Saturday, November 15, 2008

Denial is part of the problem

According to an interview in the Wall Street Journal, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said neither unions nor management are to blame for the current condition of the Big 3 automakers.

"This industry is in a crisis situation not of its own making," he said.


So I supposed that every employee being paid to NOT work (job bank) is not a drain on resources? And huge compensation packages for management don't contribute to the losses? And wages higher than your competitors don't escalate the price of the vehicles beyond what people want to pay? No...those things are irrelevant when you're in denial about your own culpability.

As I've previously reported, General Motors has lost $57 billion since 2005. Ford has lost $24.5 billion since 2006. Despite Gettelfinger's claims, high gas prices and the Wall Street meltdown don't account for losses that go back that far.

So what's going one here? Well, when faced with possible bankruptcy of one of the auto companies, the UAW "is joining forces with the companies in a blitzkrieg public campaign to plead for a federal bail out. Although Mr. Gettelfinger rarely talks to the media aside from local radio stations in Detroit, he has reached out over the weekend to make the union's viewpoint clear."

Of course! We'll join together with our hands out to beg for tax dollars to save us from our mistakes. And we'll deny that we've made any mistakes, blaming everyone but ourselves in order to make it easier for Congress to give us someone else's money.

And what will the union do to help their employers avoid the potential dire consequences? Nothing.

"The union will not make concessions in order to seal a deal for governmental aid, Mr. Gettelfinger said.
"It's unfair for people to single out auto workers," he said."

Don't expect us to do anything other than put pressure on Congress to give us money so we can continue doing all the things that brought us to this point in the first place.

Great thinking! And reason only to say NO to the bailout!!!


Carol said...

It's never their fault. Don't you know that, you silly wabbit?

Let's look at it this way:

New Dodge Durango - $28,130 (base)

New Ford Explorer - $26,900 (base)

New GMC Acadia - $31,890 (base)

New GMC Yukon - $37,205 (base)

All of similar size and function. Which ones are priced higher out of the box?

And the info used here is from I didn't pull numbers out of my hat.

Personally, I don't buy new cars. The instant depreciation when driven off the lot is a major deterrent for me. But I digress...

In June of 2007 I paid $26,000 for a HOUSE. Not a car, but a HOUSE in Point Place. The HOUSE will appreciate over time. The car? Well, I think that's a resounding NO.

The "Big 3" are making it impossible for the consumer to justify the expense of purchasing their products. With job layoffs, hours being scaled back, benefits being reduced (except for union employees!) the average consumer is having to make choices about where they spend their money.

And with the attitude of the "Big 3" ... well, people are waking up and choosing to keep their homes instead of driving around in overpriced bling.

Of course they aren't responsible for their sales falling. Of course they aren't responsible for the outrageous prices of their products. Of course they aren't responsible ...


skeeter1107 said...

I too read the article in the Wall Street Journal.

What came to mind was the question, "does he actually believe that, or is he publicly stating this for political reasons?"

If indeed he believes in what he is saying....that is a problem. If he believes that the rest of will believe him....that is insulting.

First, for sake of argument, let's not concern ourselves with finger pointing for past's irrelevant. Second, wishing that the world environment would be different is nice, but not realistic.

I would pose this question to Mr. Gettelfinger and the company management. Given your circumstances and desire for a loan, what are you going to change to make yourself economically viable?

If Mr. Gettelfinger along with management's answer is "nothing, it's not our fault" which to paraphrase is what he stated in the article, then both labor and management are truly lost. They are delusional.

The world economic environment has changed for them. They have had a great run, but that run is over. They appear as lumbering dinosaurs of our economy.

Should we as taxpayers save them? I'm not opposed as long as they are willing to save themselves. So far, they seem unwilling to go there. So how can we as taxpayers save this industry if they aren't willing to save themselves?

If we just give them the money, in six months or less they will be back to the bailout window asking for more. What do we as taxpayers say then?

Their behavior reminds me of an alcoholic or someone with a drug problem. "Just give me enough for my next fix or drink to get me through this." "After that I'll straighten up." But just like an alcoholic, they will have to hit bottom before they change.

But if this isn't the economic "bottom" they need to change their thinking, then I don't know what it would be other than a complete collapse.

Let's hope that they find that moment of clarity that they need.

Tim Higgins said...


The Big 3 and UAW come cap in hand to the taxpayer for money to insure that UAW pensions and medical care are bolstered at a time when Social Security and Medicare / Medicaid are going broke. (I'm certainly sympathetic.)

Mr. Gettelfinger would like the automakers and UAW to be singled out out for a handout, but not for sacrifice. (This certainly sounds consistent.)

Of course we now add to the mix some southern (evil Republican) Senators, whose constituents working for foreign auto companies will not benefit, standing in the way of these businesses too big to fail. (Can you say Honda in Marysville, OH?)

Yes, the debate in the coming days certainly promises to be lively ...

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