Autos

Detroit Drowns The UAW

The UAW’s members have become prisoners of the economic war, used now as galley slaves rowing a fleet of doomed ships of into the hellish center of an oil-crazed war between OPEC and the US dollar. All of them will drown shackled to their ships.

It was supposed to be different. The union cut a deal to save some jobs and take control of its own pension and retirement packages. A part of the consideration meant to fund those pools was to come in the form of car company stock.

Now, the industry is falling apart, and the UAW has no chance to get out.

Car expert Edmund.com expects domestic sales to drop 17% in June. According to MarketWatch, Edmunds forecasts “that Chrysler — the automaker most reliant on truck sales — will take the hardest hit, down 31.2%. Ford and GM are both expected to post 25% declines.”

Auto executives at the companies formally known as the Big Three say they could not have seen the oil crisis coming. They believed they are absolved because the world has changed so fast.

Detroit forgot the lessons of 1973 and the oil embargo. They decided not to follow their Japanese competition and have lines of cars which got good gas mileage. Instead, they took the quick buck for a few years and lived to regret it.

The UAW cannot escape responsibility either. They were a sea lamprey attached to the big car companies, living off the success of their hosts. They showed no alarm when Detroit moved almost its entire production cycle to SUVs and pick-ups.

The top auto executives will not lose their jobs, but the workers on the assembly line will.

Douglas A.McIntyre

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