NY Senator Chuck Schumer, in response to questions about his support for union card check legislation, said 3 weeks ago that union membership in the US is down and that card check is needed to increase union membership. Firstly, union membership itself isn’t a goal. Why should it be? Employees ARE NOT voting unions in because the employees don’t believe the unions will benefit them. Card Check, BTW, replaces secret ballot elections by employees for unionization with a union only needing a majority of employees signing cards – and the cards are not secret. “Hey Brutus, Jeff over here would like you to encourage him to sign his card.”
There are 2 factors that have harmed US auto manufacturers and neither one is the economy. One is that they have not produced the cars that consumers want, either in design or quality. The biggest factor though is union wages, rules, and pensions. A union company forced to pay it’s workers $73.26/hr in wages and benefits cannot compete with a non-union company paying $53.20/hr. But that’s not all. A union company forced to pay workers even when they are not working cannot compete with non-union companies who pay employees for actual work performed.
This past Saturday United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger said that workers will not make any more concessions and that getting the automakers back on their feet means figuring out a way to turn around the slumping economy. In other words, we want to continue to make 50% more than other auto workers and we want taxpayers to give us money to do that.
Talk about spreading the wealth. It will be the taxes of an autoworker at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, SC making $59,000 per year that will pay for the Chrysler autoworker to make $81,000 per year.
And get this. That BMW X5 or X6 that the Spartanburg autoworker makes? About every other one is shipped to Europe. If you purchase a X5 or X6 in Germany, it’s made in Spartanburg. Today Germany has an unemployment rate of about 10%, almost twice that of ours in the US. You’d think with that many available workers it’d be better to make them in their home country of Germany. But you’d be wrong. Hiring a worker in Germany is like hiring a union worker in the US. So, it’s a few thousand folks in Spartanburg, SC who get the non-union BMW jobs which come with an average $59,000 in wages plus health, pension, and other benefits. The effectively unionized German workers get… Nothing.