American Tire Company CEO Blasts French Workers As Overpaid And Lazy

Maurice Taylor Titan InternationalBy Rob Wile

Last May, French President Francois Hollande reorganized the Elysee to create a new position, the Minister of Transforming Productivity (in French, Ministère du Redressement Productif). The goal was to make French industry more competitive and efficient. Hollande named Arnaud Montebourg, a socialist known for his capitalist sympathies, to head the post.

But in the eyes of one American CEO, the plan is not working. Via FTAlphaville's Tumblr comes a letter addressed to Montebourg from the CEO of tiremaker Titan International about the company's attempts to save a factory in Amiens.

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Despite his best efforts, CEO Maurice Taylor cannot hammer out a deal with French unions, which he blasted as overpaid and lazy.

I have visited the factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three, and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!

Taylor goes on to warn that France will lose all its domestic tire producers if the government continues to meddle in labor negotiations.

Here's the whole letter:

Dear Mr. Montebourg:

I have just returned to the United States from Australia where I have been for the past few weeks on business; therefore, my apologies for answering your letter dated 31 January 2013.
I appreciate your thinking that your Ministry is protecting industrial activities and jobs in France. I and Titan have a 40-year history of buying closed factories and companies, losing millions of dollars and turning them around to create a good business, paying good wages. Goodyear tried for over four years to save part of the Amiens jobs that are some of the highest paid, but the French unions and French government did nothing but talk.

I have visited the factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three, and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!

The Chinese are shipping tires into France - really all over Europe - and yet you do nothing. In five years, Michelin won't be able to produce tire in France. France will lose its industrial business because government is more government.

Sir, your letter states you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with money and talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government. The French farmer wants cheap tire. He does not care if the tires are from China or India and governments are subsidizing them. Your government doesn't care either. "We're French!"


More: The New Face Of The Union Movement: Female, Minority - And Poorly Paid

The US government is not much better than the French. Titan had to pay millions to Washington lawyers to sue the Chinese tire companies because of their subsidizing. Titan won. The government collects the duties. We don't get the duties, the government does.

Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour and ship all the tires France needs. You can keep the so-called workers. Titan has no interest in the Amien North factory.

Best regards,

Maurice M. Taylor, Jr.
Chairman and CEO


French Labor Unions Bang Drum of Protest




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76 Comments

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dare.desuka

Everybody knows that the Germans are thoroughly unionized...even Wal-mart workers in Germany get 6 weeks of vacation per year...so it must not be unions, per se...

February 22 2013 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dare.desuka

Carnival Owner Micky Arison gave himself 90 million dollars as a bonus...attention on the poop deck!
American CEOs' sense of entitlement...
Did you know, CEOs are 4 times more likely to be psychopaths than the general population.
I guess the American workers were too lazy and overpaid compared to the French workers to build the tire plant in the USA.

February 22 2013 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MDm2talk2u

I have worked both union and non-union, I am now a Vice President. all types of workers exist in both worlds, good and bad, lazy and productive. Unions have set the stage for benefits, wages, and working conditions that non union people enjoy, that was done through much sacrifice and struggle. I perform at my very best for the company that employs me, I am loyal and honest, however I work for my family, and I intend to be compensate to the highest level possible, just as my company is in business to make money, so am I. The factory was a business decision that this CEO appears to have taken personally, if it does not meet your business needs move on to another plan, by the way, if i understand correctly you were there to buy something cheap and make lots of money, your the same as the employees there, getting as much as you can for as little as you can.

February 21 2013 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lllcln

another mitt romney,thats why mitt romney could not get elected to be the president in america because of all the destroying companies selling those companies off then outscoursing the money to the camen islands and not paying any taxes at all.and not oweing any obligation to the us at all.

February 21 2013 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TINKDAY

And our CEO and COO are way over paid and are never held accountable for their disasters at running companies, if fact, they get rewarded for destroying the companies they run.

February 21 2013 at 1:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
d1anaw

I guess he hasn't spent a lot of time in unionized American factories. I don't see a great deal of difference.

February 21 2013 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to d1anaw's comment
dknowles60

ditto

February 21 2013 at 11:41 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
spencer

I wonder what this CEO thinks are high wages? There are numerous CEOs in this country that think $7.50 per hour is acceptable. In order to agree or disagree in this discussion, the cost of living and inflation have to be considered, Also what incentives are in place for the workers? Unpaid overtime? Poor working conditions? No advancement opportunities? Benfits? I do not condone "lazy" and distracted workers, however I also do not take the word of a CEO who wants to produce "cheap tires".

February 21 2013 at 11:20 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to spencer's comment
glduff

My little business has the same problem that this CEO identified, workers who don't work. We pay our essentially unskilled guys in the mid to upper teens per hour but the effective rate is closer to $30/hr when smoke breaks, lunch, and other lazy time is calculated. Then getting them to arrive on time, sober is a struggle. If a worker just does the basics, come to work, do your job as you should, don't steal from your employer, get along with others, that worker will be a valued employee and will most likely be promoted quickly.

February 21 2013 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spotapony

I didn't read the long article but if they're lazy and overpaid, they must be union.

February 21 2013 at 11:05 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to spotapony's comment
Sandi

As for what unions do for workers - they set a precedence in wages. CEO's sit in on boards of other companies and vote their "buds" pay raises and in turn keep their own salaries up. It's only fair to do the same with workers. If it were left to the corporations to determine how much a worker receives in wages and benefits, most would opt for slave labor. The primary cause of the cost of goods going up is not worker wages but how much the company heads think they, in all their omnipotence, are worth. What person is worth $17M while their average worker is forced to live off government subsidies?

February 21 2013 at 10:40 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
Sandi

The French workers are lazy and overpaid? How about the American CEO? Our CEO's make 300-500 times what the average worker makes. The rest of the world? 25 times the average worker. Hmmmm

February 21 2013 at 10:31 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

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