Who do you think are the greatest enemies of autoworkers in Ontario right now?
If you said "automakers", you'd be partially right at this moment. Chrysler, in particular, is demanding more wage and benefits concessions than GM agreed to
, while the CAW says they've given enough
If you are a GM autoworker though, you're in better hands. According to the Star
, "General Motors' new chief says worker concessions in Canada already make the teetering automaker competitive", and is not requiring further wage cutbacks after those agreed to by its workers in the last few weeks. However, Dalton McGuinty and Stephen Harper are asking autoworkers to do more in order for the companies to receive more government funding.
Can you believe this?
Let's follow the logic here. The two governments, who want to save the auto industry, because it brings wealth to the province and the country, wealth that is channelled in great part to the workers, is asking that less wealth be transfered to the autoworkers.
The worst part in all this is that these wage and benefits concessions are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, if we follow the numbers supplied by the CAW (I know, hardly neutral numbers here; but their economist, Jim Stanford, is respected). Ken Lewenza wrote that
"the direct labour targeted by the [then-]Bush administration represents just 7 per cent of the average cost of a new vehicle should be proof enough that cutting wages cannot solve the automakers' problems."So far, autoworkers have offered $7.25/hr of wage and benefits cuts, and Chrysler is looking at $19/hr in cuts.
Now depending on two different Star articles referring to the $7.25/hr figure, the current cost of an autoworker is $70 or $75 an hour. So Chrysler is in effect asking for a 10% to 27% cut. But the thing is, this is a cut of 10 to 27% on the 7% of the new vehicle cost
. So all in all, the governments are looking at cost reductions of .7% to 2% in order to grant their financial support.
Do the governments think that that difference is really what's going to make or break the automakers? As far as I'm concerned, AIG has received a $170 billion dollar bailout from the U.S. government and until the
public expressed its outrage
media whipped public outrage, the government was not asking for a bloody cent of employee wages and benefits cuts. Now if that's not class warfare, I don't know what this is.