The recent Obama debt downgrade has left the United Auto Workers in a shaky bargaining position says an economist with the Center for Automotive Research according to the Detroit Free Press.
And it’s a good example of how the Obama administration support may erode at the grassroots while still enjoying confidence of big donors and big organizers like the UAW.
Auto workers were counting on better auto sales from a robust economy and climbing shares prices to help them win higher wages. They were told that the Obama administration’s plan for the economy would lead to that end by the homestretch of the 2012 presidential election.
But with the outlook for the economy uncertain and recent market declines, the UAW will have a tougher time selling management on taking care of union workers even if the Obama administration is the majority shareholder in the domestic auto industry.
“The steep stock market declines will put pressure on UAW labor negotiators and will force hourly workers to recognize the shaky reality of the nation’s economy, said Sean McAlinden, senior economist for the Center for Automotive Research,” according to the Free Press.
“And that means less hiring, less production and less overtime and some fear about job security,” McAlinden told the Detroit newspaper. “We are not going to hit 13 million in industry sales this year.”
Instead, according to McAlinden, the union big-wigs will have to spend the rest of the summer selling rank and file membership on a smaller deal. It doesn’t matter how upset the rank-and-file gets. Union leadership will ensure that a quiet labor deal gets shoved down their throat.
Because the Obama administration is such a big partner of labor unions, the auto workers can’t afford to embarrass the president the way the SEIU did in recent negotiations with state governments and hospitals over pay and benefits. The union brass has to protect the “leader” Obama, at all costs, especially if the economy falters further.
TV pictures of purple-clad aging hippies with SEIU logos slathered across their chests still sets off average Americans who don’t get the Cadillac benefits, so to speak, and the job security that union workers, especially government workers, enjoy.
Ford, which took no bailout, says “it spends $58 an hour to provide wages and benefits to UAW members, $8 more than the average labor costs at the mostly nonunion U.S. factories of foreign automakers such as Hyundai Motor and Toyota Motor, according to Businessweek. GM and Chrysler, which took government money, wrung concessions from workers that include no-strike clauses. The no-strike guarantee was to prevent embarrassing the Obama government with more aging hippies striking for another $2 dollars on $50 an hour wage. GM and Chrysler pay labor costs of between $50 and $56 respectively.
After taking criticism about the automotive bailout, which was really a bailout for union workers, much as the state bailouts were too, neither the union nor the Obama administration can relish the idea of labor leaders rioting for better wages in the Potemkin Village that the administration has created in the domestic auto industry.
Lately the media have been busy reporting how many green jobs auto jobs were created by the administration in Michigan. The UAW and the usual suspects from the environmental left recently said that 38,000 green automotive jobs have been created in Michigan.
“The reality is that cleaner vehicles have already led to more jobs,” said Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a written statement according to the Louisville Courier-Journal’s website. “Our report shows how strong fuel efficiency standards have employed people nationwide, so stronger standards will certainly mean even more job growth in the future.”
No so. As I reported previously, higher fuel efficiency standards are expected to kill about 500,000 million jobs at a time that job creation is at a premium.
38,000-500,000 equals 462,000.
As usual, the enviros know more about the math that kills jobs than the math that actually creates real, paying jobs for for-profit companies. Michigan’s unemployment rate is 46th out of 50 states at 10.5 percent, despite leading the nation in “green auto” jobs. The national rate is 9.1 percent.
It would be better for Michigan if they led the way in something other than unemployment and union delegates.
As the union brass sells out to the environmental left, the Obama administration and anyone else willing to treat them with the relevancy that they can’t get on their own, it’s past time for union rank and file in the automotive industry to understand that the top of the union doesn’t represent them.
The UAW has done bang up job representing the enviro-whackos at the Natural Resources Defense Council, though.
Their own workers?
Not so much.
Let’s see how long auto workers let them get away with it.
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