No. 844,
April 27, 2016

About The Autoextremist

What do you do when when you've been immersed in all things automotive since before you took your first steps? When you're the scion of an automotive family in an automotive town in its very own automotive universe? When you've forgotten more about cars and motorsports and everything and everyone involved in the business than most people will ever know? When cars aren't just in your blood, but also in your bones and your brain and the very air you breathe? If you're Peter M. De Lorenzo, you ramp it up a bit further. National commentator, industry consultant and author (as well as former superstar ad man), De Lorenzo's daily (and nightly) focus for the past 15 years has been Autoextremist.com, a weekly Internet magazine devoted to news, commentary and analysis of the auto industry and the business of motorsports. Translation: De Lorenzo likes to tell the truth about what's really going on behind the scenes in the car business. And sometimes, things get ugly. Real ugly. But he is as passionate with his praise as he is with his critiques, and Autoextremist has become a weekly "must read" for leading professionals in all industries. De Lorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the business today. It's the very definition of a high-octane life. And it's what fuels De Lorenzo to keep the pedal down - hard. He won't stop because he can't stop. A bit tired, perhaps? No way. De Lorenzo is one of the most untired people we know.

De Lorenzo's latest book is Witch Hunt (Octane Press  witchhuntbook.com). It is available on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle formats, as well as on iBookstore. De Lorenzo is also the author of The United States of Toyota.

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The Autoextremist - Rants


Tuesday
Mar222011

THE AUTOEXTREMIST

March 23, 2011

 

The UAW’s Solidarity Train to Nowhere.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

(Posted 3/22, 2:30 p.m.) Detroit. The UAW “bargaining” convention hits Detroit this week amidst a region and an industry so tired and disgusted with the same old rhetoric that emanates from these “brothers and sisters” that collectively we all just wish they’d go away. Permanently. Or else take their dismally short-sighted “show” to a town in a state that harbors one of the import auto plants they’re targeting for conquest, because at least then we would be spared the unmitigated bullshit that will flow from Cobo Hall for the next few days like an overflowing sewer.

I can tell you what will happen at this convention in a nutshell. UAW chief Bob “I’m really a visionary, just ask me” King will get up and bring the house down with a fire and brimstone speech that will hit on all of the union’s usual hoary high points like: How they’re poised for a “new era” of growth, and that the return of profitability for the automakers means the return of viability for the union, as well as - and here’s a perennial UAW favorite - the reinstatement of all of the wage and benefits that they had to give up after the sacrifices and concessions they made in the last three years to save the auto companies, especially given those high-falutin’ salaries that the auto executives are now being paid.

All of this will be followed by loud applause and chanting and the delegates will then go off and try to figure out just how much “get me some” they’ll be able to extract from the auto companies in their next contract after naming the most successfully rejuvenated domestic automaker – Ford – as their “target” for take down next fall.

Let’s review, shall we?

About this “new era” of growth and the return of viability of the UAW that King keeps talking about. First of all, King’s growth strategy revolves around convincing workers at import-owned auto plants in non-union-friendly states to sign up for the UAW, for, well, just because.

Uh, you mean to tell me that the UAW is going to waltz into these plants and suddenly countless workers will smack their foreheads in a Eureka! moment as if to say how could they have been so stupid as to miss the brilliance of the UAW’s pitch after all of these years? And now they’re going to blindly line up to cries of “sign me up” just like that? And then it’s all going to be good overnight for the UAW? Really?

After these workers have scraped and clawed their way into these plants after struggling for jobs in an area that had little or no prospects before that plant arrived, and who now already enjoy excellent wages and benefits far beyond what was normal for the area before that plant came to town? And now the UAW expects to stroll in, set up shop, and get their cut on top of it? Yikes.

That’s such a wildly ludicrous notion that the word “strategy” doesn’t deserve to be attached to it. It’s also ridiculous, nonsensical and flat-out stupid and if anything speaks to just how overmatched Bob King and his minions are for the realities of the global economy we live in today, this one plank from the UAW platform says it all.

But then again the word “reality” has never been attached to the UAW in its modern era, not even close in fact. With membership dwindling and the tide turning against the radically entitled mentality that has been its raison d’etre for years (and which was directly responsible for the downfall of the U.S. automobile industry), the denizens of the UAW’s Solidarity House still don’t get it. They not only don’t get it, they can’t even begin to bring themselves to admit that their much-ballyhooed union is in its death throes, a casualty of their own serial incompetence and horribly warped view of the world.

As for the relentless bleating and saber-rattling about “reinstating the concessions we gave up,” especially after top auto executives have gotten eye-popping pay packages of late, the UAW conveniently forgets that just 24 months ago the U.S. automobile industry was down for the count, and worse, the American public and this nation’s leaders were struggling to find a reason to care. Not only that, the people of this country and a very vocal group of our leaders in Washington correctly and adamantly took aim squarely at the UAW and its blatant entitlement mentality as a prime cause of Detroit’s predicament.

But true to form for the UAW, even though they have a collective vested interest in the success of GM and Chrysler in particular, instead of saying “what can we do to make these companies even more competitive” in this ultra-competitive global economy we live in today, they’re still talking about “getting our due” and they’re still glomming on to the now frightening notion of “how can we do less and get paid more with more benefits” even though they’re careful not to say it in so many words.

As for the recent publicity surrounding the top executive pay packages in this business, the UAW membership consistently fails to understand that without the tough, bold decisions and sacrifices made by the leaders of these companies there might not even be a domestic automobile industry to hand-wring about today. And make no mistake, the burgeoning good fortunes of these car companies could easily get derailed at a moment’s notice in this chaotic world we live in (the effects of the tragedy in Japan being a prime example). Absolutely nothing about the current success of the domestic automakers in this country is guaranteed to last. This market and these companies are in a fragile state, and it will remain that way for years to come too.

But then again all of this is lost on the UAW and its entitled membership.

It’s readily apparent that the UAW, in all of its guises and public pronouncements, is so out of touch with the economic reality of this country now that the more they talk the worse it gets for them. And yet they’re so relentlessly clueless about the space they occupy in the American dialog that you could spot them the “cl” and the “e” and they still wouldn’t be able to figure it out.

People who live in this region go nuts when commentators like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh skew Detroit and heap derision on this area and that’s certainly understandable, because many of the so-called media elite throwing grenades at “Detroit” from the peanut gallery have never even set foot in this area for as much as a cup of coffee. And it is aggravating. Our local media pillars take umbrage and get in a lather about it and everyone gets their noses out of joint because it’s just not fair. And it isn’t fair, for the most part.

But I will say this, I certainly understand where these pundits’ ire comes from: The rise of the union mentality, specifically as fostered and maliciously practiced by the UAW, has done more to corrode the image and the reality of this town, this region, this state and this industry than any other outside or inside force in the last 50 years.

The union doctrine that has been egregiously shoved down this region’s throat by the high-visibility “leaders” of the UAW and others over the years has led to a city that has been completely paralyzed by an entitlement mentality that runs rampant throughout its union-tinged bureaucracy, a state that has become a cesspool of intransigence mired in union-skewed mediocrity, and an auto industry that was literally forced into bankruptcy with the help of untenable union contracts that were woefully obsolete in this global economy, and that played a starring role in its near demise.

Today the smart people engaged in fixing this city and this state are doing so while constantly dancing around the fact that what they’re really attempting to do is to try to extricate this whole mess from the shackles of the union mentality that has laid waste to this region for decades. And it’s the most monumentally thankless and beyond category task imaginable.

As for the auto companies? They’re not so lucky. Once again they will be held hostage by the short-term thinking “brotherhood” of the UAW, that gang of blithering idiots who can only see as far as their next paycheck and whose mission in life is to get what’s coming to ‘em, no matter what it costs and who it puts out of business while doing it. (Even if they put themselves out of business in the process, as ludicrous as that may sound.)

I for one will tune out the rhetoric emanating from Cobo Hall this week because I’ve read the UAW script and it never changes. Bob King and his merry band of incompetents are destined to screw things up for this industry all over again, unless of course by some miracle cooler heads prevail. As if.

My only hope for the UAW’s Solidarity Train to Nowhere?

That its next stop is that charming little postcard of a town called Oblivion.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

 

 

 

 

 

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