Visualizing The De-Unionization Of Auto Workers

Tyler Durden's picture

In 1999, 86% of all vehicles made in the US were produced by a United Auto Workers (UAW) worker. Today that share stands at a dismal 54% as Bloomberg reports UAW workers assembled 5.91 million of the 10.9 million cars and trucks made in the US last year. The UAW's recent failure to organize employees at an assembly plant in Tennessee (operated by VW) underscores how more and more cars from overseas automakers are built here. Membership of the UAW has fallen a stunning 75% since 1979.



Source: Bloomberg

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jbvtme's picture

can't tell if this news is good or bad...

knukles's picture

If Bitcoin had been properly unionized by the UAW it never would have shut down.

Richard Chesler's picture

No need for unions now that all thugs have moved to gov.

smithcreek's picture

The auto unions should have adapted 40 years ago and viewed labor and high quality employees as their product.  They should have made sure they offered the best trained most highly motivated product to companies willing to pay a premium for the best.  Instead they protected the worst employees and actively sought to sabatoge their employers.  Stupid fucking move on their part.

Spastica Rex's picture

Job #1 for labor should be to compete to offer itself at the lowest possible cost to capital.

Uncle Remus's picture

Hmm, I would have thought best ROI for capital, which is not the same as lowest cost.

kaiserhoff's picture

If only public employee unions could "suffer" the same fate.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

" Instead they protected the worst employees and actively sought to sabatoge their employers"

Slow down!!!!  You are making me look bad!!!

Spastica Rex's picture

Hmm, maybe you're right. Perhaps the Chinese not only offer labor at a lower cost to Apple, perhaps they also build better iPhones than Americans can - perhaps because they have smaller fingers, or because they are better educated. If Americans could become better educated, I bet they could build iPhones at twice the cost, but at three times the quality, and they would still sell like hotcakes.

akarc's picture

Interesting maybe?

We should note that Apple pays full US corporate income tax on the profits it makes from sales in the US. They don’t try to offshore any of those profits at all. However, Apple is set up rather cleverly with regard to profits it makes in the rest of the world. The details are boring but it does mean that they have a tax rate of around 2% on the profits they make everywhere except in the US. If they were to bring this into the US it would have to pay the US corporate income tax of 35% minus the 2% already paid: which is why they don’t do it.


The important thing about assembling iPhones in the US would be that this method of reducing the tax bill simply would not be available. It is reliant upon the idea that Apple is manufacturing in China and then selling in Germany, France, the UK. If it were manufacturing in the US it simply could not protect those foreign profits in the same manner. All of the company’s profits would be subject to that US corporate income tax rate of 35% (minus the usual allowances for R&D and so on). Thus reshoring or onshoring of production of the iPhone would lead to all of Apple’s foreign profits, currently taxed at 2%, to be being taxed at 35% (ignoring any US based tax breaks they might get).

Spastica Rex's picture

It is interesting.

Draconian US tax policy aside, would Americans live in dormitories and assemble iPhones at 3:00 in the morning for current Chinese wages, or even something remotely close to Chinese wages, if they were given the opportunity? If not, Draconian US tax policy aside, how would this affect Apple's profits?

akarc's picture

Same article addresses, in the larger scheme of things, that taxes not labor is a much larger expense. I was curious as I read somewhere ages ago that Apple could affors the labor cost here with only a small hit to profit margin? Americans, today anyway, would not stand for Chinese working conditions. Although do support them through their purchases. I would not bet on what Americans would do in the future based on how many times I have heard peoplw say, "I would never................" and then do.  Though I suspect Americans would resort to shooting and looting first. Then after that failed, begging.   

Kayman's picture

Labor, unionized or not, hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell when the Fed controls the price of capital. 

Union leaders cannot grasp the concept that cheap money (screwing savers) is one of the main factors why they cannot compete.

The replacement of labor for capital (assets) accelerates while the Fed has its thumb on the scale.

MeBizarro's picture

Exactly.  Capital shouldn't offer any retirement savings/benefits or other things like worker's comp like in China where neither exists at most private enterprises and is really a benefit in name only in SOE.  It is the responsibility of the individual entirely to save for their retirment and if they injured/sick they should be fired/laid off and replaced with a productive worker. 

akarc's picture

sarc countered with sarc, way cool

Nick Jihad's picture

You have no fucking clue how looting works, and you'd make a terrible community organizer.

akarc's picture

Craftsmanship was a major historical component of unions. It should still be. 

RSloane's picture

One of the first things GM did with bailout funds was to build a new Research and Development lab in China. It was beyond a hypocritical travesty that GM was allowed to take one penny of their resources outside the US. While UAW workers were scrambling for new jobs at Wal Mart in the US, GM was busy increasing their investments in manufacturing plants outside the US. How was that ever allowed?

Murf_DaSurf's picture




Flip the Graph over and it becomes the plot of the RISE of the Govt. Unions...

rejected's picture

Yes, Nobody seems to have a problem with 'public' unions...

STP's picture

I too find it amazing.  Especially here in Public Union land, the state of Kalifornia.  The amount of power, money and influence, that even the friggin' teachers has, as an example, is unbelievable!   They are most generous with the pay and money, because it's SOMEBODY ELSE'S money!  AKA that miserable trodden and vanishing species, the Taxpayer!

MeBizarro's picture

I'm baffled.  People say we should follow 'capitalism' on here and this would have occurred one way or another with or withouth the GM bailout.  GM should move R&D assets to a premier growth market that are better suited and positioned for the market.  If they also have to be alot cheaper than the US, all the better.

Hell if I was the CEO at GM, I would liquidate as much as I possibly could in the US and move production and development to cheaper market as much as I could as long as it wouldn't impact my market share in the US too much.  That is how capitalism works.   You lower cost of production, maximize top line revenues, and push margins as much as you can. 

akarc's picture

Henry Ford practiced responsible capitalism by paying his workers decent wages at the turn of the century.  Always the entrepreneur, Ford made sure this decision benefited his business as well.  The high wages turned his workers into Ford consumers, fostered deep loyalty amongst the laborers, and created a positive image of himself in the media.  Not to mention that Henry Ford had to make this choice to avoid turnover in his factory, which was incredibly high due to the monotony of the newly developed "division of labor" method of car production.  Of course, Adam Smith explained the benefits of division of labor a full 125 years before Henry Ford revolutionized American car production.
Compare Ford's treatment of his workers to Apple's treatment of it's workers at the IPad factory.  Do you think these factory conditions could lead to any problems for the company in the future?

Buck Johnson's picture

And you know the reason for the bailouts.  If those car companies would have went under it would have cascaded like dominoes into the supply chain who would have went bankrupt from bills not being paid and their customers being mostly with said car companies.  And add to the fact that the govt. pension guarantee fund couldn't support the millions that would have been thrown on their books within months.  Also here's something to consider, why is the foreign companies coming to the US to build cars?  It's because it's to expensive to pay people in Europe and in Japan anymore so they are going to the new third world being made with 300 million people.


The good ole US of A.



kenezen's picture

Have you noticed that when the Union owned GM, much of it's mfg. went immediately overseas or just south to Mexico where they're busily building new plants? Wow! I'll bet their domestic people feel good about that!

nightshiftsucks's picture

Ross Perot was right,I'm getting hard hearing that sucking sound.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Fucking bailouts have taken us way beyond any "sucking" sound to the mother of all black hole liquidity traps...

hedge accordingly.

max2205's picture

Of 9 cars from the big 3....starve the beast

drendebe10's picture

They the car makers who took obama feebies make nothing i want to own or drive. Just like the TBTF corript crook banks, those car makers should've been alloeed to go tits up but of course the arrogant narcissistic lyong illegal alien muslim sociopath in chief had to stick its despicable  kenyan nose into it to pay back his corrupt debts to his equally corrupt sociopayhic union and banker cronies. Aint this a grand country or what.

akarc's picture

I upped ya. NOt because your post was worth a damn. Well maybe it was. I got a laugh out of the ability of those who were able to brainwash you. 

akarc's picture

Yepper and who is it that benefitted most from the bailouts. Oh yeah, it was the poor working slob right>

Save_America1st's picture

What's "dismal" about it?  Most unions should be wiped out at this point.  Nothing but a bunch of money grubbing criminal socialist assholes extorting money from the employees so they can become fat-cat criminals just like the politician scum they associate with.  Dirt-bags all of them.  All unions should be abolished, especially any government unions.  What a fucking wracket that is...politicians and union bosses laundering money to themselves via criminal extortion, while using threats against the tax payers to withold vital services if they don't get thier way. 


Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Gubmint gubmint gubmint socialism thugs gubmint socialism gubmint gubmint. You fuckers are like one of those dolls with the pull string! Spouting off the words pre-programmed in your feeble little brains. Not defending unions, but I hope you are happy when the 99% makes $30,000 or less. You can all be so proud of yourselves for helping to make corporations and rich assholes even richer.

Kayman's picture


Let me "splane" it to ya.  Big government, big corporations, big banks and big unions, especially big government unions are leeches that are drawing the last blood out of this country.

If that was not true you would have a thriving private sector midde class.

Superdude's picture

And what do you base this fantasy of a thriving middle class on? Maybe 100 years ago when owners valued and appreciated the labor provided by workers, but now, not a chance. All the ownership class does is try to get the cheapest labor in the place with the lowest taxes. Unions have faults, for sure, but being divided in times such as the one we are now in will result in a consolidation of power.

akarc's picture

One to many rocks maybe. Let me slpane it to ya repeating a previous comment. Henry Ford doubled his workers wages helping to facilitate the industrial revolution and the growth of the middle class.  The FUCKING FACT that blows away the disquised corporate trolls.

Superdude's picture

Exactly, instead of looking for ways to promote Ford's ideas, we seek the biggest piece of pie for ourselves. Law of nature that we cannot avoid: everything has a limit. Choose to ignore this basic rule if you wish to, but do so at your own peril. Unless that is you have seen neanderthal s roaming around as of late.

Crtrvlt's picture

 "All unions should be abolished" how free market of you.  if a private union wants to organize then so be it.  it takes 2 to tango. aboloshing it is fascism


"especially any government unions. " agree 

akarc's picture

 " it takes 2 to tango. aboloshing it is fascism"

thank you

akarc's picture

Eleminating government and/or unions is not the answer. Adressing the corruption is the answer as it is the plauge that is killing us. But since many of us of us are corrupt I suspect the downward slide will only accelerate.


Smegley Wanxalot's picture

Always hated the UAW but I thought maybe after collapse in 2008/9 they could have turned over a new leaf.  Then a bunch of Chrysler UAW members got busted getting drunk and high at lunch before returning to work, and the UAW came running to their defense.

So fuck U, AW.  Go rot in fucking hell if you dont have common sense.


Oh yeah, and Bob King, UAW president, sure as hell does not look like the type of guy you'd entrust to look after your kids for 5 minutes.

drendebe10's picture

2nd verse, same as yhe 1st. U aint justa sh-ttin.

nightshiftsucks's picture

cry me a fucking river UAW

buzzsaw99's picture

top talent. physical specimens all. lulz

onewayticket2's picture

the union benefits....the union.  not the worker. dont kid yourselves....central planners are never smarter than the market system.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Having completely destroyed unions in the private sector, any fucking chance the same can happen to government unions?

Bosch's picture

Sure there is a chance, we need to ask the Ukrainians for some advice first.  We're out of practice.