Networks Downplay Union Factor in Auto Manufacturing
Is unionized labor a sacred cow for the media?
Both â€śNBC Nightly Newsâ€ť and â€śCBS Evening Newsâ€ť 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.
â€śThe 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
â€śMuch 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€ť Miller wrote. â€śOne 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 arenâ€™t actually working.â€ť
A similar report on â€śCBS Evening Newsâ€ť showed how Japanese automakers are weathering the storm. One employee of a
â€śJob security is a Japanese cultural tradition, a belief that workers are so important they are the last to be cut,â€ť CBS correspondent Barry Petersen said. â€śWhen 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€ť
CBS completely neglected addressing the union factor in the push for a bailout. Instead, they commended the foreign automakers for having lower executive compensation.
â€śLower [CEO] salaries mean that for Japanese automakers, itâ€™s 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€ť Petersen said.
A Business & Media Institute analysis of coverage of the proposed federal bailout for