Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.

Following up on a couple of items from earlier in the week… remember how the Ocean State out east surpassed Michigan on the economic blight meter?  And remember how the Grand Rapids Teachers Union was continuing to illustrate sheer, unadulterated lunacy by moving forward with plans for an illegal teachers strike?  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Big 3 are in trouble and they’re going to be cutting a lot more jobs.  Yep, sure, they’ve already cut tens of thousands this year and projected cutting thousands more before the year is out but they realize now that those thousands aren’t enough and they’ll have to send even more folks to the unemployment line.  Sort of a broken record, isn’t it?  At some point it becomes fair to wonder, do they even have any jobs left to cut?  Where are these cuts coming from?  How many peoples’ lives really CAN be ruined by sloppy management, forced union membership and the worst state economy in the nation?

The answer, this morning anyways, seems to be `a few thousand more.’  

Read on…

The Ivory Tower reports:

In an e-mail to U.S.-based GM executives, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner and President Fritz Henderson said the company now plans to reduce its salaried workforce by more than the 5,000 it targeted in a retirement incentive program that comes to a close this week.

The company also said it will cut several salaried benefits, including the elimination of its 401(k) match and tuition assistance.

Meanwhile, over in the Detroit News we learn that things are moldy peaches and curdled cream for Chrysler, too:

On Thursday, Chrysler said it plans to cut 1,825 more factory jobs… News of the cuts came as Daimler AG said it had reduced the book value of its almost 20 percent holding in the Auburn Hills company to zero — a stark sign of the U.S. automaker’s deteriorating fortunes.

Suck on that, Rhode Island!

I knew the emotional buzz we all got from the news that we were only 49th out of 50 states in unemployment wouldn’t last forever, but only one day?  Can’t Mississippi or Delaware or South Dakota hurry up and melt down or something?

Meanwhile, the Grand Rapids Press reports on a new labor dispute “solution” being floated by the Grand Rapids Education Association and their President, Paul “I can’t be bothered to return phone calls” Helder.  Their idea?  Don’t just give teachers a hefty raise… give the teachers union full control over the cash!

GRPS currently spends 56.16 percent of it’s budget on “in-classroom” education.  That covers books, supplies, salaries and health insurance along with the assorted other item.  If the union gets their way, the school board, a group of men and women elected by the voters in Grand Rapids, would cede control over a full 57 percent of their cash to union management and let them dole it out as they choose.  Interesting idea, right?  And scarier than anything you’ll see this Halloween.

(Chief of Operations Lisa) Freiburger called the proposal “complicated, but very intriguing” and said the bargaining team needs time to study it.

But she said classroom money goes for more than salaries. The state Education Department sets the criteria for what is classified as instructional spending, and includes textbooks and other materials.

She said teachers aides are included in the percentage but belong to a different union. And teachers union members such as guidance counselors, nurses and social workers are not classified as a classroom expense.

So let me make sure I understand this correctly.  Non-elected Big Labor bosses, the same folks who are using nefarious tactics to scare and intimidate substitute teachers and are willing and threatening to put themselves far above the interests of their students by walking out and literally leaving the kids in the street, essentially want the voters, through their elected representatives on the school board, to write them a blank check for over 50% of the schools total operating budget?  

I’m sure they’d be very frugal with the cash, too.  I mean, it isn’t like they’ve threatened to put adult issues before kids anytime before, right?  I’m sure if it came down to buying new books or giving themselves an extra dollar an hour they’d aaaaalways go for the new books, right?  

And, frankly, that’s the least of our worries.  If the union bosses are going to take control of 57% of the city’s school budget do you think they aren’t going to increase dues to cover “expenses” related to the task of managing that money?  Do you think they won’t charge members a little more than they need to line the pockets of Helder and his cronies before the next school board election?  Before the next statewide election?  

And riddle me this… what happens when Big Labor decides 57% isn’t enough of the pie?  They’ll come after the board, again, only this time they’ll control a significant majority of the district’s finances and they’ll wield it as subtly as a sledge hammer.  

This move won’t stop or prevent future walk outs or labor unrest.  All it will do is change the terms of the negotiations while effectively letting the lunatics (the union bosses, not your average teacher, although I feel qualified as a GRPS graduate to definitively state that there are more than a handful of lunatics in those classrooms, too) run the asylum.  

I’ve heard a lot of bad ideas in my time, but this kind of total and complete capitulation is about whacky as they get.  The worst part is, Freiburger hasn’t rejected it outright.  

Let’s pretend it’s the 1980s all over again and that Nancy Reagan is on your computer screen.  Remember, board members, “Just Say No!”