Wednesday, November 04, 2009

And you've been buying Fords, because they "Didn't Go Bankrupt"

I'm sure every industry insider grates at the simplistic views the "outsiders" have of their industries. Ford made a billion this last quarter, but that's just as easily reversed.
June 1st, 2009 - "The UAW lynch mob is at (Ford's) gates having successfully pulled a revolt at GM and Chrysler, elbowing their way into the board room, they now have Ford right where they want them in terms of bargaining power. Ford may not have needed to go bankrupt and may complain until doomsday that they had the right to survive as the sole American Automaker, but that ship has sailed. Now they are saddled with unattractive Union commitments and costs that the other two of the big three have shed. Ford either goes slowly under the waves, or signs onto some version of what the other two have been forced to accept.

In the end, with behavioral precedents now firmly set, when the Government comes knocking, Ford execs will likely get up, dust their chairs, pack their knick knacks in boxes and head for the doors, just like Chrysler and GM because disturbing perceived realities are now governing." (Who said that?)
I've had people come up to me on the street, at work and in Church and loudly proclaim how great Ford was because they "didn't take Government money" and get visibly agitated in some cases when I point out that Ford would go down some similar path. Not wanting to be too odious face to face, I eventually said the following:
September 19, 2009 - "I'm not prepared to argue with anyone (without wanting to explode at the same time) how it got that way. Let's just say there is blame to go around and it doesn't all settle on Auto Industry Fat Cats, the convenient location both those on the right and left like to place most of the blame. We have a new Little Three left over, and Ford's problems are the same as those of GM's and Chrysler's prior to both going bankrupt. All were losing money. 67% of the US auto industry going down the tubes with one remaining almost assures that the next time we're having this discussion (and there will be a next time), 100% of the Auto Industry (Ford) would be on the chopping block."
Now, "the Blog Prof" says:
"Someone explain to me how this is right. GM is owned by majority shareholder the UAW. The UAW negotiates a labor contract with GM competitor Ford, refuses to make the same concessions it basically gave itself at GM, shoots down the Ford contact that would have put it on a level playing field with UAW-owned GM, and won't renegotiate. Uh - am I missing something? This coverage over at MLive seems to miss the whole conflict of interest angle in its entirety: Ron Gettelfinger: UAW membership has spoken loudly, won't renegotiate with Ford."
And he points to this article:
United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger says members spoke loudly last week and the union will not renegotiate with Ford at this time.

Members resoundingly rejected a new contract with Ford last week, as 70 percent of production workers and 75 percent of skilled workers voted against concessions that would have made their contracts competitive with workers at General Motors and Chrysler.

'We have a political process. It's called ratification,' Gettelfinger told Paul W. Smith this morning on WJR AM-760. "We all are disappointed, but the membership has spoken.'

...Gettelfinger acknowledged Ford did not enjoy some of the benefits its domestic competition gained by going through bankruptcy. GM and Chrysler, he said, were able to reduce debt, cut dealers, walk away from liability claims and rework supplier contracts during their bankruptcies."
Found at "Michigan Live."

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