I appreciate and admire all the hard work Americans do.
Every American, heck, every citizen of this Earth, works in some way to meet an ultimate goal. To celebrate that work, we observe Labor Day in the U.S. by, ironically, taking a day off work to acknowledge the sweat that gets poured into making this country work.
American workers are the ones who build roofs over our heads, fix our appliances when they break and assemble the vehicles that allow us to freely roam the 47,000 miles of Interstate highways criss-crossing the States. When workers excel in those jobs, they typically get rewarded. When they can’t perform, they get fired. That’s the cycle, and the way it should be.
Some workers work for large corporations, others work for small businesses and others work for no one but themselves. While I appreciate them all, I just can’t get behind the organized unions that protect workers of large companies. That includes the United Auto Workers. Simply put, I believe unions make it too hard to get rid of problem employees while creating a heavy burden on employers.
The current labor agreement between the Big 3 automakers and the UAW expires on September 14. I, naturally, would love to see it expire without a new agreement in place. I think the Big 3 would be better off handling its employees the way Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW and Hyundai do: without representation. Their employees have fiercely resisted the UAW and, so far, are doing just fine.
No new labor agreement is about as likely as a new gas tax, though (something jgoods and I agree this country needs). Negotiators are hard at work right now hammering out a plan to “protect” workers. Ford workers are threatening to strike if those negotiations turn south. Surely GM and Chrysler employees would, too, if they hadn’t given up their right to strike as part of the government bailouts.
It all seems pretty juvenile and I wish Ford could permanently replace those who choose to strike and move on. Thanks to the UAW, that’s not possible. The union is so entrenched in U.S. politics, its leader, Bob King, even flew on Air Force One along with President Obama to his Labor Day speech in Detroit. So the likelihood of the UAW losing its grip anytime soon isn’t good.
It seems to me that when employees build quality vehicles and take pride in putting out the best cars and trucks possible, their job security becomes a function of the company’s success. Artificially protecting jobs through a union is simply archaic. And yes, I understand the history and the economics of unions, I just believe that’s where unions should stay: history.
Would Ford, GM and Chrysler be better off without the UAW?