Monday, December 1, 2008

Unions vs. jobs

Want to be unemployed? Join a union!
Toyota, BMW, Kia and others now make 54% of the cars Americans buy. The internationals also employ some 113,000 Americans, compared with 239,000 at U.S.-owned carmakers . . .
To put it concisely, the transplants operate under conditions imposed by the free market. Detroit lives on Fantasy Island.
Consider labor costs. Take-home wages at the U.S. car makers average $28.42 an hour, according to the Center for Automotive Research. That's on par with $26 at Toyota, $24 at Honda and $21 at Hyundai. But include benefits, and the picture changes. Hourly labor costs are $44.20 on average for the non-Detroit producers, in line with most manufacturing jobs, but are $73.21 for Detroit. . . .
This $29 cost gap reflects the way Big Three management and unions have conspired to make themselves uncompetitive -- increasingly so as their market share has collapsed. . . . Over the decades the United Auto Workers won pension and health-care benefits far more generous than in almost any other American industry. As a result, for every UAW member working at a U.S. car maker today, three retirees collect benefits; at GM, the ratio is 4.6 to one. . . .
Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina -- which accounted for a quarter of U.S. car production last year -- are "right-to-work" states where employees can't be forced to join a union.
The absence of the UAW also gives car producers the flexibility to deploy employees as needed. Work rules vary across company and plant, but foreign rules are generally less restrictive. At Detroit's plants, electricians or mechanics tend to perform certain narrow tasks and often sit idle. That rarely happens outside Michigan. In the nonunionized plants, temporary workers can also be hired, and let go, as market conditions dictate. (Emphasis added.)
Gee, letting automakers run their own factories -- without meddling from thievish union bosses and their featherbedding rules -- what an amazing idea!

1 comment:

  1. I hated to do it, at least since I did not realize it had gotten this bad, but I chose other than "American" made when I bought the last two times (and I am quite pleased with my choice(s)). I was looking for a road ready all-terrain, give or take. I checked out Ford and Chevy (Ford told me I couldn't afford what they had to offer, so how about a _________ (can't remember, just that it was a metrosexual piece of junk).

    I ended up checking out Jeep, Hummer, Toyota, and Nissan. Nissan got top marks (Xterra, off-road) in many of the comparisons. It also had an excellent track record. To top it off, the price and visibility were beyond compare, and with comfortable seating for 5 adults (unlike the Toyota). Anyway, I just thought I would share that.

    Oh, one more thing. I actually just traded my 07 for an 09. I know, not the best financial deal... But I worry about EPA changes and wanted as new of a vehicle as possible. I got as good a deal as I could expect, then got some really good things tossed in (especially since they are having a very difficult time selling recently and I am a return buyer).

    I would have felt zero guilt if I had know the particulars of the rot in Detroit. I will sleep better, and drive much more comfortably, safely, and cheaply too.