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Thread: Auto bailout, from within

  1. #61
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    First, I think we need to be careful before assigning motivations to the actions of a politician. I think the Republicans are generally against the UAW because labor typically votes Democratic. However, keep in mind I am being VERY general.

    What we saw recently on the surface appears to be politicians from states with transplant automakers were voting against bills that would "help" (help certainly is a debatable term) the domestic automakers. These politicians were generally Republican and the speculation is they were looking out for their local auto plants (almost exclusively import/transplant manufactures). One can easily make the claim that these politicians were putting their local constituents ahead of the health of the country at large. When I say one, I do not mean that I am making that claim personally.

    I can think of examples where politicians seem to be trying to pull strings to help out their home town factories so it's quite possible there is merit to the claims. I don't think this is a Republican vs Democrat thing so much as it's a case of the politicians from state X looking out for state X potentially at the expense of the country at large.

    I'm sure Europeans can point to their own examples of politics as usual.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by culver View Post
    First, I think we need to be careful before assigning motivations to the actions of a politician. I think the Republicans are generally against the UAW because labor typically votes Democratic. However, keep in mind I am being VERY general.

    What we saw recently on the surface appears to be politicians from states with transplant automakers were voting against bills that would "help" (help certainly is a debatable term) the domestic automakers. These politicians were generally Republican and the speculation is they were looking out for their local auto plants (almost exclusively import/transplant manufactures). One can easily make the claim that these politicians were putting their local constituents ahead of the health of the country at large. When I say one, I do not mean that I am making that claim personally.

    I can think of examples where politicians seem to be trying to pull strings to help out their home town factories so it's quite possible there is merit to the claims. I don't think this is a Republican vs Democrat thing so much as it's a case of the politicians from state X looking out for state X potentially at the expense of the country at large.

    I'm sure Europeans can point to their own examples of politics as usual.
    Here is an article that may help support the reality that Boeing is dealing with, and perhaps some of your claims about unions. In this article, it is clear that management/executives have the sort of power and bargaining chip to help their organizations stay afloat, as I have argued all day long. Whether or not this will help Boeing stay afloat, is worthy of another debate. But for now, Boeing has shown that any organization willing to free itself of any union bondage, can easily do so. And i argue that making such a move is much more challenging for an aviation company than it would for an auto company. Nonetheless, the article does support some of your claims and some of mine as well.

    Boeing picks South Carolina for 2nd 787 line - Yahoo! News
    Last edited by G35COUPE; 10-29-2009 at 06:50 PM.

  3. #63
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    It's great when you can pull off a move like that. GE did something similar with it's Ohio aircraft engine plants. Though I haven't investigated the differences, I would suggest that there is some significant difference between what Boeing could do and what the auto and steal companies were able to do. Note that none of the Big 3 were able to shed the UAW. That would suggest that there is some difference that makes a Boeing like solution difficult for the automakers.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by culver View Post
    It's great when you can pull off a move like that. GE did something similar with it's Ohio aircraft engine plants. Though I haven't investigated the differences, I would suggest that there is some significant difference between what Boeing could do and what the auto and steal companies were able to do. Note that none of the Big 3 were able to shed the UAW. That would suggest that there is some difference that makes a Boeing like solution difficult for the automakers.
    I'd like to interject a little here. I grew up in western washington at a time when (literally) 70% of the state either worked for Boeing or supported people who did. And I have a lot of family and friends who work for boeing currently or have recently retired at levels ranging from assembly to fairly high management. I'm pointing this out just to show that I do have some insider information on the unions here.

    Part of why Boeing is able to do this is that the unions involved aren't nearly as powerful as the UAW, and aren't able or, perhaps, even willing to force crippling restrictions on the company for the sake of short terms gains for the workers. That's not the whole story by a long shot but, as it relates to the interaction between union management and company management, it is one major difference.
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by culver View Post
    It's great when you can pull off a move like that. GE did something similar with it's Ohio aircraft engine plants. Though I haven't investigated the differences, I would suggest that there is some significant difference between what Boeing could do and what the auto and steal companies were able to do. Note that none of the Big 3 were able to shed the UAW. That would suggest that there is some difference that makes a Boeing like solution difficult for the automakers.
    How? Just about every aspect of the aviation company has more mind boggling challenges than an auto company.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by G35COUPE View Post
    How? Just about every aspect of the aviation company has more mind boggling challenges than an auto company.
    The same is true for auto plants. Also GM and Ford could only move one at a time and at great cost. Beyond that, I haven't taken the time to figure out the differences. That said, if we are talking about just one company having a problem then I think we can assume it's just that company. When we are talking several independent companies (GM, Ford, Chrysler and if we go back a bit, AMC, IH) then we have to assume there is something that keeps them from just walking. It's not like the negotiators at GM can't see what GE did sometime I think in the early 90s (some time before I worked there) and think of doing the same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by culver View Post
    I'm sure Europeans can point to their own examples of politics as usual.
    In this case a very to the point one. As you may know the Opel Magna deal (if it happens) involves a large sum of money to be supplied by the German Government. Now as you also know Opel not only has factories in Germany, but also in Spain, the UK and Belgium. The European Commission has already explicitly announced that limiting the German financial support to German plants will not be allowed.
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    In this case a very to the point one. As you may know the Opel Magna deal (if it happens) involves a large sum of money to be supplied by the German Government. Now as you also know Opel not only has factories in Germany, but also in Spain, the UK and Belgium. The European Commission has already explicitly announced that limiting the German financial support to German plants will not be allowed.
    Opel's new artificial life shows how screwed up an automaker can become when it's existence becomes based around keeping jobs rather then building competitive cars.

    To wit, there are arguments of how Opel is going to restructure without shredding German jobs. It is obvious by this article that Opel's sale is now nothing but politics.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runfromcheney View Post
    Opel's new artificial life shows how screwed up an automaker can become when it's existence becomes based around keeping jobs rather then building competitive cars.

    To wit, there are arguments of how Opel is going to restructure without shredding German jobs. It is obvious by this article that Opel's sale is now nothing but politics.
    Probably Opel is building the most competitive cars of any GM branch.
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

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