Canadian Auto Workers - Is It Really 'Business as Usual'?
In a more repetitive vein than I like, I have said a number of times in this Newsletter that I believe:
you can't take things away from people (like their standard of living) and leave them happy; and,
it is going to take a serious economic shock 'experience' for people at all levels of society before things have a serious chance of meaningful improvement from 'reset lower levels'.
The Canadian automobile industry is an integrated part of the North American automotive industry, and has been for the a past approximate 45 years. America is doing poorly economically, and Canada will not be immune to what currently is ongoing in the U.S. and the Eurozone. That said, the way the articles are 'writing-up' the current CAW negotiations, the CAW and its members seem to think it is 'business as usual'. This when American protectionism is (or so I think) a growing worry.
In order to sensibly comment on the ongoing CAW/Big Three negotiations, one would have to be party to the details of the current CAW negotiations - and I'm not. That said, it seems sensible to assume the CAW is being advised by serious economists, and that it relies and acts on that advice.
I wrote the foregoing about 10 days ago. Last week a headline blared: CAW prepared to shut down Detroit 3 plants if no deal by Sept. 17. Yesterday, another headline said: CAW accuses Detroit Three of seeking 'dramatic changes' week before strike deadline.
I continue to say that:
as I see things, 'to work' in difficult economic times is far better than 'not to work'; and,
I hope for the sake of its members the CAW is receiving seriously good and balanced macro-economic and Canada specific economic advice - and in the end will act on that advice objectively and unemotionally.
Perhaps more importantly, and from 20,000 feet, one has to wonder how other collective public and private sector bargaining units will behave if things generally continue to deteriorate economically across multiple countries.
Topical References: CAW overwhelmingly support strike mandates at Big Three in contract talks, from The Globe and Mail, from The Canadian Press, August 27, 2012 - reading time 2 minutes; CAW prepared to shut down Detroit 3 plants if no deal by Sept. 17, from The Financial Post, Scott Deveau, September 5, 2012 - reading time 3 minutes; and CAW accuses Detroit Three of seeking 'dramatic changes' week before strike deadline, from The Financial Post, Scott Deveau, September 10, 2012 - reading time 3 minutes.