Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hargrove's Union

I do believe Hargrove has lost touch with reality when it comes to what is best for the Canadian people. I think somebody should start a rogue union to knock the CAW off its perch. The CAW is a big part of the reason the auto sector is in the position it's in. The manufacturers need to be more flexible, and with their high labour and benefit costs, it's impossible.

I feel like this is a classic case of "absolute power corrupts absolutely". Here is a man who feels he should be the one to advise the government in foreign policy and economics. How is he qualified to know what is best (not that Harper is qualified either, but that's another topic)? Sure the tax levy would be a short term fix, but what ramifications would it have down the road? Would Toyota and Honda invest in Canada in order to tap this country's massive marketplace? Probably not. Come on Buzz, there are cities in China with more population than our entire country.

We are on the automotive map because to date we've offered the car companies a solution and when we can no longer provide that solution economically, they, as businesses, need to find other solutions. It's nothing personal. Toyota and Honda have invested in this country even though from when they first started bringing cars to North America, they've been able to do it more cheaply than the domestics. They were able to do that, yet still they invested in the country (and the country immediately to the south of us as well. They've invested because they realize the benefits of having that local presence and supporting the local population with jobs).

Their plants here are all unaffected by the CAW's tactics and those plants are in great shape. You rarely, if ever, hear of a possible shutdown at one of the non-unionized plants. You also rarely, if ever, hear of worker unrest, unsafe or unpleasant working conditions, pay, benefits, morale. And you also rarely, if ever, hear of those manufacturers threatening to move production elsewhere in order to save costs. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but the foreign plants have a pretty good track record so far.

This Hargrove guy is so power hungry he is financing an attempt to bring all construction workers unions under one umbrella union in the same way the CAW did it many years ago. Hargrove knows the power that size of organization can create and he is financing it, with the union dues from the Auto Workers, in order to make sure he is connected to that organization if it becomes successful in its bid. This is not a person who is necessarily interested in what's best for his union, but he is definitely interested in becoming a more powerful figure in the industrial landscape in Canada.

I know the domestic auto manufacturers are not innocent in all of this, but I do believe they are interested in changing the status quo because the writing is on the wall. They cannot survive with status quo. If a rogue union were organized and brought a different perspective to the domestic manufacturers, I wager that could change the landscape in Industrial Canada for the better and may improve the chances of there being domestic auto manufacturers in the future.

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