Re: UAW website

Joachim Feise (
Sat, 13 Jun 1998 21:58:00 -0700 wrote:
> > 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
> competitive.
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
early nineties.

> 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
stockholder side.
I doubt that anybody in the US would accept any of this.