Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What unions have done to American manufacturing

How much do you think a grass cutter should get paid? How about $26 an hour (about $60,000 per annum)? If that seems a bit high, you obviously don't live in the fantasy world of union dominated manufacturing industries like the big US auto manufacturers.

As Henry Payne explains in this column at NRO:

As defined by the current United Auto Worker contract negotiated with the "Big Five" (GM, Ford, Chrysler, and top parts makers Delphi and Visteon), an auto "production worker" is a job description that covers anything from mowing grass to cleaning the toilets. In the real world, these jobs would be outsourced to $8 an hour, no-benefit wage earners, but on Planet Big Five, these jobs get the same wages as any auto line-worker: an average $26 an hour ($60,000 a year) plus benefits that bring the company's total cost per worker to a staggering $65 an hour.

Think that's bad? How about getting that amount for doing nothing?

the Detroit News reported that "12,000 American autoworkers, instead of bending sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank." These aren't jobs. And they certainly aren't being "lost" to China.

We just go in (to Ford's Michigan Truck Plant) and play crossword puzzles, watch videos that someone brings in or read the newspaper," The News quoted one UAW worker as saying. "Otherwise, I've just sat."


That is insane. And completely unsustainable. Is it any wonder that the American auto companies and their large parts suppliers are in such dire straits? They simply cannot compete any more. Idle labour such as described above cost Delphi $400 million in just the second quarter of this year alone!

Read the article for further mind blowing statistics.

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