The Big Three

One word came to mind when I heard the news from GM this week.  Unions.  You want to know what is killing the big three auto makers?  Unions.  The strangle-hold they have on U.S. auto makers is ridiculous.  I know from first hand experience. From family members to friends, the things the unions make those companies do and go through is down right criminal.  The fact that these companies have to pay employees for not working, for doing hardly anything worth the pay they get when they are working and for putting out an over priced, cheaply made product is outrageous. 

I have written about unions before here and here and then about Teachers Unions here.  Whether it’s the Teachers Union or the UAW, they are all the same. 

While the Big 3 are reeling and just barley staying afloat (if even that),  foreign car makers are hiring right and left.   Hiring  Non-Union workers that is.  Toyota will go on, experts predict, in the next 10 years to be the biggest, most profitable of any auto maker.  Why is that?  Well, it’s because they don’t have to give in to the Union thugs and pay people for wages at a far higher price then they are worth.  The cost to build a car by Toyota is far less then the price to build a car by, say, GM.  Unions do not  change the productivity of workers. All they can do is stop the employer from paying less than what unions demand the employer pay.

Of course, during the next negotiation that the UAW has with Chrysler, GM or Ford, they will demand more money, even though the company, as a whole, is dying.

I’m sure Politics and Culture can chime in here, being from the Motor City and all.

Let’s once again get a moratorium on Unions.


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15 Responses to “The Big Three”

  1. Angry D. Says:

    I don’t completely agree about unions. The problem is not with the unions, per se, it’s with absolute power resting in the hands of one side or the other.

    At the beginning of the 20th century all power in an employer/employee relationship rested with the employer. That’s why unions were organized. When people were working eighty hours a week for pennies not only did they suffer, but the economy suffered as well: they hardly had any money to spend on luxury goods.

    Unions came in and started providing some balance. Then, by the 1970s, the weight had tripped in the other direction. Now the unions have too much power and the employers don’t have enough.

    I’m forced to be a member of the NEA. In fact, I just got chewed out by my teacher’s college because the NEA started mailing me political literature (I joined with them ONLY because I was required to purchase educator liability insurance and the NEA is one of the few groups that provides it to student teachers). I wrote a rather polite, but very blunt, note telling the NEA to take me off of any mailing lists for anything not directly related to my insurance.

    Rather than speak to me, the NEA complained to my school that I was not “professional” in my conduct towards them, and the school put me on disposition probation. I’m in the process of getting that removed because, frankly, it’s horseshit. They misused my personal privacy and I’m not allowed to complain about it? Just because I told you something you didn’t want to hear doesn’t make what I said rude or offensive.

    But that’s the way unions think and act. If you don’t support them, then you’re rude, unprofessional, and offensive– whether you are or are not is immaterial.

    The problem isn’t unions. It’s the way unions have been hijacked by their leadership and are now used as a club to compel compliance, both from members and from employers.

    Angry D

  2. Politics & Culture Says:

    The UAW is definitely hurting the domestic automakers. But so is the fact that for years the Big 3 simply has not made good, reliable vehicles that people actually want to buy.

    I absolutely LOVE my Hondas, and it will take something very special to get me to buy anything but a Honda (or maybe a Toyota).

    Both of my Hondas were made here in America by non-union American workers.

    I know a UAW guy who is always complaining about imports (and making little comments about my choice of vehicles). What he doesn’t seem to understand is that if his company (GM) made good, reliable vehicles, people would buy them! But they don’t, so they don’t.

  3. Roland Says:

    One bad thing is that the Democrats want to take away any sort of secret voting in Unions. If they get that passed then coercion will really start to increase.

    Angry D, I have to disagree. Maybe Unions were needed 100 years ago but today, things are much different. The fact that in many Unions, it is very hard to lose your job and you are almost 100% guaranteed a certain % of pay increase each year. Shouldn’t that be left up to the employer? I know in NY, you can just about do anything and you won’t lose your job. You might be suspended but it will be with pay.

  4. kristisweeney Says:

    Careful policulture. I love my American made vehicle and have been loving it for about 10 years. Aside from needing the brakes replaced (which is, as everyone knows, simply a wear issue) it’s never had any work done. My parents have always has good luck with American cars and trucks. You’ve really got to be careful about saying all when all is not the case.

  5. Roland Says:

    Kristi, sure, you’re going to find some exceptions – people who have zero problems just like you will find some Honda owners who have had nothing but problems. For the most part though, going way back to the 80’s, Toyota and others simply made better cars. They made better cars cheaper.

    You know, policulture, what cracks me up is you hear people judging people by the fact they drive a foreign car yet, where was their DVD player or Stereo or microwave or whatever made? Why does it only apply to autos?

  6. kristisweeney Says:

    Oh I don’t really care, so much. I just want people to be careful. I mean, I think there is probably a rather large minority of people who have had reliable, late model American cars, rather than the few exceptions that you mention. I would buy a Honda or a Toyota or a Nissan or even a Hyundai or a Kia, but I have a car that’s American made, is ten years old, that someone else paid for, and is in great shape, so I drive it. I just really wish people would be careful about being all inclusive or exclusive. I’ve found that more often than not, it’s not the rare exception, but a pretty strong minority and then I look stupid when I used the word all to describe something, and I would hate for someone to look stupid when they don’t have to.

  7. Roland Says:

    Yeah, those people who are “Ford” people, for example. They crack me up.

  8. AvaP. Says:

    I drive a 98 Suburban with well over 150,000 miles and it runs AWSOME. With most cars the problems are in ownership and maint. I have to agree with Roland on the need for union at some time in history. The problem is that it is like a leach. The union feeds off of mediocraty. They do not promote nor encorage people to excel in their jobs….they keep people down with no insentive to do better….because at some point you may be the dreaded management!!!Oh NO!

  9. cm Says:

    I drive a Nissan and it was made in Smyrna, TENNESSEE, USA. Most Nissan vehicles sold in the US are made in the US. GM and others have plants in Mexico. What is patriotic about buying from an American vehicle that is not even made in America??? Just because a vehicle comes from an American company doesn’t mean that it is “American” made.

  10. Angry D. Says:

    The problem, Roland, is not unions. It’s MISUSE of union power. How long do you think it would take for employers to go back to the way things were in 1933, eliminate the forty-hour work week, slash employee benefits, and the like if unions disappeared? Mere seconds, I fear.

    I don’t like unions. I don’t like most of what they stand for. I DO, however, think that they have their place. The problem is that the pendulum has swung too far in their favor and way from the employers. Why can’t we fire poor teachers? Union gets in the way.

    However, when a teacher was accused of inappropriate touching a couple of years ago, it was the NEA that stepped to the plate and defended him from what turned out to be a complete fabrication developed by a female student he had disciplined for disrupting class. Without that union the man’s reputation is destroyed.

    I detest the NEA, but even they manage to avoid cocking it up once in a while.

    What we need is BALANCE, not the elimination of one side or the other. Management isn’t the problem. Unions aren’t the problem. The problem is when one side gets too much power and authority.

    Angry D.

  11. Roland Says:

    If an employer wants to eliminate the forty-hour work week, slash benefits and the like, that is up to THEM. See how many GOOD people rush to fill that job. Why do you think so many companies offer good benefits? It’s to get the good employees. And keep them.

    It’s all about paying people what they are worth. Unions are about paying people period.

  12. Angry D. Says:

    I agree with you, Roland. However, what if ALL employers did that? Where do the employees turn for protection? Certain practices are patently unfair– some of them are illegal as a result.

    I’m usually the last person to bring up fairness (which is usually translated as “holding someone else back for me”), but when textile mills of the 1950s and 1960s refused to provide protective breathing equipment for their workers, what would you have done? Well, they organized, stood as a group, and defeated tyranny.

    Again, the problem isn’t with one side or the other, it’s with BOTH sides.

    Overall I agree with you. I’m mostly playing devil’s advocate because I detest unions as well. The difference is that I can see their use, albeit limited. I don’t defend their organized crime connections or lobbying power. No union should mortgage their chapterhouse without a membership vote in order to get money for an anti-Republican campaign advertisement (Ahem: California Educator’s Association, 2004). However no employer should have sole power over the employee, either.

    Angry D.

  13. Roland Says:

    All employers would never do that in todays day and age. Take 5 big paint companies. 4 of them all have very hard work weeks, underpay and offer no benefits but one of them decides to offer better pay, benefits and a better working envirnoment. Suddenly, they have people pounding at their door. GOOD people. That is how the market place works.

    When you bring up breathing equipment, that is not something that could make it today. Too many Govco agencies would be there to inspect and shut them down. It’s just not the same as it was 50 years ago.

  14. Angry D. Says:


    Hey, I pretty much agree with you. However, those government agencies you’re talking about came about largely because of union lobbying groups that had to fight for the right to a safe workplace.

    Actually, my experience in the market is that all five employers would cut approximately the same things at the same time. They do it all the time. Remember sick days and vacation? Now it’s the “time bank.” Remember overtime? Now it’s salary and mandatory nights and weekends “to stay competitive.” Sure, you can go somewhere else, and the average person stays in the same job for less than four years now, but who really enjoys leaving? When was the last time someone stormed out of an office yelling “I quit!” over their shoulder? It doesn’t really happen very much. People do that in retail and food service, but not generally in white collar positions. Usually when they leave it’s because someone offered them a better position. Our mindsets have changed.

    What I’d like to do, especially since I’m a teacher, is get the NEA to lobby on my behalf for my right to carry my firearm. By law, at least in my state, if an employer takes away your right to defend your own person, they are REQUIRED to defend you. So, logically, in my shall-issue state, if a school district takes away my right to defend myself, and yet does not have an armed officer on campus in case of an active shooter event… you can see where this is going.

    It’ll never happen, but it’s something to consider. My family is under standing orders that if I am ever killed or grievously injured in a shooting and I am not carrying my sidearm because I’m somewhere where they are “not allowed,” then they are to file both criminal and civil charges against whatever agency disarmed me: school, shopping mall, etc.

    BUT, what we really need are a couple of unions behind that one. Think the NEA will go for it?

    Angry D.

  15. Roland Says:

    I am all with ya on the gun thing.

    I actually love having PTO instead of sick days and vacation days. That way, I can take time off any time for any reason. I have awesome benefits so, I guess I am biased a bit in that way.

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