‘In the Last 12 Years,’ Unionized Auto Manufacturers ‘Have Shed 200,000 Jobs’

After failing for the past three decades to secure monopoly-bargaining privileges at any foreign-owned auto-assembly plant in the U.S.,  United Auto Workers (UAW/AFL-CIO) union bosses are now claiming they are on the verge of success at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., and the Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., and at the Mercedes-Benz facility in Vance, Ala.

But Matt Patterson and Julia Tavlas of the Competitive Enterprise Institute are skeptical that current UAW President Bob King will pull off such a coup for one key reason.  Writing for Forbes this week (see the link below), Patterson and Tavlas explain the principal basis for their doubts:

There is a reason King keeps failing—workers instinctively know unionization means the death of jobs. As Reuters reports, in the past three decades nearly every job lost at US car factories [has] vanished from unionized companies; meanwhile, job gains have come almost exclusively from non-union companies.

Unfortunately for King, kill the company, kill the union. At its peak in 1979, the UAW boasted a membership of 1.5 million. Today, by its own admission it boasts a mere 390,000. In the last 12 years, the [UAW-controlled] Detroit-based auto companies have shed 200,000 jobs—three-fifths of [their] hourly workforce. Meanwhile, foreign-owned car companies have created some 20,000 new jobs in mostly southern  factories [in, overwhelmingly, Right to Work states].

And so the UAW’s only hope is to find a new host. The Chattanooga Volkswagen plant must appear a robust specimen. The Volkswagen Passat won the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year award (which judges models on a variety of value and safety criteria), propelling it to sales of over 117,000 that year alone.

No wonder the Passat, and the Volkswagen plant that manufactures it, [have] attracted gleam-filled gaze from the north. But if the UAW gets its way, it could do for the foreign auto makers exactly what it has done to the once great American car industry.

Increase costs, decrease quality. Kill jobs.

The UAW, Having Stripped Detroit Bare, Looks To The South