1941 UAW-Ford Master Contract
2007 UAW-Ford Master Contract: 22 pounds, 9 inchesFrom today's Detroit News:
"For a snapshot of how labor-management relations have changed in Detroit's auto industry, just compare the UAW-Ford contracts of 1941 and 2007, as University of Michigan economics professor Mark Perry did last year (in this CD post). The 1941 pact was a tiny 24-page booklet that fit in the palm of a hand (see top photo above). In 2007, the agreement was 2,215 pages and weighed 22 pounds (see photo above).
That's what happens after a half-century of mutual distrust. When neither side trusts the other to implement the basic bargain, thousands of procedural do's and don't's get baked into contracts. The result: a rote, rigid, paint-by-numbers way of doing business in Detroit that proved darn near fatal in a 21st-Century world where flexibility and speedy decision-making are critical. Only the government rescue of GM and Chrysler and the Alan Mulally-led turnaround at Ford saved the Detroit Three and the UAW from the scrap heap."
Read more here.
Update: The 2007 UAW-Ford contract weighs in at 22 pounds, and the measured height is 9 inches (about twice the height of the Coke can in the picture above), according to a CBS news report available here (audio may not work).