Thursday, June 08, 2006

UAW and suicide bombers have death wish in common

If you know you're going to die, it's best to take as many casualties with you as possible. That's the opinion of some UAW members and labor historians whose interviews appeared today in the Detroit News.
"I believe our union will grow," said Robert Betts, president of UAW Local 2151. "It's like the Romans. The more they persecuted the Christians, the more the faith grew."
Wrong analogy. The UAW's future is less like Christians than it is dodo birds. Dodos had no predators until their peaceful island was invaded by rats, monkeys, and pigs brought by settlers in the 1500s--which ate the eggs and the dodos. The lesson here is dodos were fat, dumb, and happy until they were unable to compete with new, non-indigenous species.
"I think Gettelfinger has pussyfooted around the issues," said Dan Lamb, a machinist at a Delphi brake plant in Dayton, Ohio. "It's time to go back to our roots, back to when the union was militant."
That strategy is working well for Muslim fundamentalist. Unable to compete economically, scientifically, politically, or socially with the rest of the world they want to return to the stone age when women were property and people lived in tents. This is not a recipe for progress.

This next quote is my favorite from the article.
"Yet the spirit of cooperation with the automakers can only go so far," said labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein.

"You can cooperate with the company 90 percent of the time, but you have to hold in reserve the ability to throw a wrench in the works," said Lichtenstein, author of a 1995 biography on legendary UAW leader Walter Reuther.

While a strike now against Delphi would be "almost suicidal," Lichtenstein said the UAW would lose its bargaining power without the threat of a walkout. "The capacity to say no is essential to making the cooperation work," he said. "It requires both sides to have a gun in the holster, and you have to use that rusty gun every so often to be taken seriously."
So Lichtenstein advocates the UAW may have to suicide bomb Delphi even if it takes down GM as well, or maybe to make sure it takes Delphi, GM, and others down with it. What does the UAW care of collateral damage a strike may cause? They've already become an anachronism to the new capitalism forced on US car makers with the improving fortunes of Japanese, German, and eventually Chinese imports and transplants.

This kind of denial and irrational behavior to protect high-wage low-skill jobs has more in common with terrorism than the ideology of Walter Reuther. It's one thing to fight to protect workers from hazardous workplaces or exploitation and quite another to guarantee above-market pay and benefits regardless their or their company's health or performance.

Islamic extremists covet Western Culture's success and would prefer to destroy it than change. The UAW is jealous of its economic gains and would rather kill the cow than drink less milk. Let's hope cooler heads prevail.


  1. "I think Gettelfinger has pussyfooted around the issues," said Dan Lamb, a machinist at a Delphi brake plant in Dayton, Ohio. "It's time to go back to our roots, back to when the union was militant."

    It been my experience, that the path that got you to where you are is rarely that path that will take you home. How things used to be done does not equate into how things should be done.

  2. From today's Detroit News:

    The MGM Grand Convention Center in Las Vegas went dead silent as Ron Gettelfinger took the stage as the new president of the United Auto Workers on June 6, 2002.

    But as soon as Gettelfinger opened his mouth, the new voice of the UAW emerged. Pounding the podium with his fist, Gettelfinger issued a call to arms that rang through the hall.

    "We need to feel the passion of the union movement in our heart," he said. "Each one of us should ask ourselves what is it that we have done to make our union stronger, and we must be honest with ourselves when we answer."

    Apparently, Gettelfinger has decided to pervert Reuther's dream the same way Jesse Jackson perverted Martin Luther King's.

    Rather than address the reality of the union's lossed monopoly and the inflated waged that accompany it, denial and militancy will be the UAWs anthem for his second term.

    There's some good news.

  3. great post thomas.

    Unions once had thier place, but it is 2006 and we no longer all drive down to the factory and work 14 hours a day in the smoke filled sweat shops. We outsource that now to Asia ;o) & ;o(

    You said it when you said, "high wage, low skill", that's the truth. Capitalism doesn't work using that methodology.