Thursday, December 07, 2006

In the Auto Industry

There are several interesting stories in the auto-industry today and a few of them might actually be good news.

First off, the UAW's membership is dropping below 500,000 which is less than a third of what it was in the seventies. A big part of the situation is the decline in big three jobs over the time period, plus the fact that many workers have figured out that the union does not exist for their sake, but they exist for the union's sake and are beginning to turn their backs on it. Most of my co-workers consider the union a necessary evil at best and racket at worst (and some of the union's worst critics in my shop are former committee-people). The good news in the article is that the UAW has finally figured out that if the company is not prospering their not going to either and are thinking in terms of survival. This may bug some of the "workers good! management bad" diehards but it's common sense; no company = no job.

Ford, or actually a Ford subsidiary, has a potential sale of a plant that would otherwise be closing. It is being sold to the French company Valeo SA which is an auto-parts manufacturer. Sale is contingent on an acceptable contract with the UAW. Now the UAW has to choose between a "good contract" and a job. While I would prefer American workers working for American companies, but a close second is any company that will create or save jobs for Americans. I was talking to our company president about this today in our breakroom and he pointed out that a lot of European companies are looking to America because it it cheaper to make things here than it is in Europe.

A similar sale is possible for twelve Delphi plants, but again the UAW wold have to agree to lower pay in order to save their jobs (and "lower pay" is still pretty darned good compared to some industries.) This appears to be rumors however as the potential buyer is not talking too much at this point.

There was also a headline in the Detroit Free Press that said that GM's sales slide had bottomed out, but the article was very brief and appears to be wishful thinking. It simply says that the sales chief made the following quote:

“If we grow a tenth of a point next year, I’ll be thrilled out of my mind,” LaNeve said, according to a report from Bloomberg News.

That is not nearly as hopeful as the headline suggests.


Blogger Gayle said...

Well, it does sound hopeful, Shoprat. Good news is so scarce on any level these days, I guess we should be greatful for small favors. Unions... Yechh!

9:45 PM  
Blogger Skip said...

SR, you know that I am as or more, anti-union than yourself, but work is work, and right now whatever is there grab it,,
I need to ask tho you keep talking about "Buying American" and "American Companies" I guess I don't understand what actually makes a company "American" or "foriegn". Is it where the HQ is at or is it in the spelling of a name or what?? I would assume if I work for a company and my job is in the states then who really cares what nationality my "owners" are??

10:03 PM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

no company = no job

5:33 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

I was surprised to read this: "a lot of European companies are looking to America because it it cheaper to make things here than it is in Europe." I didn't realize that. But, it makes sense with all the labor problems Europe has.

6:54 PM  

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