For years, Jerry Sullivan, the head of the largest United Auto Workers local at Ford Motor Co., fought for higher pay, job protections and limits on the work his members had to do.Emphasis mine. What an attitude. The guy gets it. Elsewhere in the article, there is a graphic showing that US labor costs are over $1,000 per car more than their Japanese competitors'.
But in the past year, as Ford teetered financially, the 59-year-old Vietnam veteran has changed course. These days he has urged his members to accept the outsourcing of company factory jobs to lower-paid workers, and to work new shifts without the tens of thousands of dollars in overtime they formerly would have earned.
"Ford is in a desperate situation," sighs the burly, bearded Mr. Sullivan, who has spent 36 years at Ford, the last 10 as president of UAW Local 600 in suburban Dearborn. "If this company goes down, I want to be able to look in the mirror and say I did everything I could."
It's not all posturing by UAW leadership, either.
In past local negotiations, union leaders rarely gave any ground, and talks often stalled over such matters as getting microwaves installed for employees' use. But this time, recognizing their precarious position, Dearborn members agreed that non-Ford workers earning half their pay could take jobs in the plant such as shuttling car components across the factory floor. Thousands of UAW members accepted changing to four-day, 10-hour shifts that can include weekend days, without collecting overtime. At an engine plant in Lima, Ohio, some union workers have volunteered to manage their brethren, for a 50-cent-an-hour bump in pay. Elsewhere, long-honored seniority rules have been waived and job definitions have been broadened.The article goes on to say that the unions and the company still have a long way to go, but it's definitely a big move in the right direction to have them both realize how desperate their situation is.
Contrast this to the labor unions in Europe and Airbus. Airbus is getting crushed by Boeing due to massive problems in the development of their new aircraft. Despite government intervention across Europe, Airbus is losing money hand over fist. Their unions, steeped in socialism, refuse to help out as the company tries to cut costs and remain competitive.
Airbus said the changes would reduce the time it took to develop new planes from seven-and-a-half years to six years, improve customer service and aircraft reliability.Our College of Cardinals has more.
Union officials, who were informed of the proposals earlier on Wednesday, expressed anger at the scale of the cuts.
"We totally oppose the closure of any site and we won't accept any firings," said European Metalworkers Federation head Peter Scherrer.
French workers earlier downed tools in protest at the firm's plans to review the future of two of its sites.
Thank God we've got the UAW and not these idiots.