By on June 4, 2015

Jalopnik Front Page

It’s official: Writers for Gawker Media’s online publications, including our friends at Jalopnik, have voted to unionize.

Out of 118 eligible voters throughout the online-only media company, 107 cast their vote Wednesday to decide whether or not to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, Gawker reports. The results came to 75 percent (80 votes) in favor, 25 percent (27 votes) opposed.

As for how some of Jalopnik‘s staff voted, writer Raphael Orlove said he supported the move to unionize despite reservations regarding demands other Gawker Media writers have been making. Orlove goes on to state he would like the contract to focus on safeguarding against the company when it makes moves to the detriment of those who, while valuable as far as writing talent goes, are the least equipped to sort out the messes left behind.

Meanwhile, editor of subsidiary Black Flag Stef Schrader said she would likely vote against unionizing, based on Gawker’s unique situation as a company and WGA’s focus on more traditional forms of media. Schrader adds she and other remote employees haven’t received replies to emails about what WGA does from the union itself – asking for any organization working to represent the employees be “as responsive as work on the web demands,” especially with those not in New York – and is concerned for the company’s contractors who are prohibited from joining the WGA by the National Labor Relations Board, leaving them vulnerable come negotiation time.

And Gawker Media owner and founder Nick Denton’s take on the vote? In response to a comment from former vice president of editorial and sometimes Jalopnik contributor Joel Johnson, Denton praised the transparency leading up to the vote, an aspect his company says could be applied even further than the “transparent to a fault” stance already present. He also looks forward to working with whomever the writers choose to represent them during the company’s strategic discussions.

The next step? Jalopnik Editor-in-Chief Travis Okulski explains:

Gawker writers have approved the WGA to negotiate a contract on their behalf with Gawker management. If the contract is agreeable, which I think is what they expect, we’re unionized. If not, ties are dissolved or a new contract would be brought to the table.

Should all go as planned, Gawker Media would be the first online-only media company ever to have union representation. Time will tell if other companies follow in Gawker’s footsteps.

[Image credit: Jalopnik]

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82 Comments on “Jalopnik, Other Gawker Media Writers To Unionize...”


  • avatar
    John R

    Interesting. I will be staying tune to this.

    I imagine code writers for video games and special effects houses (while this is not directly analogous) might(should?) be paying attention also. I’ve heard horror stories.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Software developers who attempt to unionize will find their industry exported to BRICS. Learn from the past boys.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Maybe in the short term. As any company that has tried to outsource its IT can attest, some things are better worth paying to have done in house.

        Even aside from the obvious language barriers, there is a lot of value in having a help desk department that’s aligned with your business and knowledgeable about your day to day activities. It goes way further than installing programs and fixing computer issues.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree with you, but what we saw in the 80s/90s was entire industries were exported, not simply the jobs. Today its a department or a project which gets outsourced as you allude. However imagine if a whole industry, such the computer gaming industry, picked up and moved to Mumbai. I suspect the quality of product would be raised vs simply exporting a computer game project/product there.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            Having been personally involved with a major corp’s effort to move the majority of its software development to India, I can tell you that it doesn’t work out very well.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Having been personally involved with a major corp’s effort to move the majority of its software development to India, I can tell you that it doesn’t work out very well”

            It really depends who you outsource to, and how well you do it.

            You can outsource to India (or wherever) and do it well, but companies don’t. They’ll think about it as nothing more than a cost-savings exercise and low-ball the firm they outsource to while paying only minimal attention to the project.

            The implementation will suffer quite horribly as a result, but you won’t notice until well after all the bonuses have been paid out, and they’ll just blame the subcontractor rather than their own awful project management.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            In the situation I was involved in, the corp didn’t outsource per se. They formed a division in Gurgaon to do the grunt work of implementing specs developed by the NA staff. Between the time zone challenges and the cultural barriers, productivity plummeted.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Indeed, we did see those industries go away, because it made sense for them to. Shipping costs were cheap, and the stuff being done abroad wasn’t complicated. Milling steel, making simple parts and clothes, processing food etc etc. For something as complex and culturally intricate as video games, I just don’t see it. That would be like saying “Google will move its HQ to India to save a couple bucks”. No, they would rather just pluck the best from India to bring here. There is a ton of value in staying local, especially now with all the IP issues and the cost of shipping skyrocketing.

          • 0 avatar
            asapuntz

            There’s a lot of turnover in Indian tech jobs, so it’s very difficult to keep experienced talent once it’s developed. As for a sense of product ownership on the part of the talent, that’s not easy to foster either.

            I don’t think they’re under any delusions as to why US mgmt is attracted to them.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Personally, I’m waiting for the first union to organize transnationally. When that happens, expect the very wealthy to have the kind of conniption not seen since the Red Scare.

        What, globalisation’s benefits are only for the rich?

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      >> I imagine code writers for video games and special effects houses (while this is not directly analogous) might(should?) be paying attention also.

      The horror stories are correct, but workers are free to walk out the door and take jobs elsewhere with better hours and higher pay. I’ve only worked for those places as an hourly contractor, so while the hours sometimes sucked, I got compensated nicely at times. I would never work for those places as a full-timer.

      Video games and SFX houses are for some reason considered “glamorous” professions, so they always attract people willing to slave away for low pay. I never figured out the allure, because after about a week there, you’ll realize there’s very little glamor.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “The horror stories are correct, but workers are free to walk out the door and take jobs elsewhere with better hours and higher pay”

        …and if those jobs don’t exist? And/or you have to support a family? And/or you can’t move because you’re underwater on your mortgage?

        Workers in most Western nations haven’t had less effective mobility than wow since the Depression.

        • 0 avatar
          healthy skeptic

          …and if those jobs don’t exist?

          Relative to the video game industry, those jobs *always* exist. That’s because that industry pays below market and with longer hours, and yet still attracts people.

          >> And/or you have to support a family? And/or you can’t move because you’re underwater on your mortgage?

          If those things are true, the video game industry is definitely not for you. Especially if you want to hold down a marriage, or spend time with your kids.

          Beyond that, if times are tough and jobs are scarce, how is unionizing going to solve that? Hard times come and go, regardless of unionization.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      And agreed on the outsourcing strawman, 15 years ago I worried about that too, but for some reason it never panned out. The free market decided to keep the coding jobs mostly in America.

      Which is great, because that means we’re competitive. The alternative is if they were forced to stay here by protective legislation or other artificial measures, which really would have just made wide-scale outsourcing a matter of time. The more competitive option is going to win in the long run.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I mistakenly thought the “art” accompanying this piece was a sly jab at Jalopnik/Gawker Media. I was wrong – that’s what is currently at the top of Jalopnik’s page. o_O

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      It’s one thing that I knock Jalopnik for. I like TTAC’s laser-like focus on the auto industry.

      I still go to Jalopnik though. If I may be frank, sometimes this place takes itself too seriously. I like the whimsy on Jalopnik. Even if I have to tolerate the ludicrous Gawker cross-posting.

      • 0 avatar
        InterstateNomad

        I stopped reading Jalopnik after I realized so many of the articles are purely click bait. They write one or two sentences to catch your interest, and post an article, video, or link. The advertisements were also getting very distracting. I used to go for DD’s articles, but they have degenerated from witty articles to rants of narcissim and I got tired of it.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    That’s funny because they already act like a bunch of union goons.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Notice the first story about loud restaurants is a post by Doug D.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Am I happy with my wage and my job? This question is much too complex for one person to decide, I need someone else to tell me.

    Sheeple gon’ get fleeced.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Good.

    Sooner or later this new union will run Gawker’s left-wing ass right into the ground.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    I wonder if Gawker writers end up earning at least $15 an hour since that seems to be the new magic minimum number.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Given Gawker media’s political proclivities, this did not come as a surprise.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    When asked about unionizing, Tavarish offered the following comment:

    “Why unionize when for the same price of your union dues you can buy a 1989 Citroen XM?”

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Hamilton Nolan must be creaming his shorts

    Hell be creaming them all the way to the unemployment office. Lel @ a 90 person union of freelance writers in NYC. Good luck

  • avatar
    jeanbaptiste

    They are all online companies, shouldn’t all their employees be working from home on their own pc’s just getting 1099’s? It’s not like we are getting award winning material there.

    Why would these hipsters need to unionize? What could be so horribly wrong with their work environment?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Why would these hipsters need to unionize? What could be so horribly wrong with their work environment?”

      Contract work sucks as a way to make a living.

      Often, you’re not even a real employee: you’re a contracted temp with no benefits, no chance of a reference, no job security, no schedule, no rights other than what you can collect via court should your, well not employer—let’s say customer and be generous about it, decide not pay you. And you’d afford a lawyer how?

      This is really common, especially among young people. It’s pretty much de rigeur in both blue-collar stuff like contract cleaning, housekeeping and some social work. It’s also really common in IT and finance.

      And it’s hell, especially on the young who don’t have any assets or savings, but do have a lot of debt. I don’t think older people really understand what it’s like to have no guarantee of employment whatsoever because most Boomers and Greatest-Gen folk grew up when permanent employment was a given. Gen-X and (especially) Millenials don’t have that guarantee, and yet are beholden to people that do and, frankly, aren’t retiring. A survey in Toronto found some **40%** of people have what’s called non-permanent employment, of which this is a form.

      Sure, it sounds all wonderfully entrepreneurial, except when you realize that you have absolutely no leverage and your employer can not pay you, change the terms of your relationship, blackball you in the industry and generally treat you poorly. At this point, all you really have as far as leverage goes is numbers: your coworkers can deny services en masse to your employer. You have, literally, no other recourse because you have no protections under employment law.

      This kind of employment will be the **norm** in a decade, and it will have all sorts of ugly costs, not the least of which is a generation that won’t be able to buy a house without taking a huge financial risk. The next housing shock will kill these people, and take a ugly chunk out of the tail of the Boomers, to boot.

      • 0 avatar
        jeanbaptiste

        My apologies in advance if I interpreted your first response incorrectly but it comes across as very entitled statement. I don’t feel like people should be guaranteed a living based on the skills they have. If a ditch digger can’t make enough to support himself, you don’t just give him a raise until he can. You encourage him to live with other people that he can share the living expenses with so he is able to survive. Or you encourage him to move where ditch digging is valued or perhaps you encourage him to learn a new skill that is valued and unique. But why would you force him to be paid more that he’s worth just because if can’t make ends meet. To me this level of entitlement just is a selfish and immature way of living. No real responsibility for their own life but reliance on someone else to fix the problem.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s a lot easier to say this from the perspective of a $85k/yr engineer at a relatively stable company than from, say, the perspective of a $15k/year ditch digger.

          Honestly, I find it’s just a ruse to get people to accept minimum wage as it is now, instead of working towards ensuring that people can enjoy a comfortable standard of living.

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        @psarhjinian

        Your experience must be vastly different from mine.

        For about 12 of the last 15 years, I was an hourly contractor, mostly 1099. I got:

        * Higher pay (even with the FICA tax and lack of benefits taken into account)
        * No reduction at all in job security (they can still fire you or lay you off if you’re full-time)
        * Automatic protection from sweatshop hours. Either they don’t work you to death, or they pay you $$$$ if they do.
        * Greater freedom
        * Greater variety

        Not only was contracting better, but on the couple of times I took a full-time job, found myself doing the same work for longer hours and less overall compensation. To top it off, I was laid off within a year each time (due to business failure, not my performance).

        Also, although I really liked most of the places I’ve worked for, with the one or two I didn’t, I just left, or did not return when my gig ran out. It’s a two-way street. I might not have had much leverage over my employers, but they never had much over me either. There’s always the place across the street.

        I loved contracting. YMMV.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “For about 12 of the last 15 years, I was an hourly contractor, mostly 1099. I got:”

          Yes, but that’s your experience **over the last 15 years**. For people entering the market in the last 5, it’s much harder to get that kind of traction.

          For people entering it right now, it’s worse still.

          By comparison, the people who entered the market 25-35 years ago are often the ones hiring you, defined benefits and a solid bank account.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            My wife has been working as a contractor for the last 2 years. Granted she had 5 years of experience before that, but her pay doubled and she is really happy at her new place. It definitely depends on the company.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “the people who entered the market 25-35 years ago are often the ones hiring you, defined benefits and a solid bank account.”

            Must be nice, but it’s not sustainable. We just have to deal with that and god forbid, save for our own retirements.

          • 0 avatar
            healthy skeptic

            There aren’t any simple rules as to whether contracting works for a given individual, such as when you got into it. There are many, many variables in that equation.

            In any case, I’m not implying that my experience is universal, or that contracting is for everyone. I simply provided a counter-example to your assertion that contracting was some kind of unconditional evil.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      “What could be so horribly wrong with their work environment?”

      From what I’ve read elsewhere, everyone involved clearly said that they want nothing to change in their environment, and would reject a deal that does so. As Psar notes below, they’re mostly looking for some job security in a field where mgmt is capable of violent upheaval on a whim, leaving the workers constantly at considerable risk. One thing they’re looking for is guaranteed severance, and given the ability to shut down a site (and drop the contributors) on a moment’s notice, banding together to demand some protections seems prudent. The downside, of course, is that it will be more difficult to rise above your fellow writers, a significant issue in a creative field of endeavor.

  • avatar
    bubbajet

    You get the union you deserve. With that strong of a vote, I’d imagine there have been some shenanigans.

    In a perfect world, unions aren’t necessary. It’s far from a perfect world.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “You get the union you deserve”

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      In the videogame world Gawker is well known for certain “shenanigans”.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      In a perfect world, Gawker Media wouldn’t exist.

      So, yeah.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      In a MARKET world, where peoples’ talents allow them to compete and thrive (personally and monetarily), unions are a generally a drawback. They stifle accountability. Talented minorities (in a non-race sense) leave union workplaces and are replaced by those drawn to mediocrity.

      Unions don’t work in the IT (coding) world. Crap management gets the coders they deserve via social feedback loops.

      That said, the above IT example doesn’t map well to the creative writing market. Weak-ish unions emerge and thrive. Although I still think that Gawker’s management could have prevented this vote by addressing worker concerns. In that way management failed.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “In a MARKET world, where peoples’ talents allow them to compete and thrive (personally and monetarily), unions are a generally a drawback. They stifle accountability. Talented minorities (in a non-race sense) leave union workplaces and are replaced by those drawn to mediocrity.”

        This assumes that you are free to have employers compete for your services. In many disciplines, you can be blackballed (which, in journalism, is quite effective) or your employers can collude.

        IT’s most competitive markets are a shining (if you can call it that) example of these, where intercompany non-competition agreements have kept front-line wages suppressed for years. Apple, Facebook, Google and others have recently had to settle class-action suits to this effect.

        You think collective action by labour is bad? Collective action by capital is much, much nastier.

        The market works, right up until it starts functioning like a cartel. Then it doesn’t work well at all, at least if you’re not a beneficiary of the cartel.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I get the feeling this is some sort of method to get advertisers back, Gamergate hit these guys pretty hard, and rightfully so.

    At least at TTAC I wont be muted for dissin’ Volvo 850’s (of all things), Kates Dirty sister (warning, NFS language):

    http://oppositelock.kinja.com/ladies-and-gentlemen-your-eic-1697163542

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Matt don’t like you.

      But he is unsure why.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I’m actually confused by what you mean in the fact that GG types didn’t do anything actually effective to the industry. They’ve been outed as a very angry misogynistic group hellbent on defending their original aim by rewriting history. But whatever, it doesn’t surprise me to see some of these bleed overs with the personalities showing up here.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        “I’m actually confused by what you mean in the fact that GG types didn’t do anything actually effective to the industry”

        I’ve been saying the opposite, that GGs been hitting these sites and doing quite a bit of good for the journalist world.

        And whatever you think of GG, they wont mute you for speaking against them.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          No, they’ll just Dox you and hope that sending swat teams will be sufficient, right?

          Please, if we’re going to get into a debate on censorship remember that GG started as a group of peeved 4Chan-types who heard a story from an ex-lover which wasn’t true because there was no review and then when they got caught on that lie morphed their argument into ‘well journalists shouldn’t date people into the industry because it leads to bad journalism!’ when that’s been a poor argument for the past century as people who tend to intermingle end up in relationships.

          If you think they’re right, so be it, but the facts basically make their argument moot.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Its really challenging to argue with somebody when their posts are typed like this because I can’t indent or use commas because GG will hack me if I argue against them even though there is no proof that GG is behind any attacks because four wheels are much more dangerous because two ropes are used to support the four wheels. If one of the ropes starts swinging when the cars half-way across the wheels will slip from under one of the ropes and there will be no way to hang on and Twinkle will fall to the bottom.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            What is there to argue? Either people are Doxing and swatting in the name of GG (which is a problem in and of itself) OR they’re not. This is the issue with these kinds of movements/coalescent, they tend to have no traditional hierarchy so any number of actors can be acting on behalf of the group.

            But if you can point me where Anita Sarkeesian or any of the number of journalists they attacked via correlated actions weren’t trying to be silenced I would appreciate it. Again, I’ll even appreciate you showing me where this review was that sparked it all. Whatever argument of hobby journalism being beholden to the hobby is true. They are 100% beholden to the industry groups because they’re an industry magazine, but it doesn’t mean they have a reasonable amount of objectivity still.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    The comments here have been hilarious. The constant patter of groveling at the feet of capitalists from some of the commentors makes me wonder if they really believe what they say or simply are being paid to keep posting it. I can’t help but picture the steinbeck quote about temporarily poor millionaires…

    Regardless, good for them, clearly online media has driven down the value of the industry especially as more and more armchair journalists happily join in the fray to drive website traffic. Some places like TTAC carved out a niche being Anti-GM back in the day and Anti-Union up until the last turnover. But workers need protection from the people who ‘control’ the money, clearly they have no business in ‘control’ of that much power but society has deemed it acceptable so we have to fight fire with fire. Gathering up our forces to challenge those who can buy their armies.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Regardless, good for them, clearly online media has driven down the value of the industry ”

      That started before online journalism, and it’s certainly not just restricted to journalism; consider the concept of the “unpaid internship” that are required, in many fields, to get experience.

      But yes, online journalism certainly accelerated it because it heavily commoditized writers and photographers, and showed management in other disciplines (design, IT) how deep the rabbit hole goes.

      It sounds like a great idea until you realize that the people at the top aren’t ever, ever going to hire paid people when they have an endless poor of cheap, if not free, labour to draw from. Very few people might get paid for their content, but many people spend months, if not years, doing what they went to school for for free while holding a McJob to pay debt.

      I’m sure it’s “the market at work”, but it’s also a gross violation of the social contract that’s responsible for the last hundred years of prosperity and well-being; it’s effectively socializing the costs of intellectual property development while allowing some very rich people to skim the cream.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        I’m 100% in agreement with your assessment. I’ve never really dealt in journalism, just submissions to peer-reviewed affairs so there was little to any staff beyond a few editors who may technically ‘own’ the journal but are more so curators for a larger group. But I do hear about the exponential growth of using unpaid interning as a way to keep a churn going and keep wages down. A similar thing is happening in higher ed where schools are taking on Masters and less-than-Master’s degree people to teach classes for piddlings while holding PhDs to an enormous standard all in the hopes of shaving salaries when in most cases the physical aspects of education are the most costly, salaries are meager compared to the brick and mortar.

        I digress. Inevitably the poor will eat the rich if robots don’t upset the balance(and I’m being tragically honest….). But I suspect we’re much closer to entering a new socio-economic paradigm in the next decade or two simply because Bernie Sanders is not going to win the Primary but he can get on stage at a debate which is something of a barometer for the future.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    “. . . sort out the messes left behind.”

    Ah, so damage control when one of their writers pulls an Erdely.

  • avatar
    redav

    If this move makes the Gawker sites suck less, then I’m all for it. But I doubt it will get rid of Kinja, so whatever.

  • avatar

    Online media becoming a virtual analog of Detroit. I see riots and destruction and Japanese and Germans taking over online media.

  • avatar

    I wonder if Nick Denton would be willing to negotiate giving the workers an equity stake in Gawker Media.

    • 0 avatar
      Ihatejalops

      He’s too busy counting his money from the offshore corporation he formed to dodge taxes.

      The cognitive dissonance at that place always astounds me.

  • avatar
    brn

    Jalopnik has writers?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Well, I do on the odd occasion contribute to Truck Yeah and Jalopnik.

    How successful will it be to unionise journo’s?

    The future is becoming bleakers for many jobs out there. What is occurring is AI and computer generated journalism.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/533976/robot-journalist-finds-new-work-on-wall-street/

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/29/7939067/ap-journalism-automation-robots-financial-reporting

    I don’t think the human aspect of fiction will become robotic in the near future.

    Could you imagine a robot writing a Jack Baruth short story?

    I don’t think Truck Yeah or Jalopnik are as free with opinions as TTAC. I did post one comment which questioned Andrew Collins review of the Ram Rebel. It was supposed to be an off road exercise.

    But, it was just a hooning exercise on his part. No real or relevant information was really provided to the reader on how well the Ram Rebel actually performed off road.

    The comment was never posted. What a pity. I do think some journalist should look at what a vehicle is and attempt to assess the vehicle for what it was designed to do and how it’s marketed.

    In the end it’s the journalists’ decision for what direction they head in. One piece of advice for them, they will reap what they sow.

    What appears to be a net positive now, could in fact become a negative.

    Look at the UAW and the mess they have created for the US auto industry and the it’s rank and file.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Look at the UAW and the mess they have created for the US auto industry and the it’s rank and file.”

      The UAW owns next to nothing of the mess of the US auto industry; that one lands almost exclusively on the shoulders of Detroit’s “captains of industry”.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        Seriously? Both are at fault.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          No, it’s all management’s fault because they gave into the unions demands while holding production hostage while at the same time non union transplants were cranking out production having to deal with none of that. /sarc

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          No, they’re really not.

          Labour didn’t design, spec or source the poor-quality cars that had been foisted on the public since the mid-1970s. That’s 100% management’s fault, though cost-cutting and supplier-squeezing.

          Labour might, at best, have been able to move the assembly-quality needle in the 1960s. Plants haven’t been engineered to allow labour to materially affect quality since then, unless you half-ass plant management. Again, that’s a management issue.

          Finally, you might be able to argue that labour negotiated an unfavourable cost structure in the 1980s, except that a) the cars were crap before that, and b) management had labour ready to cave, only to fold at the last minute in order to make their quarterly bonus figures, and c) by the late 90s the domestics were cost-competitive and still making poor-quality cars because they put all their eggs in the truck basket.

          I know it feels good to kick labour around because it’s a great right-wing meme, but it doesn’t hold up under any reasonable scrutiny.

          Now, you can criticize labour for the two-tier wage system and for chasing their declining old-school membership’s whims, but that doesn’t really affect the product.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Plants have been engineered to take labor out of the equation because the UAW was sabotaging production quality in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. People that received sabotaged cars became evangelists for the imports, but it isn’t the UAW’s fault that Detroit failed.

            Ever watch “How It’s Made”? It’s pretty telling when every sports car is made by orderly technicians in uniforms and smocks, except for the Corvette, which is made by slovenly zombies wearing whatever they wore to the crack house the night before. Belt buckles? Metal jewelry? Why not?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “the UAW was sabotaging production quality in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. People that received sabotaged cars became evangelists for the imports, but it isn’t the UAW’s fault that Detroit failed.”

            This was a big contributor. psarhj neglects this either selectively or out of ignorance. Union rules and intimidation allowed indifferent workers and sabotaging troublemakers to build poorly assembled products with little to no consequence.

            These vehicles either made it to the dealer and into the hands of the customer where they were fixed at the expense of company cost and reputation, or caught and sent to rework in the plant where even more union workers would fix them at additional company cost.

            I suppose you could still blame management for agreeing to the ridiculous rules as the workers held production hostage while transplant companies churned out product while being able to easily remove any troublemakers from the line.

    • 0 avatar

      Robots write scientific articles which pass peer review and get published in scientific journals. It was hoax but it demonstrated what a well written program can do. Artificial intelligence is looming on horizon, don’t make bets against it. Jack B. might be just another robot. Did you ever meet him in flesh? All you see is photos of some human which might be just avatar.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The unions have to shoulder a certain amount of blame, but they made the cars that management designed, engineered and marketed. And I’m pretty sure unions had zero to do with epic-fail corporate decisions like Chrysler selling itself to Daimler.

      The funny thing is that during the 1990s, no one ever talked about how unions were ruining Detroit. Why? Because Detroit was making money hand over fist due to the truck/SUV craze. At that point, they had a huge opportunity to take those profits, and plow them back into superior products. That way, by the early 2000s, they could have had fully competitive product to sell once the SUV craze began to die out. Look at what GM and Ford were selling in the early 2000s – almost all their key car product was based on designs brought out in the ’80s. Some designs (the Cavalier and the Taurus, in particular) were pushing 20 years old by the mid-2000s.

      I have no doubt that if they’d done things differently, the late 2000s would have been far less devastating to the industry. The bailouts may not have even been necessary. Imagine that, right?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        GM lost 25% of its market share during the ’90s. Your assumptions are wrong, which doesn’t help your conclusions. The UAW responded to demand for SUVs by striking plants with in-demand products and assuring that GM couldn’t put down the legacy-cost shovel it was burying itself with.

  • avatar
    415s30

    Good, I’m in the Local 510 union, we build everything for show, like the auto show, E3, etc… They will take everything from you if you don’t stand together. Medical is the main thing these days, they won’t rest until medical coverage is just not seen as a human right.

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