Wealthy Middle Class

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

What a joke to watch the Big Three CEO’s squirm on Capital Hill today. They gave the Senate an earful. Basically, we would have gotten off with a bargain had we accepted the 25 billion bailout the carmakers asked for in November. Of all the jokers who spoke before the Senate, I thought the guy from the UAW was most off base. After listening to a proposal from GM which could save an estimated eight billion dollars a year, he proceeded to argue about how he didn’t really believe the numbers of the proposal. Of course not. The proposal meant the UAW would lose some jobs. These are jobs that should be lost. GM, Ford, and Chrysler all carry dead wood because of the UAW contract. In the meantime, their Japanese and Korean competitors are hiring people in this country who are only happy to have a job. They work for considerably lower wages than a UAW greed monger will.  The typical UAW response was one which was adversarial to the management of GM. Even in a hearing which held the life of the company in it’s hands, the UAW forgot why they were there and began to argue against the management. They were there to support the company. They could not. They are the problem, have been the problem and will be the problem for as long as they are in existence.

It has been my experience that everytime a UAW worker goes up against GM he takes the attitude that “I’d sooner see you go down and look for another job than lose this contract negotiation to you bastards.” Over the years, GM has caved in, time and time again in order to please the stock holders. In the meantime, the UAW has become the strongest union on the world. At least it thought it was strong. All it was doing was looking at the immediate bottom line for its workers. Never did they imagine that the mighty GM could crumble. Never did they imagine that the Japanese and the Koreans would steal their lunch.

My opinion of the GM management is not much higher. They were arrogant enough in the seventies, eighties and nineties to believe that the Japanese could not unseat them as the number one carmaker in the world. In the meantime the Japanese continued to do everything right. Little by little they chipped away at the GM market share which went from forty-five percent in the seventies to twenty percent today. They are lucky to have that. The management of GM today is finally waking up and making some good cars. Their quality rivals the Japanese. They have a way to go with overall reliability, but their quality has improved. Their styling sucks. Their current hot car, the Cadillac STS is a winner, but the Chevy Malibu, their work horse, is a dog. I can’t believe that with all the design talent in the USA and within GM that they continue to make cars that look shitty. I can only blame it on the management. Their designers are better than that.

In the meantime, the Japanese continue to work their fifty year strategic plan. Their car companies are in union with the government. They work together in thier industries for the good of the country. The car company employees work under a job for life program. This program keeps them from organizing. These employess are also retrained to work in many different areas in order to reamain employed. They do so. In the meantime our wonderful UAW is protecting jobs even when they are no longer needed.

Another famous UAW contract point is the pay for no work. When a US car company sees a downturn in business, and needs to cut back to save money, the UAW workers continue to get paid eighty percent of their normal wages for up to eight months. What a sweet seal that is. Get paid for nothing, bring on the layoff.

Henry Ford created the middle class when he began building cars. Over the years the UAW has created the “wealthy middle class.”  Thier workers are so well paid they rival the wages of our most educated college students. A UAW worker does not have to give up four or more years of his life to study either. He works the line doing some mundane job better served by a robot.

In the meantime, GM does a profitable business in other parts of the world. Why? Ask yourself that? Why can they compete in other countries but not the USA? The Japs sell the same car against them in other countries, so why do they do so poorly in the USA. Two reasons: The first is perceived quality. GM has sold us such crap for so many years we don’t believe that it is improved to that of the Japs. Second, GM costs are too high compared to their competitors, and they cheeze the car to make profit. That second point only hurts the first one.

If Congress gives them the money it should be with the following caveat: eliminate the UAW, or get major concessions from them. Another option, let GM build cars in another country and import them to the USA.

3 Responses

  1. […] I ranted that GM, and the UAW should be allowed to fail (Wealthy Middle Class.)  After thinking about it, I changed my mind and wrote about why the government should loan them […]

  2. Rick; Thanks for your story. I kinew you were being bounced around but never realized the extent. GM breeds it’s own vampires. They have a training ground and a stepping stone system for rewarding “loyal” managers. A loyal manager is one who doesn’t dare to rock the boat. Years ago I read John DeLoreans book titled “on A Clear Day You can See GM.” In this book he exposed the entire system. It drove him nuts to work inside the ivory tower. He eventually left and tried to buck the same system he knew so well. Unfortunately for him, he went a little too far off base. He could have changed the whole thing had he stuck with it.. The problem though is that he would have languished had the upper floors found him out.
    The Japs are laughing all the way to the bank. They have a fifty year strategic plan to beat the United States in manufacturing. I think they will have to reshape the plan because it only took twenty years to do us in. I am critical of the UAW, because I truly believe the workers should have been more aware of what would happen to their jobs when the Japs started coming. On the other hand, The GM management should be hanged for the the arrogant way in which they believed they could do no wrong.
    The best thing that happened this week was that some of the CEO’s drove to Washington intheir own product. It’s probably the first time the GM CEO ever rode in anything less than a chaufer driven Cadillac. He might have a better appreciation for why nobody wants to buy their cars.
    At first, I thought GM should declare chaapter eleven. Now with the onset of a depression, I’m leaning toward a bailout. Maybe the Senate should make it a requirement that the Japs take over their management.
    Since GM is a union shop, you had no other choice than to be UAW. That is one of their problems, It’s everybody or nobody. Given the circumstances, I would have stood behind the union if I were a member. Only because the management bastards are so very wrong.
    —– Original Message —–

  3. Received from my cousin Rick
    I was also the victim of gross GM mismanagement! The three GM plants I worked in have been torn down. How much have you heard about the management making too much and having too many benefits. I know I went to work and did what was asked of me. The union is a necessary evil. If you work for honest people, you don’t need one. I don’t like the guilt by association. There were plenty of hard working people at GM, Ford and Chrysler.

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