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Senate aid refusal meant to break the UAW: Nader

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http://www.canadiandriver.com/thenews/2008...e-uaw-nader.htm

Washington, D.C. - Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, along with advocacy group Essential Action director Robert Weissman, said that the rejection of the US$14 billion aid package to the domestic automakers by the Senate is an attempt to break the United Auto Workers Union (UAW).

The package passed the House of Congress and was supported by the UAW, the White House and most of the Democratic leadership, but was blocked by Senate Republications in a vote of 52 to 35.

“In an effort to break the United Auto Workers, a union that historically has been responsible for raising wages and benefits not just for unionized auto workers but for all working Americans, Senate Republicans are apparently willing to permit the collapse of the U.S. auto industry,” Nader and Weissman said in a statement. “Unionized auto workers have made steady concessions over the last quarter-century, including in the 2007 contract, which will have many new workers start jobs at $14 an hour. These employees will be making about half of what their co-workers earn.

“It is both an outrage and illogical for the Senate Republicans to suggest UAW worker wages and benefits should be driven down to the levels at non-unionized Japanese plants in the United States. It is an outrage because it disrespects the hard and dangerous work done by auto workers, explicitly aims to undermine the benefits of workers joining together to exercise their right to bargain collectively, and accelerates the United States’ trajectory to ever-descending wages and benefits. It is illogical, too. Although the Japanese plants keep wages close to UAW rates as an anti-union strategy, they can always lower their wages further, on a unilateral basis, in a never-ending race to the bottom.

“The action by the Senate Republicans is extraordinarily reckless, challenging the most important institution for advancing working peoples’ living standards - unions - and threatening to worsen drastically an already severe recession.

“Even the Republicans’ sense of political self-interest seems dimmed by their anti-union zealotry. Senate Republicans may think they gain political points by standing against assistance to a major industry, but they will suffer political damage lasting generations if they permit the U.S. auto industry to collapse.”

nader as an ally?

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the most important institution for advancing working peoples’ living standards - unions

Unions allow inefficient workers to perform sub par work and get paid exuberantly high for it. Unions are punishment for companies that have poorly managed and treated their employees in the past.

accelerates the United States’ trajectory to ever-descending wages and benefits. It is illogical, too. Although the Japanese plants keep wages close to UAW rates as an anti-union strategy, they can always lower their wages further, on a unilateral basis, in a never-ending race to the bottom.

Damn right wages would fall. Employees would be paid based on their work and not based on seniority and politics. It wouldn't be "ever-descending", that's just FUD and politics. Wages would normalize. Imagine how much more efficient GM would run if its employees knew the work they did was directly related to their position at the company. Hard working employee's wages wouldn't fall, conversely those employees would have more opportunities for advancement than they do now. Slow and inefficient worker's wages would fall though.

That being said, I don't think it's ok to let the American auto industry fall apart. If the government could support the companies through this, and somehow eliminate the union, that would be ideal I think. Of course that won't happen.

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There are UAW forklift operators making $103,000.00 before health benefits. What more needs to be said?

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There are UAW forklift operators making $103,000.00 before health benefits. What more needs to be said?

Source?

A couple of things strike me here (I saw these numbers on the national news, so you will have to forgive me if my memory isn't perfect):

1) The $70+ hourly wage being reported for the big-3 is in large part because of the shrinking number of working employees supporting the mountain of retired ones. If there were more active workers this number would be much lower. There are fewer active workers mostly because of management decisions that have eroded the big three market share.

2) The average big three worker @~$30/hour makes only a couple dollars/hour more than the Japanese ($~$28/hour). It is ~$40/hour with benefits (I believe that was $4-$6 more than the Japanese.)

3) As per GM's submission to the US government, there are just over 20 hours of manpower put into a car.

4) That means the actual labour cost on a car from the big three is ~$800.

5) GM offers $3,000 to $4,000+ in incentives for cars.

6) GM loses ~$2,000 per car.

Geeze, what could be the real issue here? Even if the auto workers worked for FREE GM wouldn't be profitable. What the Republicans and union-bashers are really calling for is cutting off the healthcare for retired workers.

We can argue about the benefit/detriment of unions in terms of wages and getting ahead. But there is little denying that the US government has sold its citizen's healthcare to the highest bidder in (what turned out to be) pretend capitalism. Unions benefit all workers, and if they get the US citizens universal healthcare then the average US citizen should get down on their hands and knees and kiss the unions for doing for them what they couldn't do for themselves.

Edited by GXT
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Hell hath frozen over.

I still don't like that bastard. :nono:

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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