If the natural requirements of the job make “work from home” impossible, we can at least get paid more to work less. A shorter work week also creates more jobs. If the middle-class hadn’t been screwed over the last 40 years by trickle-down and wage theft, we’d be down to a 15 hour work week today, just like John Maynard Keynes predicted.
Stellantis’ response to the union trying to regain the pay and benefits that were taken away in the bankruptcy proceedings was to say that, not only are they not going to restore anything to the workers, but they intend to take more away. Recall, Stellantis predecessor Fiat Chrysler bribed the officers of the union’s Chrysler department to push members to accept bad contracts, so Stellantis workers are starting from a lower base than their counterparts at GM and Ford.
The union asked the workers to vote whether they were willing to strike. A strike was approved by 97% of the workers.
This is a local media report, from a couple weeks ago, about the union’s response to Stellantis’ demands to take more away from the workers.
I have noted that the companies that made their name building cars as inexpensively as possible, Ford and VW, are now the ones leading the charge to push prices, and profit margins, continuously higher.
This is a 20-some minute interview by the local CBS station, with the head of the UAW. He talks about the 32 hour week vs how physically demanding the jobs are, pay-rates (starting pay is now $10/hr less than it was in 2007, and no pension and no retiree medical) and notes that Mexican workers make $45/week, but the company still demands $60,000 for the trucks they build. On that point about the pay, a worker at a Stellantis plant, interviewed on the local news, noted that, to make the money that management is complaining about workers making, “you need to live in the plant”, ie the 7 day/wk, 12 hrs/day, work schedule the union President is talking about.
So, what would a strike next month do to the economy?
Psychologically the market would take a hit, and the over GDP wouldn’t grow as much, but realistically it would be containable. The auto market is worth about $1T out of a $25T economy. (Letting the industry collapse, as might have happened in 2008, is an entirely different thing. At that point you have handed the market to Asian and European manufacturers. A strike would keep assets in US hands, just not functioning for a while.)
I’m more concerned about a government shutdown, which could happen (again) on October 1. The probabilities get into a political discussion which I will avoid, but government spending is 25% of GDP. Even if we filter out the spending that would continue (military, presumably, and “vital workers” and such) it would still put a major kink into the economy in short order. On the bright side, inflation would probably crater, so take that, Powell!
I am not that worried about a govt shutdown. The whole country is aware of the disfunction of the minority party in the Senate. After the last brouhaha about the budget, Biden was careful to set up McCarthy and the right to be blamed for any govt shutdown before the elections.
That was the whole point of Biden’s strategizing, which was WAAAAY beyond anything McCarthy could imagine. Experience won that battle, and will likely win the war.
With so much of the electorate in a fact-free mental zone, it is worrisome, not just for basic freedoms, either. You have to worry about your ‘portfolios’ whatever they are comprised of since oligarchies do not care about protecting an individual’s interests, financial or otherwise, only about protecting their own power.
That is why Biden was able to do what he did. McCarthy could not put together any cohesive/coherent opposition. The same applies to business and the economy. Taking a longer view meant he was looking past the “near future” (which nobody can really predict) and working toward a longer-term goal (which was good for everyone). Be interesting to see what happens in mid-Sept (2-3 wks away) and the federal budget (ends Sept 30–so essentially one month away). With the current good economy, the deck is heavily stacked against McCarthy. Causing the economy to splat would realistically mean Biden wins in 2024. McCarthy is an economic puppet dancing because someone else controls his strings. He has, as yet, not provided any realistic economic plan. Nor do I expect to ever see one. Why? Remember the “Kansas experiment in cutting taxes?” If not, that is what McCarthy is hoping. Yeah, right… LOL !!!