Don't blame UAW workers

September 4, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

It seems that all the pundits from Rush Limbaugh to the World Socialist Website have entered the fray concerning the fate of the Indianapolis stamping plant, while the real culprits escape scrutiny and feign innocence.

Before calling them out, however, I would like to exonerate the loyal and hard working members of United Auto Workers Local 23, who look on the public disdain with incredulity, as if they have not quite yet conceded enough. To demand that they act against their own self interests to benefit a modern-day Andrew Carnegie wannabe is akin to asking every American who could possibly retire to do so, whether or not they are financially ready to step aside, in order to lower the unemployment rate. It is irresponsible and inane.

As a third-generation autoworker at the plant with 75 years of service between myself, father and grandfather, each have witnessed the decline from 5,000-plus employees to the current 551 seniority employees.

What precipitated the decline?

The truth is the very aforementioned culprits who assail the workers exercising our right to freely choose who we will or will not work for, all the while driving a vehicle made by a foreign-owned company. The entire blame for the current debacle lies with those who, like our erstwhile mayor, decided to purchase 85 Toyotas in lieu of the Chevrolet Malibu, regardless of the fact that the Indianapolis stamping plant made a major portion thereof.

General Motors has closed its Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, Mansfield, Pontiac and Indianapolis stamping plants as a direct response to the falling demand of American-owned companies’ vehicles, concomitant with a rise in foreign-owned companies’ cars and trucks. If you want to know who is to blame for the latest American factory failure, look no further than you and your neighbors’ driveways.

Donny Jones      


  • IBJ Conversation
    Why should I buy an American vehicle when the workers and unions have priced them out of work? American workers want more while working less. Maybe it's time for the American worker to understand they are a farce in the global economy.
  • A skewed view...
    Your argument is one that is dated and irrelevant at this point. Our incredulous looks at your brotherhood of autoworkers is that you would forego working for a lessor amount and be unemployed while many are longing for employment! So while you use your big words to sound smart, the base question still is; do you want a job, or not?

    You can cloud the issue or clarify it. There is no "high road" because the world you are pining away for doesn't exist anymore. Ask the foundry workers of Chrysler. Ask the Navistar people. Ask the...oh, never mind. The list is too long. Either right size the labor costs or be left in the dust.

    By the way, there are "foreign" cars that have a higher percentage of manufactured parts and assembly labor from the U.S.A. on the road today than some models that are made by the Big 3...And last I checked they employ more Hoosiers too, so you may be barking up the wrong tree.

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