Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Where Have Our Leaders Gone?
The title of this blog I took from my father-in-law, who said that would be the title of his book if he ever got around to writing one. He didn't, but if he did, it would have been about the steel industry. He ran a foundry in Latrobe, PA, and blamed the collapse of the industry on the failure of management, surprisingly not the steelworkers. In fact, he predicted it years before it happened. It took me a while to figure that out, but I eventually did. He would say every time the union would demand something, management would give it to them. In many instances, there was absolutely no business sense involved in caving to the demand. It was management that ruined the industry--not the unions. Eventually, the industry couldn't compete against foreign steel because of wages and benefits provided to the steelworkers, who, after never being told "no," felt that management was bluffing when plants were first threatened with closure and then eventually closed for good. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I would sometimes go to bars for lunch, to eat not drink, and there would be the steelworkers everyday waiting for the steel mills to reopen as it would was only a matter of time. Unfortunately, the steel mills remained shuttered and never reopened. So, a lack of leadership crippled an industry. That was a long explanation for a blog title, so you'll have to wait to Friday for the actual blog.