Will The Real Roger Smith Please Stand Up?
As an assembly worker of the General Motors Corp. plant in Lordstown, Ohio, I sometimes raise eyebrows with a copy of BUSINESS WEEK constantly in my back pocket. As a rule, auto workers are not generally sympathetic to the views of "Big Business."
Your commentary "Fixing GM: Pages from a radical repair manual" (Top of The News, Nov. 16) was right on. Your suggestions to replace Roger Smith on the board of directors with an official of the United Auto Workers would send a clear signal to the blue-collar men and women that the ax that is about to fall is double-bladed.
Many people at the shop-floor level feel sympathy for Robert C. Stempel, but Smith is universally despised. The most common comment that I heard about cost-cutting measures was that Smith's fat pension should go first. If management wants to get our attention and prove that this is not just another gimmick to get us to give concessions, then maybe they should walk around with a rolled-up copy of BUSINESS WEEK in their back pockets.
As a middle-level engineering manager at a major Detroit-area automotive supplier, your commentary regarding GM was very amusing to me. For example, Saturn Corp. is praised highly, while it is recommended that Roger Smith be unceremoniously kicked off the board. It seems rather ironic to me that the one man at GM who is most responsible for the successful concept of Saturn would be so unjustly treated.
William M. Floyd