Tuesday, March 3, 2009

For me, the debate is over.....

COBURG, Ore. -- Last July, Monaco Coach Corporation was Lane County's fourth largest employer and the manufacturer with the county's largest workforce, estimated at 2,400.

Monday, the company announced it had sent termination notices to 2,000 employees, most of whom have been on furlough since mid-December 2008.

"Your employment will terminate and you will be permanently discharged on March 2," according to the letters, received Monday.

The company continues to work to secure financing, according to Craig Wanichek, the company's director of investor relations.

"We've been working very hard, We will continue to work on both fronts to obtain new financing that would provide us the capital necessary to start the plants back up."

Wanichek said 145 people will still work at Monaco, but he didn't specify for how long.

Yes, this serves as a kind of obituary to Mr. Ramblings job. Damned shame too. This company, for almost a decade (for us), provided a family wage job. It kept a roof over our heads, kept the family fed, provided for our medical needs.

Meanwhile we are having to do some fancy financial footwork regarding my Mom's house, as it is not selling & Care Facilities are outrageously priced!!!!! (note the 5 exclamation marks). Because her neighborhood is flooded with foreclosed homes (sub prime mortgage disaster), it is dragging the whole market down. Houses are just not selling, unless you offer rock bottom ridiculous prices. 

I don't know what the future will bring.  There was mention, in the official letter sent, of possible retraining funds- education money, but also the gist that the company will do all that it can to fight having to provide such a program. 

So when people want to debate about if we are in a recession or depression, for me the debate is over- I'm calling it a depression.


Christopher said...

I read an article that listed Oregon as one of the worst states in the country for employment opportunities.

I had no idea things were so bad up there, thinking Michigan or even California would be worse.

About your mother's house. Would it be possible to lease it out and use the income for her care? Houses can sometimes provide a revenue stream and since no one can get a mortgage, renters are in demand.

I'm just brainstorming here.

Fran said...

Christopher,Oregon is a mixed bag-- the Portland area has lots of good things- Nike headquarters, Qwest (communications), OHSU Oregon Health Sciences University (Major teaching hospital). Eugene had Sony, Hundai silicon chip mfr, two major RV companies, and the University.
The metro areas have eclectic blends, and Oregon is ripe for green technology- Solar, and the Guv is very much so into being pioneers in the conversion of electric vehicles, investing in electric charging stations.

For too long, and still to this day, there has been an over reliance of logging. The prime old growth forests have been gleaned of the best, and what remains is in constant dispute, as the forest service (circus?) & BLM continually fail to follow their own rules. The Eastern or rural side is a very different situation, either farm or ranch land, very few commercial jobs-- there are some, but not many.

Michigan & California are in fact in worse shape than Oregon- Michigan being the epicenter of the US auto industry, and California-- also a mixed bag, but may have ruled, regulated and taxed itself into a corner. We share the dubious honor of being the top 5 highest unemployment rates in the nation- Sony, Hundai (Hynix), Country Coach & now Monaco all went under.... these were the largest area employers, paying family wage jobs, now many of the mills are going to alternating weeks of shut down, because as these businesses, and new construction are down. We can actually SEE the domino effect happening, many long term smaller, independent restaurants & businesses are going out of business at the same time.

I spent 3 weeks last year cleaning & clearing my Mom's house of 45 years stuff. It is "turn key" ready to be sold, and frankly, we'd like to just sell it.
However much we could rent it for, would not begin to even remotely touch the $$$ output of the cost of memory care. We really don't want to be landlords,for a variety of reasons. We are probably going to have to drop that price, substantially, to get it to sell. Thanks for the brainstorming though.... we are talking about maybe looking into the medical field.... not nursing, but something like an MRI or CT scan certified med-tech kind of job.
IF retraining $ becomes available, he's all over it.

eProf2 said...

I wish the best for you and your husband, Fran. I was rifed once and I can tell you it didn't feel good at all. Your colleagues look at you like you did something wrong or worse. And, yes, the one without a job is in a depression regardless of what others might call it. I hope there will be a quick turn around for your motor home company and your community or a fast reinvention. Keep us informed.

Christopher said...


I'm glad your husband is looking into healthcare. It's one of the only professions where jobs are plentiful and in many areas, the salaries are good.

Even our dental hygienist is pulling down $60,000 after a few years experience. A couple we're friends with, the husband got laid-off from Dell Computer and he just entered a state-funded program to become a radiological technician. He can graduate in a year and with no experience, start at $50,000 to $60,000 -- after a few years, he can expect to make $75,000.

Certain areas of country are booming with healthcare jobs. California, Texas, Atlanta and Florida are hot spots. Even dinky places like Albuquerque, NM have tons of healthcare jobs. I'm even thinking about entering the field in some capacity. I put Jim through RN college, and now he said he will pay the bills so I can retrain if I want to give up IT.

Also, did you know the Feds are looking for Air Traffic Controllers? They will train and you get Federal benefits.

Don't listen to the doom and gloom crowd. There are jobs but the economy is changing and we can't let the changes bury us. We're all going to have to adapt and change too.

Annette said...

Christopher is right.. there are things out there.. and I think in the Recovery Plan there is money for retraining in with the unemployment $$$'s, Not sure what you have to do to get it, but I will do some checking if you want me to and find out for you.

Hang in there.. I still think if we all try to stay as positive as we can and push back on these things like this and on these negative media attacks we will make it through this.

No, I am not trying to be miss rosey sun shine here... just saying we have to try to not listen to the gloomy guses all the time either.

enigma4ever said...

I am so sorry fran....I think the Economy hits certain areas ....and some areas it hits harder than others...I think motorhomes actually are hit by 2 different pieces- the car industry meltdown, and the home industry meltdown- being that people losing homes can not vacation or travel....I am sorry though- because the domino effect is real.....

About the gloom..I think that things in different parts of the country are bad...that is not being gloomy- that is just being honest...the real problem is that there are no safe areas.....seriously...the hospitals are not hiring here- there are feezes on all over the country....healthcare technology could and will eventually boom again when healthcare is resolved for everyone...for now many hospitals are sitting on any money they have...in my hood even new grad nurses are not getting hired- and they are applying out side of the state...but the feezes are real- and ALL jobs - not just nursing...I just have to say something because healthcare is often offered as a beacon of hope...I say not so fast...caution...

Green jobs will eventually start to bloom all over- and Oregon and the NW will boom....

Hang in there....you and your hubby are resourceful and creative...and he does have skills from that job...maybe there are ways to channel that...many hugs friend....I will keep thinking on it...

Spadoman said...

Sorry to hear about this news for you and husband. Wish there was something concrete I could do for you besides sending the positive energy from within.

I walk at the Mall of America these days, inside you know? There are huge sales on everywhere. No customers buying. More old folks walking around the miles of hallways than actual bag toting buying public. The fourth floor, usually full of eateries, bars, comedy club, recreation/bowling center.... all closed except for one restaurant.

Spouse and I haven't gone out to eat in over 2 weeks. eating at home is cheaper. Walking to work, taking public transportation to the mall to walk inside. Cutting a lot to the core. Wife's job secure for now, but she only works 75%, 30 hours per week.

Best of luck and courage to you.


Fran said...

thanks friends! I'm exhausted & need to crash.
We are tapping into every available option.

Christopher said...

I don't know why Allie comes here spewing her gloom and doom but, I think it has more to do with her and not reality.

Here's a link to the Cleveland Clinic's employment site. Just a snapshot of the RN recruitment picture and the jobs they're recruiting for:


Healthcare jobs ARE plentiful across the country and they can't graduate RN's, radiological techs and others, fast enough to fill the openings.

Dada said...

Fran: So, so sorry. We knew things weren't looking good for Mr. Ramblings job, yet we were hopeful this wouldn't happen. And I'm also very sorry you're having to contend with mother's health and trying to sell your her home in this very trying market.

I have deeply appreciated your openness with us all as this scenario has unfolded. You truly have a finger on the pulse of the nation and what's going down at present. I'm hoping you can find some valuable assistance out there to help you cope with this newest very personal phase of the economy.

While there may be pollyannish pockets "out there" somewhere, there are certainly many more dark phases unfolding for far more American families at present. Reality may exist somewhere between the Pollyannas and the doom and gloomers, but I prefer to see the darker side, hoping to be (pleasantly) surprised than unrealistically upbeat and extremely disappointed if my unwarranted optimism should collapse.

Thanks for keeping us apprised and good luck! I know everyone here who follows Ramblings wishes nothing but the best for your family.

Fran said...

eprof~ Thanks for your good thoughts. When 2000 people lose jobs at at once, when a company folds, the local community understands it is nothing any one of them did. Even the company itself made excellent products- it is just a few quantum shifts. The economy, the lack of cash flow, and also a reflection of how the work world shifted. People used to get pensions, and a motorhome was a crown of retirement. Now most jobs had 401K's and from the people I have spoken with & personal experience, many people lost anywhere from 1/3rd to 1/2 of their retirement savings. Plus the big rigs mostly run in diesel which used to be cheap, but is now the most expensive fuel. Filling up a 300 gallon tank, has to cost a pretty penny.
Anyway.... we will do our best, and do what we have to do.

Annette: Sure if you have info on Worker retraining resources that would be fantastic. May vary from State to State, we are in Oregon.

E ~ Everyone experiences what they experience.
I don;t think any of us are doom & gloomers, but when you personally experience difficulty in getting gainful employment & you are personally struggling then that is the reality of what you are dealing with.
I appreciate your good thoughts & encouragement.

Spado~ I hear you. They just opened a brand new Lowes home improvement place here. My friend stopped by & said the place was a ghost town.
More employees than shoppers. The only thing missing was tumbleweed blowing through!

Christopher ~ I am pretty stressed right now. I hope we can make our points and have discussions without personal attacks. I'm not saying we all have to agree, but I would like civil discourse.

Dada~ Each time they pushed back the return-to-work date, it began to look worse. The company had been in business since 1968. The 2008 3rd quarter loss was $71.8 million. Stock is now valued @ $.06 a share. At one time it was $28 per share.

As for the pollyanna vs dark side discussion- I always tend to embrace realism.
I think it is safe to say the economy is tanking, big time, like nothing we've ever seen before.
Even the new president, the Big O syas openly it WILL get worse before it gets better. I don't view that as *doom & gloom*, I think he is just speaking the truth. It makes sense as so many jobs vanish, the places where they used to spend will also feel the impact, and perhaps to the extent of causing their business to go under, and the cycle repeats.

The impact is greater is the job lost is a family wage job that did indeed support a family, and provided health care.

If I state the facts- can't sell a house for half it's value in over a year's time, and the main breadwinner is out of work- these may be extreme bummer items to share, but they are real. I'm keeping it real. This is but one snapshot of the Depression of 2009.

Sure we are working to do whatever we can to remedy the situation--- we are going to change to a realtor closer to Mom's neighborhood. We are going to lower the price. We are looking into the retraining fund aspect, and tapping in to whatever we can to keep ourselves from slipping into Foreclosure.

Doom & gloom would be to give up & go into a funk & decide it's all going to hell & nothing can be done.
We are in the *bootstrap mode* & we are going to give it our best effort to keep it together & pull ourselves out of this funk. Still we can say Damn! it's looking dark & bleak, while we forge ahead.

I share our situation as a part of the overall Journal of the times we are in. Plus I can't afford therapy or counseling, so you guys are my shoulder to cry on & sounding board. You'll have to bill me later!
I can write generic posts about the state of the union, but it has landed on our doorstep & I'm telling it like it is. I appreciate the brainstorming & networking aspect, and the support. Thanks for putting up with me!

Dada said...

Fran: Pretty sure this is all on the house, no bills now or later!

Fran said...

Whew!!!! I was going to have to follow the State of California's trend & have to send IOU's!