Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Further thoughts on "Buying Amreican" and "Union First"
In an earlier post I had referred to an article about one UAW workers thoughts buying habits. The quote "Unemployed, hungry? Eat your Japanese car!" Was catchy in a simplistic way.
But one thing that has always bothered me is this, all the Union workers driving foreign cars. Now I'm Union, have been for almost 20 years, and even I in the past have owned cars that were non union built. My first new car was a Ford Festiva, built by Kia in Korea and sold here in the US as a Ford. My only other foreign car was a used 1984 Honda Accord, I bought as a winter beater a few years ago. But out of more than 17 cars, those were the only ones not "American" My current vehicle a Ford Ranger was assembled by UAW workers here in the USA. But were all the components? I think not.
Over the years, I have harassed fellow union members about what they drove to work. Many of my fellow workers drove Japanese or Korean cars and trucks. All the while, they would have bumper stickers saying how "proud to be Union" they were and how patriotic they are. Well, that does seem a tad hypocritical of them. I mean most "foreign" cars, even those assembled in the US are built by non union workers. And as for being "patriotic," how can you make that fervent claim from the seat of a foreign vehicle, possibly built in a country that many American soldiers died in battle against?
As for the "American" cars, the percentage of cars labeled such, that are actually imported in whole or in part is growing everyday, and with cheap labor overseas, I don't see that trend reversing. Even my "American" Ranger has parts, whole assemblies built overseas. Whether it be a transmission or engine, or the electronics or glass, no car is entirely built in the United States today. Some "foreign" cars have higher "local" content than "American" cars.
Now, I'm no simple dolt who thinks that people will all of a sudden stop buying "foreign" cars, nor would I really suggest it. With the state of the industry today, it would work against us in the end. But to my Union brothers and sister around the country, I would say this, think about your next purchase and how it may affect a fellow Union worker. To those that claim to be very "patriotic" and "proud to be American" how does it feel to have that American Flag decal on your Hyundai??
Hey, I'm not saying don't buy what you want or can afford, that's the American way. But when the lights go out in the last American plant, and our welfare rolls are at their highest and your taxes are going through the roof, just remember it didn't happen over night.
Yes the Big Three and the UAW are partially to blame, and maybe some of them deserve a kick in the pants, but what about all of those that work in jobs that are related to the auto industry? What about the communities around those closed plants? There are no easy answers, but there is food for thought.