Making it in America

In the article Making it in America Adam Davidson takes time to interview different employees at Standard Motor Products to determine how it is treating them and how factories are changing in time. Adam is receiving a tour of the plant by manager Tony Scalzitti where he sees many factory workers in blue lab coats, hair nets, and protective eyewear. This is where Adam first runs into Madelyn Parlier.

Madelyn Parlier was a 22-year-old woman working in the assembly line at the factory. Her occupation was seemed to be an unskilled job and didn’t require much education or experience. It was all about quickness and effectiveness for Madelyn and that was something she was great at. Madelyn grew up in Greenville, SC and was attending high school and planning on going to college when she got pregnant her senior year. Because of this she couldn’t go to college so like most people there she got a job working at the local Standard factory. Madelyn’s job was to run the laser-wielding machine.

aAll she did was place the parts in the machine and press a button for them to be wielded and if correct a green light appears and she passes the part to the next line in process. With this being such an unskilled job there is always that chance of Madelyn being replaced by a robotic arm or machinery that can do this job for her and in turn create less wages for the company to pay for. Over the last 30 years employment of people in factories have gone down 1/3 because of machinery and computers taking their places in line. They are more productive and less cost effective than a worker.

Then Adam meets up with a new skilled employee Luke Hutchins who operates the machinery on the weekends. Luke’s job is considered a skilled job because he had to attend 6 semesters of college to learn the computers language to be able to work the machinery. Luke operates a few machines at a time constantly checking the fuel injectors to make sure the machines are cutting the parts just perfect. His job is secure and can’t be replaced by a computer for the time being.

Adam tracks down the owners of Standard and finds out they are based out of Long Island City, Queens. There Adam discovers the history of the company and how a man named Elias Fife a Jewish immigrant first set up the company. Through time other similar competitors had to sell or close and Standard stuck out through the times and had to sell its main building in NY to other locations to cut on costs. The company almost went bankrupt in the 1990s but managed to stay afloat and is now one of the biggest aftermarket manufacturing companies in the world.

Adam sits in a meeting with two engineers from the company John Gasiewski and Marty Doelger. They where going over a new crankshaft sensor and figuring out if it would be a benefit for the company to start to produce them. They in turn said it was very cost effective to start to produce them because they weren’t as finely shaped as the fuel injectors and could be produced at on of the offshore factories. Although this benefits the company it also takes jobs away from America and moves them offshore.

Overall Adam discovered how much job opportunities in factories have been declining over the last couple of years. Whether it be to new machinery coming in to do someone’s job or bringing the work offshore so Americans don’t have the opportunity to work. Something is going to have to change or at some point it will all be machinery running the factories.