11/21/08

Detroit blames worker-choice option

Related story: "The 28 labor-states" • More worker-choice stories: here

If only all states had forced-labor unionism laws

In Detroit yesterday, the leader of the union that helped drive the American automakers toward bankruptcy seemed to lay some of the blame for the Big Three's financial predicament on Alabama.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the well-paid Detroit executives who accepted gold-plated union contracts proved they're as ineffective at lobbying as they are at managing auto companies. The CEOs of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors tried to persuade Congress to bail their companies' out of their financial woes. But instead of a handout from taxpayers, the executives received angry lectures from congressional leaders.

One of the union honchos who helped negotiate Detroit's demise lashed out at right-to-work states where foreign automakers have located assembly plants. United Auto Workers union President Ron Gettelfinger cited Alabama as a state that has provided incentives to attract foreign automakers. Mr. Gettelfinger equated these incentives with the proposed bailout for the Big Three, and implied that Alabama and other Southern states are subsidizing Detroit's competition.

Gov. Bob Riley must have chuckled when he responded to this nonsense. "With all due respect to Mr. Gettelfinger, great workers making great products is a proven recipe for success in Alabama — and it doesn't require a bailout," the governor said.

Indeed, Hyundai, Mercedes, Toyota and Honda aren't asking for bailouts. They're manufacturing first-rate cars in Alabama and other states, and they're doing it with workers who receive about $25 per hour less in pay and benefits than UAW members.

Detroit is getting killed by that multi-billion-dollar union surcharge, not by the Southern states' success in attracting foreign automakers.

- The Editors

(al.com)

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