Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Reality Hits

The UAW knows and admitts it's going to have to make concessions this time around or it's all over. The Union is soon going to be less than half a million people and it's still shrinking. Non union auto makers pay a little less but not much and will save money by less generous retirement plans (which may have been the Big 3's worst self-inflicted wound of all.)

My question is Why didn't they see this coming 20 years ago? I think they knew it was going to happen but pretended otherwise. The personal power of the International leadership depended on keeping the pretense up.

In my own shop, except for a couple of union fanatics, it's seen as a necessary evil AT BEST and as a total scam by many. Even our shop committee people are very cynical about the union. Most of my co-workers feel that the GM, Ford and Chrysler employees have brought this on themselves and we're along for the ride. (Of course there are the over-paid execs too but that is all part of the same picture; it is not a seperate issue.)

9 Comments:

Blogger Steven said...

See here’s a point I see as hypocrisy: The upcoming contract talks between the United Auto Workers and Detroit's automakers could force the union to accept more job cuts, lower wages for new workers and more responsibility for retiree costs. One of the philosophy’s of the union is that all are equal, this lower wages for new employees has gone on at the shop I work at, they can’t find a carded toolmaker who will work for $16 an hour. All this equates to is, let’s hire someone at a lower wage so we can maintain a benefit, and keep all those folk’s at the regional in new caddy’s My advice is to get out while you can, the day I quit the UAW I got a $ 44 a month raise. People have to make a paradigm shift and apply themselves to further their prosperity.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

"The personal power of the International leadership depended on keeping the pretense up."

You mean, like final victory is possible in Iraq?

Back to the issue at hand: Ford is looking for a 20% pay cut from the UAW. If they get it, GM and Chrysler will demand it as well. Pattern bargaining is coming back to haunt them.

It isn't all union greed. Tayota workers (non UAW) made more than the big three ( big 1 and 2/3?) last year. Let's face it: if they were building the cars people want to buy this would be a non-issue. GM will not buy Chrysler, and I don't think anyone else will, either.

It's time for all of us to stop the hand wringing and show some good ol' fashioned American ingenuity! We built the Bomb, put men on the Moon, created the internet and a zillion other things. Let's see us develop a car that runs on something else besides gasoline. Why won't we? Because the people in Washington love the status quo. It keeps us powerless and let's them justify wars that we have no business being involved in.

9:07 AM  
Blogger armed_and_christian said...

It's OK, Shop. You know that when Michigan's economy finally tanks for good and the Muslims take over that you'll be more than welcome to stay with us. In fact, I'll even drive up to help you move. This will necessitate a field trip to the Big 4 publishing houses, though (before they are burnt down as purveyors of infidel literature)...

7:20 PM  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

Eventually something is going to have to change, or break, to stop the downward spiral...

9:07 PM  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

Almost forgot ... Magna International has also thrown it's hat into the ring to buy Chrylser ...

9:09 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Shoprat, they did see it coming 20 years ago, they just ignored it, knowing management couldn't deal with a prolonged strike and would eventually give in.

I think what you'll eventually see is a smaller cut back in wages, but a big cutback in the layoff benefits that the Big 3 pay, and a small concession on health care costs.

If the unions would allow the Getting Smaller 3 to adopt the Toyota strategy of setting wages locally instead of nationwide all 3 automakers would end up in better shape, also.

Toyota generally pays 20-40% higher than the local manufacturing wage at it's plants, which still attracts plenty of workers, but keeps costs down.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Shoprat, I cannot comment intelligently on subjects I know next-to-nothing about, so all I will say here is that I hope and pray that everything works out for you, and that you will soon write something that I do know something about (which will pretty much limit your subject material). :)

11:16 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Steven I was in a 2 pay tier situation for a long time where a UAW contract kept me at a permanently lower pay than others. A change in ownership changed that with no help from the union.

tim When it comes to Iraq you're a broken record. I acknowledged that union greed is not the whole story but it is a big chunk of the story.

A&C If our economy totally tanks the Muzzies will be like rats, the first to leave the sinking ship.

abf Something will stop it eventually.

cp There's that too.

gayle Don't sell yourself short.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I'm pretty disgusted with both the UAW and with management. Both seem to not understand the concept of collective bargaining in good faith. Both are trying to shaft the other, and the common worker gets hurt in the aftermath.

3:40 PM  

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