Quote Of The Day: Y'all Come Back Real Soon Now Edition
“I don’t see any problems here. I don’t see how they could help me out,” said [Rocky] Long, who’s worked at the Co. assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala., for five years. Of the union representatives who came to his home this year, he said, “I really didn’t give them the time of the day.”
Bloomberg reports on the challenges the UAW might face if they should care to pick Hyundai to be the “at least one” transplant automaker they’ve vowed to organize by the end of the year. But why would the UAW target Hyundai? According to Berkley Professor Harley Shaiken
Hyundai is a rising star. It’s a company that’s got something to lose if it is embroiled in a PR issue.
Shaiken’s previous idea for the UAW’s “Mission Accomplished” moment: convince Toyota to re-open a UAW-operated production line at NUMMI. Funny thing is, that idea occurred to him just three months after the union tried to “embroil” Toyota in a completely misleading “PR issue.” But that must have just been a holdover from the 20th Century UAW… wait, what year is it again?
Living costs WAY too high in Bay area, California. Find a place where working-class folks can afford to live... have plant there. How about a factory-type building needing a factory within? Rust Belt area? South of there? Obtain ample loyalty from those needing regular work and can afford to buy a house in the area. Try to be "steady firm" and create worker loyalty who can plant roots or already have them there. Encourage local clubs and groups; do not have to be tied to firm. Create fellowship among those with like interests. So many basic things that can be done. Local small firms will be revitalized; some created anew. Of course, governments will sniff money and place financial barriers. Or, spend taxpayer in short supply to coerce relocation to an area where local and/or regional elite-class will hope for and/or expect easy jobs at high wages and all the perks after departing their position. Same for the bureaucrats and higher-ups within local/state/etc. bureaucracies. I would hope and long for relocating or start-up firm to ignore those skimming so much wealth from "the system" at the detriment of those performing real work that actually creates wealth.
I don't know how the UAW could improve the situation at Hyundai. We already know what the UAW's collective bargaining has done to the domestic automakers. More people were collectively bargained out of their jobs by the UAW at the domestic automakers than there are people working for Hyundai/Kia in the US. What the American workers at the transplants decide to do is their business, but I sure would think twice about the UAW track record. But maybe the UAW think that getting bailed out by the tax payers is a good thing. Or maybe the UAW will chase the foreign transplants to Mexico. Also a good thing if we want to keep the Mexicans there instead of over here.
Mr. Long has succinctly expressed the problem with the UAW today: There really aren't problems for workers that the UAW can fix anymore. OSHA and a host of federal labor laws have largely done away with the massive workplace issues that caused widespread union formation in the first place. The only real purpose left is collective bargaining for benefits and wages. Already-unionized workers clearly don't want to lose those benefits, but to a non-unionized worker, vague ideas of maybe, possibly, getting more benefits may not seem worth the risk, especially in this economy. If they're treated right by management and feel like they're being compensated adequately, why bother?
Interesting that you call it a completely misleading PR issue. GM presence at NUMMI was a very small fraction of what was built there. The output of Toyota branded vehicles was far and away higher than the amount of Vibes built there. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but it is something like 10 to 1. Toyota could have kept NUMMI open, but it was dealing with overcapacity. There isn't a reason Toyota could have made more Corollas there and took product from other plants. Toyota decided what was best for them. Close NUMMI. GM leaving makes it easy to blame them, but when GM's minuscule presence there, how can anyone blame GM for its closing? It wasn't like this was close to 50/50 production there. It was more like 90/10 Toyota.