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UAW finally a "reality based" organization?
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The UAW has finally recognized that zero times a million is still zero. Given that realization, it has entered into negotiations with the "Big Three" auto makers with the attitude that sacrifices on its part will have to be a part of the mix as well:
"We have made a conscious choice to put aside the adversarial approach," UAW Vice President Bob King said last year.
That, folks, is a sea change in attitude. Of course it is driven by a completely different reality than past negotiations with auto makers, both for the manufactures and the union:
Unprecedented pressures are driving the change in tone. The domestic automakers combined lost nearly $7 billion in the third quarter of 2006. GM and Ford have massive restructuring programs under way. Chrysler is preparing its own restructuring, expected to involve job cuts, plant closings and the elimination of shifts.

The cutbacks have hastened the UAW's membership decline. In 1979, the union boasted 1.5 million members. The number could fall below 500,000 this year.

Moreover, foreign carmakers continue to eat into the Big Three's U.S. market share, with Toyota Motor Co.'s U.S. sales surpassing Ford's in two months of 2006.
The quote of the day? Try this:
"If we don't make a profit, we don't have a plant," said James Kaster, president of UAW Local 1714, which represents workers at GM's factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
Exactly. Pretty basic economics and the same sort of stuff those who oppose minimum wage hikes and other economic intrusion by government (unnecessary and marginal regulation which adds to the cost of production). Couple that with unreasonable demands by labor (which also add to the cost) and pretty soon, the profit is gone and the plant is closing.

To their credit, it appears that the UAW "gets it". If these manufacturers are going to survive and make a profit, both sides will have to sacrifice some. Now if we could only get the government, which is busy passing increases in the minimum wage, etc, to figure it out as the unions have, perhaps they might be able to survive all of this.
 
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Don’t Toyota and some of the other foreign manufacturers have plants here? Are they unionized? Just curious.
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
Auto parts manufacturers in China make $0.90/hr and the government picks up what passes for healthcare and retirement costs.

There never has been an attitude nor a deal that the UAW could have cut that would have saved the tens of thousands of workers at Delphi or Visteon/(Automotive holding). The combination of legacy costs and cheap forign labor are really too much to overcome. These guys are just screwed. I can’t really blame them for making as much as they could for a long as they could.

I’m going out on a limb and predict that many of those workers end up with their health care and retirement picked up by our taxes.

Why no one considers national healthcare to be an unfair subsidy that forign governments use to under price their goods in this country is beyond me.

 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
btw Ugh,

Toyota and others have manufacturing plants here. They take parts made abroad and assemble them here. Most of the expense of a car is found in the parts. Manufacturing parts is labor intensive, assembling cars is much more automated. The Toyota workers make marginally less.

Toyota has 17 retirees that pays for. General Motors and Ford together have over 600,000. In 30 years, Toyota will have lots of retirees and the Koreans will do to them what Toyota did to Ford and GM.

 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
Toyota and others have manufacturing plants here. They take parts made abroad and assemble them here
Not true CindyB....that is part of the allure of transplanted automobile factories, the network of parts suppliers that spring up. I happen to live in a state where a "foreign" manufacturer set up shop and a HOST of parts suppliers appeared, for wind screens, moldings, and the like. So no, them trcksy Jap’s ain’t making the parts in China and only assembling them here... they is a’makin’ or having made the parts in the US.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Why no one considers national healthcare to be an unfair subsidy that forign governments use to under price their goods in this country is beyond me.
Its really expensive and inefficient and has to be paid for by a high tax burden. It is financed in such a way that profitable companies have to pay for a share of everybody in the entire country and not just their own workers. It is not a competitive advantage unless the businesses being compared are both unprofitable, in which case the one operating under nationalised healthcare will lose money slower.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I can’t really blame them for making as much as they could for a long as they could.
Well I can, Stupid greedy a-holes literally killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, all the while spending their muscle to try to get the most far out socialists elected. Lets not forget that the Unions were used for a long time as a way to keep African Americans out of good jobs. And of course there was always the strong arm tactics, the violence and the mob ties. Unions were usefull a long time ago during the progressive era. But since before WWII they pretty much were a negative force in our society.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
The UAW can compromise all they want.

So long as GM, Ford and Chrysler continue to make crap automobiles their jobs will be in danger.

Toyata, Nissan, BMW, et all seem to be doing fine with their US plants under UAW contract.

Drive a loaded Tahoe, then drive an X5 and you’ll see what GM’s real problem is.

 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Yeah, much like your problem Davebo. Still waiting on a cite for that supposed quote of mine.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Toyata, Nissan, BMW, et all seem to be doing fine with their US plants under UAW contract.
Oh, is THAT where the 1,000,000 UAW members went in the calculation showing
there used to be 1,500,000 members but it’s now down to 500,000 members!

Thank God, I thought they weren’t members any more!
What they meant was they aren’t UAW members working at US Corp autoplants, right?
They’re working at the foreign corp plants?
Yes?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

the government picks up what passes for healthcare and retirement costs
Do you have a source for this?

I think it’s actually even worse than you’re painting it: in China there is neither a socialized healthcare system nor is there a universal system of social insurance. If you’re in a major city and present yourself at a hospital they’re supposed to treat you. That’s about it.

Subtract the cost of healthcare and retirement (not to mention caring for elderly parents) from that $.90 per hour.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
I go to China a lot, and I really wonder about their health care system. In Taiwan its nationalized, but in China, I think it almost private. However, I would suspect that large companies like auto factories would be the ones to offer it. They also sometimes have to build dormitories for the migrant workers and offer meals etc.

Highly skilled workers in China are not as cheap as people think, but I would guess they are more flexible and possibly harder working than Americans (though probably much less efficient and less educated.)

But, seeing as how Toyota is willing to invest in the US automobile manufacturing, I think the culprit in the rise of China’s car producers is that they do not allow imported cars and required joint ventures (a great way to learn the business.) Just for example, Ford built an assembly plant in Taiwan in the 90’s based on an agreement that Taiwan would keep auto import taxes high (thus making it economically feasible.) Later on Taiwan wanted to join the WTO and dropped the tarrifs...Ford was not happy. They would have preferred to use an existing plant to export into Taiwan’s small market, but now they are stuck with a high cost local facility that has to compete with imports.

So, in China, the west should have REFUSED joint venture rules, and REFUSED W.T.O. entry until China allowed access to her markets for foreign built cars to be fully open. Cars, planes, trains - those are some of the products that require more than just brute labor and should be viable in western countries. They should be shipping cars to China and getting textiles in return.

Instead, we help to subsidize their growth on the learning curve and you will see cheap Chinese branded car (those JV companies operating on their own) soon enough.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"So long as GM, Ford and Chrysler continue to make crap automobiles their jobs will be in danger."

That used to be the case back in the early to mid eighties but is no longer the case.

"Toyata, Nissan, BMW, et all seem to be doing fine with their US plants under UAW contract."

That is not true either. "Some" are unionized but not all and ALL are going the way of the big three as far as legacy costs.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071902083.html

 
Written By: markm
URL: http://
"both sides will have to sacrifice some"
==============
I’m curious. What is the other side sacrificing in this deal?

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
What is the other side sacrificing in this deal?
Nothing, and why should they? Their backs are against the wall of investor expectations.

It’s "my way, or we all hit the road" time.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Ford/GM vs Toyota/Honda

If your biggest selling family car is actually a small truck with a large V8 in it, you will be in deep doodoo when the price of fuel doubles.

If your biggest selling family car is a medium sized sedan with a four pot and is competing against that small truck, when the fuel price doubles you will increase market share.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Nothing, and why should they? Their backs are against the wall of investor expectations.
On the contrary investing in GM is a sacrifice, a charity like throwing money into a black hole. GM stock is junk.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Oh, and by the way, Buick is a prestigious and growing brand in China.

PT Barnum was a genius or marketing really does work.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
On the contrary investing in GM is a sacrifice, a charity like throwing money into a black hole. GM stock is junk.
The stock being rated as junk only bolsters the proposition the UAW must fold like a cheap suit—or have out of work members. Why on earth do you think it means the union is negotiating from a position of greater strength?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://

 
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