happy autoworkers

bautiste at uswest.net bautiste at uswest.net
Thu Jul 9 19:15:41 PDT 1998

The question is, are they making this kind of cash and how secure are the jobs?
>From what I understand--having spoken to some manifacturing engineers involved
in the turnaround at Ford--Total Quality Management practices are supposed to eliminate the need for a union. The unionists I have talked to see TQM as a threat to their power, but the workers sometimes it as enhancing their ability to have a say in the everyday operations.

GM didn't introduce TQM quickly enough, although I think they use at teh saturn plant. Supposedly the workers at Saturn rejected outright any role for the union in that plant. The management principles at work with TQM break flatten the communication hierarchy and make it easier for workers to have a direct say on everything from what coke machine goes in the lunch room to how many cars they need to get off the line in a month.

BTW I have always wondered whether there has been an adequate study of the impact of TQM, Just un Time and other management techniques by labor organizers. Except for the tired rant against _anything_ proposed by management, has there been a serious study of these methods and how the labor movement can use them to improve their understanding of what will best serve the interests of the workers.

chuck miller

Doug Henwood wrote:

> I had a long chat with a guy who does union education, mainly for auto and
> steel, last night. He painted a picture of a very happy workforce, with
> 25-year-olds pulling down $75k and senior skilled crafts guys (they are
> almost all guys, aren't they?) making over $100k. This would make the Flint
> strikers look pretty anomalous. But he argued that GM's failure to downsize
> aggressively in the early 1980s was a missed opportunity - had they done
> something like Ford, which cut its workforce nearly in half in 18 months,
> and then cut in the UAW as a junior partner in jointness - they'd be in
> much better shape today.
> Any thoughts on this?
> Doug

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