On 1/13/2003 12:38:01 PM MrAeroMan wrote:
The reason the auto industry does this is because if they did hire another person to do that job they'd have to pay the exhorbitant costs associated with that hiring. Guaranteed wages on furlough etc. Why do you think cars cost what they do today? Another example of a powerful union gone crazy.
Yep, those dratted greedy unions! In fact, while the above statement repeats a common myth about the economics of trade unions, it is not accurate. In reality, the UAW has been anything but greedy over the last 25 years. Concessionary contract after concessionary contract has been the norm for the last 25 years. Amongst these concessions has been an expansion of outsourcing and the industry wages have actually dropped dramatically, as enterprises previously internal to GM, Chrysler and Ford are now legally separate companies where employees make wages considerably lower than at the core (Delphi, American Axle, etc). (Sound familiar?)
And at these lower wage parts factories, the same dynamic exists as at the higher tier "core" facilities: Massive forced overtime, sometimes 16 hour days, 7 days a week. It's not high auto worker wages or the high cost of hiring new folks that drive the companies to do this forced overtime, it's actually the high cost of health insurance in most cases.
The low wages feed into this as well, because lower wage workers often turn to overtime to make ends meet. The overtime can be addictive, psychologically (one dissident UAW president likes to call overtime "the cocaine of the working class") and is quite destructive to families, health and workplace safety.
I'm glad to hear rumors of recalls of res agents. Is this confirmed?
I think it will be important to scrutinize whether or not overtime gets abused (which in turn means employees and their families get abused) instead of recalling people to do the work under HUMANE conditions.
P.S. I will allow that the UAW has "gone crazy" in that they have been nuts to agree to break pattern bargaining, allow the whipsawing of different groups of autoworkers against each other, and to sell out the younger generations of workers by allowing the multi-tiered/outsourced wage system.