The UAW is “the real problem,” said former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich when he was asked who should be blamed for the departure of jobs from the country. Gingrich was at a campaign stop recently in Des Moines, Iowa. Gingrich, who is about to weather his first test on Jan. 3 in Iowa as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, cited the automotive industry as an example.
He pointed out that nonunion plants such as BMW, Mercedes, Honda, and Nissan are part of a “very vibrant auto industry.” The hourly workers of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC (which is controlled by Fiat SpA) are represented by the UAW. Gingrich was at a Rotary Club breakfast meeting when he said that the problem is centered on work rules rather than on hourly cost.
He added that “continuous improvement” isn’t possible if the companies can’t be permitted to “constantly modify and improve." Based in Munich, BMW produces cars and sport-utility vehicles in South Carolina. Meanwhile, Daimler AG builds Mercedes-Benz units in Alabama. Honda Motor Co. operates plants in Ohio, Indiana and Alabama. Nissan Motor Co. runs assembly plants in Tennessee and Mississippi. [source: Bloomberg]