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DOE Proposes 27 “Energy Efficiency” Penalties

Chinese, Japanese, Korean firms accused of not certifying compliance with U.S. efficiency or conservation rules.

by on Sep.13, 2010

DOE has been severely criticized for its lack of enforcement of U.S. regulations.

The Department of Energy today announced 27 new proposed penalties against companies selling products in the United States without certifying that they comply with energy efficiency or water conservation standards.

The legally required certifications are said to ensure that products sold in the U.S. deliver significant energy and cost savings to buyers. Prior to the Obama Administration, the Department had never systematically enforced DOE’s 35-year-old energy efficiency standards. Lax enforcement of energy efficiency standards undermines the goal of increased energy efficiency – now clearly a national security issue.

There are other implications as well. While not directly automotive industry related, today’s enforcement actions – coming on top of a newly activist Department of Transportation in automotive safety matters and the  U.S. Trade Representatives’ duties on Chinese tire imports, among other well-publicized examples –  are the latest indications that an industrial policy of sorts to protect manufacturing jobs is underway across the Obama Administration.

The U.S. is alone among industrial nations – either communist run or elected democracies – to lack formal policies to protect U.S. jobs, now a contentious mid-term election year issue with record high unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression.


Ford Motor Company offers UAW More Jobs

Small, but symbolic step is peace offering to union, which refuses to match GM, Chrysler bankruptcy concessions.

by on Aug.04, 2010

Ford's decision to skip a federal bailout certainly hasn't hurt sales but left the balance sheet weak.

Ford Motor Company will bring in-house by 2012 about 1,975 hourly jobs that would have been performed by suppliers inside and outside of the U.S. , the number two Detroit maker said this morning.

Ford said it can add what will be United Auto Workers spots into Ford’s U.S. plants thanks to “collaboration with the union” to make its plants more competitive and efficient through modern labor agreements.

Translation: Ford has started hiring some workers again at $14 an hour, half of the rate previously, under a new “two-tier” wage system agreed to in 2007.

Industry observers remain concerned about Ford’s balance sheet, which is carrying more than $25 billion in debt that wasn’t wiped out because it did not declare bankruptcy last year when GM and Chrysler did so.

Job Creation?

“The name of the game is competitiveness, and our UAW partners have found new ways of working together on labor agreements that allow us to bring jobs back to Ford plants and back to America,” said Mark Fields, president of The Americas, who is speaking today at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.