I just proved to them that I am in that category.

What was the result?  Well, two days later, I heard from the Amazon recruiter.  She told me that they were not going to hire me for the position.  I asked her why.  She responded “It is not Amazon’s policy to give a reason as to why you were not hired.”

???

At the end of last week, I went to yet another job interview.  I am still waiting to hear back from this one.  I thought the interview went well, but I have long learned now to not put any stock in how well I think an interview went.  I did find a comment of one of the interviewers interesting however.  He said “It’s hard to find anyone with .NET experience in the Seattle area.”  I find this comment particular interesting, given that my interview was taking place in a conference room, within this company’s rented facility, that is less than a 10 minute drive from the location where .NET was invented and developed – Microsoft.  It was on this same Microsoft campus where I began working with .NET, back when .NET was nothing more than an initial internal-use-only alpha release.

Greenspan is Losing More of his Marbles

As reported in this article “Greenspan: U.S. economy on edge of recession”, Greenspan, like many economists, are warning of an impending economic downturn. However, as I had pointed out in my interview with Adam Geller (see article), the economy, particularly for technology workers hasn’t been that great for several years.  Wages and opportunities for American technology workers have been dropping, due mainly by the belief in the Free Trade mythology and the global labor arbitrage that goes with it.

Part of that labor arbitrage scam is the guestworker Visa programs, such as L-1 and H-1B.  What I don’t get is why is he so concerned about me, a technology worker, “making too much money”?  I would like to see Greenspan give up all his wealth and live on my income for a while.  I’m sure he would change his tune.  It is unfathomable how he could ever think that lowering my salary even further will help the economy.

Advice to Greenspan: stay off the news and go in to see a shrink.

Obama’s support for weapon of mass destruction #1 – Free Trade

Who needs Corporate Neo-Cons to destroy the American working class when you have democratic candidates like Obama, Clinton, and Edwards?  David Sirota blogged on the recent announcement by Obama that Obama supports expanding NAFTA.  The only candidate that actually wants to abolish NAFTA and start all over with FAIR trade agreements is Dennis Kucinich.  I am telling you that in order to save the working families in this country, you need to support Kucinich.