Wow, it's open season on auto workers, isn't it?

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Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown

Wow, it’s open season on auto workers, isn’t it?

In December, General Motors said it was eliminating 30,000 of its workers. Delphi, the biggest maker of automobile components, also whacked its workforce last fall, demanding that its 34,000 people on the line workers take a two-thirds cut in their wages. Now, Ford has joined the fun, saying in January that it’ll slash 30,000 of its workers.

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The CEOs of these auto giants all moaned that it was “painful” for them to fire so many good and loyal blue collar employees, but, gosh, American car makers are losing market share to foreign competitors, they wailed, so these drastic cutbacks are simply essential in order to turn the U.S. industry around. Their collective motto seems to be: “Come On, America – Let’s Shrink Our Way To Success!”

But, wait – the industry’s problem is not with the blue-collar workers down on the factory floor. Those people are highly-skilled, efficient, and productive. Rather, the problem is with the suits up in the executive suite. They’re the ones who’re supposed to assess what consumers want and to design quality cars – and these numbskulls are failing miserably at both of these jobs.

While foreign car makers are turning out vehicles that look good, are well-designed, get good mileage, use innovative technology, and are both reliable and longlasting – our top execs keep coming out with poorly-designed, gas-guzzling clunkers. Consumers are snapping up Toyotas, for example, faster than the company can roll them out, because – duh !– Toyota is making cars that people actually want.

This is Jim Hightower saying… Its’ America’s auto executives who can’t compete, not the workers on the line. If they want a real turnaround plan for the industry, they should keep the workers, fire themselves, and bring in new executive teams that have enough old-fashioned, good ol’ American, innovative spark to compete.


“Ford Eliminating Up to 30,000 Jobs and 14 Factories,” The New York Times, January 24, 2006.

“Ford Ad Draws Criticism Even Before It Is Shown,” The New York Times, January 25 2006.

“Many Workers, Few Shifts,” The New York Times, January 24 2006.

“Ford Employees Bracing for Big City Jobs,” Associated Press, January 23, 2006.

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