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Blog of Mass Destruction

UAW Strike Settled

By The Reverend Published: September 27, 2007

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I have a couple of observations about the settling of the UAW GM strike. First here's a few Washington Post paragraphs about the deal....

General Motors and the United Auto Workers agreed to a new contract early Wednesday, ending a two-day nationwide strike with a watershed deal that establishes a new union-managed trust fund for retiree health care but does not include wage hikes.

[...]

To win over workers and get the deal wrapped up quickly, GM is dangling a $3,000 signing bonus for each member, with a possibility of additional signing bonuses in later years of the contract.

However, workers will get no base wage increases or cost-of-living adjustments as they have in the past, according to sources who have been briefed on the contract.

[...]

GM is carrying some $50 billion in unfunded retiree health obligations on its books, a liability that executives say has helped make the company less competitive against foreign manufacturers. Toyota, the Japanese auto giant, is expected to supplant GM this year as the world's largest car maker.

[...]

At a new assembly plant being built in Mississippi, for instance, Toyota has said it plans to pay workers as little as $12 an hour. Link

Unions are so 20th century. In spite of playing a huge role in building a middle class existence in America, unions today are regarded as part of some competitive problem rather than a solution to American families' needs. While I'm glad for the UAW workers because at least they can now hang on for a little while longer, the unions demise is inevitable.

$12 per hour. Thats' $25K a year. To build cars. It's simply a race to the bottom as long as labor is viewed strictly as a commodity. Greed can define it no other way.

Jim Kramer's comments on Hardball two nights ago were so casual about GM breaking up the UAW so the stock could go up, it actually pissed me off. Hundreds and thousands of workers with families are never considered. Just a box of labor off the shelf, that's all. Just so those hard working stock holders can, you know, benefit if UAW families slide further behind.

The meme has won out that the only way to stay "competitive" in a "world economy" is to take wages for labor to as close to zero as possible. No matter what, any time any economic question is considered, the bobbleheads are bobbling that we "must stay competitive in the world economy" and that always means Americans must give up more for the sake of the top 5%.

American workers have not even kept up in the last 25-30 years. They are losing ground. Less buying power. Higher medical, energy and education costs. And all this goes on while the top 1% is literally making a killing.

If only those unions would give back more for the sake of those poor stock holders.

It's always the union's fault.

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