Reader Mail

The Blame Game

Unions destined to lose. Ready, aim, tax. A few (35) good men. Plus more.

12.23.08

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GUILTY: OF ONE THING OR ANOTHER
Re: Eric Peters’s Are the Unions to Blame?

What’s wrong with the Chevy Cavalier? It’s been my first, last, and only brand new car purchase. I looked at a lot of cars each of the four times I bought a new car, and never found anything quite as satisfactory. And GM / Chevy failed to put anything as good in the automotive niche the Cavalier occupied -- no doubt part of the reason they’re facing their current crop of problems.

The Cavalier may not have been flash or hot or edgy, it may have been plain white bread, it may not have had the muscle of a Camaro or the fuel efficiency of a compact, but it was still a good car.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Eric Peters is spot on regarding GM’s idiotic management and business plan; likewise for Chrysler.

But to address the labor relations between Detroit and the UAW: I liken the UAW to that screaming 3-year old in the Food King, with management as the Mom who buys the kid a candy bar or toy on every trip just to stop the screaming. The kid is now a spoiled slacker of an adult. Not blameless, but much of the blame lies with the Mom. Shifting metaphors, it’s been observed that generals often make the mistake of fighting the last war. I believe that the Big Three were trying to avoid the labor riots and crises of the ‘30s and ‘40s by “buying them a candy bar” every three years. I remember that when the UAW contract came up for renegotiation, the UAW would select on of the then-Big three with which to negotiate and strike if necessary. Management would then fold, give the UAW a sop, and the other Big Two would copy the contract. The UAW and organized labor isn’t THE cause of Detroit’s problems, but it is a substantial one.
-- Glen Leinbach

Ft. Collins, Colorado

Probably unions and retired workers should not be loaded down with all the blame, but they do bring our wrath down on themselves when they could do a lot in the way of PR to alleviate their troubles.

I agree with Mr. Peters in a sense. I personally know of one Pontiac executive who always gets an annual raise and has never missed a five to six figure bonus for the last twenty years. When none of these management guys takes even the tiniest hit for working in a losing division such as Pontiac or Oldsmobile, how can they expect taxpayers to shovel them a huge bailout...I know, I know...it’s a loan...but one that probably will not be repaid!

No sympathy for any of them. They had an industry with planned obsolescence and a built in customer base...they just frittered it away. Now they will have Harry Reid and Nancy, the brain, Pelosi to give them directions. They brought it on themselves.

As for GM’s bellyaching about legacy costs, were there no strong negotiators on the management team at the bargaining table? And, by the way when the unions say they gave up a lot in the last negotiations, does anyone else know one of the givebacks was the request for pet health insurance? None of these people are telling the truth...management, unions or retirees!!
-- Judy Beumler
Phoenix, Arizona

I am very pleased to see an intelligent article about the Union and the car makers, I worked for Chrysler for 30 years and I am a retiree, and am 65. I get about $16,000 a year for all of it, the pension and the benefits. Also you might want to know that when we negotiated with Chrysler, and am sure GM UAW was the same, we had so much per hour set aside for pension and benefits for the workers when they retired. The same case would be made for Social Security. I worked there in one period for two years and in that time frame I paid out $86,000 in taxes over all state federal and S.S. and Medicare.

It is a shame that the so-called right is now creating a class war against retirees. I say shame on them and they should know better than to attack a defenseless retiree who is in their last years on earth. We worked and we earned our pension, but you never hear one of them complaining about golden retirement plans for the CEO's. It would not be right to do that, but let's pick on someone who really cannot fight back. Toyota just posted a loss and a big one and, yes, they had money out the wazoo because they are subsidized by Japan, and their workers the permanent ones have a lifetime job. We had to suffer through layoffs and other losses, we are mad as heck at the people who are saying we are the ones responsible for this failure, I am glad that someone would print this article. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

If you look at it close it is the high cost of gas that started their down fall they were doing good until that shock hit the public and it will take at least two years of low gas prices to fix this low economy and the people to get their confidence in buying high dollar items.
-- Kenneth J. Roberts
Lebanon, Ohio

Eric Peters states that he is not a union fan. He still seems to think that the combined Wage/Benefit/Legacy/Work Rule obstacle is not the major obstacle keeping American auto companies from being competitive.

To say that the fact that since Ford is not as desperate as GM and Chrysler means that the UAW is not the problem is ludicrous.

If only we could get a good adversarial attitude going with the government employee unions, we could possibly see the government shut down once and for all.

 That would be the best of all worlds.
 
-- Jeff Cain

THEY BOTH LIVED A LOT LONGER
Re: William C. Duncan’s A Good Attorney Is Hard to Find:

If marriage wasn’t good enough for (then) Governor Moonbeam and First Lady of California, Linda Ronstadt, maybe it isn’t worth a damn to Attorney General Brown today.
-- Ira Kessel

CAVEAT DIPLOMAT
Re: Tom MacKay’s letter (under “The Constitution is Crime-Thought”) in Reader Mail’s Taking No Solis:

Tom MacKay pines for a Constitutional Amendment that says that “no treaty shall supersede the Constitution of the United States.”

Actually, Mr. MacKay, we don’t need one. Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution states that the President “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”

There are, of course, two caveats.

Caveat First: we must have 35 Senators with moxie -- in at least one out of two opportunities -- when advising and when consenting by concurring.

Caveat Second: Joe “I Got Moxie” Biden will find that clause in [i] Article I[/i] of his copy.
-- A. C. Santore

ET TU, VOTER?
Re: Nicole Russell’s The Young at Heart:

Young voter, a couple of elections from now it will be your salary in the crosshairs of the young voter. Sic simper juventus.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

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