Special Report: Crunch time at America's richest union

Comments (18)
GA_Chris wrote:

These seem to be sad old men clinging on to a lost world. Modern companies look after workers well, without have unions, who, to be honest, mostly mismanage funds and are only interested in expanding their influence, not helping workers.

The best paid and most productive auto workers in the country are in the South, and not hindered by expensive unions.

Sep 22, 2011 9:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
desmoines wrote:

The uaw is the worse union i`ve ever been in, the last eight years it will not let its members strike, they keep tell the membership that its the best contract they will get, you must vote and approve it. Those members who are not in the big 3, but our members, get screwed on every contract, its a joke. A lot of union dues goes for their easy ass jobs. Its easy to see why the union is in trouble, bloated wages for the union big shots. Let control go to the locals and the union will trive again.

Sep 22, 2011 9:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Whyteboar wrote:

When I was younger, I looked for ‘Union Made’ labels to support American workers. I now understand that the extra cost for Union made is effectively a tax supporting the Democratic party and by extension, big government. I will now go out of my way to avoid Union Made products. I’ll find other ways to support America.

Sep 22, 2011 10:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
USAPragmatist wrote:

You righties sure have it in for unions, do you realize if it wasn’t for the labor rights movement we would still have children working for low wages? We would have people working 80 hour weeks with no overtime, we would have people getting injured/dying from workplace incidents at MUCH higher rates, not to mention a smaller middle class that has been the main driver of USA prosperity.

@GA_Chris, companies ‘look after workers well’ because they have to, they would stop in an instant if they could, all in the name of profit.

Sep 22, 2011 10:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
starleaf wrote:

There is a war in the USA right now, on the middle class. They have already been attacking the unions. Wisconsin anyone? When and where will it stop? Labor and the middle class are being pounded by corporations and the rich. 1 in 6 Americans are now the poor. It is a truely sad state of affairs.

Sep 22, 2011 11:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Sensibility wrote:

There was once a time when labor unions were needed. They fought for the rights of workers and built the middle class. Now they are the enemy of the middle class, supporting largesse and laziness, and extorting money from their members to buy political favors. They are a tool of the political establishment. They are relics of a bygone age.

Sep 22, 2011 11:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Yirmin wrote:

If unions cared about trying to help the exploited workers they wouldn’t be trying to sign up southern auto workers that make more than twice the minimum wage, they would be going after the workers in the service industry… the waiters that make less than minimum wage… these unions are only trying to get high end workers because they can suck more dues money from them before they drop them to die on the vine.

Sep 22, 2011 12:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BigSky wrote:

I think the truth is probably somewhere in between the USAPragmatist and Sensibility comments.

Unions are still needed to prevent regression around key labor practice constraints which I think most reasonable people agree are good: child labor laws for example.

While I believe most companies have come to realize that some restraint is good for all, the sometimes insane pressure to cut costs will always leave the door cracked for actions detrimental to the rank and file.

On the other hand, Labor has to realize (as it seems UAW have) that times have changed. It really is possible to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. In a truly global economy, the lowest common wage denominator (unfortunately) will ultimately influence what a worker in Detroit or anywhere else in the world can earn. That’s just a fact of life in the 21st century.

Labor and Management have to work together to find the best possible mutual solutions for all interests, and — to avoid the “burning platform” day ever from arriving, like it did for GM, and apparently like it now has for the UAW.

Sep 22, 2011 1:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
fred5407 wrote:

Time for the unions to rebuild. When the unions, and not the companies, become responsible for having a full shift of trained workers on the production line, pay their benifits, and agree to turn out a superior product, then they will have something to sell. Yes, their compensation will be higher, but the manufacturers will know what their costs are. Otherwise the unions are as dead as last weeks newspaper.

Sep 22, 2011 1:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DrJJJJ wrote:

Organized crime!

Sep 22, 2011 1:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Inertia wrote:

While the unions were responsible for many changes in the workforce – that was well over 50 years go. Let’s get that straight.

Over the years many laws were put into place that do what the union was made to do. OSHA takes care of environment. There ARE child labor laws. The list goes on.

As far as the hourly thing without overtime…. it’s called “the rest of us”. Many industries hire on salary and you work 50+ hours a week without lunch breaks. That’s just the way it is, not that I like it.

Sep 22, 2011 2:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PessimistNJ wrote:

Inertia, there are actually labor laws for salary employees. Unfortunately the government does a little to regulate these laws.

I have delt in a managerial position in both union and none union shops. It usually far easier to terminate non productive employees in union shops as long as the non productive employee is not a long term employee. The unions problems stem from them getting bed with big business. They have found it more profitable to sell employees interest to the highest bidder, and that bidder is big business.

Sep 22, 2011 3:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
joehill wrote:

I’m a UAW member and am glad the UAW puts its logo and slogans on nick-nacks. That’s not a scandal or waste. It is simply advertising and we live in a culture where ads are important.

Wages have been flat for 40 years. Worker safety and other working conditions are falling. It is like the 1930s here in the midwest and we need unions as much as we ever have.

Black Lake is not a shrine to Reuther. It is an education center. Why have it? Because we don’t have to pay hotels for space & when the conference day is over all attendees are in the same space so the conversations continue.

As to the value of property falling … that’s a result of the unregulated finacialization of the economy. Selling an old union hall in Hamtramck for $230,000 is selling it for less of a mark-down than many homeowners have experienced. Of course the way the sentence was edited one gets the impression it was sold for a tenth of that even though that’s not what the sentence means.

OSHA doesn’t “take care of the environment” that would be EPB. Both are small underfunded agencies crippled by judicial and political pressures for years. Non union auto factories are 8 to 10 times more dangerous than UAW factories … so yes we need strong unions to deal with the workplace. Now more than ever.

Sep 22, 2011 5:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
moonhill wrote:

I have been a union member and found the union useless for anything except collecting dues and using the dues to suport the Democratic party. I resented the union leaders telling me how to vote in an election. Unions have outlived their usefulness and now demand higher wages/benefits than what they deserve. It’s time for them to go.

Sep 22, 2011 5:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
darfut wrote:

Those of you that can’t remember when America made everythong from toothpicks to the largest earth moving equipment in the world probably don’t realize that almost all of those companies were Union shops. Like Germany today,90 percent of companies there are unionized. They haven’t sold out and moved their operations to cheap labor markets. When OPEL was on the list to close when GM filed bankrupcy Germany got busy and found other investors that would save those jobs and that plant is open today. If you think your job is so safe working for a non union company that treats you so well, just let them take a hit and see how long you last.

Sep 22, 2011 9:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bagwa wrote:

I find the UAW as it is currently operated to be untrustworthy. There is a UAW office near my house and there is a sign on the lawn saying that Foreign Cars are not allowed on their property – but they have a giant electric sign that displays holiday greetings and sometimes the time and temperature – the sign’s components come from China.

Sep 22, 2011 10:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:

joehill said: “Non union auto factories are 8 to 10 times more dangerous than UAW factories … so yes we need strong unions to deal with the workplace. Now more than ever.”
joehill..kindly point to a legitimate study to support that claim.

Inertia says: “Many industries hire on salary and you work 50+ hours a week without lunch breaks. That’s just the way it is, not that I like it.”
Inertia have you ever heard of Fair Wage and Hour? A division within the U.S. Department of Labor. Here’s a link to the Fair Wage and Hour laws: www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-flsa.htm. What you are suggesting is utter bull$hit!

Only 6.9 percent of ALL jobs in the private sector today are unionized. While 32 percent of Public (government jobs) are unionized. Now there’s some heinous and dangerous working conditions right? Unions destroyed manufacturing in this country. They are the primary reason we have lost so many of these jobs to other countries. The unions have finally found an industry (government) that’s more difficult to bankrupt and an industry that does have a clue about financial discipline and doesn’t have CEO’s that answer to Boards and investors. Anyone remember the demands and illegal actions of the Air Traffic Controllers that caused Reagan to shut them down? Unions destroy efficiency and competitiveness in everything they touch. That’s why they hardly exist in the world of private sector companies.

Sep 23, 2011 5:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ProudDetroit wrote:

Germany and Japan pay high auto wages (Germany higher than ours)and their auto companies have thrived. U.S. auto companies abandoned Detroit because they can go to places where independent unions are illegal (China), violently suppressed (Mexico), or quietly suppressed (the U.S., especially the South). U.S. corporate management wants lower wages for their workers and maximum short-term profits for stockholders because that’s what Wall Street demands. Meanwhile, U.S. CEO’s pay themselves ten times more than their successful counterparts in Germany/Japan. The UAW isn’t perfect, but blaming workers for wanting a middle-class wage is blaming the victim.

Sep 23, 2011 8:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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