Auto Worker Efficiencies Compared

UAW: Union labor is more efficient

Study data are bargaining chip

August 1, 2007

Detroit’s automakers say they hope to close what they see as a competitivegap between their workforce and that of foreign rivals, who typically don’tuse union labor.

UAW leaders have compiled data from the Harbour Report, a respected annualstudy of manufacturing efficiency, that they contend show union labor ismore efficient than nonunion labor at auto assembly plants where direct comparisonscan be made.

Union insiders told the Free Press that information likely will be usedto make the point at the bargaining table with General Motors Corp., FordMotor Co. and Chrysler that union workers already save the companies billionseach year and provide great value in return for their pay and benefits.

“I’m sure they’ll be using the figures to accentuate their side of thebargaining,” said Chris (Tiny) Sherwood, president of UAW Local 652 at GM’sLansing Grand River plant, which makes Cadillac cars and SUVs.

His factory was rated by Harbour as the most productive midsize premiumcrossover plant in North America in 2006 — beating the nonunion Honda plantin Alliston, Ontario, which makes the Acura MDX and five other models.

Ron Harbour, president of the Troy-based company that conducts the study,said the UAW and Canadian Auto Workers have made remarkable strides in NorthAmerican assembly plants.

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