Here’s a fellow Flintite (Flintian) explaining why her former employer shouldn’t be bailed out:
The strength of the union and the weakness of management made it impossible to conduct business properly at any level. For instance, I had an employee who punched in his time card and then disappeared. The rules were such that I had to spend hours documenting that this man was not in his three foot by three foot work area. I needed witnesses, timed reports, calls over the intercom and a plant wide search all documented in detail. After this absurdity I decided to go my own route; I called the corner bar and paged him and he came to the phone. I gave him a 30 day unpaid disciplinary lay off because he was a “repeat offender”. When he returned he thanked me for the PAID vacation. I scoffed, until he explained: (1) He had tried to get the lay off because it was fishing season; (2) The UAW negotiated with GM Labor Relations Department to give him the time WITH PAY.
I supervised a loading dock and 21 UAW workers who worked approximately five hours per day for eight hours pay. They could easily load one third more rail cars and still maintain their union negotiated break times, but when I tried to make them increase production ever so slightly they sabotaged my ability to make even the current production levels by hiding stock, calling in sick, feigning equipment problems, and even once, as a show of force, used a fork lift truck and pallets and racks to create a car part prison where they trapped me while I was conducting inventory. The reaction of upper management to my request to boost production was that I should “not be naïve”.
Another employee in the plant urinated on the feet of his supervisor as a protest to discipline. He was, of course, fired…that is until the union negotiated and got his job back.
Eventually I was promoted to a management position where I supervised salaried employees at HQ. As I left the plant I gave management a blunt message. I told them that I expected the union to act like the union, but I was disappointed that management didn’t act like management.
I saw a lot of this in the 1970s when I worked summer jobs in the shop, and my relatives who are still there tell me it goes on to this day. Of course, it’s hard to put all the blame on management, when the Wagner Act made it impossible for them to do much about it, because it allowed the UAW to credibly threaten their company with bankruptcy if they didn’t knuckle under. This crisis was caused by government, and bailing out the UAW will not solve it.
Also, Jim Manzi explains why we (the taxpayers) can’t just buy the three auto companies for their current market value (only seven billion) and save ourselves the many more billions that a bailout would cost. It’s kind of amazing that the stock has any value at all (GM’s in fact doesn’t). Equity in these companies currently has negative value because running them requires putting more cash into them, with no certainty, or even likelihood of return, at least with their current union contracts and cost structure. They are the proverbial white elephants.
This, by the way, is the reason that the notion of selling the Shuttle or the ISS to anyone else is a non-starter. No one could afford them, even if you gave them away.