UAW Boses Deceived & Betrayed Members

As GM, Ford, and Chrysler patrol the halls of Congress with tin cups, begging for a share of The Big Bailout one wonders why the Media herd doesn’t place the blame where it belongs, squarely on the United Auto Workers Union.

Toyota began building cars in America in 1984.  Their non-union plants offer competitive wages and benefits and they have no trouble attracting enough American employees.  Their business philosophy encourages every employee to be a partner in a relentless effort to improve quality and efficiency.

Volkswagen, Porsche, Mazda, Hundai, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have all followed Toyota’s lead and opened assembly plants in America.  All are successful and profitable here.  Their total labor costs are less than half those of the unionized Detroit auto makers, but their employees are content and satisfied.

How did the United Auto Workers Union respond to emerging competition from Asian and European companies?  They maintained bitter, adversarial relationships with their members’ employers, and obstinately demanded ever more costly work rules, higher wages and more lavish benefits, putting those employers at an ever greater competitive disadvantage.

Just last year, the UAW finally reached an agreement with General Motors to change the pension system for future retirees, replacing the promise of a fixed retirement income  with company contributions to individual retirement accounts owned by the employees.  The union also agreed to a deal that calls for GM would make large lump sum payments to the pension fund in 2010 and the UAW to assume financial responsibility for supporting several hundred thousand current retirees.  But, it now appears that it will be impossible for GM to raise the money to make those payments. The UAW was twenty years too late in agreeing to these changes.

Its unlikely that hurling Bailout cash at the Auto makers will keep them in business for more than another year.  Then, they’ll be back for more cash.  Eventually, they’ll have to submit to reorganization in a bankruptcy court that will cost workers and retirees dearly.

The UAW claims to represent the best interests of its members.  If that were true, it would have advised them two decades ago that competition from foreign owned, American plants would surely threaten their future employment.

The union would have best served its members by becoming a more cooperative partner with their Auto Company employers.  Union boses should have educated the members on the massive changes in the Automotive marketplace and the need for them to scale back wage and benefit increases and relax work rules to prevent their employers from becoming non-competitive.

Instead, the union betrayed its members who have followed their union boses over a cliff, sacrificing long term job and retirement security for short term gains.

1 Comment so far

  1. aaa again on November 18th, 2008

    “Instead, the union betrayed its members who have followed their union boses over a cliff, sacrificing long term job and retirement security for short term gains.”

    Let me be more blunt: The bosses and older workers sold the younger workers right down the river to retain THEIR bennies…….and the rest be damned.

    “Brotherhood” my ass.