Posts Tagged ‘UAW’

Just a few things popping through my mind last couple of days.

  • Been seeing a lot of UAW workers striking on Cherry Ave. near my house.  Can’t help but see it as bad form to be striking while so many are without jobs and hungry for work.
  • The other day on my way home there was a major backlog on the 405 North.  When I finally reached the problem I discovered (as is not uncommon) that the issue was on the other side of the freeway where two firetrucks and paramedics were working on something… no problem on the northbound.  And I thought that maybe this phenomenon could be analogous of the difference between theory and practice.  In theory the northbound side should have been flowing as smooth as normal, but in practice the rubber-neckers had created a domino effect that slowed things to a stop.  Need to remember that whenever I (or an idealist from the other side) propose some fix for the woes of our society.
  • Also seen on the freeway… a truck covered in Oregon stickers, U of O, Ducks, etc. but with California plates.  If you love Oregon so much, why are you here?  I always hate it when people are proudly celebrating some other location, rather than the one they are in.  Either keep it to yourself, or move back.
  • Finally… forgot to update you on a Chelsea-related post.  We did win the Premier League title, AND then went on to win the FA Cup for the so called domestic double.  Thanks for all your best wishes, I know you were all rooting for them as well.

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Live Greedy, Work Union

UPDATE: Just saw this link on Drudge.  So is this where UAW dues go?  I did not know that unions purchased real estate and such as part of their function.  Just remember, they’re fighting for you!

A $6 million golf course on $33 million lakeside property.

A $6 million golf course on $33 million lakeside property.

There is currently a debate going on in the actors union SAG, over whether to strike in January because of their contract.  SAG is fighting over payments, benefits, and residuals for internet and alternative media productions – much as the Writers Guild did at the beginning of this year.  However, as you can imagine, during this tough economic time there are many film & television workers that aren’t actors and who are desperate for work.  A mini-protest took place last night at the Kodak center where SAG members were meeting to discuss the strike.  I worked in entertainment for 7 years, and saw all that is good and evil about unions (mostly evil) and only left the industry when I lost my job because of the writers’ strike.  This continues to impress upon me how unions are constantly held up as helping Americans, when here in fact we can see that it hurts far more than it helps.  When the writers went on strike for more money they simultaneously affected every other worker in film/tv: cameramen, grips, trucking, construction, office production assistants, director’s assistants (my role), and many others.  But it also spread outside entertainment.  In Los Angeles there are hundreds of ancillary businesses that rely on film/tv production; local restaurants, paper supply companies, water deliveryman, etc.  The overall financial impact of the strike was presumed to be between $400 million up to $1.5 billion dollars.  I’ll let you guess as to whether that money will ever be made up by the new wages garnered with the writers’ new contract (answer: no).

A similar situation, differently framed, is now playing out with the Detroit auto bailout and the role the UAW (United Auto Workers) has in it.  During congressional negotiations to potentially rescue the Big 3 (which I’m against anyway) the apparent sticking point came down to the auto union who refused to renegotiate their contract early and possibly lower wages.  Again, the union is acting for the “benefit” of Americans, specifically (and in reality – only) their workers.  Rep. Senator Bob Corker had the plan for the negotiation:

If Sen. Corker’s plan had prevailed, with UAW support, many believe it would have had 90 votes in the Senate. GM could have gone forward with a clean-as-a-whistle balance sheet under a three-part restructuring plan that included a $60 billion bond-refinancing cram-down, a renegotiation of the $30 billion VEBA health-care trust, and a pay-restructuring plan that would put Detroit compensation levels in line with those of foreign transplants Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and BMW.

Average compensation for the Detroit little three is $72.31. Toyota’s average wage is $47.60, Honda’s is $42.05, and Nissan’s is $41.97, for an average of $44.20. So Corker’s idea was to bring that $72 a lot closer to that $44. (Corker notably knocked out Korean carmaker Kia, which has super-low wages.)

That means the average Detroit auto worker has a salary of $150,000, while the average American working for foreign auto maker’s is $92,000.  So it makes more sense to cripple your companies and have them go bankrupt, then to possibly make less than 150K a year?  Now these numbers include benefits and pensions, so it may not equal cash coming home, but even still it is somewhere over twice the amount of the average American worker.  And it is still a hell of a lot more than I get paid, which doesn’t include benefits or pension.  The point is that because of this union a few hundred thousand workers are making decisions that affect 300 million Americans.

I don’t want this post to drag on too long so I will end it here.  But be sure that there will be more posts talking about my hatred of unions because of their many tactics: forced enrollment, opposition to secret ballots, inability of workers to determine use of dues for political activities, tenure, strikes, anti-competitive behavior, and more.  For those interested please see the video I posted on my about page of Milton Friedman’s Free To Choose series episode on labor and unions.  It is followed by a round table discussion with union reps, economists (including a very cool looking Walter Williams) and Friedman himself.  It’s from the 70’s so be prepared.

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