GM's Unions Become Strange Bedfellows

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

U.S. automakers seeking contract concessions from their domestic union workers often play one plant against the other, threatening to shift work from recalcitrant locals to more amenable union members. The Detroit News reports that German labor union IG Metall has made a preemptive move to stop GM from playing that card internationally. IG Metall has nominated United Auto Workers' (UAW) Veep Cal Rapson to the supervisory board at Opel. (German law requires companies to give seats to their labor union.) "GM's globalization could lead to a dangerous process of downward spiraling competition among the GM plants and unions," pronounced IT Metall's spokesman. Talk about conflict of interest. If GM wants to shift production of an Opel model to the U.S., would the UAW's foreign emissary try to stop the move in support of their German brethren? Lest we forget, GM has already threatened promised to shift Saturn Astra production stateside should the compact car prove a hit with American consumers.

Frank Williams
Frank Williams

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  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Dec 03, 2007

    Maybe we'll have an International Auto Workers Union. Bring it on, we need Saturn Opels and Mercury Mondeos.

  • Jl1280 Jl1280 on Dec 03, 2007

    And what would Marx have said! Things do progress according to his inexorable laws of economics and human self interest.