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Look for the Union Label
Author: BobR    Date: 12/03/2008 13:41:55

Once again, the Big 3 auto manufacturers are heading to DC with hat in hand, looking for a bailout. This is generating the usual questions: Should we help them?... How will the money be used to help them survive and thrive?... Who's fault is it that they're failing?....

That last question is important. Without fixing the problem, we're just throwing good money after bad. Naturally, opinions differ as to the cause of the problem. The most popular one is to blame the unions. There is a popular "statistic" floating around about union workers making $70/hr. Here is a refutation to that meme:
According to Kristin Dziczek of the Center for Automotive Research -- who was my primary source for the figures you are about to read -- average wages for workers at Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors were just $28 per hour as of 2007. That works out to a little less than $60,000 a year in gross income -- hardly outrageous, particularly when you consider the physical demands of automobile assembly work and the skills most workers must acquire over the course of their careers.
[...]
But then what's the source of that $70 hourly figure? It didn't come out of thin air. Analysts came up with it by including the cost of all employer-provided benefits -- namely, health insurance and pensions -- and then dividing by the number of workers. The result, they found, was that benefits for Big Three cost about $42 per hour, per employee. Add that to the wages -- again, $28 per hour -- and you get the $70 figure. Voila...

There are more details at the link showing how that $28/hr figure is grossly inflated.

Even more evidence that the unions are NOT to blame is the recent news that average total compensation for Toyota workers in a non-union shop in KY is higher than for union Detroit workers:
Toyota Motor Corp. gave workers at its largest U.S. plant bonuses of $6,000 to $8,000, boosting the average pay at the Georgetown, KY, plant to the equivalent of $30 an hour. That compares with a $27 hourly average for UAW workers, most of whom did not receive profit-sharing checks last year. Toyota would not provide a U.S. average, but said its 7,000-worker Georgetown plant is representative of its U.S. operations.

So why blame the unions? Unions - for better or worse - are the bane of business management and owners. That's because they use their collective power to demand that they be treated fairly. It seems a bit self-destructive for us non-union workers to denigrate unions when we all benefit from the work they've done, including:
  • A 40-hr work week

  • A 2 day weekend

  • A safe work environment

  • Employer-provided healthcare benefits

  • Child-labor laws

  • Pensions (sadly, on their way out, replaced by 401k matching)

Unions help in other ways as well, including boosting pay for non-unionized workers in the same field (see Toyota example, above).

But let's step back for a moment and look at other businesses that failed: AIG, Lehmen Brothers, banks too numerous to count, ENRON. Did they have unions? No. So why would unions be the problem for carmakers? Also, why aren't all industries that have unions failing? If it's not unions, what do the previous bailout recipients have in common with the automakers?

They have greed, mismanagement, and bloated pay packages for CEOs and other executives.

Executive compensation as a percentage of average worker pay has skyrocketed over the last decade. So has cost cutting, corner-cutting, and lax regulation. The problem isn't the lifeblood of the company (the people doing the work), it's the people sucking the blood out of the company.

There used to be a commercial with a jingle that said "look for the union label", with regards to purchasing clothing. That seems like such an anachronism now. We went from "buy union" to "buy American" to "just go shopping". The middle class has shopped its way out of existence, buying cheap crap from China.

It's nearly impossible to find a union label anymore. It's easy to find people labeling unions, however, and usually with smears and false facts. For the sake of workers everywhere, let's hope we can turn that around.

93 comments (Latest Comment: 12/04/2008 07:20:33 by livingonli)
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Comment by velveeta jones on 12/03/2008 13:48:42
I'm aging myself: but I do remember the song and all the lyrics!!







Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 13:54:15
MOrning :hug:



Vel - I remember that ad, used to now all the lyrics - do they still put union labels on things?





Reminder - Blogger Joe

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 14:08:53
Faye with a fun stack!

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 14:28:12
what the hell is this guy talking about :scratchhead:

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 14:29:06
how about we be inclusive you ass - there is more then 1 celebration going on at this time of the year.

Comment by Scoopster on 12/03/2008 14:29:15
Morning peeps! :peace:



My boss just asked me to come in on Saturday for some training on the new website ad delivery system.. :huh:

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 14:30:12
It's that time of the year isn't it...where we have weeks of inane discussions about the warronchristmas™...

Comment by m-hadley on 12/03/2008 14:34:21
Mornin' crew, :greentea:

Still with the dripping nose, not too attractive, but I gotta get it under control by 12noon 'cause I got ref desk hour this afternoon and I can't call on my co-workers again today to cover for me. So I hope that I don't sneeze on any liberry patrons - they might just get more from the ref desk than they were bargaining for :P

Cheers,

mfaye

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 14:34:30
yeah - for some reason some people don't believe there are enough Christmas trees, Santas, Mangers and carols

Comment by BobR on 12/03/2008 14:52:29
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a360/BobR_69/political/buyatoaster.jpg


Comment by Scoopster on 12/03/2008 15:00:32
This thingkind of stuff is really impressing me..



It's kinda weird.. I'm not exactly thrilled by some of the cabinet picks, but the quality of the people that will be working under these figureheads is amazing.



Edit: "thing of stuff"?! Nurse, get that boy some coffee STAT!

Comment by BobR on 12/03/2008 15:06:53
Can we trade Saxby for some other Republican?... please?

Comment by Scoopster on 12/03/2008 15:09:51
oh yah... Bob & Raine So which one of ya is gonna take down Isaakson in two years? :lol:



(muahaha.. my plan for 4F's domination of the senate is coming into focus!)

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 15:17:38
loved that movie and the tv show

Comment by Random on 12/03/2008 15:18:58
Hm...

Since it's really late, and i heard this in the car I'd just like to say.

As a Atheist Heathen Liberal, I celebrate Christmas.

Comment by Scoopster on 12/03/2008 15:21:03
So I had an idea about this whole auto industry thing..



- GM sells Saab and Ford sells Volvo & Range Rover to Charles Branson, who merges them into a new company called Virgin Auto AG.

- GM kills off the Hummer line, or sells it to Textron or Boeing for rebranding as the HD & military-use vehicle company it used to be. Ford kills off Mercury.

- GM & Ford both let Obama's transition teams comb over their company structure & budgets to find inefficiencies and ways to reduce costs, while transitioning both companies to a more efficient type of vehicle.

- Chrysler.... let them fail already for fuck's sake. The only thing in their entire group tha's worth a damn is Jeep, and since no one's buying SUVs right now that's not gonna work either.

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 15:21:03
Quote by Scoopster:

oh yah... Bob & Raine So which one of ya is gonna take down Isaakson in two years? :lol:



(muahaha.. my plan for 4F's domination of the senate is coming into focus!)
That is IF he runs... rumour is he is going to run for Governor.



Now... Everyone sit down... I am hearing rumours that Jeb Bush is going to run for Mel Martiniez Seat.













Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 15:23:24
Quote by Scoopster:

oh yah... Bob & Raine So which one of ya is gonna take down Isaakson in two years? :lol:



(muahaha.. my plan for 4F's domination of the senate is coming into focus!)
That is IF he runs... rumour is he is going to run for Governor.



Now... Everyone sit down... I am hearing rumours that Jeb Bush is going to run for Mel Martiniez Seat.













Comment by BobR on 12/03/2008 15:25:05
Quote by Scoopster:

oh yah... Bob & Raine So which one of ya is gonna take down Isaakson in two years? :lol:



(muahaha.. my plan for 4F's domination of the senate is coming into focus!)


:spit:



WAY too many skeletons in my closet...

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 15:29:39
Oh yes. I LOVE the beard! I hope richardson keeps it!!

Comment by velveeta jones on 12/03/2008 15:30:18
Off to my non-union job...............

Comment by Scoopster on 12/03/2008 15:30:26
Quote by Raine:

Quote by Scoopster:

oh yah... Bob & Raine So which one of ya is gonna take down Isaakson in two years? :lol:



(muahaha.. my plan for 4F's domination of the senate is coming into focus!)
That is IF he runs... rumour is he is going to run for Governor.



Now... Everyone sit down... I am hearing rumours that Jeb Bush is going to run for Mel Martiniez Seat.




http://www.bluegartrls.com/forum/images/smilies/s-instagib.gif
And he shall fail miserably at the hands of our dear Mondo!

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 15:33:01
KBR must go.

About 1,000 Asian men who were hired by a Kuwaiti subcontractor to the U.S. military have been confined for as long as three months in windowless warehouses near the Baghdad airport without money or a place to work.



Najlaa International Catering Services, a subcontractor to KBR, an engineering, construction and services company, hired the men, who're from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. On Tuesday, they staged a march outside their compound to protest their living conditions.



"It's really dirty," a Sri Lankan man told McClatchy, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he still wants to work for Najlaa. "For all of us, there are about 12 toilets and about 10 bathrooms. The food — it's three half-liter (one pint) bottles of water a day. Bread, cheese and jam for breakfast. Lunch is a small piece of meat, potato and rice. Dinner is rice and dal, but it's not dal," he said, referring to the Indian lentil dish.



After McClatchy began asking questions about the men on Tuesday, the Kuwaiti contractor announced that it would return them to their home countries and pay them back salaries. Najlaa officials contended that they've cared for the men's basic needs while the company has tried to find them jobs in Iraq.
Video and more at the link.



There goes my blood pressure.

Comment by velveeta jones on 12/03/2008 15:33:07
I don't think a bush will ever have another job after George. Well............ not in politics anyway........... :p

Comment by Random on 12/03/2008 15:34:46
I'd like to take this opportunity to announce I plan on running against John McCain when his re-election comes.

Thank you.

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 15:37:09
I love this drop from Shane!!



GREAT JOB!

Comment by livingonli on 12/03/2008 15:37:10
Good morning everyone.



Last night, I went to bed by 3:45 instead of 4 AM.

Comment by Scoopster on 12/03/2008 15:38:01
Quote by Random:

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce I plan on running against John McCain when his re-election comes.

Thank you.


:clap: Woooooo go for it!

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 15:38:16
Quote by Random:

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce I plan on running against John McCain when his re-election comes.

Thank you.
Awesome. I'll get to setting up that ActBlue page when the time comes!



Comment by Shane-O on 12/03/2008 15:40:04
Quote by Raine:

I love this drop from Shane!!



GREAT JOB!


I was thinking of all the 4F Georgia members while putting that one together.



We all owe ya' for your votes. But we only get just one...



Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 15:43:19
Ripley is a badass "chick"

Comment by Mondobubba on 12/03/2008 15:43:56
Quote by Random:

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce I plan on running against John McCain when his re-election comes.

Thank you.






Do you have your catchy slogan yet, Random?

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 15:44:08
Quote by Random:

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce I plan on running against John McCain when his re-election comes.

Thank you.




Shut up! No way!







Comment by Random on 12/03/2008 15:45:37
Quote by Mondobubba:

Quote by Random:

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce I plan on running against John McCain when his re-election comes.

Thank you.






Do you have your catchy slogan yet, Random?


Two actually.

- Young VS. Old

- I'll Out live him.

Comment by BobR on 12/03/2008 15:45:39
Quote by Shane-O:



I was thinking of all the 4F Georgia members while putting that one together.



We all owe ya' for your votes. But we only get just one...



I assume it's the one I got in the email (I was in the WC and missed it).



Thanks!

Comment by BobR on 12/03/2008 15:46:51
Quote by Random:



Two actually.

- Young VS. Old

- I'll Out live him.


How about: Any Random person is better than McCain...

Comment by Random on 12/03/2008 15:50:10
Quote by BobR:

Quote by Random:



Two actually.

- Young VS. Old

- I'll Out live him.


How about: Any Random person is better than McCain...


...Sure why not.

A pun no one in Arizona will understand.

Comment by Mondobubba on 12/03/2008 15:50:25
Quote by Raine:

Quote by Scoopster:

oh yah... Bob & Raine So which one of ya is gonna take down Isaakson in two years? :lol:



(muahaha.. my plan for 4F's domination of the senate is coming into focus!)
That is IF he runs... rumour is he is going to run for Governor.



Now... Everyone sit down... I am hearing rumours that Jeb Bush is going to run for Mel Martiniez Seat.

















Yeah, I've heard that rumor too. He is so easy to morph into he retarded older brother.

Comment by livingonli on 12/03/2008 15:50:34
Who saw when Jon Stewart played the clip from the Saxby Shameless ad where he groped his granddaughter on last night's Daily Show?

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 16:10:48
Comment by Mondobubba on 12/03/2008 16:23:57
Quote by Raine:

Monsters.






Bastids. Poor Murphy. Here's to full recovery and a happy safe home.:hug:

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 16:25:38
Comment by starling310 on 12/03/2008 16:27:36
Hello all!



I have decided to watch the Inaugaration from the comfort of my couch.

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 16:28:14
I think DC is only 3 miles around

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 16:32:30
Quote by starling310:

Hello all!



I have decided to watch the Inaugaration from the comfort of my couch.




I'm starting to lean that way myself. Although I heard the whole Obama 1260 meet and greet is going to be SUnday afternoon so i might just go to that



Comment by starling310 on 12/03/2008 16:35:50
Quote by wickedpam:



Prop 8: The Musical




:rofl: That was great!

Comment by Raine on 12/03/2008 16:36:44
The meet up is supposed to be Sunday? Well that is a bummer.



We won't be in town until Monday.

Comment by wickedpam on 12/03/2008 16:39:00
Quote by Raine:

The meet up is supposed to be Sunday? Well that is a bummer.



We won't be in town until Monday.




Bill Press said something about it this morning. THey think it's going to be a Lisner Auditorium from 4-6. I'll let ya know if I hear anything else



Comment by Mondobubba on 12/03/2008 16:42:38
Quote by wickedpam:



Prop 8: The Musical






Jack Black as Jesus!