Automotive workers for the Big Three automakers are considering a strike if they can’t get better pay and working conditions, but the car makers have a plan – They are training their white collar workers to do factory jobs, a move that has led to disastrous consequences for companies in recent years. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Automotive workers for the big three automakers are considering a strike if they can’t get better pay working conditions. But now the automakers have some hair-brained idea about how they’re gonna push back. This is the craziest idea I’ve ever seen. Anyway, talk about it, Farron, would you.

Farron Cousins: What we have right now, and this is almost comical. It’s something you would see in a sitcom, is you’ve got, Ford is leading the charge, and they’re saying, okay, listen, I know you work in human resources. I know you’re an engineer. You sit in an air conditioned office all day, but.

Mike Papantonio: You’re a scientist.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. You’re a scientist. Uh, do you know how to work a forklift? Okay, come down to the warehouse and I’m gonna teach you how to work a forklift. I’m gonna teach you, person who’s in charge of getting our health insurance, I’m gonna teach you how to start making carburetors. They are taking the salaried workers and throwing them into these warehouses saying, guess what, you’re now on the assembly line because we could be facing a strike. And rather than actually just say, okay, we’ll pay you a living wage, they’re saying, no, we’ll take our scientists and our human resources folks, and you guys now work the assembly line.

Mike Papantonio: Our number crunchers. You’re a good accountant. How would you like to work this complex machinery?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Don’t stick your hand in here, it’ll get cut off.

Mike Papantonio: Well, okay. So, and they’re also being asked, look, you have a choice, Joe, Mr. Accountant. It’s not so bad. You have a choice. You can go to Colorado, we’ll send you there. We’ll send you to Florida. We’ll send you to New Jersey. Anywhere you want to go, you can’t take your family, but you can go and hang out and work as a forklift operator. Yes, you’ve been in a white collar your entire life. You’ve never even been around a forklift. But this is gonna be the answer to it. Now, the thing that cracks me up is there’s already so much history that this doesn’t work. Didn’t Caterpillar try something like this?

Farron Cousins: Caterpillar tried it. John Deere tried it. And of course those videos went viral because you got these idiots, not that they’re idiots because they didn’t know any better, but they’re crashing.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, John Deere, not Caterpillar, excuse me.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. They’re crashing forklifts into the walls. They’re destroying product because they don’t know how to do any of this stuff. It is, it really, it’s like an episode of Seinfeld. Like Kramer gets a forklift and starts running through walls.

Mike Papantonio: Are they serious about this or is this just some kind of, you strike, we’re gonna find a way to do this? I mean.

Farron Cousins: I think it is more of like, we’re gonna try to see if we can call your bluff. But if I were the auto workers, I would not be afraid of this at all. I would be encouraging it, saying, you know what? You think I’m so replaceable?

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. You think what I do is not important?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. You go get Dr. John down here and see if he can run this.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.