I recently had a house guest from Mayfield Kentucky, that works in the Remington/Marlin plant.
When I got an opportunity, I started a conversation about the plant - expecting a little insight into the operation. But, I didn't expect to be so disappointed with Remlin by the information she shared.
Some of the details, according to her:
Nearly the entire labor force is paid piece-rate.
A great number of the employees are mentally or physically disabled.
Because they're disabled, most are on SSID (Supplemental Security Income / Disability) or SSD (Social Security Disability), and get their wages cut off 10-20% before the Federal cap.
Sounds decent, at first... They're helping the local disabled population, and track the wages to prevent loss of SSID benefits. And, with a piece-rate labor system, you get paid for the efficiency of your work. Good stuff.
But, my own experience has lead me to firmly believe that piece-work labor rates are only good for low quality items; or as a way for employers to get around certain payroll regulations. (Like being able to pay less than minimum wage. Or, considering the employees "contractors", so they don't have to withhold anything.)
And, she went on to explain that many of the jobs involve tricky assembly operations that much of the disabled workforce has difficulty performing.
Some days, they might make $8/hr, if they get an easy assembly station. But, many days, they're stuck at a station that makes it difficult to even hit $5/hr.
To try to get a better idea of what she was talking about, I disassembled a my XL7 to see if she recognized any of the parts and/or assemblies. When it came out of the stock, she instantly pointed to the fire control group and stated, "Don't ever show that to me again. When we get stuck putting those together, we make less than four dollars an hour." I can't remember the exact figure, but she said the piece-rate value of the finished assembly was something like 11 cents.
When I pulled up some photos of a "field-stripped" Model 60 (since I don't own one) I got a worse response:
"We hate those. They expect us to just put everything together like we're robots, but nothing fits. We have to make the parts fit, before we can pass it on. But we don't get paid to make it fit. So, we don't make any money on those. When I get stuck on those, I sometimes consider just faking sick and going home. It's not worth my time, but I don't want to lose my job."
Further discussion yielded more of the same, with some anecdotes about limited-ability persons (one arm, one hand, etc) getting assigned to jobs that wear nearly impossible to complete without full dexterity in 2 hands. She cited one example where a person with one crippled hand only made less than $5 for the entire shift because of the station they were at, but wouldn't give up because they feared they would lose their job.
So, I am thoroughly disappointed. Based on the information I received, I must wonder if Remlin is exploiting the local disabled population under the guise of "helping" them. I won't form a solid opinion without more information, but my house guest had absolutely no reason to lie or exaggerate. She is very glad to have a job, at all. But, she feels like she's being exploited.
Can anyone confirm, deny, expand, or correct any of that?
if that's true, it's no wonder we are seeing the kind of 'quality' that's been coming out of their plants.
per-piece pay never amounts to quality, quite the opposite
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"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian." - Henry Ford
Also-----if they are paying them as contractors--they are probably avoiding any and all benefits of any kind. Sounds to me like they are also exploiting the tax payers under the guise of a manufacturing plant all the while skirting minimum wage laws also. Tell her to go to Burger King etc.--she'll probably be treated better and be working for an hourly wage. This crap turns my stomach.
" Knowledge Not Shared Is Energy Wasted"
If true, his is atrocious!! A slave shop mentality of barely competent people making a product that could easily kill or disable another person. Welcome to six sigma Corporate America and the downfall of American manufacturing.
Another example of "Politically Correct" thinking.
"See? We took a person who was useless and put him to work!"
Somehow, they can't seem to think it all the way through to how they took a skilled and experienced worker and put him out of work.
Before, they had one man on welfare, and another being productive and making a good product.
Now, they have two men on welfare, and are producing garbage.
As usual, "Politically Correct" is wrong.
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I certainly don't know the situation inside the plant. I would only caution Neptune to not assume that workers are abused and work in a "slave shop." A couple things come to mind. First, they could move all of the production back to the larger Remington plant in New York. That would solve the issue of labor practices in Kentucky.
Second, and I know I could sound insensitive, but it is ALL about economics. And is STARTS not with manufacturing companies but with the American people. Forget about guns. It is happening in every single industry. Americans buy based on price first. Better features and craftsmanship are nice but those are not as important as price. Especially with products like .22s. They are almost a commodity. When American's buy on price, manufacturing companies do what they can to take cost of out production. They either do that or they die. How do they do that? Labor, operations, parts, margin. Or you can do what Mossberg did and move all manufacturing operations out of an expensive union state. Everything except for assembling now is in Mexico. Assembly is in Texas. So, next time you see a buddy buying a Mossberg 500, think about the fact that the Remington 870 is still being made and assembled in a union state by Americans. As long as we shooters continue to buy cheap imports and poorly made American made guns based on price, we're going to see this. It is happening in every single industry out there. Textiles manufacturing is nearly gone. So is furniture. Many of you may work for companies in the same situation. Let's keep that in mind.