To the People

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

UAW Negotiates Itself Out of Existence, Again

The United Auto Workers have negotiated themselves out of a living, as they demanded far more in compensation than the market wanted to pay for their labor. In the 80s, the days of Reagan and the US bail-out Chrysler, US auto firms demanded that Toyota et al produce cars in the US. If you forget the days of quotas, go here.But something funny happened, which is that Toyota opened up several factories in the "right to work" South and they cleaned the clock of Detroit, all with happy US workers. Oops. "Right to work" means that you cannot be forced to join a union or pay dues to it unless you consent. Sound basic? Not if you live in most states or if the Democratic union legislation goes through, which deprives one of the basic anonymity of the ballot.

Still, the UAW is taking a tough stance:
"Collective bargaining is not collective begging," Gettelfinger said. "It would be a grave mistake to equate our actions to capitulations."

Gettelfinger's rhetoric suggested that this year's bargaining could be rancorous. Automakers have called the coming talks "watershed negotiations" that will determine their financial future.
Most states compete for new Toyota factories and their employees seem happy to have their jobs, so perhaps Detroit retirees could pay a portion of their retirement health plans at doctor visits to save the company. Or are they just too lazy and spoiled to consider that and would rather see the whole company go down?

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