St. Louis Post Dispatch: Marick Masters guest column on the lessons of the recent auto layoffs

Marick F. Masters, professor of business and director of Labor@Wayne, wrote a guest column about lessons learned following the General Motors’ announcement of major layoffs and plant closures in North America. Masters suggested that the recent moves by GM reminds us of the continual threat of job loss in manufacturing. “The U.S., including Missouri, enjoys near historic low unemployment rates, having recovered persistently from the massive downsizing as the auto industry faced collapse. But shifting customer preferences, cyclical economic downturns and disruptive technologies promise future dislocations. Missouri, which produces more than 750,000 vehicles and employs over 260,000 in advanced manufacturing, needs to prepare workers and businesses to mitigate the adversity of job loss. In the final analysis, however, workforce preparedness is a national problem, requiring national solutions, though state initiatives such as the Missouri Partnership play a vital complementary role.” Masters notes that America needs a new approach to workfoce transitioning. “These principles should guide the approach: It is wasteful to idle human talent, considerable worker capacity is untapped; and collaboration between business, labor and government is essential to improving the situation.”

Full column in the St. Louis Post Dispatch