Submitted by Frank Costello

“A shoestring and a prayer”

     The Shoestring:


 Recently, while looking for other information, I came across some old LMC minutes that were taken on June 6, 2002. I was not an officer, a steward, or for that matter well liked by the management team that was running Warren Warehouse at that time, therefore, I was excluded from most if not all of these meetings. While reading these minutes I came across some interesting statements from the participants at this meeting that I will share with you. The first statement came from Stores Chairman John Holmes which he stated “We are operating on a shoestring and that this rarely works.” The second Statement came from Detroit Edison Director Kevin Ball which he states “instead of bringing in more employees, we could do the volume on overtime. The goal is to get a reasonable staffing level.” A third statement indicates how many employees we had at that time at the Warren Warehouse. “We are supposed to have 38 employees and are now down to 34.”

     I thought I would do a comparison with 2002 and see where we stack up now and where we will stack up in 2007. I will call this comparison “The Shoestring Ratio.


The Shoestring Ratio:

Let’s do the math:


Let X =  the number of employees needed to operate on a shoestring.

472, 186  =  the number of line items completed by 34 employees in 2002

362,534   =  the number of line items completed by 28 employees in 2005


X     =     362,534

34           472,186


Therefore        472186(X) = 362,534(34)

                        472186          472,186


(X)         12,326,156



                               (X)      =  26.10


It would take 26 employees to operate Warren Warehouse on a shoestring using the same ratio as 2002. We currently have 28 employees.


The Prayer:


     The management recently has made a determination that only 25 employees are needed at the Warren Warehouse to operate in 2007. This is a reduction of 3 employees.  If it takes 26 employees now to operate “ON A SHOESTRING”  I will venture to speculate we soon will be operating Warren Warehouse in the ”PRAYER” stage, operating only with 25 employees in 2007. You will be asked in 2007 to increase your productivity from 12,947 line items per warehouse employee to 14, 501 line items per warehouse employee. This is well beyond the 2002 shoestring figures of 13,887 line items per warehouse employee and a 12% increase in line items per employee above 2005 figures.

     I can only say to my fellow workers I share your burden. I have done my best to bring forward my best arguments to persuade the management not to reduce to this level but I believe that the present management is under pressure to meet their P.E.P commitment goals at any expense. It just happens to be at ours. With this increased burden and work load brought to bear on all of us it is still imperative that you keep your safety and everyone else’s in mind. I only wish the management thought the same way. But as you see with the employee reductions above, safety is not their priority. The only priority they have is their P.E.P dollar commitments they promised to the upper management of D.T.E Energy.  Again, this is my two cents worth. I am sure their will be more articles to come.


Frank Costello


This “2 Cents Worth” was submitted by: Frank Costello - Vice Chairman, Stores Division, Local 223: 

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