Re: UAW website
Joachim Feise (jfeise@ICS.uci.edu)
Sat, 13 Jun 1998 21:58:00 -0700
> > But the unions are still out there, and they still are very
> > confrontational at times. This is arguably not the best way for them
> > to relate to management --- German unions, for instance, which are
> > generally stronger than their American counterparts, maintain a far
> > more cordial relationship with management. But that's in part a
> > choice of management itself (ours and theirs).
> Not exactly. German labor relations were put in place by law following
> WWII. They were anything but well accepted at the time. German law
> requires labor to be involved in important decisions. Yes, this has led
> to much friendlier relations, but it has also led to an econmy that has
> been slow to react to changes and other problems making Germany less
This used to be the case, but recently at least in some cases the German labor
unions proved to be quite flexible. For example, at Volkswagen, they accepted
the 4-day work week, with wage cuts. This would have been unthinkable up to the
> The German system overall, is quite fascinating, and (I
> think) an excellent model to study, but certainly it is not an ideal.
> > German companies, for instance, give the unions a much stronger voice
> > in the companies' day-to-day operations, up to and including such
> > matters as work scheduling and plant closures. American management
> Once again, this was by law, and not by choice.
True. The laws require a split of the board in union and stockholder seats of
50-50, at least in certain industries of national interest (steel, energy,
In other industries, the relation is a little bit more than 50% for the
I doubt that anybody in the US would accept any of this.