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View Diary: David Brooks on GM Bailout (60 comments)

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  •  Archaic work rules? (1+ / 0-)
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    This indicates to me that you know little about the UAW. 25 years ago we had some restrictive work rules. Today, things are very different. GM's hours of labor per vehicle is very close to the imports.

    The big difference in cost is because the transplants have no retirees. And that has been addressed in the latest contract with the offloading of retiree medical benefits onto the union. The pension fund is fully funded.

    Toyota recently chose to build a plant in Canada, rather than Alabama, in spite of those pesky unions and their work rules, because they don't have to pay near as much for medical benefits.

    "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

    by happy camper on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 03:32:58 PM PST

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    •  It sort of reminds me of the secret to (1+ / 0-)
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      Southwest's success in the airline business.  Their fleet is newer, so they have a lot less maintenance costs than the older airlines.  It's not a sustainable competitive advantage.

      Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

      by Anarchofascist on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 03:40:19 PM PST

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    •  I've researched UAW work rules... (0+ / 0-)

      and gone on their site.  Other than their claiming higher salaries and benefits, I've not been able to locate the contracts, or better, an analysis of the content of the contracts with GM.

      If you have such sources it would be useful.  There is a universal trend for unions to push as much as they can, and at times go too far.  It happened in the typesetters union, stagehand union, electrician unions in NY and others.

      Archaic workrules is not a myth, but I don't have the details on the UAW, I admit.

      •  Archaic work rules (1+ / 0-)
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        are a myth. I can tell you that first hand, no research required. The job classifications of yesteryear are long gone, abandoned in the mid-80's. Now you are either a team member or a team leader.

        The UAW has been giving concessions on wages, holidays, work rules, co-pays, raises, and just about anything else you'd care to name, for the last 20 years. Annual 3% raises were traded for a profit sharing formula that never generated more than a few hundred dollars for a year end bonus. During that time the company reduced employment by about 200,000 workers, mainly through increased productivity, which generally means everybody works harder. GM produces far more vehicles now, with 70,000 workers, than they ever did in the days when there were 300,000+ of us.

        To blame the UAW is ludicrous. In addition, those who state that the union should have "used it's clout" to push the company to a greener course are ignorant of the fact that such matters are, by law, not issues that can be addressed by collective bargaining. They can run the business as they please, and workers have no legal standing to strike over, or make any demands, regarding product line decisions.

        GM's management has operated for years with no concern other than the next quarter's results. But please don't fault the workers, or their union. We've been doing virtually everything asked of us to help the company.

        "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

        by happy camper on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 04:01:52 PM PST

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        •  Get this information out there..... (1+ / 0-)
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          happy camper

          As the idea of restrictive work rules are repeated frequently.  In fact, even Dems working on a bailout are publicly stating that such agreements need to be revised.

          The auto industry is accused of being inflexible.  Yet, Willow Run was transformed from making cars to making Tanks (I believe) in a few months.  

          But this was a command economy, where profit was not the motive...or not the ostensible one.

          I fear that the US, perhaps the world's, standard of living will be dropping.  This is a case where unions, paradoxically, may hinder the decline of their workers, but for how long.

          City and state employees have the same issue. The investor class has lost almost half of their wealth, which for many equates to their income.  They had no choice, the market did the deed.

          Union employees have contracts that are not based on income of the state or the company.  So they can demand to be paid.  But like the UAW did, they abandon the future workers.

          State workers don't have to worry about their state going bankrupt....not for a while that is.

          I'm rambling, because this is really a tough issue, with all bad answers.

      •  I see, unions push too far (0+ / 0-)

        but management doesn't.

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