High gas prices strike again, says the "CBS Evening News."
The June 3 "Evening News" blamed surging gas prices and General Motors reluctance to produce "more fuel-efficient vehicles" for closure of several plants, including one in Janesville, Wisc.
"It's not just here and it's not just GM. Since 2005, the big three - GM, Ford and Chrysler - have had 70 plants and supplier shutdowns with a total loss of 149,000 American jobs," CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers said. "At the same time, foreign automakers selling more fuel-efficient vehicles are building five new U.S. plants that will employ 24,000 workers over the next three years."
But Bowers omitted one detail: GM (NYSE:GM), Ford (NYSE:F) and Chrysler all have ties to the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, which forces those manufacturers into collective bargaining agreements with very expensive labor costs.
And, the foreign automakers that sell "more fuel-efficient vehicles" - which include Toyota (NYSE:TM) (opening a plant in Tupelo, Miss.), Honda (NYSE:HMC) (Greensburg, Ind.), Volkswagen (FRA:VOW) (to be determined - but Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee are in the running) and KIA (SEO:000270) (West Point, Ga.) - are building their new plants in places where the UAW doesn't have a presence and won't make them less competitive by raising overhead costs.
As an August 2007 Investor's Business Daily editorial pointed out, unions are a principal reason many Americans have lost jobs. "[I]t's hard to fathom how a middle class could be created by an institution that has ... forced many Americans out of the labor force because of the high wages it has compelled businesses, through the power of its government protection, to pay," the editorial said.