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FUTURE_OF_GM

THIS is where the UAW should shine!

11 posts in this topic

In america, it used to be considered good business for corporations to take care of their employees, contribute to the community and have pride in what they produce and how they produce it. This sense of pride then carried over into the workers as they bought goods and services offered by their fellow country men, not only because they had a vested stake in the success of their society, but also because those goods and services were the best in the world.

Fast forward to today, where Wall Street calls the shots and everything at a corporation boils down to profit and sound cost structure. It doesn't matter if the employees are sick or dying. It doesn't matter if the community and the society that the business operates in is polluted or corrupt or even bankrupt. All that matters is answering to the banks and analysts.

As americans, we have been conditioned to accept this new, lowered standard of living because we fear for our jobs and feel that we are owed nothing for our substantial contributions to the technology and productivity level that has allowed the business elites to expand their empires. As an american, no longer can you expect to ever completely retire... As an american, no longer can you expect to receive good health care... As an american, no longer can you expect to save money... As an american, no longer can you expect to be able to send your kid through college without damaging their financial standing via loans... As an american, no longer are you guaranteed the freedom to live where you want in a house that you want... As an american, no longer are you allowed to buy the car that you want...

Throughout the 80's businesses were deregulated and allowed to violate rules that directly relate to workers rights and our standard of living. In the 90's corporations were allowed to pursue mergers and acquisitions instead of compensating their workers for increased productivity. This gave rise to the consumer credit industry. Consumers were no longer expected to 'make ends meet' on salary alone and were EXPECTED to have credit cards in their wallets. In fact, the amount of credit issued over the last 20 years has been DIRECTLY related to the widening gap in productivity verses pay in american society. The result: The upper 5% of our society doubled their wealth while the lower 95% of our society kept roughly the same amount of wealth BEFORE FACTORING INFLATION.

Fast forward to today... Globalization is the name of the game as the american middle class continues to disappear. Wall Street is the new SS of this economic war, single-handedly deciding what businesses should live and what businesses should die. And along with them, what families/communities will "prosper" and what families/communities will suffer or disappear. Unlike our parents, we are not guaranteed good paying jobs and achievement of the american dream. Instead we are conditioned to fear outsourcing, believe in lower paying service jobs and rely on credit to purchase even the most basic of luxuries. We are quickly becoming a two-tier society, just like the rest of the world, in which the rich get richer and the poor barely exist at all. With the decline of the middle class, comes a decline in the labor movement as industry is moved from prosperous societies into desperate societies in which people work for cents on the hour and are so scared of corporations and so happy to have anything at all, that they accept their role as new age slaves. In america, unions used to matter and were in fact a source of pride. But now anyone who sees a union in the headlines or on the back of a product has been conditioned to think that said products business model is old and outdated. Said product is 'providing welfare' for people who perform "unskilled labor". What once was a source of pride in our country and a sense of unity has now become a reason for the trendy and "educated" consumer to avoid products and advocate the fall of what remains of our manufacturing industry. Why, you ask? For starters, 50% of mass media in america is owned by 8 companies. It's pretty easy to influence opinion when 50% of the media our society is exposed to can fit in a single board room.

The WTO was created in 1995, since it's creation, it has found EVERY environmental, labor and trade law brought before it as "a hindrance to trade" and subsequently dismissed it. It is my belief that the WTO seeks to eliminate the global labor movement because the WTO is controlled by the elites. This forced move to a massive two-tier society in which the elites prosper and control the world via the world bank and the rest of us 'obey the rules' and work our jobs to constantly increase productivity for fear of being "outsourced" and simply to survive is almost inevitable in my opinion.

The last chance we, as americans, have at avoiding this reality is the labor movement. We should NOT feel like we're lucky to have a job that pays more than minimum wage. We should NOT feel that pension and health care are luxuries that can no longer be provided to anyone except the financially well off. And we should NOT feel that we're somehow obligated to give up our standard of living for the sake of the global economy.

That's where the UAW comes in

If the UAW wants to save itself, it needs to seriously consider raising the cash (or trying to) to either flat out buy General Motors or purchase a controlling interest in the company.

I'm willing to bet that there are hundreds of WTO interests reading the papers everyday with mouths watering at the fact that one of the only major labor movement proponents left in america is about to disappear entirely.

So what better way to advance the labor movement and save an american icon of power than by having one of the oldest labor organizations running one of the biggest and most important corporations in the world? If you want to beat the WTO, you must LEARN from it. You must CONTROL the environment in which you wish to succeed.

If the UAW wants to preserve and grow it's membership, then it needs to get into the business and actively participate in shaping it's future. PROMOTE General Motors as "the peoples company" that is owned and ran by "your next door neighbor". DESIGN cars that will expand the market share of General Motors both here and abroad. Honestly, UAW membership is probably more privy to the stigma and product deficiencies plaguing GM than upper management because UAW people experience and live in the market everyday. BUILD cars here in america that americans and the rest of the world would be proud to own. You control the labor, so you'll control the ROI and profit. Then hire Chinese people to BUILD CARS IN CHINA that Chinese people are proud to own. Then hire European people to BUILD CARS IN EUROPE that European people are proud to own.

Every story has more than one chapter... The downfall of General Motors is as much of an opportunity as it is a disaster. If the UAW wants to remain relevant and the people of this country want to begin to regain our quality of life, then it's time to re-invent the printing press and start writing the next chapter of the story.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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An absolutely brilliantly written post!

Your best effort to date, Mr. FOG!

I could argue a fine point or two, but DAMN!

You nailed this one.

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Well written piece for sure. I sort of agree, but I see what the Union has done to GM do I really want them having even more control over the company? I want a GM with no-union and fair wages to become profitable like what Honda/Toyota do in the USA pay people fair and get the Union out of GM. I do blame GM partically for giving in to those ol' UAW boys over the years, and look where we sit. I have faith in GM and the American Auto Industry we will come out of this. And now it is time to truly BUY AMERICAN.

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Well written piece for sure. I sort of agree, but I see what the Union has done to GM do I really want them having even more control over the company? I want a GM with no-union and fair wages to become profitable like what Honda/Toyota do in the USA pay people fair and get the Union out of GM. I do blame GM partically for giving in to those ol' UAW boys over the years, and look where we sit. I have faith in GM and the American Auto Industry we will come out of this. And now it is time to truly BUY AMERICAN.

I agree and traditionally I have been a strong opponent of the UAW.

But, if the UAW controls GM, then the conflict is gone and if they control GM, then their asses are on the line if the company starts heading south.

I think the UAW would be much more motivated if it had a direct stake in the company. And, like it or not, the UAW is the link between GM and the population and the ONLY chance they have at creating a social movement that changes buyer perception.

Harley - Davidson successfully pulled this off years ago.

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Americans were never guaranteed the things you claim have been lost. You were never guaranteed the car or the house that you wanted.... only the one you could actually AFFORD. Consumers were and are expected to 'make ends meet' on their salary. Consumers CHOSE to use credit because they HAD to HAVE <whatever>. Consumers could have saved money but they were to busy being consumers.

A "luxury" is just that, a "luxury"… don’t expect it and don’t indulge in it if you can’t pay for it. We could have lived comfortable lives but some shyster sold us on some “American Dream” scam. Even though only 5% can afford it (on the backs of everyone else), the remaining 95% put it on credit. We have been living beyond our means and on the backs of our children for decades to pay for a bunch of crap that we didn’t need and have probably already lost or discarded for something new.

It couldn't continue indefinitely. But instead of cutting back we kept spending. Now it is time to pay for our excesses and we are so spoiled that we can't handle it.

As for the UAW buying GM, GM is currently worth negative 60 Billion and dropping. That works out to about $1 Million per hourly worker. Do you really expect the UAW members who have suffered everything you claim to now throw away $1 Million dollars each on a company that will be gone in a couple of months?

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There certainly is a lot of merit to the argument, FOG. If I remember correctly, didn't the UAW get a seat or two on the Board of Chrysler when they were 'bailed out' 30 years ago?

I have said this many times that outsourcing jobs to China, for the sake of saving a few bucks at Wal-Mart is NOT the answer. Canada's biggest department store chain for over 100 years, Eaton's, went bankrupt about a decade ago and one of the biggest reasons is that they paid their employees much better than minimum wage and they couldn't stand up to the likes of Wal-Mart. We are not doing ourselves any favors, as nations, by slaying the dragon of high prices by killing the jobs first.

Although it is a given that the UAW has a lot to do with Detroit's demise, it is also well known (in non-socialist circles, anyway) that 'pride of ownership' makes a big difference. That is a major reason that rental apartment buildings are generally a disgrace, whereas condos are clean and well maintained. I'm not sure what kind of war chest the UAW has, but they should be willing to put their money where their mouthes are and 'buy' into GM during these challenging times.

The CAW, on the other hand, has already proven they are part of the problem by refusing to acknowlege they should have to 'give up' anything.

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Americans were never guaranteed the things you claim have been lost. You were never guaranteed the car or the house that you wanted.... only the one you could actually AFFORD.

From a sociological point of view, the 'american dream' was all but guranteed. But that's not the point. We we're told for years that through hard work (i.e. increased productivity) we could ELEVATE ourselves to prosperity.

That's not the case now. Most americans accept the premise that 'your either born into success or your not'

Consumers were and are expected to 'make ends meet' on their salary.

If that were the case, then we would not have a consumer credit industry.

In 2000 I was a college kid that worked a part time job and I was approved for a $5000 credit card. Do you really think I was expected to pay that back on my salary? Hell that was half, if not more, of what I made on a yearly basis back then.

Consumers CHOSE to use credit because they HAD to HAVE <whatever>.

I agree, a lot of the responsibility lies with the consumer. But it's reached a new level now. I didn't CHOOSE to pay my rent with a credit card a few months ago, but I had to.

Consumers could have saved money but they were to busy being consumers.

The average consumer makes +/- $30,000 each year. How are they supposed to save money when they have to pay rent, $4/gallon fuel prices, energy bills and food costs out of that.

Americans have been conditioned (marketed) to substitute credit for savings. How many people do you know that have an "emergency credit card"

A "luxury" is just that, a "luxury"… don’t expect it and don’t indulge in it if you can’t pay for it.

Once again, my point is what once was NOT a luxury, is now considered a luxury because we've been conditioned to accept a lower standard of living.

We have been living beyond our means and on the backs of our children for decades to pay for a bunch of crap that we didn’t need and have probably already lost or discarded for something new.

I agree. But big business is as much to blame for that as consumers are.

It couldn't continue indefinitely. But instead of cutting back we kept spending. Now it is time to pay for our excesses and we are so spoiled that we can't handle it.

There is a difference between "excess" and basic living necessities. Judging by your post, I don't think you've ever had to live paycheck to paycheck.

As for the UAW buying GM, GM is currently worth negative 60 Billion and dropping. That works out to about $1 Million per hourly worker. Do you really expect the UAW members who have suffered everything you claim to now throw away $1 Million dollars each on a company that will be gone in a couple of months?

If they want to keep their standard of living, then yes.

What you fail to realize (and what most capitalists fail to realize) is that MORE is at stake here that a few quarters of losses and/or short term gains. This is a quality of life choice and it will take some sacrifice before the benefits are realized. But considering the alternative, it's either suffer for a little while and take our chances or suffer indefinitely.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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