Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UAW set to kill the Blue Oval that laid the Golden Egg

Of course, it doesn't help matters that the UAW is now a major shareholder in Ford's two top American competitors - GM and Chrysler. So its no surprise they're not willing to give Ford the same breaks they gave themselves as co-owners.

The UAW seems to be arguing that since Ford isn't in as bad a shape as GM or Chrysler it shouldn't get the same deal they received from the UAW.

That the UAW is now having two sets of bargaining patterns, one with their co-owned, government run GM and Chrysler that is favorable to these automakers and now a separate deal with Ford that will put it at a disadvantage doesn't bode well -UAW, Ford deal is in jeopardy

If the proposed agreement is ratified, Ford workers -- like their counterparts at GM and Chrysler -- would not be able to take to the picket lines if they are unable to reach an agreement on any increase to wages and benefits during the next round of national contract talks in 2011.

As The Detroit News first reported Saturday, this was demanded by the Obama administration as a condition of its bailout of GM and Chrysler. The White House did not want to invest billions in taxpayer dollars to make those companies competitive only to see the gains reversed in the next round of negotiations.

If Ford does not receive a similar commitment from the UAW, it will be at a clear disadvantage once bargaining begins.

As ably noted in the Detroit News - UAW workers may derail Ford's success
Here, in the week before Ford Motor Co. hopes to maybe, sorta' report encouraging third-quarter earnings, a faction of its United Auto Workers membership is on course to torpedo a revised labor agreement -- proving, yet again, that bankruptcies and painful retrenchments aren't enough to shake some real-world sense into a deeply engrained sense of entitlement.

I mean, who'd have thought that the Blue Oval, still controlled by its founding family, had unwittingly become a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation masquerading as a struggling titan of Wall Street? Or that some in the UAW mistakenly believe they're "co-determined," in the German corporate sense, to steer Ford's corporate strategy?

Deep into voting on contract terms that include a qualified "no-strike" clause, it's not looking good for FoMoCo right about now. Nor is it looking good for UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and the head of his Ford Department, Bob King, both of whom have their fairly significant credibility strapped to a deal that could go down to defeat.

If it does, what it says about a chunk of the union's rank-and-file will extend far beyond what it means for their employer, now beset with the heaviest debt load and least competitive work rules of Detroit's three automakers. Let me repeat that: Ford, the darling of Motown, now is carrying more debt and less competitive work rules than its rivals.

Rejecting Ford's proposed deal would keep it that way for two more years -- at least. What that says is that too many around here still don't get how precarious Ford's comparatively promising future really is.

They don't get that you can't force unequal terms on competing entities -- in this case, breaking the "pattern" that has bound UAW members together since the days of Walter Reuther -- and expect Ford to compete fairly with rivals from General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC to Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.
. . . .
And it bolsters the anti-Detroit argument, aired so effectively during last year's auto bailout hearings in Congress, that too many of this town's auto folks still operate in a parallel universe unhinged from the real world inhabited by the rest of us.
It is a very good editorial, so go forth and read the whole thing.

The UAW shortsightedly seems determined to kill the last surviving non-government owned American car manufacturer.

1 comment:

Scott said...

If those UAW clowns don't ratify, they deserve all the huge layoffs, plant closings and imports with the Blue Oval slapped on them they will get.

Oddly, Gettelfinger seems to get it. I hear him on the radio all the time, and when you can filter out his union stuff that he has to say, you discover that he has at least a modicum of economic sense.

It can't have been easy for him to hold the factory rats together the last couple of years in the face of the massive downsizing of the auto industry.