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For years, there's been a drumbeat of media reports about sliding union membership. Today fewer than 12% of American workers belong to a union. Twenty years ago it was close to twice that. And this is why a number of auto industry experts believe the United Auto Workers union is a spent force.

Within the auto industry, it's something of an secret that most suppliers prefer to work with Asian "transplant" OEMs, who are perceived to be easier to work with. Planning Perspective's recently released survey shows that the Big 3 are making substantive improvements, but still have a long ways to go until becoming Best Friends Forever with the companies that supply parts to them.

The Level Field Institute, a group comprised of retired domestic auto workers, is telling consumers "What you drive, drives America" in an attempt to convince car buyers to purchase vehicles from the-group-of-nominally-domestic-automakers-previously-referred-to-as-the-Big-3. The ad campaign uses a variety of statistics to drive home its point, including the fact that direct employment by the US automakers is roughly 3.5 times that of the "transplants" (foreign automakers that produce v

Along with the steady stream of bad news coming from Motown has also come a tide of talent, with some employees evidently seeking employment elsewhere in the business, or looking outside the industry altogether. The growth of "transplant" OEMs such as Toyota and Hyundai in the US are providing opportunities beyond the former Big Three, and the recovery in other segments of the economy means that execs can find less pain in those industries that have already endured their

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