“UAW EYE OPENER”
September 21, 1984
In 1974, the Japanese only had about 6.7% of the American auto market. In 1982 foreign
car sales shot up to an amazing 27.8%. Some members of our government conveniently ignore the fact that 31 other consuming
nations take major steps to keep the Japanese from flooding their markets.
domestic bill (S.707) was designated to keep our U.S. based corporations from shipping our jobs overseas and to give incentives,
in our country, to huge multinationals to build here. Why is it so wrong for manufactures that sell vehicles to Americans
to use American workers to build a certain percentages of each vehicle?
The big three
are expected to import literally hundreds of thousands of vehicles from South Korea, Mexico and Japan. They are also importing
millions of major and minor components such as engines, transmissions, switches and wiring harnesses and with each shipment
our country loses.
unemployment is at 24.6% and the competition between the US worker and many of the foreign workers is not equal. The multinationals
are exploiting many of their foreign workers with shamefully low wages and then using these workers as unfair competitive
examples of how we are overpaid. The Brazilian hourly wage is about $1.35, South Korea $1.10, Taiwan $1.37 and the Mexican
autoworker makes about $2.50 per hour.
conducting his bi-weekly in-plant lunch meeting with his people.
equation really boils down to an issue of power. With more and more wealth and power going to the multinationals the labor
movement, which has taken workers from an exploited condition and brought then to a decent standard of living, is being asked
to cut its own throat.
the labor movement the past forty years have been good for working people when compared to any other time in history. Unions
like the U.A.W. have won decent wages for their members and this has had a positive spin-off effect for other industries,
which raised the standard of living, and quality of life for our entire country.
have rarely entered into the equation with these multinationals, it is purely economic. In Mexico the auto companies can save
$53.00 per engine, $38.00 per transmittion $0.56 per wiring harness when compared to U.S. labor.
Many of these
developing countries were once looked at as being second-rate producers of cheap products. Today, Mexico for example, is working
with cheap labor, cheap energy, a shrinking peso and Japanese and American know how to build a massive industry with its sight
set on U.S. customers.
now shipping one million engines a year to the U.S. and will soon be exporting 200,000 cars a year to us. General Motors,
Ford, and Chrysler, just to name a few, are all very active in Mexico building major vehicles and component plants that will
all displace American jobs. Chrysler now builds many K cars in Mexico, Ford is working on a major facility for future front
wheel drive vehicles in Mexico. This fall General Motors will be building their “El Camino” and “Cabellero”
in Mexico. Most of these vehicles will be exported to the U.S. and they are just small examples of what the American based
multinational auto companies are doing on a world scale.
billion dollars in imported parts translates into 25,000 fewer American jobs and the annual importation of Mexican auto parts
alone runs at 1.4 billion. Since 1978 our domestic auto industries pay roll has fallen by 170,000 jobs. Many argue that without
content legislation, imports will reach a staggering 50% of our market by 1990 and I predict you will see more foreign car
names then American. Content legislation would create or preserve at least 200,000 auto jobs and 500,000 auto related jobs.
many economic arguments for content legislation, such as the high cost of social programs, necessary due to lost jobs, or
loss of tax revenue by unemployed workers ($50 billion in 1981& 1982 alone).
it would be difficult for the Japanese and other companies to open factories here for a variety of reasons, but it has been
done successfully in the past. In 1981, Japan alone, had 272 companies operating 428 plants in 43 states which included 13
that content legislation would trigger retaliation by the Japanese in other trade areas such as trade, computers, and aircraft,
but Japan doesn’t retaliate against France, which limits the Japanese share to under 3% of their auto market and they
still trade with Australia, which has an 85% content requirement. Of the 31 countries that do have content rules many have
protection that is written much stronger than that proposed by the U.S. bill.
needs to give a firm response to this one-sided trade situation by passing and enforcing a realistic content bill. Our government
has an obligation to the workers and citizens of this country to protect our basic premier industries, just like all other
responsible nations do.
said not long ago,” We’ve been running up the white flag when we should be running up the American Flag”,
“What do we want our kids to do? Sweep up around Japanese computers and spend a lifetime serving McDonalds hamburgers?”
alternative to facing this situation squarely is to do what many of the multi-nationals want us to do, which is absolutely
nothing. This would give them the exclusive power to progressively reduce us all country by country to the lowest common denominator
in the name of increased corporate profits.
conducting factory meetings