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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Some Facts Behind the Anti-Union Rhetoric Surrounding the GM Bankruptcy Issue

Some commentators, particularly those on conservative talk radio, are taking the GM bankruptcy issue as an opportunity for bashing unions. Their argument is that the UAW imposed disproportionate labor costs on GM, leaving the automaker at a disadvantage relative to foreign competitors.

However, those arguments don’t line up well with points raised in a June 3 analysis and opinion posting by Ross Eisenbrey, Vice President of the Economic Policy Institute, who points out that many foreign automakers are unionized, and others offer pay scales comparable to that of unionized workers in the U.S.

“Auto workers around the developed world are generally unionized and paid wages as high, or higher, than UAW wages,” he said, “yet French, German, and Italian automakers are in much better financial shape than GM. Toyota and many other foreign companies operating in the United States have set their U.S. wages close to UAW-negotiated levels as a way to attract good workers and deter unionization.”

Debunking another frequent element of anti-union rhetoric, Eisenbrey also cites an independent Harbour Report that found that the 10 most productive assembly plants in the United States. Sphere: Related Content

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