Workers left their jobs at 11 a.m. Eastern time, after a strike deadline set by the union late Sunday passed without a deal. Negotiators from the two sides were back at the bargaining table by early this afternoon. But industry analysts said that given how far apart the two sides appear to be, the strike could last for weeks.
The stalemate apparently arose over the union’s demand for job protection for its work force at G.M., which is one-fifth its size in 1990. G.M., in return, had pushed for the creation of a trust that would assume responsibility for its $55 billion liability for health care benefits for workers, retirees and their families.
Although the two sides agreed last week on the framework of the trust, they could not reach an agreement without addressing other contract issues, which in turn would determine how much money G.M. could invest in the trust.
This monopoly labor supplier for the US auto industry wants job security. Well, yes, and so do most people. But the US auto makers have long ago ceased to be the oligopoly suppliers of cars to the American people. Most people realize that in today's economy with global competition there's no job security. But the UAW want an unachievable goal that private sector workers can't have. The UAW is an anachronism.
Every time the UAW strikes against a US maker that maker loses marketshare that it does not gain back. Seems to me the UAW was way too fast to go out on strike. They are further weakening the wounded behemoth that they they count on being able to feed on.
The UAW sort of understands that the Moderately-Big-But-Shrinking Three are, well, shrinking under an onslaught from competitors that have cheaper labor costs. But the UAW isn't willing to give up much to save GM, Ford, and Chrysler from bankruptcy.
For his part, Mr. Gettelfinger said the union was “very concerned” about the long-term outlook for G.M., which was passed this year by Toyota as the world’s biggest auto company.“We’ve done a lot of things to help that company,” he said. “But look, there comes a point in time where you have to draw a line in the sand.”
How long can General Motors survive a strike before they hit a liquidity crunch? At the moment I doubt that GM can borrow any more money. How fast can GM shift all their production abroad?
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 September 24 05:51 PM Economics Labor|