The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Bit of a Rant

The news this week was interesting, to say the least. Much of it revolved around the UAW certification vote at the VW plant in Tennessee. The story of that vote has many facets. It is a story about power, influence, politics, outside (and inside) interference, Right To Work laws, and regional attitudes.

The story of the vote came to the public eye well after the events that led to it.  One of these is the creation of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) which is the agency regulates regulates labor relations. One section of the law which created that agency back in 1935 dictated that a union must be present in the workplace before a "works council" can be established. Volkswagen wanted to establish one of these at its plant in Chattanooga and, so, the UAW (a seemingly logical choice) came in to organize the plant.

VW took an unprecedented stance (at least in the U.S.) and basically encouraged the union. One commenter on a story about the vote claimed the company invited the UAW in. I don't believe that happened, I don't believe the UAW hadn't been trying to unionize that plant for some time already.... probably as soon as it hired its first employee, maybe earlier. But, if it did happen then I see that as yet another reason the vote did not go the UAW's way. Would you want a union that management wanted? I wouldn't.  It would reek of collusion between management and union.

I learned there is much confusion about Right To Work laws and the states who have them. Right To Work laws merely prevent the existence of what are called "union" and "agency" shops. That is, an employee cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. The laws do not outlaw unions, they do not dictate who can, or cannot, be hired. They do not prevent someone from joining a union. I live in a Right To Work state. When I was employed, I was (until a few years before I retired) a member of a union. There are many unions active in Florida and throughout the southern states (where Right To Work laws are common).

Much is being made about Senator Corker (R-Tennessee) making a "threat" that could have ("did" according to the left and the union) influenced the vote. It was not a threat, it was not a promise, it was a suggestion that he (Corker) had a "tip" that VW would probably build an upcoming SUV model at the plant if the employees rejected the UAW. Believing that this was an important factor (enough to nullify the vote and schedule a re-vote on the union) is, I think, grasping at straws to explain the outcome.

I believe that the average American worker is intelligent enough to make decisions in his own best interest. That he/she can separate the "wheat" from the "chaff" especially when it comes to marking a secret ballot. At least, I hope he/she can... because, otherwise, all elections are a sham and I do not just mean union certification votes. Can people be influenced? Certainly. Otherwise what would be the point of campaigns and advertising (political and commercial)?

The other day, I received an email from the guy I refer to as a "union thug" (I use the term affectionately, I assure you), it contained a link to a video that was not all that informative. To put it simply, it claimed to offer a way to bring jobs back to America. The email was forwarded to me by a couple of friends who were also obviously sent it by the "union thug."

In the video, the narrator said the outsourcing of jobs began about thirty years ago.

This is the response I have to that video:

I would have been more impressed if I could have seen the labels on his clothing. Many Toyotas, Hondas, Volkswagens, BMWs, and Mercedes are made in this country (incidentally, the Pinto engine was German while the gas tank design was American). While, at the same time, many American cars (or their parts) are produced outside this country. And the narrator was wrong about when the off-shoring of jobs began... it started in the 60's. The auto industry was hurt by (mostly) Japanese imports in the early 60's but was also hurt by the importation of VW's in the early 50's. The auto industry made poor decisions about economy cars or couldn't build high quality but inexpensive small cars that, obviously, were in demand by American consumers. The video is correct that we, the consumers, can change things... we began doing that many years ago when we began to accept foreign made goods. We chose something called "value" (a combination of price and quality) over blind loyalty to American products.  We won't likely change it back. Value still rules in the marketplace.
One of these two friends drives a Hyundai Genesis.


T.C. said...

"I believe that the average American worker is intelligent enough to make decisions in his own best interest."

Whoa, relax there buddy! It says in the progressive play book knuckleheaded people can't be trusted to make the 'right' decision.

As for auto manufacturing. The reality is, for the most part, few cars are entirely made in one country as they used to be. Now, with increased trade and freer markets (in principle anyway), companies buy the best parts from different countries.

For example, if country 'X' builds a car they will build to its strengths while simply getting parts from abroad where they see better options.

It's not uncommon to have a German car with a home base in Germany to fit its car with Italian and British parts for example. That car quickly becomes European. Or, another way, Lamborghini is an Italian car but now owned by a German company but may benefit from some German insights just like Chrysler is now benefiting from FIAT technology (which owns Maserati).

Why not? If the best braking system is determined to be Brembo then why shouldn't, say, BMW use them? Just because they're made in Italy is not a reason to not fit their cars with those parts since in the end, the consumer benefits and/or will decide if they like it.

I don't know, to me, it's all good.

Douglas said...

"Whoa, relax there buddy! It says in the progressive play book knuckleheaded people can't be trusted to make the 'right' decision."

Looking at elections in this country, I sometimes wonder if they are not incorrect in believing that.