Tag Archives: Ford

The Day The UAW Died – Or Not

And they were singing: Bye, bye miss American pie…

Yesterday the US automakers, the UAW, and the US government failed to reach an agreement that could have secured a bailout for the “Big 3”. GM is consulting with bankruptcy lawyers. Chrysler is considering selling itself. Ford is apparently mostly OK and will survive with little change.

Senate Republicans and several Democrats followed their constituents calls and stood up to another free money day for American business.

I don’t believe Darwinian Biological Evolution is likely have occurred but there is scant proof indeed than anything besides a Darwinian approach to business is dangerous to liberty and allows for bloat and growth of government both in the breadth of responsibility and the expectations of the populace. The dying ought to be allowed to die to make room for new and fresh ideas.

It is not a closely held secret, the fact the UAW does more harm to GM than it does good for its members.

The entitlement mentality of many die-hard union members I know of is something to behold. I make an honest wage for a job I truly enjoy. I’m expected to contribute to my insurance costs and my employer does as well. I’m given the choice which benefits I wish to make use of, and I have a marginal cost for each one. But for each additional cost, my employer also contributes amounts and so while I’m paying more (or taking home less in each paycheck) I’m actually earning more. The benefits are delayed but there nonetheless.

The union workers I know are decent people, no worse nor better than many others I know. However, they have become used to two paradigms at least which are either wrong or detrimental. They are used to a conflicting relationship between themselves and the management and they are used to a level of coddling by their employers at the behest of the Union.

The relationship of the employer to the employee ought to be one of shared and communicated goals and observed ability and process communication and refinement and achievement recognition. This is admittedly an optimal goal, but it is not unattainable and for it’s optimal nature it ought not be dismissed.

The Union infrastructure destroys both directions of communication necessary to the successful and profitable enterprise. By setting up a default adversarial relationship between the average workers and the management, with the workers via their Union trying to get more and more of the company ‘pie’ for themselves with deeper and longer guarantees of remuneration and the managers trying to get concessions and extra work from the increasingly insulated employees.

When you have cases where GM has shut down a factory and is still paying full wages and benefits to thousands of people there is something obviously wrong.

You may say that GM owes it’s employees something: I would get severance if I was fired, but the idea is to make me WANT to get a new job. Paying me as much as I made previously as part of some inactive workforce is sound business sense only to those without sense or with an incredibly skewed set of priorities.

Now that, directly because of the UAW’s actions, GM is in free-fall and will likely file bankruptcy, they will be firing a lot of people. There will be thousands fewer jobs. People will be in REAL hurt. Good union people too. And the UAW will be unable to to anything about it.

GM will be restructured and without the UAW in their shops.

Congressmen were quoted saying that if the UAW had only agreed to wage cuts they would have been able to salvage the bailout. Thank God they did not.

Greed and avarice are light labels for the UAW.

I will rise again…

But look out.

Barack Obama will be president soon, and the unions are virtually guaranteed that federal law will be changed to allow “card check” which will set the bar for unionizing agonizingly low. With public votes, strong arming and union thug pressure will thrive and the UAW will be able to unionize the Toyota and Honda factories.

So they’re not dead. They know their payday is coming soon.

If you don’t know Chicago politics you don’t know that corruption is the norm, and the appearance of honesty is a closely honed art. Unions run Chicago arm in arm with the Democrat political machine. They’ve delivered Obama to the White House and they are expecting a high return on investment.

My union friends have a problem, they refuse to see the forest for the trees. They are used to the safety and coddling in benefits they receive because of the Unions work, but they refuse to acknowledge their accepting the benefits of the Unions come at such a price.

Unions served their purpose, and in some cases they may still haveĀ  a valid place. Federal law for the most part has codified the reasonable purposes of the Union. But Unions are about power, and their continued presence in America is without merit.

The internet and the vast web of information and advocacy outside of the Union are quite capable of keeping accountability within the workplace without the need for the stultifying and parasitic presence of the Union.

Until the UAW dies, American industry will fail.

Sliding Into Socialism & Smile

Some mornings I wish I didn’t peruse the news. Today was one of those mornings.

The stories were thick of people expecting things from the government, wanting the government to reach down and touch them, trying to get things through misuse of government power and responsibility.

The “big 3” are back in Washington, driving this time apparently for PR purposes, asking for more money. The proposed solutions generally include the government taking some significant stake in the companies. Everything from a “Car Czar” to enforced restructuring (which I would agree with IF I agreed with a bailout at all).

Then there are the world markets. Asian markets are quite happy the US government will step into the big brother mode again and prop up weak parts of the US economy.

And if you bail out the big guy, the little guy wants his piece of the pie too. In a small story blown big, Barack Obama has proven he really does care about the little guy and each individual American by themselves. He says the workers staging a ‘sit-in’ at a Chicago-area manufacturer are “absolutely right” in demanding not just their owed wages and normal severance pay but also pay for accrued vacation as that manufacturer has declared bankruptcy and is currently in liquidation proceedings.

Apparently Bank of America held the business credit lines for the company and refused to offer more credit as it saw the sales of the company plummetting.

The issues here, expounded upon by John and Cisco on the morning show on Chicago’s AM560, are these: What responsibility does BoA have after their own bailout and largess received from the government? And at what point should a bailed-out bank still be able to protect it’s assets by allowing truly faulty companies to fail.

The whole failure and bailout cycle is ferocious in that it is, more often than not, better to allow a company to die naturally than to prop up failed and faulty business models and management/labor relations.

My opinion? Because we’ve already got ourselves into this mess. The workers are justified in expecting a little bit of this themselves, but only what is justly owed. BoA should be admonished to extend enough credit to cover immediate owed wages to the workers with collateral being the amount the bank will recoup from the liquidation of the companies assets (I agree with John and Cisco here).

Jesse Jackson has likened the plight of these workers to that of the blacks during the civil rights movement.

That man has no shame. Willing to sell even his own birthright for another 15 minutes in the spotlight.

And both Obama and Jackson find an ally in the Socialist Worker, the newspaper of the International Socialist Organization.

Socialist Worker has strived to be a source of information like no other, presenting a socialist analysis of the events and forces that have shaped today’s world and sharing the voices of those involved in the many efforts to try to change that world. As a result, SW has always gravitated to the stories of struggle that rarely, if ever, appear in the mainstream media–the coal miners in Kentucky fighting for their rights, the South African workers and students who toppled apartheid, the young women and men who stood up to corporate globalization in the streets of Seattle, the veterans and active-duty soldiers resisting the U.S. war for oil and empire in Iraq.

Strange bed-fellows indeed. Not that it would surprise anybody who bothered researching and learning the truth prior to Election day.

But you can smile, and mean it, and affect more people than you know. If you know me you know I like to smile. A lot. It’s just so much more fun to smile than otherwise.

So when studies are showing that being happy affects more than your immediate circle of acquaintances, but can affect people up to 3 degrees removed from the original happy person, I became very happy.

Are you happier now? It’s because I am. And so are your friends.