Monday, October 22, 2007

Uh...Detroit...We Have a Problem...

Problems are afoot for the top brass at the United Auto Workers.

Perhaps Gettlefinger and the boys at UAW's Solidarity House thought the Chrysler workers would just fall into line after walking out on strike for a mere six hours on October 10th. However, that now appears unlikely as ratification of the Chrysler deal is in serious trouble.

Almost immediately following one of the shortest strikes in the history of Big Three negotiations, questions arose about whether the UAW's strike was mere 'showbiz' than a real showing of strength and "solidarity."

Unlike their counterparts at General Motors (who ratified the GM deal without a hiccup), UAW members at Chrysler seem to be rebelling at their own union leaders. So much so that one UAW member stated: "The UAW is trying to be a big powerbroker on Wall Street at our expense. They must think that we are illiterate and unable to read what the contract says."

At present, a larger-than-expected number of UAW locals have voted against the tentative deal. If the final numbers come in later this week, and members fail to ratify the deal, this will leave more egg on Gettlefinger's face and prove to be tougher for the UAW to negotiate a better deal with Cerebrus-owned Chrysler, not to mentioned Ford.

The heart of the disgruntlement seems to be three-fold: 1) members' concern over the lack of job security* in the contract, 2) the two-tier compensation package and 3) the VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) the contract establishes.
*Note: Less than two weeks after GMs ratification, it was announced that GM would be cutting more than 750 jobs at one of its plants.

As former unionists, all of these are rife with problems for the rank-and-file-minded individual... even though they may be necessary to ensure Chrysler's viability for the future.

However, as the UAW expands its membership away from representing just autoworkers and takes on new customers (aka members) like casino dealers and graduate students, it seems the UAW may be less interested in the auto industry workers themselves anymore and may be more interested in the lucrative financial opportunities the creation of a VEBA presents.
For a good insight into the issues the rank-and-file have with the new contract, go here.

On a different, but related subject...

There was recent op-ed in the Washington Post about the American consumer not caring about whether or not a product is union-made.

For us, nothing could have illustrated that point more appropriately than driving along the interstate last week.

Alas, we came across a car with a union bumper sticker. As avid bumper sticker readers, we believe that bumper stickers can say a lot about the people driving the car. As a result, we always take notice of what people have on their bumpers.

Well, in this particular case, the bumper sticker was an IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) sticker that had only about two words (along with the IBEW logo) on it: Productivity. Craftsmanship.

Okay, although debatable in many circles, those words are pretty normal on union bumper stickers. So, that wasn't what was too shocking...

What was shocking is the fact that the dude wasn't driving a union-made vehicle. He was driving a Suburu!

At that point, in a startling moment of repeating clarity, it became all too clear.

If unions can't even attract their own members to buy union-made products, then why do they think the rest of America is going to buy their products?...

Talk about not walking the talk!

That's like those morons who put bumper stickers on their cars that say "Live Better, Work Union." Yet, when you look at the car, 95% of the time it's a piece of crap!

[If you don't believe us, start looking at the cars that are festooned with that particular bumper sticker!]

For the record: We at drive Fords. Yeah, they're union-made...but we don't hold that against the Company or its employees.

1 comment:

Oscar said...

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