No. 1014
September 18, 2019

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Editors' Note: If you have a comment, please include your name or initials (AND YOUR HOMETOWN TOO, PLEASE). We do not print email addresses. If you want to read previous issues, click on "Next Entry" on the bottom of each section (we do not save emails from previous issues, however). Thank you. -WG


Tipping Point.

I suspect that GM seized the opportunity to provide the clueless UAW leadership with the rope to hang itself. The strike will inflame and heighten media attention on the union’s corruption, stories that might otherwise not have gained much traction outside of Detroit. It guarantees national headlines for the duration of the walkout, serving GM’s unspoken objective to crush — or at least kneecap — the UAW. Unions, in general, have been vilified in recent years, and this plays neatly into the Republican narrative that collective bargaining is toxic and nefarious. If GM is prepared to stand its ground for any considerable amount of time, the UAW could be irreparably damaged. Moreover, the whole debacle, should it remain unresolved for any significant period, will have a massive impact on the presidential election. GM holds the advantage and if they don’t blow it, could reset labor relations for the entire domestic industry. We are potentially witnessing a tipping point.

J Heroun
Boston, Massachusetts 



UAW Corruption.

Do not forget that while the UAW leadership has demonstrated its corruption, we already know that FCA leadership has demonstrated theirs. The allegation that it rose as high as Marchionne is troubling. Yes, Marchionne gifted a $2,000+ Terra Cielo Mare watch to General Holefield with a note that said "Dear General, I declared the goods at less than fifty bucks. That should remove any potential conflict. Best regards, and see you soon,”

This will expand to the auto companies as well.

Erik L.
Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief's Note: It's no secret that Sergio Marchionne was up to his eyeballs in this pay-to-play scheme; he set the tone for it and he very well could have been indicted had he lived. FCA was by far the most egregious participant in "greasing" the UAW executives. -PMD

Not impressed with the CT4.

Uh oh. That new Caddy looks like the Chevy stylists got hold of it. Lots of lines going nowhere for no reason.

Kevin Kovach 
Allen Park, Michigan 

Two sides to the story.

So we know that the UAW is corrupt but since this is ongoing, one should consider who else is currently being investigated. Personal experience, the whole thing is a pay to play operation and the UAW isn’t the only corrupt party in this investigation.

Highland Park, Michigan

Editor-in-Chief's Note: See my comments above. -PMD

Two sides to the story, Part II.

So who are the bigger crooks? The UAW managers who took the cash? Or the auto execs who gave it to them? I'm no lawyer, but this looks like Racketeering and Conspiracy to me. That should mean jail terms for both sides.

Jim Jones 
Cole County, Missouri

This is why.
The UAW wonders why they have never been able to organize a transplant auto manufacturer, THIS is why.This was the UAW's chance to show the transplants what they could expect if they would only give them a chance and the UAW blew it, with emphasis.
 Every time a transplant forgets why they avoid the UAW like the plague this quickly reminds them.

Brian Wright
Queens, New York


Emerald Isle worthy.

I don't see the new CT4 doing anything for Cadillac sales. Except for the tail lights, it's nothing that I haven't seen in the National Car Rental Emerald Aisle.

Ed G.
Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

Song of the hour.

While you're quoting song lyrics, might I suggest these from Bob Dylan's “Union Sundown” (recorded in 1983)?

“Well it's sundown on the union/ it was made in the USA/ Sure was a good idea/ till greed got in the way!”

Tuscon, Arizona


More on the strike.

Regarding the GM-UAW Strike, did anyone notice that Mary Barra visited the White House September 5th? They had a productive and valuable meeting. Does anyone remember that the UAW Endorsed Hilary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election? The UAW also endorsed losing Democratic Candidates for Ohio Governor and Senate. These endorsements came while their members voted for Trump and other Republicans.

Mary Barra is not a big fan of Donald Trump. But she does her job. The contrast with UAW Leadership could not be more clear.

And a friendly reminder, the next Democratic Debates, sponsored by CNN & The New York Timesare next month in Ohio. I'm sure those guys will have all the answers, and support Gary Jones.

Chuck S.
Royal Oak, Michigan

UAW and GM.

So just what might the biggest crime here be, then? The fact that certain members of the UAW “leadership” have discovered the self-serve line that leads directly to the feeding trough of members' dues largess, or the reality that some 150 innocent consumers who purchased GM cars died as a result of management's negligence surrounding the design of ignition assemblies a few short years ago. And no member of THAT leadership's group was ever seen on the 6:00 news being shackled and transported away to jail for an obvious crime.

The action of both groups is hardly defensible. GM, the company, declared bankruptcy in 2008 once all of its excesses caught-up to that entity. Perhaps this, now, is the reality of the UAW's excesses catching-up to THAT group…

Eddy S.
Newcastle, Ontario, CANADA


Bad choices.

While I hold no sympathy for the UAW, or the previous leadership of the “old” General Motors, I cannot agree with the statement “the reality that some 150 innocent consumers who purchased GM cars died as a result of management's negligence surrounding the design of ignition assemblies a few short years ago” from one of your readers. To be clear, I do not work for GM and never have. They are also not my customer at my current employer. As an engineer it is inconceivable to me that you can assign even 25% of the blame to GM for those deaths. The accidents occurred in cars that were several years old with many, many miles on them. They were very used cars. Many/most of the deaths occurred at high rates of speed with the victims not wearing seat belts. I am not letting GM off the hook for a poor design, however, the cause of death for most victims was not the failure of the ignition, but the choice to not wear a seat belt. You can argue that removing excessive speed, drinking, and reckless behavior would have saved many more, but even in those instances being belted would likely have saved those people. You can also argue that the airbag not functioning (not sure if this was ever cleared up) also caused death or injury. However, the single most effective thing you can do in a car to remain alive in a crash is to wear your seat belt. Even a functional airbag is ineffective if you are not in the right position. The seat belt keeps you in the right position. GM may have designed a crappy ignition switch, but bad choices and unwise behavior killed most of those people.

Bloomfield, Michigan 


More Tom.

More Tom Pease, please. Whatever the subject matter, he always strikes the proper balance between satire, humor, and analysis. I can just see the three circle Venn diagram with him in the interstices. A most enjoyable commentator.

Jim Jones 
Cole County, Missouri


I really want to pull for Cadillac and genuinely like much of the design language. But, is it just me, or do all of their recent sedans look ‘thick’ around the rear wheel well? Makes the design frumpy and visually shrinks the rear wheel. Not a good look. Every time I see one, I hear Doctor Lecter in the back of my head whispering – “Is she a large girl? Big thru the hips? Roomy?”

Tony W.
Mount Joy, Pennsylvania