Autoextremist: Die, UAW! Die!

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

There’s no love lost between carmudgeon Peter Delorenzo and GM’s failed Car Czar, the exec whose singular inability to create compelling branding or class-leading products helped transform the world’s largest automaker into a nationalized welfare queen. No wait. Sorry. The self-styled Autoextremist hates the United Auto Workers (UAW). And now that the UAW has rejected a contract with Ford that would have given it parity with post-C11 GM and Chrysler, Sweet Pete has unleashed the dogs of demagoguery. “Wait a minute, wasn’t it the rampant wage and benefit increases over the last three decades that contributed immeasurably to the domestic auto industry’s demise? And yes, it took two parties to make those deals, but really? After everything that has transpired in the last year the union is still clinging to the notion that they actually have a dog in this hunt when it comes to getting this industry off of the ground again? That somehow, some way, when things get all back to normal again they can go right back to the “M.O.” that helped bring this industry to its knees in the first place? I’ve got one word for the UAW and its behavior: Reprehensible.” DeLorenzo’s ire is not entirely misplaced, but it’s close . . .

DeLorenzo’s off-hand, “pay no attention to the in-bred idiots, corporate rapists and Ford family behind that curtain” dismissal of Motown’s mis-management, his po-faced use of the word “immeasurably” to describe the UAW’s complicity in Detroit’s demise, reveals his willingness to jettison perspective for PR. Nowhere is this more clear than his attack on the union’s rejection of the “no strike” provision in Ford’s failed contract. Displaying his usual craven spinmeistery, Sweet Pete doesn’t even mention this critical condition by name.

The UAW’s true colors have never, ever changed. It is a wildly irresponsible entity that has crippled the U.S. auto industry time and time again with its demands and its insistence on its fundamental “rights.”

“Rights” for what, exactly? The “right” to continue to contribute to the erosion of America’s industrial base? The “right” to put its selfish, totally unrealistic and woefully out of touch goals ahead of what’s best for the rest of the nation? The “right” to relentlessly scoff at basic logic and the bigger picture? The “right” to shirk accountability and responsibility in order to further their whacked-out vision of a utopian future that will never happen?

Clearly, the UAW has consistently acted against its own interests, and the interests of its employers. But Sweet Pete’s dietribe [sic] somehow avoids the simple equation that a union can’t exist without the right to strike. As much as Detroit would be better off without the UAW, expecting it to commit harakiri for the good of hugely-compensated auto execs is deeply delusional.

The bottom line here is that the UAW has squandered every last possible opportunity to talk about its “rights.” It is a misguided, malicious relic that exists in a parallel universe expressly created for the warped vision of its members, and it is simply out of touch, out of time, and out of step with the sobering realities of America’s economic future.

Just so. BUT—the bottom line here is not unionism per se. VW is a heavily unionized automaker that somehow manages to produce profit. And the difference between Motown’s unionized assembly workers’ compensation and that of non-union transplant workers is not that large. Nor is it a significant addition to the cost of producing an automobile.

The real problem is corruption, plain and simple. The corruption of a highly-paid management without transparency or accountability facilitating a highly-paid union management without transparency (a golf course?) or accountability. Attacking one member of this dysfunctional relationship while protecting the other to ensure steady consulting income is . . . reprehensible.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Kamikaze2b Kamikaze2b on Nov 05, 2009

    The assembly people down in the dirty south better hope that the UAW doesn't disolve, or they will be looking at 50% pay cuts..... No doubt they are reaping the benefits from paying members.

  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Nov 05, 2009

    If owners, management and labour don't consider themselves part of the agreed enterprise, then the business will be dysfunctional. As people are involved, you can be sure a solution will require goodwill. Without goodwill, the dysfunction will tend toward extremes. There will be strange forces at work in such a situation and no ONE party will be "at fault". Having said that, I believe there is a desperate need to stop the rich getting much richer and the working poor getting more poor. We have a dysfunctional world right now, especially financially. Everyone can play a part.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".
  • Steve Biro For all the talk about sedans vs CUVs and SUVs, I simply can’t bring myself to buy any modern vehicle. And I know it’s only going to get worse.