If unions did what they were supposed to be doing, every assembly line at GM would be shut down right now


NewsOK: GM to Slash 30,000 Jobs, Close 9 Plants

“Today’s action by General Motors is not only extremely disappointing, unfair and unfortunate, it is devastating to many thousands of workers, their families and communities,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Richard Shoemaker said in a joint statement.

“Workers have no control over GM’s capital investment, product development, design, marketing and advertising decisions. But, unfortunately, it is workers, their families and our communities that are being forced to suffer because of the failures of others.”

KFOR: General Motors to close plant

CNN: GM’s big shakeup — Automaker ups job cuts to 30,000 jobs as it shuts plants, facilities in plan to save $7B a year.

Wagoner said he believed that a new line of large SUVs due early in 2006 should give a lift to those sagging sales, and that some of its large SUV capacity is being changed to produce either SUVs or pickups, depending upon demand. He said GM needs to keep capacity for the vehicles that it can sell at the greatest profit — namely the larger vehicles.

Among the vehicles made at the assembly plants being closed are the Chevrolet Impala and its twins, the Saturn Ion, its minivans, the SSR sport pickup and some mid-sized SUVs. The company will have a North American capacity of about 4.2 million vehicles a year at its own plants, down from about 5 million.

“Oklahoma City, (which makes the mid-sized SUV) is a very good plant but a classic example of … just having too much capacity in that segment,” said Wagoner. “That’s why that plant in on the list today. We don’t have any plants left that aren’t very high quality and quite productive. I’m sure I’m not going to satisfy any plant as why they’ve been chosen to be on the list.”

You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t have much sympathy for GM right now, but since their CEO is raking in an annual pay and benefits package of $11 Million while the hourly workers are getting the shaft, I say the General Motors Corporation is about as low as it gets.

Personally I think the UAW needs to get off its butt and take some action with a real strike. Every GM worker nationwide should be walking off the assembly lines right now and refuse to let scabs into the plants, while at the same time consumers would straight up refuse to buy GM products. If this happened on a mass scale, I think GM would have to back down, but unfortunately I don’t think this is going to happen. Because folks aren’t willing to stick together (and I don’t just mean autoworkers, but in other professions too), the Man is able to screw the workers.

On top of that though, what boggles my mind is that our politicians always assume that the answer to saving jobs is to give the corporations more tax breaks and other perks (instead of showing some leadership and attacking the corporations… i.e. why doesn’t Governor Henry call for all Oklahomans to boycott GM products?) Here’s a story that gives a bit of a window into this mindset…

NewsOK: Closing disappointing, Henry says

The governor said GM told him there are no state or local incentives that would change their mind and keep the plant open.

7 thoughts on “If unions did what they were supposed to be doing, every assembly line at GM would be shut down right now”

  1. I think the action you’re suggesting, James, is about 20 years too late. The proper time for organized labor to stand up against the new world capitalist order was when Ronald Reagan led the attack against workers with his mantra of trickle-down. People bought the idea of stacking the odds in favor of the wealthy since they were the ones smart enough to spend it wisely.

    When the push for so-called “free trade” policies accelerated, labor unions gave not much more than lip service, since Democrats, by and large, were as supportive of global corporations as Republicans. That was the beginning of the end for organized labor. At the time there was much internal debate among unions on how to react. The cooperative approach won out in most unions. No one should be suprised by the results.

    I’m afraid things will have to get much worse for workers before it gets better.

  2. Here’s the local UAW website: http://www.uawlocal1999.org/

    Also here’s a story from the BBC on the plant closings: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4457038.stm

    Here’s one bit of good news from the BBC story – — However, the main GM union, the UAW, reacted angrily to the news, saying that it would invoke the job-security guarantees in its union contract, which would protect workers’ jobs until 2007.

    “The UAW-represented workers impacted by today’s action are protected by our job security program as well as other provisions and protections of the UAW-GM National Agreement,” the union said in its statement.

  3. GM is doing global marketing.This translates sending plants overseas, translates
    cheap labor; look how many plant gm now has overseas and how much they are
    investing; now is the time for them to close AMERICAN PLANTS.

  4. WHY is it time to close American plants? Sure if all GM cares about is profit then it probably is a good decision, but there’s more to it than that. The workers of these plants have worked their ***es off for this company. They deserve better treatment than this.

    GM is an American corporation and it has an American charter (likely it’s a Delaware corporation… most big companies are chartered in that state). I say screw globalism. If GM pulls this crap, then the government should yank their charter and take away their assets. What GM is doing is plundering, it’s not fair business.

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