Slate’s Mickey Kaus suggests that, now that they have an ownership stake to think about, the United Auto Workers may be rethinking the way they’ve always approached, well, auto workers:
News that workers at the plant making batteries for the new Chevy Volt might not be union (UAW) members provoked this wacky, largely uninformed thought: Maybe the UAW doesn’t really want the future Chevy workers to be unionized. Why? Because the UAW has basically cut a deal with GM that protects its existing members in their $28 an hour (plus benefits) jobs, but give new, future hires a much worse deal: $15 an hour jobs. If those new workers are UAW members, they will be able to lobby within the union (and, more significantly, vote) to equalize the pay of the old-timers and newcomers at some intermediate level– say $22 an hour. Why would existing UAW members want that? Better to keep the newbies out and exploit them for all they are worth in order to subsidize the cushy, unsustainable deal the UAW veterans enjoy. … It would almost be as if the existing UAW members had become the profit-seeking owners of the company! … Oh wait. …. (links original)
Was the auto bailout was a back-door method of stopping UAW members from finishing off the golden goose? (As opposed to the front-door method of putting GM through a real bankruptcy proceeding.) If so, it was an awfully expensive alternative.
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