Wednesday, June 14, 2006

United Auto Workers Re-elect President

Ron Gettelfinger has been re-elected as President of the United Auto Workers. I don't know a whole lot about Gettelfinger, but I do know one thing. The UAW needs to change direction. They cannot continue to accept pay cuts and suffer layoffs as they have in recent years. They are declining in numbers and relevence, as the article points out:
All the union officers were elected by a voice vote, and there was no opposition to any of the nominations, despite the troubles have swept the industry during the past four years. In that time, the U.A.W. has lost roughly 78,000 members, falling to under 600,000, the lowest level since 1942.

The lowest level since 1942, amazing. The fate of our country will fall in line with the fate of labor, and the UAW is of particular importance. The break in labor last fall was an acknowledgement of this, things cannot continue to be done the same way. As for the United Auto Workers, they must move away from their tendency to pit themselves against environmentalists. The US auto industry is in decline and the only way to curb that will be for US auto manufacturers to be innovative as they once were. I'm sure if Henry Ford could return to this earth he would be shocked to find that we are still using the internal combustion engine (I stole that from somebody, but I don't remember who). The UAW should join hands with environmentalists to push for US car manufacturers to aggressively pursue energy efficient vehicles, beginning with hybrid technology and moving forward from there. It serves the best interest of all parties involved, environmentalists concerned with global warming, workers concerned with job and pay cuts, and the manufacturers who are seeing declining sales. This is perhaps the best possible example of an issue that would fall within Rousseau's "general will." Everybody's interests would be best served by a move towards energy efficient innovation by the US car companies. The UAW needs leadership that will push them in that direction using whatever tools necessary.

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