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The GM Strike

ruzruz Posts: 59
edited February 28 in General
Since there has been quite a bit of discussion
about the GM strike, I thought it would be a
good idea to start a topic here to deal
specifically with how it is affecting truck
manufacture and the future of GM products.
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Comments

  • ruzruz Posts: 59
    A ground rule:

    * Play nice. No name calling, no attacking people instead of what they say, no ethnic slurs, none of that other bad stuff. If the discussion veers away from civility, I will just freeze the topic, but I'm interested in hearing what you all have to say, and I bet others are too...
  • ruzruz Posts: 59
    So has anyone been directly affected by the strike? Anyone out of work, or waiting for an order that is indefinitely on hold?
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    Ruz
    You have no idea. Since the parts arent being made body techs(me) are haveing a tough time because we cant even get some replacment parts in. This is very bad because Minnesota, were im from, got hit may 15 with a major hail storm. My dealership(pontiac/GMC) is backed up until may of 99. We may have to back log more people with appontments if we cant get the parts.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    I think the big problem will be in late September at the model-year launch. If GM doesn't have enough of the new Silverado/Sierra to make the launch, they will have to wait until at least January, by which time Ford and Dodge will be racking up 1999 model sales.

    There are already dealers who are out of full-size pickups and SUVs, as well as some car lines. If the Dayton brake and Indy sheet metal plants go out after Flint is settled, GM is in for a tough battle to regain what will be seriously high losses in revenue and market share.

    Now if the UAW brass will just remember, if they bring GM to its knees like they claim they can, their membership may not have jobs to come back to.
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    Topic 131 in the News and Views conference is about the strike also.

    My local Chevy dealer is hurting. I was looking at some commercial trucks with the intent of ordering around August. Because my firm was doing better than expected this month, we decided to order now after we gather the info. Problem is, the Chevy dealer can't give me a timeframe to go by so I have shifted gears.
    Before the strike, I was going to make a decision between Ford and GM. Now the decision is clear, I'm going to the Ford guy to fork over 45k.
    This strike just cost the local dealer and GM a tidy sale and service in the future. I still have other Chevys in the fleet but they are aging. The last three trucks and van have been Ford because of recent model changes. Not only did GM lose buisness because of white-collar before, now their losing it because of the blue-collar.
    Falling behind of technology to Ford and Dodge; then the strike hits. This is a big ouch.
  • queenmsqueenms Posts: 26
    Nobody wins in a protracted strike, just look at what happened at Caterpiller a few years back. I am not a Chevrolet/GMC owner but wouldn't wish this on General Motors. I just can't see this strike helping American industry stay ahead of the flood of imports. Like the post above says the UAW needs to remember that they need to balance their demands with the possibility of all those plants packing up for Juarez.

    I come from union bloodlines so don't even think for a second I am anti-union. I am only anti-stupidity. I pray this strike is short & bloodless.
  • richflynnrichflynn Posts: 147
    The real issue here is that our government has made it very profitable to move manufacturing out of the country. This has been done over the last thirty years or so. Jobs are going away and out of the country. Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. GM is doing exactly what every other company is doing. The UAW is only trying to protect their livelyhood.

    The American public has been sold that domestic is poor quality and imports are high quality. The domestic companies that understand this perception and attempt prove the perception wrong are much more successful. The changing of the perception is a multi year effort and first starts with increasing product quality followed by marketing fluff. Implementing the ISO quality standards would be a good starting point, however it could take 10 years to achieve.
  • FETZFETZ Posts: 51
    According to the latest news, the plant in Ontario that is making the new Silverado/Sierra trucks is still in operation, and GM intends to launch the new truck line in spite of the strike.

    The lease on my current Chevy truck will be ending in the not-to-distant future, when the new Silverado will be out. It will be time to lease a new Chevy, buy out the one I've got, or turn it in and go lease a Dodge.

    I am wondering if the strike may have an effect on the quality of the new truck. Will the assemblers in Ontario have a chip on their shoulders in support of the UAW and the striking workers, and do less of a quality job as they might otherwise? Also, parts availiability for warranty work could be a problem too. All this on top of the fact that this is the first year for an all new redesign tends to scare me away from getting a new Silverado.

    Are these valid concerns?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    They ARE legit, unfortunately. The Ontario guys have said they will not build with any sheetmetal that comes from the "moved" dies, and they too will be out of parts by the third week of July if the strike isn't settled.

    And yes, parts are definitely a problem, even if you have a current truck. There are dealers who already can't fix your truck because they don't have the part to do it.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    I have to believe that a direct result of this strike will be that GM will move more jobs out of the country or do more outsourcing. This job force is proving that they have the ability to bring GM to their knees. GM will have to move away from this job force to avoid this in the future.

    Personally, I would prefer to see GM outsource to other US companies, rather than build in other countries. This keeps the jobs in the US. By outsourcing, GM can reduce labor costs by going to nonunion companies where supply and demand dictate employee wages. If the union wages and benefits are at market rates, then there would be no reason to outsource. Even if the wages were equal, GM would probably still prefer to outsource because they would eliminate the risk of a crippling strike.

    I'll disclose that I'm not prounion, but I doubt it was necessary to say the obvious. I've always been a supply/demand person. My definition of being overpaid is if there is someone who will do your job at the same level of quality for less money. Considering that the average US manufacturing job pays 50% less than GM employees make when you factor in wages and benefits, I suspect there are a lot of qualified people eager to work for GM. I don't see the UAW winning in the long term, even if they are able to claim victory in the short term at the end of the strike. The long term result will be less UAW jobs at GM.
  • E3MP6E3MP6 Posts: 70
    Any Economists have a view on how this strike will play into the Daimler-Chrysler merger? Going to give D-C an even bigger advantage from what I'm seeing. Now that Chrysler Corp. does not exist (technically it's now Daimler-Chrysler, International) will D-C be held to the UAW contracts that Chrysler had? Will D-C be a mandatory UAW shop?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    E3

    The UAW has a seat on the DC supervisory board, and all existing contracts are maintained and in effect.
  • E3MP6E3MP6 Posts: 70
    What about post-expiration date? Will D-C shop[s in the US become mandatory UAW shops? Even after this spectacle with GM?
  • raglanraglan Posts: 7
    I was gonna buy a Chevy truck, but the strike has driven the prices almost $1000 higher since January (at least that's what the salesman told me). So I ended up with a Nissan truck. I didn't want a Nissan, but for poor people like me, I had to settle with what I can afford.

    If this strike continues anc convinces GM to move to Mexico, there will be more poor people like me living in North America.
  • alchavezalchavez Posts: 28
    It's too bad that GM and the UAW have to play this unfortunately necessary game now. I've read that Ford and Chrysler have worked hand in hand with the UAW in past strikes and things are now hunky-dory with them. In those situations, Ford and Chrysler gave-in quickly to UAW demands. However, at that time, with stiff Import competition, and America's low quality image, the UAW also gave in for the good of all America.

    This time, GM is not going to give in at all. And the UAW is shooting for a winning battle in a losing war. I think the UAW should see that downsizing, although abeit late, is a necessary evil when survival and market share are at stake. After all, if your company goes bankrupt, how can they afford to pamper its workers with some of the mose stratospheric wages I've seen? I've read that $1,000 of the cost of each GM car or truck goes directly to pay for health benefits of GM workers.

    Let me see, $90,000 per year average, four hour work days (if the daily quota is met, you go home early), free healthcare, no college degree required, and a track record as some of the lowest quality-least efficient workforce. Heck, I would fight for my job too! But, alas, not even a fantasy job can last forever. Can anyone out there say "Mexico here we come!"
  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    well said, alchavez. i don't know exactly how bad this could cripple GM, but downsizing isn't something you do overnight, and if the union doesn't come back, soon, i think GM will lose almost everyone in the market for new vehicles, as well as the GM faithful they've had in the past. Customer service is a hard thing to give, when you the factories aren't making anything, and you can't even get parts. every day this thing stretches out, GM gets closer to a huge crash and burn. what if this thing stretches out 3 months. if i was a commercial fleet owner, and i needed trucks or trucks worked on, my business wouldn't be able to wait that long. i'd go straight to ford or dodge. i see that happening.

    i totally agree with alchavez. to see union workers do this who are extremely overpaid for what they do, and most of which don't know what a hard day's work is, makes me sick. i see the need for a union, but its stuff like this that has Japan's productivity and efficiency kicking our [non-permissible content removed]. (i'm not putting down every union worker out there. there are some hard working folks out there, but the above is the way i feel about GMs workforce.)
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    This isn't to exonerate the UAW, but GM shares some of the blame for the current strike. If it really wanted to weaken the UAW's stranglehold, it would have taken steps to keep its workers happy. The UAW has tried time and time again to unionize the transplants - SIA in Indiana, TMMK, Nissan, Honda, etc., and has failed each time.

    What's going to come out of this is a stronger, leaner GM - one way or the other. Ford and Chrysler learned their lesson when they were faced with the specter of bankruptcy in the 80s and early 90s - and I'll just bet that the executives at GM are saying "never again" - one way or the other, they will break the stranglehold that a few plants have on their entire production system.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    Unions had a place in American History. Unions represent much of the reason we have laws on the books that regulate the workplace and ensure that employees are treated fairly. But the point is that there are now laws on the books that protect workers.

    The usefullness of unions has passed. Now they serve only to interfere with the basic principles of supply and demand. Is it a good thing that a union can brag that one of their greatest accomplishments is that their workers make so much more in wages and benefits than the average worker in the US?

    Auto jobs would not be leaving the US if the autoworker wages and benefits were based on the supply and demand factors in the American workforce instead of an artificially negotiated rate that is dictated by the union under the threat of a strike that can bring the company to it's knees. Why would GM need to outsource to other US firms if the wages at GM were equal to other similar companies in the US? We are not talking about foreign workers vs US workers. We are talking about your neighbor doing the same job at the same quality level for less pay.

    GM is not being brought to their knees because they are not offering fair wages and benefits. They are being brought to their knees because the union does not recognize the need of GM to compete in the international arena. American companies can be competitive by employing US workers and operating factories in the US if they are able to compete workers based on the supply and demand factors of the American workforce.

    As a final note, one of the largest employers of union labor is the federal gov't. I doubt anyone will defend against the statement that this is one of the most overpaid, inefficient labor forces in the US.
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    Brutus,

    Well stated about the glowing red tape of the gov't. I would love to know the imput from the auto workers at the Nissan plant in Tennessee. They continue to vote down the UAW every time. How much do these guys get paid? Benefits? I'm sure that these American workers are being well-compensated. Does any UAW member have a comment about this?
    How about the Machinist union at Harley-Davidson? My brother works there at the York plant and makes 35k a year with full medical benefits which is great for putting the wiring harness in a hog! He dropped out of highschool and was a loser for a fair amount of years before this job. He blesses everyday for his fortune that he realizes he is an extremely luck man.
    The guys at Flint should realize this as well. Concede some work rules to GM and get rid of the unproductive ones. I've heard too many tales of how impossible it is to fire a union guy. At a local bottling plant here, a worker took off lots of days, showed up high, fought with other employees and guess what? He is on union disability for six months with full pay. He has to go to counseling for his "problems". His job is guranteed.
    Could any of you get away from this? Only if you play in the NBA or you are union. We all pay for a guy like that.
    I suggest an incentive plan. Make the union contract multi-level and reward a good worker and punish or fire a bad one. We have to find out whether the tail wags the dog or is it the other way around? This isn't job security, this is highway robbery. What good will this be if GM is forced to close plants because of this strike? Sinking your job is a hell of a way of saving it!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,662
    Adding further woes for GM, are reports today that the new front wheel drive GM mini-vans (Chevy & Olds) have been recalled for seat problems.

    It was reported that several people have lost fingers while trying to adjust and/or remove the seats! Can you imagine all the current GM mini-van owners trying to get their vehicles repaired, and not being able to get parts because of the strike. Couldn't have happened at a worst time for GM.
  • bogiemanbogieman Posts: 12
    What a shame that the American workforce has to succomb to this strike. There was a time, unfortunatly, when the american worker NEEDED the protection of the union, but that day is long past. We are headed to a time when there will be 1/2 the number of jobs at 2 x the salary, and a standard truck will cost $50,000.... but that will be just 3 months wages...... for the few still holding jobs! Somewhere, the balance with sanity has been broken in all this greed! I wish all the people involved would come to their senses and sit down and create a fair agreement that was also fair to the consumers!
  • dunbartondunbarton Posts: 46
    If you call sending 50,000 jobs to Mexico by GM, and so stated by GM, not a concern and not in need of a Union, then we are in strict disagreement ..... Dunbarton
  • dunbartondunbarton Posts: 46
    Hey, it takes BOTH sides to sign a union contract. Don't blame management for what union workers get, they had to sign the contracts too.
    Don't forget, management gets better benefits than the union people....... Dunbarton
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    They had to sign the contracts under the threat of a strike. Supply and demand should dictate wages, not a union that uses the threat of shutting down your entire North American operation. If supply and demand could be used to dictate the wages, auto industry jobs would not be leaving the US. This strike will only make US automakers move more jobs out of the US. Hopefully, US automakers will choose to outsource jobs to other US companies with more competitive wages, rather than move them out of the country.

    Management may have better benefits, but if they don't perform their jobs, or their wages are no longer competive, they either get fired or they take a paycut. Try to fire a union employee or cut their pay.
  • dunbartondunbarton Posts: 46
    Brutus,

    You have some valid points. I value your input from your other postings here.

    The jobs are leaving anyhow thanks to Clinton and Nafta. GM only netted 6 billion in the first quarter of this year but it's not enough .....

    Never saw union members leave with a "Golden Parachute" either. And no, I am not a union member ...... and will try not to venture to far away in the future of this forum. I apologize for getting too political.

    I just want to get a good truck no matter who makes it. Dunbarton
  • dkgdkg Posts: 11
    I actually had the experience of being in Detroit and watching the union workers. Some do a really good job, some do not. What got me was the number of union people it takes to do anything.

    I watched the moving of a desktop computer, probably similar to what we are all using for this forum. Here is what it took, One union steward, one union forman, one union electrician and one union laborer. While the steward and forman talked (making sure non-union people did not try to move the computer), the electrician unplugged the computer and disconnected the wires , next the laborer took the computer parts and put them on a cart and moved the computer 15 feet away to another cubicle, now they all took a coffee break, after the break the laborer moved the computer off the cart onto the desk, then the electrician hooked up and plugged in the wires, then the forman and steward got the work order signed and they all left. The best part is then one of the computer people had to come and setup the computer. All told this took about 45 minutes, including the 15 minute break.

    Then I went to a manufaturing plant in East Pontiac, Michigan to watch pickups being assembled. More amazing yet. Both GMC and Chevrolet models were coming off the line. The were shooting for 6% rejects at the end of the line, which was not the average at the time. Some of these people really did a good job, but the overall impression I got was - NEAR THE END of the shift, the workers walked off the job so they could punch out on time; mean while, the assembly line kept moving. In case you are all wondering the next shift had not even clocked in yet, it seems that at the end of the shift the line stops for at least 30 minutes for shift change.

    I now am working on an assignment with another group of union workers, different technology same work effort. I could not "work" like that.

    So, where is the pride in workmanship?

    DKG
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    GM says that it is finalizing plans to reduce the number of models, as well as the number of operating plants, as they continue to lose market share as a result of the strike. It sounds like these changes would stay in effect even after the strike is over. GM says that may lose 40% of it's market share if the strike goes into August.

    Analyst at Merrill Lynch say that GM needs to lay off 45,000 of it's North American workers and close three plants if it wants to be competitive. This is something that the industry analysts feel needed to be done even before the strike. It is also being reported that GM has no long term strategy to deal with UAW strikes.

    The good news is that, despite closing 26 of their 29 North American plants, GM says it has managed to maintain production of the 99 full-size pickup at the Oshawa Ontario plant.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    The last line in paragraph two should have said that Wall Street is not certain that GM has a long term strategy to deal with UAW strikes. In other words, Wall Street is on the side of management, but feels they may not be organized in their strategy to deal with the union.
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    Time to bite the bullet. Short-term losses is nothing compared to long-time woes.
  • E3MP6E3MP6 Posts: 70
    Found a good memo from a UAW worker (striker) on abcnews.com. here's the URL

    http://www.abcnews.com/sections/us/DailyNews/gmflintmemo980710.html

    Check it out soon, I don't know how long ABC keeps old stories on their web site.
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