By on November 2, 2009

No-strike? No way. (courtesy blog.mlive.com)

Who in their right minds thought that the United Auto Workers (UAW) rank and file would ratify a contract that included a no-strike clause? That would be like cutting off your balls to spite your penis. And so they haven’t (ratified the contract that is). Sure, Chrysler has one of them no-strike deals, but they’re dead in the water. Ford’s on its way back to profit! Ford’s CEO said so himself. Many times. As Alan Mulally and UAW Prez Ron Gettelfinger have learned, if you talk out of both sides of your mouth, you’re heading for a big old bitch slapping. On Friday, Big Ron told the Detroit Free Press that the UAW won’t return to the bargaining table if the measure was defeated. So Ford’s unionized work force will carry on as before, until the existing accord (so to speak) expires in 2011. The rejection will not play well with Ford’s investors, who were looking for the Blue Oval Boys to reduce their labor costs to match those of the transplants and cross-town welfare queens.

Post-UAW defeat Ford will likely look to outsource more of its production abroad. Which will play well with investors but NOT with the UAW, whose interests the Obama administration seems to take VERY seriously. Still . . .

“J.P. Morgan believes Ford could turn a third-quarter profit,” Automotive News [sub] reports. “With a faster-than-expected return to profitability in North America also possible.”

Anything’s possible, I suppose. Let’s see those October sales stats, feel Ford’s burn and meet back here for a reality check, shall we?

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47 Comments on “UAW Rejects “No Strike” Ford Contract...”


  • avatar
    grog

    …cross-town welfare queens.

    I didn’t know farmers lived cross-town.

  • avatar

    Just repeal the Wagner Act already.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    That would be like cutting off your balls to spite your penis.

    I respectfully disagree.

    More correctly, it would be like preserving your job, that of your co-workers, and maybe a spot for your neighbors, siblings, kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews and the tax base for your city, county, and state.

    Boeing went cross-country to get a No-Strike labor pool. The State of Ohio is little more than a relic as capital has fled to get away from the onerous cost of a strike.

    Strikes decimate companies in today’s environment. A management team that does not do away with them should be replaced on just that fact alone.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    So, if I do the math roughly correctly….the UAW expects GM, Chrysler, and Ford to perform 60 years of agreements that are basically equal, but as soon as the companies demand the same treatment, the UAW bails?

    F these MoFos. Seriously. I’d crush them at the earliest opportunity.

  • avatar
    WildBill

    Still pulling for Ford to succeed, but the UAW seems to be there to thwart them. How about trying to work together for once, huh?

  • avatar
    NickR

    the UAW expects GM, Chrysler, and Ford to perform 60 years of agreements that are basically equal, but as soon as the companies demand the same treatment, the UAW bails?

    Unbelievable. So, I guess it’s okay for Ford to sidle up the bailout buffet now, whip out the machete, and slice and dice it’s way through plants and jobs? That’s the alternative the UAW wants?

    F these MoFos.

    I agree…talk about blind.

    (On a largely unrelated note, I see that in 2011 they are going to close the St. Thomas plant that makes the Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, and Town Car. What will the police do!)

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Great news!

    The UAW members did the 110% right thing. Ford’s CEO is ‘fine where he’s at’, Ford claimed a 1 billion dollar profit in quarter 3, and they still have the gall to ask their employees to take the same concessions GM/Chrysler workers were forced to take? Ford said they are different than GM and Chrysler…are they really?

    Why is Ford so arrogant and greedy all of the sudden.

    If Ford wants the same concessions as two bankrupt manufactures…..then Ford needs to file for C11. Otherwise, pay your workers and shut up.

  • avatar
    kamiller42

    @Pete Z, +100. UAW is a monkey on the back. Yes, Ford has been preaching profits, profits, profits. Part of this is for morale reasons. The other part is hope for the future. That’s the key — “FUTURE.” It’s not here yet. UAW, let Ford heal itself and get on solid ground before you milk the hell out of it.

  • avatar
    segfault

    What’s all the commotion? Ford is making money, and the UAW just can’t allow that to go on. Simple as that.

  • avatar
    mikey

    And In other news today…Ford turns a billion dollar profit!

    OK lets get something straight here, folks. The UAW agreed to the concessions. The rank and file rejected it. Thats called democracy, boys and girls. Get over it.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    I didn’t know farmers lived cross-town.

    Well, President Obama likes them too. It’s no wonder that the sugar growers said the industry was “very encouraged” by it and said Obama clearly “understands the challenges facing America’s farmers.”

    After all, he wrote a letter to sugar growers in early October that, according to a sugar industry trade group, noted that “he and Republican Sen. John McCain… had starkly different views on issues of importance to the sugar industry.McCain had ‘consistently voted against sugar growers and opposed the 2008 Farm Bill.’ In contrast, Obama said, he was proud to support the 2008 Farm Bill.”

    That’s why the President of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association “said in a telephone interview that farmers usually vote Republican but that he believes McCain’s opposition to farm programs will lead farmers to vote for Obama. ‘Sen. McCain seems to want to radically alter [the farm safety net].’ ”

    So let’s not divide bailout recipients into opposing groups. The Administration has room to love all the bailouts, farmers, auto companies, financial firms, state and local governments, and others alike.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    When Mulally and the rest of the suits get serious about sharing the pain they might get somewhere in these negotiations. Oh yeah, and how about all the fabulously wealthy, high living Ford heirs who are reaping the benefits of their ancestors efforts and good luck?

    Funny how easy it is for people to moan and groan about the blue collar workers, but the MBAs and the Heirs to the Throne almost always get a free pass.

    Someone explain to me why Elena Ford, for example, has a high paying job at FoMoCo. Do you think that if her name was Elana Horowitz she ever would have become an executive at Ford? But at least Elena sort of works for a living, unlike her mother Charlotte Ford who’s job description was “New York Socialite”.

    Ok, ready now. Scream class warfare at me. But, isn’t union bashing nothing but class warfare?

  • avatar
    97escort

    “Sure, Chrysler has one of them no-strike deals, but they’re dead in the water.”

    Latest air bubbles coming to the surface:

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN0240555920091102?feedType=RSS&feedName=consumerproducts-SP

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Maybe the Ford family could look around and will sit down and say “it’s been a good game. Let’s sell up to the Chinese and let them worry about it.”

    2012 Ford would be supplied for North America from China, just like 75% of the rest of the junk we buy, and could handily undercut the prices of GM and Chrysler stuff, probably more than offsetting the loss of some people to transplants.

    Of course, as the saying goes, “there goes the American middle class” but then again, pea-brained people interested in short-term profits ahead of their country, have been doing that for decades.

    The UAW’s time has long passed. Sure, it’s democracy, as mikey says. But the thing is, if I were one of the thinking workforce at Ford, I’d be royally pissed off about now.

    Obviously, having others vote you out of a job is democracy – but it isn’t good democracy.

    It’s just sheer stupidity to not see what Ford will do next. Shift production out of the USA and away from these plants.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Right you are John Horner, union bashing is indeed class warfare. Envy,is like gasoline being poured on a fire. It just gets the flames roaring.

  • avatar
    grog

    As usual, John Horner speaks the truth about the “truth” mentioned elsewhere here.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    At Ford we are different; we didn’t take money from the taxpayers …. uh, well, not the one everyone could see ($6 billion Energy Department loan).
    No Mr. Congressman, “I think I’m good where I’m at” … in response to taking a pay cut.

    You see at Ford we are different from the cross-town auto manufacturers, yup we are different.

    You see at Ford “We Executives” are different … do you think I was talking about you factory UAW rats … no, no, no, we want you to be like them but we are different …. Get it!!

    That is the reason the rank-and-file is turning it down.

    I’m just pointing out the obvious. I think they should accept the contract but they needed better profit sharing provisions.

  • avatar
    NickR

    but the MBAs and the Heirs to the Throne almost always get a free pass.

    On this website? Are you kidding me? They regularly get thrashed.

    I generally think that a lot of execs are overcompensated, but this is far from the worst case here if it is the case at all. The fact is that the concessions they are looking for are designed to keep the company profitable. Yes, they made money this quarter.

    The overall economy is still fragile and the competition in the auto industry is still fierce. AND the manufacturers are going to be staring down the barrel of post-C4C collapse.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    The UAW just doesn’t understand that they are part of the problem. They may persist, but if Ford is even slightly successful with its global sourcing concept they will be able to outsource a lot of the UAW’s future jobs. Good strategy there.

    BTW, I don’t think this is class warfare. In fact, bashing greed is equal-opportunity these days. It’s easy to get indignant at Wall Street robber barons, but with 20% of this country under-employed there is also plenty of vitriol for some guy who gets $80k a year, lifetime benefits, and 55 minutes of break per hour for screwing in lug-nuts and then pisses and moans about being asked to agree not to strike? Puh-leez.

  • avatar
    gohorns

    OMG a for profit company actually made a profit how evil. Hurry UAW do gooders go on strike and take those evil profits away since we all know that captalism is bad. That 1B should be equally redistributed to all the bolt screwer on guys and never saved or reinvested.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    When its pointed out that a Union is dragging their employer down on principle, its not bashing its shining the light on greed and a sense of entitlement. Just as its not corporate bashing to be pointing out the golden parachutes handed out to managers and executives who accomplish little to nothing.
    But what can you expect? The UAW has been doing its best to cook the goose that lays the golden eggs for 74 years. They’re only pissed because the suits beat them to it.

  • avatar
    manny

    How much do the UAW “execs” make?

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Take a field trip to Ohio. Wages and benefits played a role but it was the failure to end the strikes that closed the factories. Strikes have become a weapon of self-destruction. The UAW and rank-and-file union members both need to fully embrace this. Giving it up means nothing as it’s becoming nearly unusable unless one is into mutual self destruction.

    Again, what percent of profit was made from outside the U.S. final assembly?

  • avatar
    mikey

    @Retarted Sparks.. 55 minutes of break per hour? I
    guess you have never seen an assembly line eh?

    Just so we can get our facts straight here. An asssembler,the proper term is operator,works 55 seconds to the minute.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “When its pointed out that a Union is dragging their employer down on principle, its not bashing its shining the light on greed and a sense of entitlement.”

    The UAW isn’t dragging Ford down on principle. In fact, it is quite extraordinary that the union leadership agreed to a cram down in the middle of an existing contract. The rank and file said no dice, we are not giving up the only bargaining chip we have. If a union can’t strike, what is the point?

    The rank and file simply voted to keep their existing contract in force instead of giving up things in the middle of a contract. You know, just like the bankers at Goldman Sachs and AIG like to keep their contracts intact whenever possible.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Grog, what exactly do you hope to accomplish by insulting the people that grow your food? If you have a problem with the government’s agricultural policies, thats fine, blame the politicians not the farmers. I’ve got no say at all over what the USDA does, neither do other farmers, its their system and we just have to work with it. My family’s farm survived for generations before subsidies, and we’d be just fine without them. If the gov-ment wanted to trade in subsidy checks for a truly free commodities market, I’d take that deal gladly, but its never going to happen. The government doesn’t exactly like to give up power or control, and thats what its all about, not welfare.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Mr. Horner asks, “If a union can’t strike, what is the point?” Exactly. CarPerson criticizes striking as “mutually assured destruction,” but that is why it is so effective, especially because Ford cannot resort to non-UAW labor in the US. The UAW has the power of life and death over the company’s domestic plants. That’s the idea of Wagner-era unionism!

    It is also important to remember that the UAW has been and continues to be very successful. A union isn’t an investor or a partner; it is an adversary to management that exists to get more for its own members–not shareholders, not white-collar employees, not consumers. Altruism is not its purpose.

    Yes, in the long term the UAW’s efforts may be harmful for future would-be employees. Jobs will be fewer; plants will shut down. But the next generation doesn’t vote on contracts, and today’s members are focused on the here and now. Current members enjoy a great compensation package, and get lucrative buyout rewards if they give up a job. UAW members are the royalty of industrial labor. So I agree with mikey — envy plays a part in union-bashing.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Someone needs to buy the IP and trademarks from Ford, and set up shop in a more civilized place than Michigan. The various branches of the Department of Democratic Voter Purchases through Motor Vehicle Malinvestment is likely too gone to save already, but it would be nice if at least one US name brand managed to remain at least partially unsullied by our currently en vogue idiotocracy and the starstruck and stupids cheering them on. As a reminder that this was once a civilized country, if nothing else.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Perhaps Ford can move to New York City where the sanctity of the contract is honored.

  • avatar
    dougfixit

    Ford should sue the UAW for anit-trust violation.

    How would you like it if the people who work for you also own your competition?

  • avatar
    wsn

    # mikey :
    November 2nd, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    @Retarted Sparks.. 55 minutes of break per hour? I
    guess you have never seen an assembly line eh?

    Just so we can get our facts straight here. An asssembler,the proper term is operator,works 55 seconds to the minute.

    A Chinese assembler,the proper term is operator,works 55 seconds to the minute for 90% less.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Are UAW workers paid during strike? If not, here is an idea:

    During the strike, pre-sell 2012 Ford cars. Say, if a Fusion would cost $20k after rebates in 2010. Then pre-sell 2012 Fusion for $18k. That’s like paying 5% interest to the buyers’ savings.

    The idea is to out last the workers. After 2 years, these people either go bankrupt themselves or find another job.

    Of course there will still be a lot of financial damage done to Ford. But they can make it back when it’s all over.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    50merc:
    UAW members are the royalty of industrial labor. So I agree with mikey — envy plays a part in union-bashing.

    +1. And old tool and die guys were the kings of industrial labor.

    Envy is there. And a lot of hot air. There ARE difficult jobs in UAW plants. Of course, there’s also featherbedding and ass-clown attendance policies that would never be tolerated in a transplant factory. Or one of Intel’s chip fab factories. Or any medical parts factory…

    Having grown up in a UAW area in the 1970s-80s, I was familiar with their uncompetitive perks (that were rarely reported by so-called business journalists). In ’83 I drove a manual shift Civic after having learned on a manual Chevette. What a revelation…

    My friends and I have long since punted to transplants / imports for any new purchase. I don’t trust Detroit manufacturers long term reliability, warranty coverage, or financial stability. BTW, Ford IS leveraged to the hilt.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @wsn….The Chinese worker makes 90% less. How right you are. How much does a Chinese doctor make? An acountant,or an engineer? How about a Chinese low end white collar dude?

    Hey, Mr wsn, you want to live at the Chinese standard of living?

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Way to go UAW guys. We don’t need no stinking factories. Hecho en Mexico all the way.

  • avatar

    Reality check boys- it’s a new era of high unemployment and low expectations other than the opportunity to work hard enough to hold onto your job if you do it well.Karma might be a bitch for the no-strike UAW boys who might just end up in the middle of a permanent work stoppage.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “A Chinese assembler,the proper term is operator,works 55 seconds to the minute for 90% less.”

    Great, lets just shut everything in the US down. There isn’t a job of any kind being done in the US that China isn’t willing to do cheaper. If China can’t do it, India or Russia certainly has someone who can. Shut down all the schools, because if there aren’t any white collar or blue collar jobs then you don’t need to bother teaching anyone anything.

    India has smart well trained doctors, so just call them on the phone and tell them what ails you. Your prescription will arrive by IndiaEx tomorrow. Get rid of those silly rules which restrict international air cargo primarily to US flagged carriers. No need to pay UPS and FedEx pilot’s wages when ex-military Chinese pilots would work for 10%.

    I’m not sure how anyone in the US will earn the money to pay for all the imported goods and services, but somehow it will all magically work out. College used to be the great hope for getting decent work, but that has fallen apart in recent times as well. “Unfortunately, for more than 80 percent of recent college graduates, there is not a job offer waiting for them after they walk across that graduation stage.”

    http://www.eduinreview.com/blog/2009/05/college-grads-searching-for-jobs-in-a-bad-economy/

  • avatar
    stuki

    John Horner;

    So much better to force all those Americans getting up to go to work every morning for wages a lot lower than what the UAW is whining over, to just shut up and put in the extra hours to pay the taxes required to fund bailing out UAW employers when the UAW’s demands drive them out of business, I suppose. And, heck, why not make them pay extra for medical care rendered by AMA protected doctors as well. The AMA has much nicer lobbyists than those damn Indians, after all.

    And as for daring to wish their outlays for medicine would go to the guys actually making the drugs rather than unionized airline pilots, how totally unacceptable. After all, don’t all those gun toting hicks in flyover country realize we’ve got a bunch of childish and repeatedly discredited economic theories to pretend works? Heck, the bible thumpers probably don’t even drive politically correct cars! Much better if we sent the unionized cops their tax dollars fund to force them to take the bus. Driven by unionized bus drivers, of course.

  • avatar
    mitchim

    Sorry 50merc
    +1 CarPerson

    Mr. Horner asks, “If a union can’t strike, what is the point?” Exactly. CarPerson criticizes striking as “mutually assured destruction,” but that is why it is so effective

    Management does NOT need to be kept in line with a union. Competitors and a free market should do that for them. There are 2 lines of thought here.

    I say working with management for the greater good is the way to go. Pending the managers and CEO’s are not crooks.

  • avatar
    twonius

    It seems like a moot point.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the last Goodyear strike end right about the time that the employees health benefits were about to run out?

    Maybe before all the inflation in healthcare costs one could get away with it but now it seems that management needs to be prepared for 6 months max.

    Even if they have the power they’re highly unlikely to use it at any point in the near future. While I’m sure management would love to no longer have to worry about that, keeping the employees feeling like they have some control over their lives might be worth a lot more to moral and productivity. Especially considering most plants aren’t in the most uplifting places to begin with.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    So Ford made 1 Billion. And how much in debt are they to get that 1 billion?

    The UAW wants the “profit”? How about they talk once the borrowing is paid back? Otherwise a billion profit today, distributed, you’re still in the 25 Billion hole, and you’ve got nothing stashed for future difficulties.

    They need a cash pile for the downtimes. Simple as that. You can’t just spend it as soon as you get it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    mikey :
    November 2nd, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    @wsn….The Chinese worker makes 90% less. How right you are. How much does a Chinese doctor make? An acountant,or an engineer? How about a Chinese low end white collar dude?

    Hey, Mr wsn, you want to live at the Chinese standard of living?

    This is TTAC. So, the salary of Chinese doctors are not of concern to this topic.

    To be honest, I want to live like the king of Saudi Arabia. But, as you may have noticed, what I (or any other person) want is of no importance. At the end, the only thing that matters is what I can get, with dignity, of course.

    Let me put this way, I live the kind of life based on my salary, which does not involve a bailout and does not involve a threat of mutual destruction to my employer.

  • avatar
    wsn

    John Horner :
    November 2nd, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    If a union can’t strike, what is the point?

    This I have to agree.

    The union has the right to strike, just as the employer has the right to use replacement workers (after the current contract term with existing worker expire, of course).

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Reality check boys- it’s a new era of high unemployment and low expectations other than the opportunity to work hard enough to hold onto your job if you do it well

    What you’re describing will result in a race to the bottom that, eventually, will end up destroying the market because there won’t be anyone who can afford to buy the goods. It’ll be all the worse in the US because the social safety net does not exist to cope with high unemployment.

    I’m not sure what the solution is, but breaking unions and enabling disenfranchisement of the middle class is not it. I’m truly disheartened to watch people cheering for it.

    We’ve seeing real earning power erosion over the past quarter-century, despite net growths in GDP. How is this possible? We’re enriching very few, and impoverishing far more. That’s not a recipe for sustainable economic development.**

    How the upper class has managed to turn the middle and lower classes against themselves is a testament to effective marketing. Instead of half the workforce grumbling about what unionized workers get and how lucky that their jobs haven’t been outsourced to China, we really ought to be asking why the earnings spread is so very wide, and why benefits and job security aren’t available for more people.

    Notice how people get really uppity (and how the Op-Eds start coming fast and furious) at the idea of salary controls and increased regulation in the financial sector. The cockroaches really don’t like it when you start shining the light on them.

    I’m not saying that the UAW isn’t being more than a little myopic, but because we don’t have a cooperative, Japanese-style labour/management culture (thanks to decades of propaganda on both sides) I don’t see an alternative.

    ** if you’re an auto enthusiast, you should be concerned. One of the reasons we have had cool cars is because there were people to buy them. Keep things on the path they’re currently on and the “enthusiast” market is going to look a lot like today’s India and a lot less like North America in the 1960s.

  • avatar

    You know, it’s going to be a VERY rude awakening for some of the union tools when they are finally kicked out of a job.

    Because once they are forcibly wrested from their Communist delusions, and actually have to get jobs at the Fair Market Rate for their skills, education and experience, given their contribution to the total profit [just like every normal person out there], they’re going to sit down and have a real good think about Reality.

    -But for now, continue to whine about how you should be paid more than schoolteachers, professors, engineers, etc. We all need a few laughs in dark economic times. :P

    .
    .
    (btw, if you want $75/hr, you Can have it. -Just train+educate for a job where that’s market rate.)

  • avatar
    Blake2415

    Listen folk…

    First of all, Ford’s job is to make a profit. They should make 10 billion, not one. Second, the UAW was a big part of the automotive industry problems. Sure GM, Chrysler, and Ford made mistakes, so have Toyota, Nissan, Honda, etc. The point is that this boys club of auto workers has milked the auto industry for way too long. By the time the Toyota plants were here, our own auto industry was buried under the weight of the boys club wanting royalty treatment for their labor.

    It’s time for the UAW do disappear. I know it won’t happen but I wish Ford would put them out and give the jobs to realistic people. The union no longer fits in a free market. It’s time for our autoworkers to accept market pay and forget the magic carpet ride they have been able to arm wrestle from the auto industry.

    Ford needs to react to their market as a business, not as a caretaker for the employees. The UAW workers should be thankful for their jobs and they need to let Ford find it’s equal footing. Read me loud people, Ford’s primary goal is to be a profitable company, nothing more.

    Personally, I’m sick of hearing the UAW cry and moan. Take a market wage or get out! Your time has come and gone.

  • avatar
    geeber

    John Horner: Oh yeah, and how about all the fabulously wealthy, high living Ford heirs who are reaping the benefits of their ancestors efforts and good luck?

    It’s their company – please remember that key point. It’s not the UAW’s company, or the federal government’s company, or your company.

    And please review the history of several of those heirs, starting with Henry Ford II and continuing through William Clay Ford, Jr. They haven’t exactly been sitting on their duffs, collecting dividends and living it up with Paris Hilton. They have been working to make sure that the company remains a going concern.

    And if Charlotte Ford is a “New York Socialite” – so what? How, exactly, does this have anything to do with the cost of labor at the Ford Motor Company? The Ford Motor Company exists to make a profit by building products that people want, not serve as some sort of social welfare agency to ensure that no worker never loses a job.

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