When GM and Chrysler were essentially bought out by the federal government, a lot of us predicted that the end result would most likely be bad for the auto industry as a whole, and the American people in general.
We were too optimistic.
The Obama administration has not been noted for its excessive loyalty to its supporters, but it’s been very, very good to the unions that helped it win power. And it isn’t just the SEIU — the United Auto Workers have been getting some very nice dividends on their investment. As part of the buyout/bailout/whatever, the unions got a nice little ownership stake in GM and Chrysler.
Ford, as you’ll recall, refused any bailout money. And now they must be punished for insisting on their independence.
Customarily, when the UAW opens contract negotiations, they pick their targets carefully. They figure which of the big three will give them the best deal and go after them, then use that agreement as leverage with the next two.
Not this time. Since they are on both sides of the negotiating table with GM and Chrysler (both directly and through their buddies in the Obama administration), they don’t have to worry much about those deals. But Ford, on the other hand… they must be held to a far higher standard. They must make greater concessions to keep the peace with their workforce.
Think about that for a minute. The UAW is a part-owner of GM and Chrysler, so they are in essence negotiating with themselves. On the other hand, when they are negotiating with Ford, they are not only representing Ford’s workers, but they are also there as owners of Ford’s competitors. It’s in the union’s best interests to harm Ford — but it’s also their legal obligation to do the best they can for Ford’s workers.
This is a gross conflict of interest.
But I feel fairly comfortable that the Obama justice department — which cheerfully threw away an already-won case of voter intimidation in Philadelphia by Obama supporters — will find something else more pressing to attend to.