Look aero, let me be clear about this: GM´s product problem is not caused by the guys at the assembly line. Pontiac G6 came distant last in the five car family sedan comparo (Car and Driver Feb -06) because it was much worse than the others. Its got an ancient trashy pushrod V-6 and clunky gearbox. Would you like to buy this car?
Blame the union workers all you like but if you build crap year in and year out people are going to move to the other brands.
Why is GM incapable of producing a decent engine beats me.
Another thing, I don´t think company can deduct union fees from the paycheck of a non member.
Are you saying all the Union bashers are people who sit down for a living, and are perhaps miffed that some, more testosterone charged occupations, which involve vigorous physical activity, get paid a bit more? As a former light blue collar lunkhead, I say we wring their skinny little necks.
WHAT?! Have you seen the beer-guts on most "testosterone-charged" line workers? Mindless, repetative, semi-skilled "monkey-pull-the-lever, next-monkey-push-the-button" factory assembly jobs have been the model of this society's definition of manliness for exactly ZERO years of its history, Fred Flintstone notwithstanding.
We're talking about the class of jobs that, let's face it, hold neither this nation's brain trust nor its Olympic hopefuls. Even the guys who work such jobs tell their sons to go to college or enlist in the service so as to "do better than your pop, eh?"
I don't want GM or Ford or Chrysler to go out of business any more than anyone else. I drive a Ram 1500 truck. But even worse than them closing up shop would be the government bailing them out and keeping uncompetative businesses on life-support. Cuz then, you have taxpayers' money going to support a company whose products they don't want to buy. And that, my friends, is the very definition of socialized, state-controlled production.
Actually, we probably don't have an argument. I was trying some squid tactics by throwing some sticks at the cages. Honestly, I think 15 to 20 bucks an hour is probably about right for the job skill required, but half the guys who wear white shirts and a tie and are in the 'knowledge' business have no business making as much as nurses, but they do. And I can pretty well guarantee that neither GM nor Ford will be allowed to go under. The govt bailed Chrysler out TWICE. I don't believe there is any sense of urgency at GM, for that reason. Those guys on the assembly line make way more than they should because, years ago, GM caved to every demand to keep the assembly lines going because they knew they could sell any piece of crap they made. By now, their bad habits are ingrained in both Union and Management. Harley came pretty close to the edge themselves, but they have a product that has so far found favor with enough Americans that we are willing to pay way more than they cost to make. Sort of like a two wheeled SUV. The markup on SUVs is enormous, and the auto industry in this country has become addicted to the easy money to be made by selling them. That's all well and good, until tastes change. Then, you better have used all that cash you have piled up to develop what the market now demands. I don't think GM or anyone in management at Ford has given a moments thought to what they will do next. for a very long time. Next quarters results are about as far ahead as they look. Does anyone think that the folks at Harley have given much thought to what the future might look like? I doubt it. The typical GM or Ford Executive makes four or five times as much as a Toyota or Honda executive, and has done damn little to earn it. When they finally go over a cliff, it will be all the Unions fault. THAT's what I find annoying.
The recent case of the Home Depot guy who did a bad job and walked with 200-million highlights the problems that exist between management and the workers who actually assemble the product. Who's more important to the company in the end? The argument goes either way, but you still need both parties in at work on Monday morning. A fair wage for a job well done is the ideal of collective bargaining, isn't it? I think your take on Detroit is right. Management would cave to union demands to keep the metal rollng out of the door, and it became a bad habit for both sides. But Chrysler was not bailed out by the government. It was given a loan guaranteed by the government. That's not the same thing. The loans had to be -- and were -- paid back. Still, as you say, the domestic auto industry has been fixated on short-term results. Toyota has a 100-year plan. Addressing your comment about SUVs... it has to be said that the trend was market driven. Consumers wanted them, and the companies made 'em. if the profit margin was larger, well, who can blame the auto companies for taking their money.
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