Ford History Lesson

John McElroy should read a little automotive history before he writes. He includes Henry Ford with the likes of Walter P. Chrysler (see WAW — Jan. '06, p.21). Has McElroy never heard of the $5 workday? How about the 8-hour workday? And what about health care? Ford led the way!

In an ideal world, labor and management should be on the same page, working together.
Chuck Dohogne
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Unfounded Generalization

Painting everyone with the same brush, as John McElroy did in “Who's the Boss?” can be a dangerous action, or at the very least, an irresponsible one.

I believe it to be in error to state, as Mr. McElroy did in his third paragraph, that all of the Big Three are paying $65 an hour for lawns to be mowed, for janitorial services, or for snow removal.

As a V-6 Operations employee of Ford Motor Co., I have yet to personally see $65 for any job, task or position. If Mr. McElroy is stating an hourly wage plus benefits, he should declare it to be such and then verify the accuracy of his numbers.

At Ford Motor Co., Lima Engine Plant, we have worked tirelessly to change our environment from the old Taylor management system to an effective, hourly team-based organization. Our goal is nothing less than to be the most efficient and cost effective engine plant on the planet, regardless of the sign on the street.

In doing so, a number of necessary and logical changes have been made in recent years. At our facility, outside contractors are not only used for snow removal, lawn care and janitorial services, but for security operations as well. All of these efforts and others were undertaken to place the Lima Engine Plant as one of the most efficient operations within Ford Powertrain.

With all of that in mind and our daily efforts through continuous improvement, it is again disturbing to see everyone in unionized automobile manufacturing viewed in the same light. Perhaps with this sort of information in his possession, Mr. McElroy can embark on some continuous improvement of his own.
Keith Bicknell
Lima, OH

Editor's note: The $65 an hour figure used by McElroy is the total cost of an hourly UAW worker to an employer. It includes wages, health care and retirement benefits.

Hybrids More Than Hype

Mr. Winter's “Unplugging the Hybrid Hype” (see WAW — Jan. '06, p.32) reaches a new low-level of misleading propaganda. What matters is how the hybrid application performs relative to a non-hybrid, not how it performs relative to some arbitrary “hype.”

Given two similar vehicles of equal accelerative performance, the hybrid will be much more efficient under some conditions, and only a little bit more efficient under other conditions. But it will be better all of the time, and significantly so on average, even without resorting to such silliness as foregoing cabin heating.

The hybrid gets much closer to making fuel consumption proportional to the actual mechanical energy used, which gives the driver more opportunity to improve.

How can that be a bad thing? If printing Mr. Winter's fraudulent ramblings dissuades even one buyer from investing in more efficient transportation, Ward's has done a grave disservice to that buyer and to the environment.
Keith Gerlach
Dearborn, MI

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