Wednesday, September 26, 2007

GM and UAW

I admit that I was truly surprised to wake up to the news of the strike settlement between GM and the UAW. I had expected the strike to become a long power struggle. First, I'm pro-union. I believe that organised labor is good for America by helping maintain a level of stability for the working class.
But I'm also quite cynical. Our current corporations are much more concerned about quarterly returns for the investor class, and workers are seen as a cost to be reduced. It's a short-sighted business philosophy, but in our current era of globalization it is pervasive.
So I expected that GM would hold out in an attempt to break the union. Pensions and benefits are so last century. The CEO's pay would allow them to wait the workers out, or so I thought.
The real problem that faces GM is not workers pay and benefits, but the failure to make new innovative products. Simply put, GM is no longer the leader in making good automobiles. The car that is most in demand? The Toyota Prius. GM doesn't make a car that competes. If U.S. automakers want to thrive, they need to make innovative automobiles with higher fuel efficiency, alternative fuel capability, electric cars, and (of course) greater quality and reliability.
I'm really glad to see the settlement, as it shows that organized labor still has a presence in America. But we need a hell of a lot more of it.

1 comment:

fairlane said...

I don't feel sorry for GM at all. They haven't made a decent car in decades.

GM is a prime example of American hubris.