American Ninja Warrior just completed its entertaining 2023 season with 17-year-old Vance Law winning a million dollars by completing incredible challenges of strength and coordination faster than any of the other contestants.
All of the finalists were in their teens or 20s.
Now we get to watch the not-so-entertaining American Bungling Warriors battle it out in Detroit for a new UAW contract with the Big Three auto companies. Unfortunately, everybody on this show will be a loser. The precision machining business will be a loser too, at least in the short run.
The prominent players are all playing their roles. Shawn Fain, the new head of the Auto Workers Union, after an upset win over the old guys who represented the union bureaucracy, is delighting the Left, going to talk shows and becoming the new Progressive darling. Bernie Sanders is his guru and will be coming to Detroit to wave the Socialist flag against capitalist greed.
Meanwhile, the heads of GM and Ford, Mary Barra and James Farley, are playing their roles, offering significant pay increases while bemoaning how they are going to pay for the changeover to EV trucks that they haven’t figured out how to build so people will actually buy them. The problem is that EV pickups are lousy in cold weather and cannot haul much load. They make some sense for Southern California and Florida.
Even Tesla cannot figure out how to build its Cybertruck, despite Elon Musk’s ranting at his engineers. Lithium batteries are not the answer.
So we have the Bungling Warriors playing out their roles in Detroit. To spice up the game, Donald Trump is planning a visit to hobnob with Union strikers and show off his Populist flag.
Currently, workers seem to be happy to demonstrate because Fain has shrewdly chosen just three important assembly plants making the most profitable vehicles to have his workers picket. He threatens more shutdowns this Friday if there is no settlement.
If it was just money I think a compromise would be sight because electric vehicles, if they actually sell, will take fewer workers to build. You would think that Fain would know this and not have talked himself into a corner by asking for a 32-hour work week. I understand that this kind of talk is how you get elected as an outsider, but soon workers will begin to understand that most of the new production will be in Mexico or non-union states like Kentucky or South Carolina. They will realize Tesla will be the big winner in the strike.
As drama, the strike makes for a nice six-episode Netflix series.
Unfortunately, we are talking about a lot of people’s jobs and lives. Fain may really believe that the strike is his mission as a hardcore unionist from Kokomo. And the leaders at GM, Ford, and Stellantis are looking at their paycheck and the price of their companies’ stocks. I do not expect a September settlement. The strike has to hurt and fall out of the headlines.
Eventually, Fain will get a deal where he can proclaim victory. I think it will be a short-term win. The UAW is shrinking and it will shrink even more over the next several years. Tesla will gain, and the Big Three will build more non-union facilities.
Personally, I wouldn’t buy Ford or GM stock at the moment. Buy a pickup if you can find one and afford it.
Question: How is the strike affecting you?