Friday, October 23, 2009

Ford; Independent, American and determined to stay that way !

Ford's UAW members are currently voting on modifications to the contract that they ratified in 2007. Why is it necessary to "modify" a contract that has already been modified ? Because the other 2 domestic automakers, who are Ford's primary competitors, declared bankruptcy earlier this year. When in bankruptcy, they were able to shed billions of dollars in debt and reduce their future labor costs by freezing new hire wages.

In order for Ford to remain cost-competitive, we must agree to the labor cost reductions that Chrysler and General Motors were able to achieve when they went through bankruptcy. Oh sure, we could resist these competitive modifications, but we would be putting ourselves right back in the position we were in 5 years ago with Toyota and Honda.

The UAW leadership did not serve us well by not allowing modifications to our benefits package to keep us "cost-competitive" with the Japanese "transplants". The UAW challenged the Japanese to "build vehicles here if they wanted to sell them here". Well, they built a few assembly plants here and then beat us at our own game !

I think what we (the UAW) should have done was to look at how the transplants made themselves more cost effective than us, and "evolved" to remain competitive here in the North American market. Trade policy is a major factor in our relative inability to compete overseas, but here in our own market it was due to our refusal to recognize what made our labor costs higher than our competitors. The UAW leadership refused to change the "30 and out" lifetime pensions it had negotiated. 401k type retirement plans are MUCH more cost effective and would have allowed the domestic auto companies to significantly reduce their "legacy costs".

Fortunately at Ford it is not to late to recover, but we cannot allow this opportunity to slip past. We must ratify these relatively minor modifications to remain competitive in the long-term. Our future depends on it !


  1. Buy a Ford. They are the last of the capitalists car companies. Great blog Brian.

  2. If anyone who reads this blog is in the market for a new car, I will gladly provide them with a PIN so they can get the Ford "Friends and Family" discount.

    Just post a comment and let me know you're interested and we can set it up. Ford is building some awesome vehicles, and I'm proud to recommend their products !

  3. One of my current cars is a 2004 Ford Tauras (good value and car)so Ford sent an elaborate ad to me about the 2010 Tauras,,BEAUTIFUL DESIGN !

    In the past have had a 2000 Windstar minivan and two Ford Ranger pick-ups 1989 & 1993.

    When in the market for new vehicles,my wife and I always stick with Ford and as Chris pointed out,now with more the reason.

  4. I have a Focus and I'm getting a new one this month. They have great leases out there for them. I'll get it from Tammy at Suburban Ford. Brian if you ever run out of PIN numbers let me know. I've also sold cars for over 13 yrs so feel free to ask for guidence on getting the best deal etc... Christopher Taurus is a great car and it's a five star car and the cheepest car to insure.

  5. Hey, I just want to make sure everyone reading this blog knows I drive a Ford Escape (my 4th one !) and I love it ! When you comment on this Ford blog, I'd appreciate it if you'd let us know what you're driving and how you like it. That includes you Bruce Fealk ...

  6. Hey gang,
    Just letting you know I took Johns advise and am trying my hand at starting a blog. Still learning the ropes but all are welcome if you choose to visit/comment.

    Conservative Perspective

  7. Christopher great blog buddy. Another way to get on eachothers blogs is to just klick the persons name. I do that with everyone that posts on my blog.

  8. Brian What do you think will happen to GM,Chrysler and Ford? How do you think the union members will vote? It's going to be a long hard road for the Big 3 and the UAW. The UAW is trying to diversafy by going into the dealers to unionize. I'd like to know what other UAW members think.

  9. Brian - I've driven only GM (my dad was a Pipefitter for GM) and Ford (I used to work for Ford; I've had two F-150's). Never had much problems with any of them. All great vehicles.

    I was thinking today about concessions. It is interesting to me that Jenny has cut funding to schools. Last year... actually September, I think it was, we were given a 15% reduction in pay. This was hard on all of us, but it was either that or the owners might have been forced to close up shop. So we bit the bullet.

    I would think that teachers, school administration, etc, if they were TRULY concerned with students and their well-being, etc. would be willing to take a pay cut. Just throwing numbers out, a teacher making $50K taking a 10% cut, would cover about 30 student's worth. It certainly seems nonsense than that they would get raises.

    But Jenny would rather raise taxes on people who have gotten their pay slashes, than ask for concessions from the teacher's unions. What a joke.

  10. Brian, you already know what kind of car I personally drive. I have a plug-in 2007 Toyota Prius that gets 70 mpg, technology that was years ahead of the American manufacturers, including Ford, which licensed the technology from Toyota. The plug-in kit is an aftermarket product from an Auburn Hills start-up company.

    My wife drives a 1991 Oldsmobile 98 and my daughter drive a 2000 Saturn.

    I've owned foreign and domestic products in my life. I had a 1999 GMC Jimmy, a Toyota Highlander. The GMC Jimmy needed a transmission and an engine before I sold it with around 130,000 miles on it. My Toyotas never needed any major repairs.

    The only Ford I owned a long time ago was a Granada, probably the worst car I ever owned. I also owned a Chrysler LHS, also a poorly made car and a horrible dealer.

    I considered purchasing a Ford Fusion hybrid, and I learned from a union friend that that vehicle is actually manufactured in Mexico and costs $30,000 and only gets 41 mpg compared to my car's 70 mpg.

  11. John,
    Seems a shell game is again (go figure) being played with education funds. From what I understand,both the Gov and the legislature agreed on a $160+/- cut,then jenny ON HER OWN cut another $120+/- challenging the legislature to come up with funds to restore it ?

    So say they do,then she will claim to have "saved" education but funds (taxes) will then have to be raised to fund say, the state police, because that is where the funding came from to cover HER OWN CUT IN EDUCATION !

  12. Nice Bruce give your wife the old car. Most men would never do that. I know my wife always gets the new car. I want her to be safe. You must love your foreign car a lot to buy it and put your wife in a '91 Olds. I hope it's a easy winter for her this year.

  13. My wife likes driving the 91 Oldsmobile, as it was her mother's car that she inherited when her mother passed away. She has a sentimental attachment to the car. So, Chris, STFU. You don't know what the hell you're talking about. My wife drives 1 mile to work and the car is in fine working order. She is perfectly safe in her older vehicle. When we travel as a family, we drive our 70 mpg Prius.

  14. Chris, I don't even have a word to describe you. But you are beyond strange.

  15. Chris - Methinks he protests too much... strainin' to do some explainin'. Bruce has a picture of the back of his Prius in his wallet, but not one picture of his wife or kids. We know where his priorities lie (lay?)

  16. John, have you seen the inside of my wallet?

    It actually is all pictures of my family, including my granddaughter. So, again I say STFU. You are a lying SoS.

  17. LOL, well Bruce if you can make up stories about Brian being racist, I can do the same thing about pictures in your wallet. Awfully sensitive about something so trivial. Again, methinks you protest too much. After all, you were so proud of having a picture of the rear of your car. I think that is really odd.

    I'll tell you somebody who has never seen the inside of your wallet, and that is whoever collects the money for that raped girl fund.

    I am a lying distress signal? Not sure what you are getting at there, jack. ROFLMAO! Been listening to a lot of ABBA lately Bruce? BWAAAAHAHAHAHA!

  18. An embarrassing update to this blog, the radical faction of the UAW at my plant (The Sterling Plant), convinced the UAW workers to oppose the contract modifications Ford had asked for. They were defeated 80%-20% Monday in our vote ...
    It's more than disappointing, it's disgusting. This type of greed short sightedness is exactly what got the domestic auto companies into trouble to begin with, and is why the rest of the country hates the UAW. And make no mistake, they do !

  19. Short-sighted, that is for sure. So much for making sacrifices now so you have a job in the future. What a drag, sorry to hear it Brian.

  20. Brian - Did you know that you have "Beck Rights"? Based on a 1988 Supreme Court decision, union workers cannot be forced to pay any dues other than the amount specifically needed to fund your collective bargaining. This means you do not have to pay dues that will be used as political donations.

    Something you might want to look into, and have your like-minded colleagues do the same. I know my dad didn't care for the thought of his dues going to buy a politician.

  21. Brian, that's pretty funny, you consider 80% the "radical faction." I understand one of the conditions in the agreement was that Ford UAW employees would lose their right to strike, which I believe they would never get back.

    With a lopsided vote of 80-20, I would think that the 20% would be considered the "radical faction."

  22. All,
    UAW members would NOT LOSE THEIR RIGHT TO STRIKE under the proposed agreement. They would only agree to not strike in attempt to gain a wage INCREASE. We would still retain the right to strike if Ford tried to cut our pay.

    Don't pay any attention to the misinformation and rumors tries to spread through their minions.
    If this agreement is turned down we will lose new work that will end up being out-sourced to other companies, like Getrag in Newton North Carolina.
    The 75% of UAW members at my plant that voted "no" on the contract modifications were illinformed by some militant, anti-Ford UAW leaders. Yes, I said "anti-Ford" UAW leaders ... Anytime you choose paybacks over new work and jobs, you've got an axe to grind, AND YOU'RE NOT LOOKING OUT FOR YOUR MEMBERS !