When you cause your company to go bankrupt, you are not "saving" the company.
The UAW - the Union of Assholes and Whiners - has decided to go on strike against GM, because despite the fact GM is making money, they are very vulnerable right now, having had to shed their European divisions, and looking to lose the cash-cow that is China. Toss in a recession and threat of high gas prices, and we're right back to 2008.
But unions do that - they strike when the company can least afford it - so they have leverage. It is like beating a man when he is down.
But what made me laugh out loud was a comment printed in the paper from some union slacker. "We were there for GM during the bad times, and now it's time for GM to be there for us!" - or something to that extent.
What he doesn't realize is that the reason why GM went bankrupt was the UAW. The UAW forced a contract on GM that required them to pay people not to work and required them to keep plants open that were losing money. These assholes weren't "there for GM" in its time of trouble, they were the ones causing all the trouble.
Sorry, go sell crazy somewhere else.
The left is hoping that unionism takes hold again in America - and it just might, as a whole generation has been raised in a largely non-union country, and their only exposure to unions is maybe some old Woody Guthrie songs.
But I worked there - and saw the workers sabatoging the assembly lines out of boredom or childishness. I saw the foreman getting punched in the face by one of these UAW thugs and then the union demanding we hire his attacker back with back pay plus interest (sadly, management caved in). I saw the people showing up late - or not at all, or drunk, or on drugs, or dealing drugs in the plant. I saw the payroll at our plant, where forklift drivers were making 42 grand a year - in 1979. I saw it all. You can't play this bullshit game with me.
Or many other people. We all bought your Vegas and Chevettes and Monte Carlos that were assembled slap-dash, cost a fortune, and never went over 100,000 miles. Most Americans were desperate for an alternative to the crap you made, and when Japanese cars came along they bought them in droves.
And today, the Japanese make cars in the USA and actually export them - something GM, Ford, and Chrysler say is impossible to do. And these same non-union workers make quality cars and work for less money that you do, but still manage to "feed a family of four" on their salaries.
But again, a whole generation has been raised knowing nothing but imported cars - they never had to deal with a car that had holes rusted through the body within three years of purchase. They never had to deal with cars with blown transmissions or engines long before the payments were up. They never had a car that some UAW worthy put a coke-bottle in the door as a prank - leading to a lifetime of rattles and shakes - and no, that isn't an urban lengend, Snopes, it was life on the assembly line - where four out of eight chassis bolts were installed on your Caprice - if you were lucky.
Of course, quality has improved at the "big 3" - although Chrysler always seems to come in last. The reason for quality improvement isn't the UAW, though, it is the sale of all the parts divisions of those companies. Today, the parts in your "American" car may be from Japan, China, Europe, or even a foreign-owned factory here in the USA. I just ran into a fellow who works for a Japanese brake component company - they make calipers for all the big automakers, foreign and domestic alike - right here in Indiana.
The "big 3" are now just parts assemblers and the assembly plants are merely where the magic happens - where piles of parts are bolted together to make a car. It ain't like the old days at the Rouge, where iron ore went in one end, and Model A's came out the other (along with Kingsford charcoal).
So quality has improved, because parts quality has improved - parts made largely in non-union plants. But even so, quality of "American" cars lags far behind that of Japanese, Korean, and European cars (Fiat excepted, but then again, they are an "American" car company now). And with the Chinese and Indians already starting to import cars, well, you can see the writing on the wall - now is not a good time to be striking, but rather a good time to be working to keep your job and keep your company in business.
Why does "American" quality lag so far behind the competition? Cost. The UAW has blackmailed the "big 3" for decades now, threatening or enacting costly strikes, to the point where management caved in every time to every demand. As a result, the cost of labor, including the cost of health care and retirement costs, has skyrocketed. As automation has increased - and that is not a choice anymore, but a mandate to survive - and as market share has decreased, these companies are now top-heavy with retirees - with each GM worker carrying two retirees on his shoulders.
When you are at a cost disadvantage to your competitors, there ain't much you can do but die a slow death. You can hope to sell a niche product that others aren't selling. In the late 1950's, Rambler and Studebaker thought they could beat the "big-3" by selling small cars. By the early 1960's, the "big-3" fought back with the Falcon, the Chevy II, the Dart, and the Corvair. Studebaker was history, and Rambler became "AMC" and tried to compete in the muscle-car era. Some clever engineering allowed them to hang on for a while, before that clever engineering moved over to Chrysler.
The "big 3" have tried to sell big SUVs and pickups as their niche product, to beat the Japanese and Germans. It worked in the early 2000's and it is working today - the pickup truck still is the best selling vehicle in America. But Nissan and Toyota both are making bigger and bigger trucks. Maybe not an F350 just yet, but wait for it. The Japanese carefully and slowly fill each market niche before moving onto the next. It was only a few years ago that "real men" dismissed "jap pickups" as mere toys. Today I see people in the rural West driving Toyota Tundras and Nissan Titans to the feed store, and no one is mocking them for it.
GM, Ford, and Chrysler have abandoned the car market - that is to say, the sedan market in favor of these monster SUVs which are more profitable, at least for the time being. Activist "investors" are pushing them to do this. There is, of course, still a market for "cars" and we see millions of them on the road everywhere - but the market is now exclusively for the foreign makes, who now have a clear playing field.
Again, the last time this happened was a decade ago - in 2008. Chrysler abandoned most of its car line in favor of SUVs. Then the price of gas spiked, making them unaffordable to drive. Then a recession hit, and no one wanted to buy a $50,000 SUV or pickup. Today, those cost close to, or over, $100,000 now.
GM, Ford, and Chrysler are making profits, sort of, for now. Ford is being written-off as dead on arrival, due to its debt load and lack of China exposure. Its Chinese operations have made little, if anything for Ford, if not in fact operating at a loss. Chrysler makes money on its big Ram pickups in the USA, but hemorrhages cash in Europe where strong unions mean that Fiat loses money on each car made.
GM is the most profitable of the three, but most of these profits come from China. One could argue that GM is in a good position for a strike, as inventories of vehicles are starting to increase, and "days on lot" for even hot models are stretching out. A few mid-engine Corvette fans might be disappointed, but that's about it. Hell, half the Chevy Silver-a-doo's are made in Mexico, anyway.
This strike may actually increase GM's profit margin in the short-term. Not only that, it will force some of its weaker dealers to fold their tent, which GM needs anyway, as they have far too many dealers for their current US market share.
Perhaps the UAW, looking only at GM's short-term profit picture and not the long haul, is making a huge mistake. Maybe, this time around, management will show some backbone, instead of caving in to every UAW demand. Maybe this is the strike that breaks the back of the union once and for all.
But then again, union slackers are never the brightest bulbs in the universe. They fail to realize that their cushy jobs - often paying several times the prevailing wages in their community - are only there because of a mafia-like organized crime approach the union takes - threatening management with rack and ruin if they don't comply with their demands. Of course, some unions are more than mafia-like, but actual mafia. Remember, I used to be a Teamster.
Unions suck. Unionism sucks. The type of people who are attracted to unions are the types of folks who have no real talents and don't like to work hard - the antithesis of civilization. Put down your stupid signs and get back to work, slackers!
UPDATE: Another day, another UAW official is sent to jail. In addition to all the problems the UAW has had in the past, trying to kill off the three big three automakers and bite the hand that feeds them, numerous UAW officials have been arrested recently for base corruption. There is more than a casual connection between unionism and organized crime.