• Jan 18th 2006 at 7:00PM
  • 24
Not surprisingly, cutting wages isn't high on UAW President Ron Gettelfinger's auto industry to-do list. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress Tuesday, Gettelfinger suggested that the U.S. government needs to be a big part of the solution. The three areas where the government should help, according to Gettelfinger, are outlined after the jump.
1. Revamp U.S. trade policy. The UAW is opposed to the government's free trade policies in particular, and the trend to globalization of manufacturing in general. (I'm afraid that horse has already left the barn.)

2. A national health insurance program. His position is that the problem is universal, and not restricted to the auto industry. (The current President is adamantly opposed to a national program. Maybe after the next election.)

3. An alternative fuel incentive program for automakers. Gettelfinger says the need to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil points to an opportunity to move to alternative fuels - if the government provides incentives for automakers. (This is really the trade issue revisited - the market is already doing a good job of stimulating alternative fuel vehicles, and the government already subsidizes E85 and hybrid cars. The UAW really wants to ensure that new auto technology jobs stay in the U.S.)

The UAW's detailed Washington legislative agenda for 2006 is here. It's interesting reading.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      "And the continued abuse of the system by the lazy portion of the workers could have been greatly reduced if management were a little more insightful and didn't hire any idiot off the street that can pass their third grade tests"

      I have personaly withness a Dealer hiring a university grad. Guess what; good performance......... until he was off the hook, not being the employee with the less seniority. Then, as a lot of Union employees, he became an a..... Seems to me that being unionized provoke some strange metamorphosis not presently quite understood by the medical world.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Idea for Fixing the U.S. Auto Industry:

      1) Kill off the UAW

      Too bad you won't ever hear Ron Gettelfinger ever say that.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be nice for once to not have a UAW worker blame everyone else for their problems and stop looking for goverment handouts!

      Sorry but the party's over for the UAW and unless they figure that out there's not going to be any jobs left for them to complain about.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This kind of thinking is what got them where they are now. Revising trade policies will jsut make Americans pay more for foerign cars and hurt sales of US vehicles overseas.
      • 9 Years Ago
      the management at ford and uaw hire their own, they even created a lottery system and hijacked it to get their own pulled, this is it, the "IN" would be told to fold their stubs tightly ti littlest of squares and deposit them, the members were told to simply fold their lottery entry in half, the uaw crooks would pull the names in from of the members without question, by "feeling" for the littest of square. thus they get 2 or 3 of their kids jobs, or do favors for the company selling out members to get more relatives jobs, the uaw cuts deals with the company to use llouges at stadiums, cars banquets, one uaw staffer used ford to ship lebanon pine?? for him for his personal use, uaw staff getcar allowance and a car??? uaw staffers get cola on [pensions while members do without,,,

      yes many of uaw are sorry lazy do nothings, but please, many of us hate them just as much as you, we work, we get filthy and work bell to bell for our wages, those affilated with uaw or companies like ford, do not!!
      • 9 Years Ago
      Something tells me Jsmith drank a little too much of the Kool-Aid.

      " UAW paved the way for a strong middle class." WTF is that? Talk to any economics professor about how truly stupid that concept is.

      That "strong middle class" doesn't want a whiney leader asking the US government to bail out an industry that the UAW had a huge hand in ruining. What a shameless and weak bargaining position! LMAO
      • 9 Years Ago
      This kind of thinking is what got them where they are now. Revising trade policies will jsut make Americans pay more for foerign cars and hurt sales of US vehicles overseas.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The brief introduction provided by Autoblog shows just how out of touch with reality the UAW is.
      UAW ignorance of global business and economics is quite incredible.
      Ignorant UAW leadership is not surprising considering UAW members struggle to find things to do outside of playing cards and smoking while "working" on the line.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, but this guy is just a moron.

      Free Trade has always (and has with NAFTA) increased the standard of living of both countries involved. There is never an exception. Tarifs of any type always LOWER the standard of living. There has never been an exception. This is just well documented and 100% proven economics.

      Canada's health care system has been proven and ruled as a statement of fact by the Quebec supreme court to be KILLING people because of waiting lists and the requirement that people use public health care or go to the US. There is not one public health care system in the world that even comes close to the US health care system, and NOT ONE of them actually provides even the basic care to the "have nots" that the US does to their "have nots" (i.e. in the recent numbers 97% of Americans below the "proverty line" have no compliants or needs with health care. Contrast that to Canada which is in the 70%s.

      The government has no right to create an artificial market. EVER. It's not it's job, and all you do is tax others (i.e. steal) and give it to someone else. The market will be created by demand. Oh and BTW, the reason the US automakers are behind isn't because they don't have incentive, they're getting their asses handed to them by Toyota and Honda. The reason is becasue Toyota and Honda have most of the manufacturing and raw materials for alternative energy sources tied up building their cars, and thus Ford and GM have to build their own facilities, which takes time, and no amount of government theft is going to make that fact any less true.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Yep, you are all correct! Make no mistake; there are some very hard-working people at the assembly plants that would have done wonders for the company if it weren't for the piss-poor management. Most of the people in supervisory positions spent more time using their powers to resolve personal vendettas than increasing production and lowering costs. The rewards system is highly flawed. Just work here for a really long time and kiss a bunch of ass and you're in! No management skills necessary. In fact, if you do something that could help the company, but hurt one of the other dipshits, you will be singled out and tortured by every one of the dipshits that are in charge.

      Don't get me wrong, there are some good managers, but the system for placing and rewarding the management and even the line workers is flawed to its very demise. I've seen management moves that were not only wasteful, but were obviously last-ditch attempts at bankrupting the company so they can move it someplace cheaper before they lose the money they robbed from the company.

      Also, the healthcare costs are outrageous because ergonomics is studied more often than implemented. Considering the damage that repetitive stress causes, no one should be doing the same job every day for years at a time. There should be methods implemented that either change the position that the person works in or causes them to move in different directions throughout their shifts. One may think that these people are faking - and some are - but just think about turning a screwdriver for hours on end. It doesn't seem like much work (and it isn't), but it does do quite a bit of damage over time. There are many easy solutions to these problems and most of them wouldn't cost the company a dime, but the management lacks the organization to effectively lead a company.

      And the continued abuse of the system by the lazy portion of the workers could have been greatly reduced if management were a little more insightful and didn't hire any idiot off the street that can pass their third grade tests. This, coupled with the control of the union that went crazy with unfounded protection of undeserving workers (i.e. one's that skip several days without calling in and when they return, do absolutely nothing), could have struck a health balance between being fiscally responsible and generous. Don't blame all unions - remember that the original unions did serve their purpose well. They protected the electrical workers, the iron workers, and the miners from the deplorable conditions that the employers were exposing them too. There must be a system in place to keep both sides rational.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I live in Detroit, work in the automotive industry, every person I know either has worked for or has a family memeber that worked for GM, FD, or DCX.
      Come'on, you know there are some truths to what is being said about UAW shops. Yes, there are a lot of hard working, dedicated UAW workers, and I hate to see them caught up in this mess, but there's also a significant amount abusing the system and the UAW not policing itself.
      UAW has oulived their usefulness...
      • 9 Years Ago
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