What's Wrong With This Picture: UAW On Strike Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
what s wrong with this picture uaw on strike edition

UAW members picketed the UAW’s 35th annual convention, in Detroit. The union is highlighting the theme of unity, as dissatisfaction with concessions made over the last several years threatens to tear the union apart. Two-tier wages are the underlying threat to unity, but the union’s ownership of stakes in GM and Chrysler have many wondering whether the UAW can even represent its constituents properly. One longtime UAW activist, Gary Walkowicz of Local 600, is even challenging the UAW’s “prohibitive favorite” Bob King for the union’s presidency having successfully defeated recent Ford concessions at his local. Another activist was briefly detained yesterday for distributing fliers outside of Cobo hall. Detroit’s government-funded comeback was only possible because of UAW concessions, and now the fiestier locals want to roll those concessions back and bring back the “fighting union.” That won’t happen as long as the UAW’s VEBA fund owns such large holdings in GM and Chrysler, but once the IPOs are over and the union has dumped its stock, look for these activists to gain more power within the union.

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  • Tommy Boy Tommy Boy on Jun 14, 2010

    What's the UAW membership now, about 1/3 of it's peak? Darwin would tell us that the UAW needs to become extinct, for clearly it is a stupid species that is unable to learn from experience!

  • Rnc Rnc on Jun 14, 2010

    "One Ford" - The ability to build the same cars in different parts of the world (and with the collapse of the Euro, financially viable). $23 billion in cash (half you which could pay down debt. Also what would be required to move truck manufacturing to the non-union south or mexico.) As soon as plants start falling, the rest will get in line really quick (especially the ones that voted yes to the last concessions). GM and ChryCo - No strike clause, guess they can argue until enough of the old timers die and then they can just negotiate with the tier 2 employees that relace them which should work out quite well. Majority understand the situation, you have as many college grads on the assembly line as you do hardcore, we always got we wanted we'll get it again, they won't vote in an extremest. And it would probably take one law suit by a large ford shareholder to disqualify (or change to union/employer relationship) the UAW representing Ford workers.

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    • Len_A Len_A on Jun 14, 2010

      I agree with your assessment, geeber - this bailout is/was a one-time deal, and if they can't make after this, then I can't see any more bailouts either. And I say that as a native Detroit area resident dependent on the overall health of the Detroit automakers, one who has been drastically affected by their problems, including my and my wife's unemployment situation, and as the relative of several auto retirees and employees. Even I think this should be a one-time deal, but one thing I wish would happen, that I haven't seen happen, is a restructuring of the auto parts makers, in such a way that another near collapse of any one automaker won't threaten the ability of the other auto companies to get parts. The auto parts supplier base is still a mess, and union or non union status doesn't seem to make a difference.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Jun 14, 2010

    Two tier wages are a wonderful workplace cancer. Good luck managing such a shop floor. I can sympathize with these younger workers. But they really need to be careful - there's a lot of overcapacity in north America. An economic rebound could help with UAW product sales. Just hope oil doesn't go to $120 a barrel and force people into Civics, Corollas, 3's, and Elantras - where the UAW can't compete.

    • Geeber Geeber on Jun 14, 2010

      Both the Chevy Cruze and next-generation Ford Focus will be produced here in the U.S., in union plants.

  • Invisible Invisible on Jun 15, 2010

    Simple solution. IF they don't like the three tier system, eliminate the UAW, the middle tier, and make them all the lower tier where they belong anyway.