People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Democratic union shops drive competition and prosperity

Posted by schroeder915 on February 15, 2006

Harold Myerson:

For four years running, the Wixom plant had the highest score of any of Ford’s North American assembly plants. In 2004 J.D. Power and Associates ranked the plant as the third-best auto factory in North and South America — beating all the Mercedes and Toyota plants routinely touted as the be-all and end-all of auto production. …

But in recent years, Ford focused more on overseas acquisitions — Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin — than on improving the product it made in America.

“We kept arguing for a product that appealed to the customer,” says Tony Brooks, a salty assembly-line worker who heads the local union’s military veterans committee. “The quality of the plant is what kept us alive, not the cars. When did they last redesign the Lincoln Town Car? Ten years ago?” …

On Jan. 23 Ford announced that it was closing factories across North America, and Wixom, its awards notwithstanding, was on the list. …

Unions are blamed for the woes of Ford and General Motors, but it’s more the case that the political weakness of U.S. unions is responsible for the woes of Old Auto.

I will always remember how confused and defeated my father seemed after Harley-Davidson gave him a pink slip in the early 1980’s — his reward after twenty years of service. He didn’t believe in unions, so he was among the first to go.

It didn’t matter that he frequently complained about the quality problems created when AMF bought Harley-Davidson. People who were around at the time, or who know anything about the AMF era, will recall the leaky oil cases that stained garage floors.

Then the Japanese copycat bikes started duplicating piece for piece the designs of Harley-Davidson motorcyles. It’s come to the point where Japanese bikes have even duplicated the slow syncopation of Harley-Davidson motorcyles.

Well, back then, it wasn’t unions that caused Harley-Davidson’s financial problems. It was management decisions. But who paid? Workers. My dad!


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