Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unions And The Big Three

A lot of ink - online and literal - has been spilled on the Big Three automakers and their alleged problems. Not that they don't have problems, but the justifications they have made for mammoth federal bailouts increasingly look flimsy. There is the claim that "1 in 10 jobs" are generated by The Big Three, a figure that is wildly exaggerated, and there is also the premise that the Big Three are hemmorhaging money, which isn't necessarily the case. That they have problems is true enough, shown in a look at how they became an oligopoly, though the often-repeated argument about Detriot's lack of fuel efficiency is oversold.

The role of the UAW in the Big Three's problems has been surprisingly undersold by pieces actually exmaining that role. A look at the decline of union power offers a look at how damaging union power has been. The UAW's role shouldn't be undersold because for whatever level of mismanagement has happened with the Big Three (and there's been a substantial level of it, but some of the stories sound less like documentation than sour graping), it is impossible to believe the Big Three would not have turned things around faster with a saner salary and benefits structure than it presently has thank to the UAW.

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