UAW on to Chrysler, now

I saw the strangest story (from the Associated Press, via Yahoo! and the Huffington Post).

The United Auto Workers put Chrysler LLC on notice that a strike is possible if contract talks stall, a person briefed on the talks said, but a labor expert said the union’s action could be a bargaining tactic.

A strike notice could be a tactic by the union to put pressure on the company as the talks intensify, said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who specializes in labor issues.

“The union wants the deadline to encourage a settlement sooner rather than later,” Shaiken said.

Uh-huh. Note to self: begin marketing self as labour expert. Here’s a tip: every industrial action by a labour union is a bargaining tactic. That’s why they exist – remember? Collective bargaining? Anything?

Anyway. In the end, it didn’t have much of an effect on the bottom line (i.e. shareholders) over at GM:

GM

An indication that Chrysler (80-odd percent held by Cerberus still, as I recall) shouldn’t face too great a threat – as long as it signs the right dotted lines. I think GM benefitted from the strike, actually, being able to sell off some unwanted inventories (Economic Principles: unplanned investment occurs during an economic slowdown. When firms plan on selling a certain amount, they build/stock-up-on that amount. When the don’t sell that much, inventories build up. Unplanned investment).

So. Suppose you’re an auto manufacturer and you perceive the game as this: you’re not selling so well but, by dragging your feet a bit, you can make your own workforce take their own few days off…

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