Comment 10814

By Mike (registered) | Posted August 13, 2007 at 12:54:59

This probably won't make me super-popular on a Hamilton-area blog, but I agree with everything Jason has said except for one thing: The title should have read Shortsighted Union should replace Flatfooted Automakers.

Not that I'm absolving North American automakers, but rather drawing special attention to the role the CAW has played in this situation. Buzz, after all, is not an employee of a NA automaker, even though it'd be hard to tell based on his comments. You'd figure one of the biggest (and arguably most powerful) unions in Canada would take a progressive approach to the environmental issue, but from my experience working in a CAW shop (I had to sign a waiver stating I'd never be a member of the union even though I paid dues), they are one of the most conservative, shortsighted and narrowly selfish organizations I've ever seen.

And the funniest thing is that the union is digging their own grave (at least for their employees in the auto sector). Trying to paddle against the currents of increased fuel efficiency is not where you want to be on this issue, but the CAW knows something very well: That the NA automakers have not expanded their fleet of small cars because they cannot build them here and make a profit. The high labour and legacy costs for producing cars in union shops in NA means that they need to produce autos with big margins (which are, not coincidentally, SUVs, trucks and full size autos).

So instead of talking concessions, they're talking about protecting their market by any means necessary. The environment can handle a few million more "light trucks" no?

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