You know — the hundreds of millions of people who will be affected by what y’all come up with…
I’m being a little facetious here, but it’s in service of a larger point. So bear with me. Let’s start with the news. And in keeping with my new resolution to link, as often as possible, to things you don’t have to subscription to read or hear, I’ll refer you to NPR:
With less than 24 hours left before current strikes expire, the United Auto Workers’ union and the Detroit Big 3 automakers have not yet reached a deal.
The companies say it’s still possible to work out a viable compromise before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. The union, meanwhile, has started laying out its strike plan – an unusual one, at that….
Follow the link for the rest.
I’ve been watching this in recent days, while I’ve also been doing something else. My youngest daughter has just moved home from Dominica, and started a new job a week ago. She’s been driving to work in our 1998 Volvo, which, let’s say, is not in what you’d call tip-top condition. So she’s been trying to buy a decent, reliable used vehicle that she can afford. And I’ve been trying — so far unsuccessfully — to help her, which is what made me think to post this about these labor negotiations:
I mean, now that they’re making better, more competitive cars, and they’re selling so well that the Big Three are far from bankruptcy, it’s natural that the UAW wants a taste. But what about the rest of us? It’s great that the cars are better, but if we can’t afford them…
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) September 12, 2023
OK, I was kidding there — a little. I’m not asking that the interests of the companies and the workers — be subordinated to Brad’s interests. Anyway, no matter what they do, I expect decent used cars will continue to cost more than I paid the last time I bought a new car. (After all, I’ve only bought used ones since 1986.)
But I was thinking that there’s ONE way for the union and the companies to get everything they want — to jack up prices even further, and by a LOT. And I was thinking there are a LOT more consumers who would be paying for that than there are auto workers or corporate executives combined.
Consider this just another blow struck for thinking about issues in something other than binary, one-and-zeroes terms.
As for the two parties we’re all focusing on… For my part, I’d like to see both sides get what they want, to the extent possible. This country needs a thriving auto industry, and the workers deserve a square deal.
What we don’t need, in my view, is CEO’s making $29 million a year. Nor do we need workers to continue to be paid, for decades, to show up at a plant that’s been shut down, and sit around playing checkers. This is called a “jobs bank,” and after wisely giving them up to keep the industry in business the UAW has recently talked about wanting this arrangement back.
Maybe somewhere in there, y’all can find a way to get what you both actually deserve, and maybe give the rest of us a break, too. Or at least not make the price situation worse.
Anyway, good luck with your confrontation, folks. Here’s hoping that after all the rhetoric and posturing — and probably suffering before it’s all over — you work out something fair to all…