That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Workers Threaten Auto Industry

with 5 comments

Instead of branching off into rap music, many autoworkers demand entertainer sized money from their employers

I think anybody in business knows that there is one thing that usually stands between an employer and profitability–employees.  That’s why I find it unsurprising that the line workers are threatening to bring the Big 3 automakers to their knees.

The blame lands squarely on the union who insists on an unrealistic $28 an hour for every senior autoworker.  Sure the executives get paid in the millions, but executive compensation is one of our country’s greatest sources of pride.  Unlike countries like Japan whose executives only make about 8 times what their line employees make, our executives make 40 or 50 times as much.  Americans would no more give this up than they’d give up the Statue of Liberty or the Corn Palace.

The problem is that unlike CEOs who are paid based on the size of the company, autoworkers are paid based on job performance.  This means that mere competency is rewarded with increased salary and those amazing benefits which we hear so much about.  Granted, through concessions our unionized car workers are making no more than the non-unionized ones working for foreign countries in the US, but for some reason they’re able to sell more cars.

There is hope for the future of the American Car Company thanks to management.  I’m really excited by the new hybrid Escalade which while it admittedly gets less than 20 miles per gallon can fit 2 Ford Priuses (Priusi?) in the back.  Toyota may well be buying Escalades to do Prius deliveries.  I have no doubt that in a few years Detroit could crack the 15 MPG barrier and come up with a hybrid truck capable of getting less than 15 miles to the gallon.  Will this do us any good if the car companies must continue to pay their workers $60,000 or even $20,000 per year or pay retired workers to sit around on their butts?  I wonder.


Written by thatsrightnate

November 16, 2008 at 12:20 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Well said, Nate! I lived in Detroit for one year (until August) and couldn’t understand what everybody was whining about. I mean, the Auto Show once a year is just beautiful (for people who like cars, that is).
    Here in Brazil automobile companies get all kinds of tax exemption and lots for free just to install their factories. When a country is nice to them, they sure know how to give back. Take their CEOs, for instance. I’m sure that in Brazil car executives receive much more than only 40-50 times the salary of an average worker.
    (I wrote a post about NAIAS in January, called “If it’s got four wheels, it’s a car”: )


    November 16, 2008 at 4:29 pm

  2. Oh definitely Priusi. Good call. And you know, another idea for you, as you asked – since you mentioned executive pay, what about those poor bankers now being threatened with losing their hard-earned bonuses. Someone should stick up for them after all they’ve done for us. Or should that be someone should stick them up after all they’ve done to us?

    On another note, you know, Jon Swift hasn’t been writing again – but you have been prolific. I’d not have made the connection if you hadn’t said anything about it. First I thought of course you couldn’t be Jon what with the spelling issues and all, but then, why not use spelling to throw someone who had never considered that you might be Swift before you mentioned it off the trail. Did that make any sense? No? I thought not. But there you have it – sharp as a pin, I am. Can’t get one over on me. Nope. What were we talking about again?


    November 17, 2008 at 8:57 pm

  3. Ah yes the spelling issue. I write very much by ear. I hear the words in my head as I write them and that causes some very creative spelling as I’ll use words that sound similar to what I mean to say. If I’m writing something important I proofread and revise and it isn’t a problem, but I have no intention of doing that with a blog so I hope people can overlook the errors to get to the conservatism. As for the Jon Swift connection, I’m just glad to have borrowed at least one of his readers.


    November 17, 2008 at 10:19 pm

  4. Oh come on, Nate, seriously now: how long does it take to proofread a post? You have a great blog, but it could be better if the texts were error-free. I’d love to recommend your blog to my American co-advisor (I’m finishing my PhD), but I’m afraid he’s the type of person who would stop reading after spotting the first mistake.


    November 18, 2008 at 7:46 am

  5. But that’s not the purpose of blogging. This way you get my unfiltered wisdom.


    November 18, 2008 at 7:51 am

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