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Man Commutes 1,000 Miles To Work

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the hope-your-mpg-is-good dept.

The Almighty Buck 31

At the end of every week Michael Hanley leaves his job in Kansas and starts his 530 mile trip back to his home in Wisconsin. After the local GM plant closed down, his family couldn't afford to go without his $28 an hour job or his health insurance. Now Hanley drives over 1,000 miles round-trip weekly with his brother and two brothers-in-law who find themselves in the same situation. "I like to say I gave up an eight-minute commute for an eight-hour commute," he says.

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Subjects are useless (1)

PsychoElf (571371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31247358)

He's just one of thousands who do that. Same thing happened at the Spring Hill, TN plant (old Saturn). Kind of hard to sell everything and move when hundreds of other people in the same community have to do the same thing. All I can say is get your years in and retire ASAP.

I know of several people that do this. (1)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#31247588)

I work near Washington, DC, and I know of several people that commute all the way to Central Pennsylvania or even New Jersey every weekend. Sure, it's not quite 1,000 miles, but it's a pretty far "commute" nonetheless.

Personally, I'd hate being away from my family for that long, but I suppose you have to do what you have to do.

Re:I know of several people that do this. (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258662)

I'm near DC as well, and it seems to be most people have crazy-long commutes. I know a fair number who commute from PA to south Baltimore suburbs daily.

Of course, I'm one to talk. The current plan after I get married has me living in Northern VA and commuting around DC *shudder* to the Baltimore area...

He needs an airplane (1)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256574)

He could probably get a small fast airplane for about $20,000 to cut his commute time two thirds. If he resold it after he got another job or moved, it might only cost him a few thousand.

Re:He needs an airplane (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31279750)

If he couldn't afford to live without his $28/hr job, I doubt he can afford to buy a $20k airplane anytime soon.

Re:He needs an airplane (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31284938)

title is misleading. FTFA [yahoo.com] :

"But this is just temporary. The Morrisons decided they don't want to live this way; they plan to sell their Wisconsin house and Sarah and their youngest son, Austin, will move when the school year ends."

So one job ended, he got another job, and he's been driving back and forth until the school yr ends and then they'll move. Yes he's driving 1,000 miles, but it's just until end of school year, and he already has an apartment at the new place. Who has this not happened to ever? Many times people will find work in other states and the job starts before the house sells, so the spouse stays behind and packs while the other works out-of-state and house hunts.

Full pension at age 49 (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257478)

Morrison will have 30 years at GM and can retire with a full pension. He'll be 49 then.

That's why manufacturing jobs are disappearing in the US: BigCo's like Ford & GM will have to pay him a full pension for 25 years, which just about doubles their costs.

Re:Full pension at age 49 (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259452)

Can anyone explain the pension system used in USA?

Where I live, the pension fund is independent of other companies.

It is simply a fond(There are a few different, but still..) where you pay x% of your income each month, and then when you retire you get the moeny back with interest. Either as a lump sum, og as a amount each month.

So the more you pay, the more you get back and there is really no way to loose the pension. (That is: Unless the entire pension fund crashes, but pension funds are so large and their investments so diversified that this seems almost impossible.

Re:Full pension at age 49 (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31261100)

It is simply a fond(There are a few different, but still..) where you pay x% of your income each month, and then when you retire you get the moeny back with interest. Either as a lump sum, og as a amount each month.

That's called a Defined Contribution Plan. That's what's common now.

The unions, back when American Manufacturing was flush with cash, negotiated Defined Benefit Plans. Most (all?) government unions (being able to suckle from our tax dollar teat) have similar plans.

Re:Full pension at age 49 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31266210)

The unions, back when American Manufacturing was flush with cash, negotiated Defined Benefit Plans.

And those poor, poor companies just didn't read the contract and signed whatever was put in front of them, just like those disadvantaged folks that were taken advantage of by banks who forced them to sign mortgages they couldn't afford.

Or maybe the companies felt they were entitled to labor, just like the folks thought they were entitled to McMansions.

Most likely, though, the companies' lawyers figured they'd get the contracts and pensions discharged by declaring bankruptcy, and didn't expect that their crying to the government for bailouts to save them from their own contracts would backfire by nationalizing the pensions then holding the companies responsible for the pension fund.

Re:Full pension at age 49 (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31276456)

Well, I'm glad to be paying someone's wages because they wanted to retire from an assembly job 15 years earlier than they should!

Re:Full pension at age 49 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31262090)

I value defined benefit pensions and it would be nowhere near "doubles their costs". A pension benefit is funded over a person's working lifetime. Normal cost (cost of paying for the portion of the projected benefit attributed to the upcoming year of service) is only a fraction of salary.

Things are really rough right now if your pension is underfunded though (recent regulations are very strict). I wouldn't expect the contribution requirements to be half the total cost of an employee's compensation though.

Re:Full pension at age 49 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31271836)

Yeah, God forbid GM has to give him what they promised him 30 years ago. You spent your entire adult life working for a company, that company should have to keep up its end of the bargain. I'm a software engineer with a vested pension. I expect when I retire to get that pension.

Re:Full pension at age 49 (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31281032)

You spent your entire adult life working for a company,

Age 49 is "your entire adult life"? Maybe in 1870.

Re:Full pension at age 49 (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31284648)

You spent your entire adult life working for a company,

Age 49 is "your entire adult life"? Maybe in 1870.

Exactly. Entire adult life my ass. My father had to "re-invent" himself several times, even in his mid 50s, working his hands to the bone until he was in his mid 64. No lavish pension plans... which is ok since most people don't have it anyways... not to mention he never had health insurance... which is also very typical. His pension (off his social sec.) is very small, not enough to live in the US, but comfortable now that he retired back to our country of origin. Now, here: he's lucky. Not that many US citizens (naturalized like him or native-born) have that chance to retire overseas and have to makes ends meet with a meager pension or work past their 60s.

Now, I'm not saying this to gain pity for my father or to people in his situation, but to give a big fuck-you to whoever thinks working in the same company for someone of age 49 is "working your entire adult life". Man is still in his prime. And I wish him good luck in getting a similar job with reasonable benefits close home.

But let's not pretend that it is reasonable to retire at 49, with the way the economy has been, with the way the economy will be in years to come. He should work until he's 60, like almost everybody else does.

Re:Full pension at age 49 (1)

Snarkalicious (1589343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31279538)

The greatest difference in cost of doing business in the US vs overseas isn't actually labor related expense...it's environmental compliance. What's really dragging us down is all this brerathable air and drinkable water. Ditch that crap and we'll get past the Chinese in NO TIME BABY! WOOO!

Or we could do both. Scrip debt and asbestos/mercury poisoning for EVERYBODY! WOOO AGAIN SUCKAS!!!!

Slight maths error. (2, Interesting)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257860)

At the end of every week Michael Hanley leaves his job in Kansas and starts his 530 mile trip back to his home in Wisconsin. After the local GM plant closed down, his family couldn't afford to go without his $28 an hour job or his health insurance. Now Hanley drives over 1,000 miles round-trip weekly with his brother and two brothers-in-law who find themselves in the same situation. "I like to say I gave up an eight-minute commute for an eight-hour commute," he says

Most people think that a commute is a daily thing (not me BTW ; my commute is variable, monthly or several-monthly), so let's put it on a daily basis :
530miles each way, once per week is 1060miles/week. Between 3 people, that's 353.3 miles per person per week.
Assuming 5 working days per week (hah!), that's 71 miles per day. Equivalent to a 35.5 mile round trip each day.
For the average Brit, that would mean someone getting into Leeds from Huddersfield, or Rochdale, or Sheffield.

Re:Slight maths error. (1)

JCZwart (1585673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258198)

That sounds better, but you're still in the car for that amount of time, whether you're driving or not...

Re:Slight maths error. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258286)

More to the point, the engine is running, at car-engine pathetic efficiency, for almost all that time.

Re:Slight maths error. (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31268928)

More to the point, he's not reading Slashdot or jacking off for almost all that time. So it's more productive than normal.

Re:Slight maths error. (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258476)

with the way you describe things, you sound like my accountant!

Re:Slight maths error. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31276664)

I think your math is incorrect from the get go. It should be based on four people. Michael Hanley, Brother, 2 Brothers-in-law. And this makes the math simpler:

1060 miles/week divided by 4 = 265.
265 divided by 5 work days = 53 miles/day
53 divided by 2 = 26.5 miles each direction

Re:Slight maths error. (1)

baegucb (18706) | more than 4 years ago | (#31281096)

I live in Janesville. They work a 4 day work week. But there is no real other industry since GM closed. Fortunately, I work in IT a half hour drive from Janesville, in Madison, Wi.

I commuted but in very different times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31261190)

I commuted sometimes 600 miles a week, sometimes 1500 miles a week for Chrysler but it was in very different times. they gave me an airline ticket, a hotel and an unlimited per diem as a consultant. I always found it amusing that they spent THAT much money to get me to work and back. Then the unlimited per diem went to 45 dollars. then the airline tickets price had a cap. then I could only fly if it was over x number of miles or rent a (chrysler) car under x number of miles. Then it went from 3 days a week on site to 2. Eventually, I and all my colleagues lost our contract. It was a veeery different time back then. and we consultants got to watch/experience the decline.

Commuting... (1)

BlackHwk98 (468920) | more than 4 years ago | (#31261470)

I can understand this person's situation. I started a new job almost 2 years ago, I was driving approximately 550 to 635 miles per week (not including around town driving), now this mileage could vary depending on driving conditions since the weather(I live in Upstate New York) could actually affect the route I would have to take. I've thankfully got friends that let me stay at their home during the week which brings my commute down to about 140 miles per week(again, weather permitting). Unfortunately, I can't afford to change my living arrangements currently and I've been doing this for nearly 2 years. It's the culture that we live in now that forces us to do these types of things, the guy in this article is lucky enough to have other people to "carpool" with, some of us don't have that luxury. I can say that the benefits of my employer are great which is the reason why I gave up a 30 minute round trip commute to a 3 hour round trip commute.

Not unusual for Miners in Australia (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31269392)

It is fairly normal from what I gather for Mine workers to be flown from all corners of the country on the mining company's expense to and from the site. Though of course it is normal for these workers to do VERY long shifts and something like a 3 weeks on 3 days off schedule. Expenses incurred attracting skilled workers are probably a non-issue for a large mining company.

NYC / L.A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31278752)

I live in New York City and work in Los Angeles. This is a 4950 mi round-trip commute for me every two weeks. I'm sure this is not that unusual.

er... been going on since the '70s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31279534)

Calgary to Ft. McMurray and back. Round trip 1470 Km or 910 miles. Many workers have done this on a weekly basis over the years.

Me: I used to commute monthly to the mideast: round trip of greater than 16,000 miles.

ho hum.

What? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#31281740)

Seriously. Not news--not even idle worthy, people have been doing this in Canada for years. I know people who commute from Trois-Rivieres(QC), to London(On) and Windsor(On) every week.

Back about 10 years ago, a buddy of mine commuted from Hamilton(On) to Winnipeg(MB), every week for over 4 years.

Wow, that's a long drive (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31285042)

All of us know (and some are) high-paid consultants who fly to work in some distant city on Monday, work from noon Monday to Thursday and fly back on Friday. This is a little bit different. It shows how messed up the economy is though, and this is a great example.

Put yourself in this guy's shoes. If you graduate high school and don't want to or can't spend the time and money on college, the best thing to do is get a nice safe manufacturing job. He has union protection, what he thought was a guaranteed job, and guaranteed retirement. If my plant closed and I was a year away from a full pension, I think I'd do the commute. Some people can't move, and it would be stupid to lose the biggest retirement income stream he probably has. (Defined benefit pension plans cover a percentage of your salary in retirement...they're what used to make up the difference that Social Security didn't pay. Now everyone's betting their own future and money in the stock market casino...no wonder market volatility is so bad.)

Despite what you think, it's not too far a leap to this scenario... You're a high-earning IT professional living in New York, Boston, Chicago or (pick your high-cost-of-living city.) Your company says, "Sorry, we're outsourcing most of our IT work to India, and the rest is moving to our contractor's East Redneckland, AL office. You can hire on with the contractor, but you'll have to move to East Redneckland." You might say, "OK, I guess I'll get another job." But what happens when every single company in your area moves their operations to East Redneckland? This very scenario has happened to me several times, and I'm running out of companies to jump to. Luckily I'm not completely tied to my employer like this guy is, but I definitely don't want to move unless there's no other way to make money in the future. I'm just saying that those who scoff and say this will never happen to them are not thinking things through to their logical conclusion.

People who make economic policy decisions need to understand that not everyone is a highly-skilled corporate employee, and when people's jobs are taken away, not everyone is an entrepreneur-type. I hate it when people say, "Why can't these lazy idiots start their own businesses?" If you don't have the skills, starting a business is a huge waste of time and a ticket to bankruptcy court. Small retail businesses are a total dead end due to large competitors, restaurants are a dead end because no one has the money to eat out anymore, etc. etc. I say we go back to a previous era where large,, well established businesses provide guaranteed jobs for an entire career. We should also stop encouraging 401(k)-style savings, and go back to pension funds. Fund managers in a pension have 30, 40, 50 years to make up for any losses they have in the market...once your 401(k) is gone, you're broke.

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