I’ve avoided the Big 3 Bailout topic because I keep going vacillating on what to do.
This article highlights some of the lesser known problems with the UAW,
As is now clear, when the UAW exposed the Big Three to insurmountable competitive disadvantages, it cut its own throat.
The very companies that operate as nonunion transplants in the United States have always confronted a unionized workforce at home, organized by the Japanese Automobile Workers Confederation.
The UAW simply never established any sort of alliance with the Japanese Automobile Workers Confederation. And yet the UAW leadership knew plenty about Japan and the Japanese labor movement. The leader of the Japanese Automobile Workers Confederation was Ichiro Shioji. As David Halberstam noted in his 1986 book, “The Reckoning,” Shioji spent a year at Harvard in 1960 and then spent a summer at the UAW headquarters in Detroit, befriending all the major UAW leaders, including Walter Reuther, Leonard Woodcock and Douglas Fraser. Shioji was no stranger to the UAW.
Nor were the UAW leaders unfamiliar with Japan. In 1980, for example, UAW President Fraser (fresh off helping Chrysler secure its 1979 bailout) spent a week there talking with major Japanese car companies about building plants in the United States. Just before embarking on his trip, Fraser told a UAW convention that he would demand “that foreign companies that benefit from our markets contribute to them by building products here.” In a gesture of bravado that today seems almost suicidal, Fraser declared that “the U.S. market needs the discipline of foreign competition.”
If the UAW really is to blame at all, then, it is because of the union’s utter failure to unionize any of the transplants. What has the UAW been doing all these years? Isn’t it the responsibility of any good union to protect union employers from competitive labor disadvantages by organizing wall to wall, throughout the industry? How could it have left these transplants unorganized?