Networks Downplay Union Factor in Auto Manufacturing
Is unionized labor a sacred cow for the media?
Both âNBC Nightly Newsâ and âCBS Evening Newsâ ran segments on their Nov. 20 broadcasts about how foreign automakers are faring better than domestic manufacturers. But they downplayed one distinction between the two: foreign auto facilities â domestic and abroad â are mostly not unionized, unlike American companies.
âThe battle for survival in the
However, the unions â or lack thereof â are a major reason these southern facilities are more successful than their General Motors (NYSE:GM), Ford (NYSE:F) and Chrysler (NYSE:DAI) counterparts in
âMuch of this turmoil stems from restrictive UAW job rules that prevent GM from having the flexibility to be competitive in the global marketplace, particularly during an economic downturn,â Miller wrote. âOne of the most egregious examples is the union job bank, which continues to pay workers whose jobs fell victim to technological progress or plant restructurings even though they arenât actually working.â
A similar report on âCBS Evening Newsâ showed how Japanese automakers are weathering the storm. One employee of a
âJob security is a Japanese cultural tradition, a belief that workers are so important they are the last to be cut,â CBS correspondent Barry Petersen said. âWhen Tundra production stopped here for three months, some workers were out the door, all right: a furlough spent doing community service in San Antonio parks at full pay until the assembly line restarted and they went back to their regular jobs.â
CBS completely neglected addressing the union factor in the push for a bailout. Instead, they commended the foreign automakers for having lower executive compensation.
âLower [CEO] salaries mean that for Japanese automakers, itâs not about bailouts but rollouts, like the first Honda Civic at this new plant opened in Indiana this week â and having cash on hand for designing ever more new models despite a bleak outlook from the head of Nissan,â Petersen said.
A Business & Media Institute analysis of coverage of the proposed federal bailout for