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Commentary: Will Common Sense Prevail at the Auto Talks?

Maybe not, if the dust-up at Chrysler is any indication.

by on Sep.16, 2011

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

I have been hoping that the United Auto Workers and the Detroit car companies would reach quick, amicable agreements in their current round of contract negotiations.  Even though Chrysler and GM – where the union seems to be initially focusing its attention – can not be struck under terms of their 2009 federal bailouts, no one needs the drama of an impasse.

But that may be precisely what we’ve got.  As first reported earlier this week, leaders of the United Auto Workers Union have put on hold talks at Ford, where a quick settlement seemed unlikely.

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But more worrisome, UAW Pres. Bob King appears to have created a real dust-up by missing a key appointment with Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne – who canceled a European meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to return to Detroit. A letter from Marchionne suggests that the UAW chief only hurt his workers in the process.

It is, to my mind, one more example of the union’s increasingly questionable way of doing business, especially in a recession, especially in the Age of Wal-Mart.  Simply stated, no one gives a damn about organized labor’s notion of “solidarity,” which is why Wal-Mart remains the world’s largest retailer.