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View Diary: Do you think UAW workers make $70 an hour? UPDATED (211 comments)

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  •  How can Japanese automakers do just fine (0+ / 0-)

    without unions? If they had to pay all these legacy costs, would they be in the same boat?

    •  what is the minimum wage in japan? (4+ / 0-)

      what is the provided health coverage?
      pensions?
      social security?

      •  I'm talking about the ones (0+ / 0-)

        that operate here in the US.

        •  Huge tax breaks (8+ / 0-)

          The foreign automotive plants in the US get huge local taxbreaks...as in they pay no local tax in some states.  While these tax breaks act as an incentive to bring work to the region, it doesn't appear to really help the surrounding area fiscally as the lost tax base isn't completely regenerated by the taxes on the employees (as the theory would go).

          Also, even though the employees at these factories are not union, they still benefit greatly from UAW collective bargaining as their wages are still informally pegged to the going UAW rate for similar line and skilled trade work (albeit a slightly discounted rate).  So now that UAW influence may be waning, I am sure the pay rate in the foreign automotive factories in the US will decrease and the benefits will weaken.

          Toyota in particular also relies heavily upon component production in other Asian countries with extremely low paid workers to balance out the cost of Japanese workers.

          As a side note, these same companies seem to thrive in Europe and Canada.  Hmm, I wonder why? Could be because the healthcare issue isn't such a financial burden?

          It is true that in the 80s GM and Ford had a huge chance to push for universal healthcare, but decided not to actively pursue that strategy.  Pretty short sighted if you ask me.

          The only thing scarier than a McCain presidency is a Palin presidency.

          by Mote Dai on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 11:22:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  For one thing they are asking European Goverement (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mote Dai, Terra Mystica

      s to bail them out.

      For the other they hav't been at it for 100 years. Their workforces are much younger.

      But also remember that the workers contributed to those pension benefits.

    •  Well, they pay current workers comparable wages (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mote Dai, JDPITALIA, Terra Mystica, LynneK

      and benefits, what they don't have is the retiree costs.  They operate like Southwest Airlines which has not accumulated those liabilities.  It's not current workers that are causing the issue.  The rest of the issues are not worker issues but operating issues for these car companies.  Toyota has it's own problems...they have agreements with their Japanese workers that require them to keep and pay their workers even during a slowdown so they are quickly eroding their cash reserves.  It will be interesting to see what the Japanese government does if Toyota or Honda needs their assistance.  I am sure they will not think twice about it.

    •  Japanese automakers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mote Dai, JDPITALIA, phrogge prince

      in Japan are unionised. Japanese automakers in the UK (i.e., Nissan) are unionised. Guess what, they're doing great.
      The reason they're not unionised in the US is that the government (via various Southern states and their generous subsidies and tax breaks) has subsidised them to NOT be. Your tax dollars at work, helping employers keep their workforce union-free by making the threat to leave town if they hear about a union drive a reality, because the next state over will give them a free building site and a tax break.

      Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
      "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

      by expatyank on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 11:58:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not only that but those southern states have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDPITALIA, cnmbfa

        Right to work laws and other anti-union laws with court system that slaps unions till they are black and blue. Not to mention cost of living and housing is cheaper there than in the northern states so they can afford to pay workers less without them getting as upset.

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