Print 24 comment(s) - last by Ammohunt.. on Dec 30 at 2:37 PM

Michigan wants to build batteries for hybrid cars in the state

The U.S. auto industry is one of the nation’s hardest hit industries in the current economic climate. Several of the nation's largest automakers were facing the very real possibility of bankruptcy. Dwindling sales and minimum cash reserves led the automakers to seek help from the U.S. government.

The emergency loans were granted to GM and Chrysler recently totaling $13.4 billion. Governmental officials in Michigan aren't content to rely on these loans to power the major employers in the state and are looking to the future to lure new business into the sate that will bring jobs and bolster the economy.

Lawmakers and Gov. Jennifer Granholm from Michigan are offering up big tax incentives to battery firms to lure them away from Asia and into the U.S., specifically into Michigan where the battery technology can be used by automakers directly.

With hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt at the core of the plan GM and other automakers have to save their companies, it makes sense for the state to want to bring the making of all key components to Michigan. The lithium-ion batteries are perhaps the most important component of any hybrid vehicle.

Sen. John Pappageorge told the Detroit News, "It is imperative that Michigan possess this technology to keep Michigan the center of car manufacturing."

Lawmakers from the state say that not only is Michigan lacking in battery technology companies, but the entire U.S. is lacking as well. Granholm said, "They [GM] are going to produce the Volt. ... The battery that is going to power the Volt -- we intend that to be made in Michigan."

Michigan is offering battery companies refundable tax credits to lure them to the state. Refundable credits go a step further than tax breaks; they are like a rebate for production expenses and can require the state to write checks to businesses if the credits exceed their tax liability. The tax measure was approved by the Senate 31-3 and was approved by the House 94-0.

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By Ammohunt on 12/29/2008 1:49:11 PM , Rating: 5
Michigan should conctrate on keeping the Unions out of any new inductry that chooses to setup shop there. The unions have made Michigan a wasteland with overpriced labor.

By TomZ on 12/29/2008 2:03:25 PM , Rating: 5
That's a myth/misconception. Here's a map showing auto plant locations - notice that they are not all located in Michigan:

BTW, what is your experience with/in Michigan? I think your opinion is far from well-informed.

By jnn4v on 12/29/2008 2:29:07 PM , Rating: 5
Unfortunately, the map you linked to has a lot of overlapping stars in Michgan, so it's hard to see the full depth of the number of plants residing there. Here's another map that makes it easier to see each individual plant.

Notice two things:
1. There are far more plants in Michigan than anywhere else on the map.
2. Nearly all of the plants opened after 1990 were opened outside of Michigan.

Do you honestly think that the high cost of labor in Michigan isn't a factor?

By Ammohunt on 12/30/2008 2:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
Hence the reason the new Chevy impala i bought in 2000 was manufactured in Canada. Can you say NAFTA? Hell of a thing when its cheaper to manufacture GM vehicles in a Socialist country like Canada then in Michigan. Michigan should adopt the employment at will statutes that Colorado(one of the stronger low-union state economies) has.

By bobsmith1492 on 12/29/2008 2:35:15 PM , Rating: 5
I live in Michigan and have heard many horror stories about operation with the union.

A coworker used to work at a union plant. He saw something wrong with a test fixture and was going to fix it (just a minor adjustment) but was "caught" by a union worker and told that was union-only work.

He also brought home torque wrenches and other expensive equipment; the union workers just threw them out after one use because it was too much hassle checking tools in and out of the union tool shop.

By CurtOien on 12/29/2008 6:36:11 PM , Rating: 4
"He also brought home torque wrenches and other expensive equipment"

I don't know this guy but it sounds to me like he stole some tools and then said "they were throwing them out"

By xstylus on 12/29/2008 11:41:39 PM , Rating: 5
> A coworker used to work at a union plant. He saw something
> wrong with a test fixture and was going to fix it (just a
> minor adjustment) but was "caught" by a union worker and
> told that was union-only work.

That mirrors several horror stories I've personally experienced regarding unions in the hotel industry, event venues, and on movie sets. They nitpick about trivial things, and get astonishingly huffy if I, a non-union member, so much as move a microphone stand ten feet. If I see a problem, I'm not allowed to correct it. Such a breathtaking waste of time and resources this causes!

Unions drive up the cost of labor in exchange for less work. F--k them with an icepick. The unions were useful in the early 1900s when employers abused their workers and expected 12 hour shifts, but nowadays they've long outlived their usefulness.

And just for the record, I'm a true blue Democrat.

By Ringold on 12/30/2008 5:48:25 AM , Rating: 2
[Lots of anti-union experience and sentiment]

And just for the record, I'm a true blue Democrat.

My world view is failing me. :P

By ToeCutter on 12/29/08, Rating: -1
By Alexvrb on 12/29/2008 7:24:15 PM , Rating: 3
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black...

Few think that the UAW is the sole cause of the trouble the Big Three find themselves in. But if you think that the UAW has nothing to do with their current predicament, you're just as foolish.

Do a little research on the UAW, look at the overall cost of employing a UAW worker vs a non-union worker, doing the same job. Look at retirement benefits, extra idle workers. Look at all the money the UAW takes in and see what they spend it on. Political contributions, golf courses, whatever suits their fancy. There are other issues too that are less obvious.

By Ringold on 12/29/2008 7:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
It's an intellectual dead zone, bereft of reason.

The real issue not with the posters, but that "reason" to an extreme left-wing ideologue is only more left wing ideology. Therefore, it's impossible to "reason" with you from any position that you do not already share.

Such ideological extremism is probably a step on the slippery slope to genocide and/or civil strife, but we American's are too lazy to shoot at each other Civil War style these days.

Notice there was no mention of unionized labor in the article, but the knotheads here immediately jumped on the right-wing express?

Your ideology again blinds you to any attempt at insightful analysis. Michigan's economy is in the tank. Why? One might look for differences between Michigan and other state economies that are in better shape. One difference is the prominence of unionized labor in Michigan (both in the work place and its influence in government) versus, say, Alabama or Texas. Is this mere correlation and not causation? Impossible to tell, you've already deemed any discussion as a "right wing express" and apparently refuse to ponder it.

DT also employs idiots like Asher, who flail their ridiculous opinions like bricks.

I guess you didn't read Jason Mick's recent attempt to pass off opinion being placed directly in an article as adhering to standards of journalistic integrity. But Jason shares your ideology, so of course you didn't mention that, you only mentioned Asher who does not.

I've lived in Michigan my entire life

Thats probably part of your problem, no experience with any other system.

All, without ever having paid a penny to a union.

I've never paid a penny to a teachers union. Does that mean teachers unions are great and never interfere with measures that might harm teachers interests but work in the interests of students? Not everybody has to be a union member for unions to be a problem.

C-Level folks screwed the Big Three, not unionized labor. They simply assembled whatever came down the line.

It has been both. If not for the unions, the Little Three could shed labor and close or move plants without having to genuflect before the UAW. Auto analysts who have spent time in both "foreign" US auto facilities and "domestic" ones note that, beyond labor costs, union rules about what can be done and changes that can take place on a factory floor means the "foreign" firms can make changes much more quickly and painlessly than the Little Three.

In fact, I'd say Wagoner has done a half-ass but acceptable job, given the challenges he has faced. If you look at GM when he took over and GM now in terms of plants open and employees on the payroll, he's shed quite a bit already. He's been too easy on the UAW in my opinion, but don't know how you can really blame GM's problem on "C-level" (C as in corporate, as in management?) when they're just operating within their UAW imposed limits. (Ford and Chrysler's management I don't know enough about to allocate blame)

Later knuckle-draggers...

The knuckle-draggers in Texas seem to have a far stronger economy than your own home state, which presumably has no knuckle-draggers? Ah well. I suggest forums of discussion that don't discuss multiple sides of an issue, that'd fit you much better.

By TomZ on 12/29/2008 9:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
It is not correct to blame Michigan's economic problems entirely on the UAW. Yes, there is an impact, but in addition to that, there are a lot of white-collar jobs being lost in Michigan. So really the problem is the concentration of auto industry jobs in Michigan, and when the industry cycles down, so does Michigan's economy. Simple as that.

By Ringold on 12/30/2008 6:06:43 AM , Rating: 2
and when the industry cycles down, so does Michigan's economy.

That is true. Unemployment records for the state show Michigan almost completely missed the last economic expansion, and didn't seem to get a lot out of the last one either in terms of new jobs to sustain them the way some of the rest of the rust belt managed to diversify to some degree over the last 10-20 years. That's not all the unions fault. The union is a part of it, but a symptom of deeper problems with the states (and the controlling partys) entire approach to economic issues. As for the companies themselves, I do think they play a larger role than you do, but they're still not the only thing that's killed the domestic automakers. If nothing else, it takes two to tango; a government and corporate management that allows the union and the culture the union creates to go unchallenged. Economies can't hide from capitalism; disregard its edicts and the consequence is what Michigan is experiencing.

I was more attacking ToeCutters apparent refusal to consider any role the unions might play at all.

By reredrum on 12/30/2008 4:23:33 AM , Rating: 2
labor unions = communism! communism = death! death = bad!

nuff said

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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