The Book of Judges, Ford, and the UAW

Sometimes I think people focus too much on the battle and forget the war. The UAW is in contract negotiations with the Ford Motor Company. There is a tentative agreement on the table, and union members are voting whether to accept or reject the agreement. Two plants have rejected the agreement. One of the plants is located in Chicago and the other is in Wayne, Michigan. The Wall Street Journal reported “failure to ratify the contract would force Ford and the Union back to the negotiating table and could lead to a walk out.”

The proposed contract called for Ford to invest $6.2 Billion in U.S. plants and add 12,000 jobs. This would be occur between now and 2015. The contract also provided a $6,000 signing bonus, $1,500-a-year inflation payment, and profit sharing bonuses. It has also been reported that Auto Workers receive an hourly wage of $58, including benefits. So I wonder, what is the problem? Why would they reject a contract that provides for investment in the U.S. instead of Mexico, and the hiring of 12,000 workers? This is where the shortsightedness comes in.

UAW members want a real wage increase to fight inflation. They also want an increase in the pension amounts paid to retirees. I really don’t see Ford being willing to increase its cost in that manner. I think the contract that has been negotiated is fair, and in labor’s best interests.

Much of what we see in today’s culture is a reflection of what we have read about the nation of Israel in the book of Judges. As you read from chapter to chapter in Judges you see a cycle of prosperity and then Israel doing evil in the sight of the Lord. This is very similar to what our culture is experiencing.

We have just come through a period of time where our country experienced an incredible amount of economic growth. We have enjoyed growing house value, growing paychecks, growing 401k’s, and growing opportunities. I know we are in a recession, but it is after a long period of time where people made money. But, I feel that  somewhere along the line we lost something. We have gained the whole world but lost our soul.

I am not saying that the disparity of CEO pay to the average worker compensation is ok, but what I am saying is that all of us now feel we are owed the A on the paper, or the fat paycheck. We have lost the drive to work, because all we want to do is play. I think David Bell was right when he stated that Capitalism over time actually destroys that one thing that makes an economic system successful. It destroys the work ethic needed to succeed.

I hope we don’t we don’t end up like historical Israel, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, but my fear is that we are moving in that direction.

And that is my thought for the day!


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