Give or take an airbag.
N THE HEELS OF 7,500 additional layoffs at General Motors' U. S. auto manufacturing plants, the three plucky workers who managed to hold onto their jobs are promising approximately one vehicle per week to roll off the single assembly line still in operation.
"At least one car a week, if not more!" insisted an optimistic Tracy Bing, line worker at G. M. for 23 years. Ms. Bing ran down the line to lower an Impala shell from the overhead conveyor.
Each worker will have to learn the entire assembly line, which, Ms. Bing breathlessly noted, "means we have the opportunity to become serious experts! I am so sure this will eventually double our output. I mean triple it! I just bet we'll be rolling a good three cars off the line every week before you know it!!"
Brad Anderson, another of the three remaining auto workers, said the paltry work force would "take some getting used to, although the vending machines are never empty anymore when I want Cheetos over break. This guy Doug used to clear those out pretty quick, so I guess you could say there's one silver lining already."
The designated foreman of the threesome, Jack Miller, said that he and his "crew of two" have been given "complete control over which G. M. vehicle to produce" in every week, although the only line configuration left running is for the Chevrolet Impala.
"Say we get sick of blue Impalas," conjectured Mr. Miller. "No problemo. We can always jump over to the red model, or even the one with a snazzy sport stripe along the side. It's really up to us, so my crew is really liking the independence, in terms of color and whatnot."
"I just thought of another silver lining," said Mr. Anderson, pulling out a pack of cigarettes from his front pocket. "My foreman doesn't yell at me anymore to smoke outside, so my productivity has already increased. Not like I'll be getting a raise, but still."
© 8.6.09 Kate Heidel