Friday, December 12, 2008

The Sin of Wages

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. “
-Henry Ford

I feel like I have been living in the Twilight Zone the last few days. Will someone explain to me why is it fair to demand immediate cuts in wage and benefit packages for union workers, cuts that would amount to an average of 30% of a worker’s salary, without requiring similar cuts in the wage and benefit packages of the white collar employees and management? Kind of shows you what the real agenda is. And what about all those high-cost union jobs? The reality is that all new GM employees hired in the last year initially were brought on as temps or contract workers. If they eventually are hired on full-time, they make a whopping $14 per hour on the line with no full benefits for 2 years. How much more can the UAW give? Those wages are bullshit.

The biggest waste in that company is sitting in the CEO’s office. Wagoner got a 15 million dollar bonus for running GM into the ground yet he and the politicians are pointing the finger at the UAW. Please.

From the Times letters section: “For the last couple of weeks all one hears regarding the auto industry problem is the media drumbeat, "the unions", "labor", "the contracts", as if the workers who manage to make the only living wage left in the blue collar class are responsible for the complete lack of innovation or decent product design by an industry led by air-headed millionaires. It's not the fault of people making 40 bucks and hour with, OHMYGOD, health benefits and pensions who are at fault for the fact that Americans buy Hondas and Toyotas because they last, have few repair problems and get great gas mileage.” The UAW and its members have been fighting for years for a standard of living that allowed a middle class to flourish in America. Isn't that the American dream? Isn't it what we all want?

It is so much easier to blame the worker. For whatever reason, envy, jealousy, Americans identify more with those above them in the class structure. Plus, once you start blaming the system you are confronted with the reality that the (capitalist free-market) system has failed. This is frightening. Nevertheless it is a reality that has to be faced eventually. Clearly, our government & monetary system no longer work. It's time for re-invention, Thomas Jefferson style.


crackah said...

Be Rich or Die. This is the motto of America today. There are no republicans. There are no democrates. There are only Plutocratics. If you are not rich, you better die trying to be; otherwise, you can expect no equitable treatment--not from the markets, the educational system or our justice system, not even from your fellow common man at times. . .This is the most basic tenet of capitalism: There needs to be a sacrificial lamb. Today the rich want to offer up as sacrifice the blue collar auto worker in order to keep themselves in good with the god of greed...Is that hyperbolic enough?

Kbelle said...

Thank God, someone is defending the unions. I am in full agreement with the Patriot, funny how the fat cats make the money but its the workin' man who's to blame. The unions were performing their function of protecting labor but management wasn't performing its function by its inefficiencies and wage gaps. Dark times.

Mark said...

I'm happy someone is defending the Unions too, unfortunately for them, it's me.

martin j. cummins said...

Work union.
Live better.

Member, local 399 (Hollywood Teamsters)