Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ford and the UAW

That there is going to be a buyout program with Ford, similar to what was done at GM, is now appearing in the newspapers. Also appearing is the concern in UAW locals that this will seriously hurt them and the union. The UAW is already at 40% of its peak membership (600,000 workers today and opposed to 1,500,000 at its peak). The union fears the loss of clout along with loss of money.

Union headquarters, at this point, are not talking about it but locals are and seem to fear that not only will plants be shut down and consolidated, but so will locals. They are insisting that the bought out workers be replaced, even if it means (suprise, suprise) at lower wage scale. It is curious that they seem to be more concerned with strength of the UAW than they are with the well-being of their employees. I suspect that some of the local presidents are thinking that if their local closes, they too will need new jobs and not too many union locals, in any union, are hiring these days. It is probably easier to find an auto industry job.

One thing puzzles me though. Mario Guerreso, president of UAW Local 245 said that losing 50 workers would cost his local $12,000 a month. If union dues are the typical 2 hours pay a month, then 50 workers would result in a 100 average hours in dues and this comes out to employees being paid $120 per hour. That seems to be unlikely, even for the big 3, so wonder where else that money would be coming from.

I have a union card and am a member, but I do not consider the UAW to seriously relevant to my life at this point. The union is quite unpopular in my plant and is tolerated as a necessary evil at best. Most feel that the union has, by and large, lost its way and its connection to the rank and file. I concur with this.


Blogger ABFreedom said...

Interesting question, and it's strange how it's put as "cost his company". If the union has become a company, what's the point of the union?

11:37 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

abf that was an error on my part; "his company" should have been "his local". However, the UAW and other unions are, for all intents and purposes, businesses and should be treated as such.

12:01 AM  

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