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Friday, January 20, 2006 

UAW Ideas for Fixing the US Auto Industry

Here's what they came up with...
Not surprisingly, cutting wages isn't high on UAW President Ron Gettelfinger's auto industry to-do list. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress Tuesday, Gettelfinger suggested that the U.S. government needs to be a big part of the solution. The three areas where the government should help, according to Gettelfinger, are outlined after the jump.

1. Revamp U.S. trade policy. The UAW is opposed to the government's free trade policies in particular, and the trend to globalization of manufacturing in general. (I'm afraid that horse has already left the barn.)

2. A national health insurance program. His position is that the problem is universal, and not restricted to the auto industry. (The current President is adamantly opposed to a national program. Maybe after the next election.)

3. An alternative fuel incentive program for automakers. Gettelfinger says the need to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil points to an opportunity to move to alternative fuels - if the government provides incentives for automakers. (This is really the trade issue revisited - the market is already doing a good job of stimulating alternative fuel vehicles, and the government already subsidizes E85 and hybrid cars. The UAW really wants to ensure that new auto technology jobs stay in the U.S.)
Absent from the list is making a better, more desireable product. Nope, we need to have the government step in and make it harder for Americans to buy better foreign cars. UAW needs to realize something. Protectionism is not going to save your company or your union.

I'm sure it sticks in the craw of UAW that Americans make better and cheaper cars without the UAW. Toyota North America seems to have things figured out. Make a car as good as the Camry or the Accord; Americans will buy it. Don't make anymore of those Azteks though. They look like garbage trucks.

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