Sunday, September 24, 2006

To Tow or Not to Tow?

The sign above is posted in the parking lot of the UAW Local #659 in Flint, Michigan, and I just took this picture today. I noticed a Honda in the parking lot while I was taking photos, so I am not sure how strictly this parking ban is enforced.

Just wondering..... how do you think the local union would classify these vehicles?

Buick Lacrosse, Chevy Equinox, Chevy Impala, Chevy Monte Carlo, Chevy Silverado, Chrysler 300, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan, Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Ford Crown Victoria, Ford Freestar, GMC Sierra, Mercury Grand Marquis, Dodge Stratus, and Pontiac Torrent. Problem? All of these vehicles are made by the UAW, but in Canada. Isn't that a foreign country? Wouldn't those be "foreign made autos"?

Another problem is that the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra are also produced in the U.S., directly across the street from UAW Local #659 in Flint at the Flint Truck Plant. Better check those VINs before towing - 1A is US and 2A is Canada. Same for the Chrysler Town and Country and the Dodge Caravan, they are produced both in the U.S. and Canada, so check those VINs before towing those models.

Now, what about these vehicles?

Mitsubishi Eclipse, Mitsubishi Galant, Mazda 6, Toyota Corolla, Mazda Tribute, Mitsubishi Endeavor, Mazda B Series Truck, Mitsubishi Raider, Toyota Tacoma, Isuzu I-Series Trucks?

The problem? All of these vehicles are produced in the U.S. BY THE UAW!? Hmmmmmmm. Guess they can't be towed. But don't they sound pretty "foreign"?

And what about the Cadillac Catera, now discontinued and replaced by the STS and CTS? The problem? It was built in Germany. Tow or no tow?

And to further complicate matters, what about Volvos, Jaguars and Saabs? Volvo and Jagaur are owned by Ford and Saab is owned by GM?

To tow or not to tow? It gets soooooo complicated in the Global Economy.


At 9/28/2006 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All People Must Remove Their Dirty Shoes" You might see a sign like this at someone's house. So, how is "dirty" defined you might say? Since it's private property, the owner gets to decide that. And, if you are unsure, you could always ask. It's not complicated at all.

Likewise, the union hall is private property, so they aptly get to decide what they feel is "foreign." Since it's private property, they could decide to tow away Fords, Chryslers, or even rusted out Chevys. They may even decide there in no parking there at all.

Just as Americans are free to choose what to buy, American private property owners are free to choose what and who they want on their property. That's freedom. Isn't America great?

A proud UAW Local 659 member

At 9/28/2006 4:07 PM, Blogger jonnyecon said...

Let's face it, these parking signs are historical markers that are from a time when auto making was a U.S. or even a Michigan, defining, charateristic.

This is a sign post from the "good old times" and will continue to be posted so we can look back and remember how it used to be, when we as an american society had some "control" over our economic destiny. when we were the ones on top and no one was in a true rivalry with our ability to produce better than the world.

This sign post of the past is really an indication of the control loss that we as a society felt. that without us standing against the tide of global production as Americans, that we as a nation would fade.

but that line is so vague now, the divide between us and the world in an economic sense is all but gone in reality. it truely exists only in the minds of the society, personal prejudice and protectionism. Buy American is an idea that is truely un American. The truely American idea has always been to profit, survival of the fittest and free markets with very limited government interference. this idea like freedom of speech is not reserved for our great nation, but the community of the entire world, wether that state subscribes to those ideas or not.

But this was an inevitable outcome. The technology of the rest of the world has caught up and now it can be done cheaper and just as efficient. so now we as a society have to aquire new skills and ride the next wave of industry, like the field worker of the past who had to adjust to the new farm technologies and those textile workers that had to learn new skills when those jobs were out sorced or done with the new technologies of the day.

It is a never ending cycle and it is extremely bad in our area, but it is life and it is also an example that we need to diversify our profit making abilities.

We also have to see that this is no longer a zero sum game between us and them, we are now all connected and economic and producition issues today only provide more evidence of this.

So if they choose to keep the sign up and excercise their private property rights, more power to them. And if they want to keep a hold of sign that shows the fear of change and inevitablility more power to them also.

At 9/28/2006 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that people should buy whatever they want with their own hard-earned dollars. I know that I do. If we can't build the vehicles that the public wants, then shame on us. But, we have trouble competing with other countries that subsidize their corporations and have trade policies that keep our goods out of the country.

Are you aware that to sell a car in China you must partner with a Chinese company and produce the car on their soil? Cars cannot be imported into China assembled more than 60%. They also limit import of car parts. Sell it there and build it there is their policy. We lean more toward the free-market approach (we do have some trade barriers)

It does kind of make me wonder though. If everything in the US goes global, where will our nationalism and patriotism go? What will the US identify with? Will our soldiers be willing to die for China, Japan, or a global entity?

These are tough questions that will take hard work and deep thought to solve. Good luck with your career choice in economics. You just might be part of the solution.

At 9/29/2006 7:49 PM, Blogger jonnyecon said...


At 10/01/2006 1:50 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Could they then decide to have a sign that says: "No foreigners allowed in this building, in this parking lot, or anywhere on our property. Any foreigner found on this property will be asked to leave, and/or will be physically removed from this property."

At 10/01/2006 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, I guess they can remove anybody they want. After all, it is private property. You have a right to determine who can come into your house: Right?

In fact, I have been asked to leave some establishments in the past. If you don't leave, some very big guys remove you. But that was a long, long time ago. It seems like I remember a sign that said "We reserve the right to refuse to serve anyone anytime we want."

You're right, though, I don't think a sign that would surely attract such negative publicity would be in the union's best interest. We have enough problems with our image now. It might even be illegal, but most racism nowadays is subtle anyway.

I guess this has turned from a free-trade thread into a property rights' and ethnic thread. Accordingly, to get back to the trade issue, I agree that the United States auto industry can't solve their problems by worrying about what somebody else is doing. Customers pretty much buy on price, quality, and convenience, so that's where we need to focus. Competition is always good for the customer, and tends to weed out companies that that don’t do what they should be doing. The "foreigners" don’t control our destiny: We do.

At 10/02/2006 9:04 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10/02/2006 9:09 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

There are limits on private property. I don't think that a sign on a building that says "No Mexicans allowed on this private property" or "No Mexicans need apply for jobs here" or "No Mexicans allowed in this union" or "No apartments rented to Mexicans," would be legal, those would be violations of the Civil Rights Act.

What's the diffence between a sign that says "No Mexicans allowed on this property," and "No cars built by Mexicans allowed on this property." Even if the first is legal, and the second not illegal, isn't the narrowmindness and possible bigotry the same?

10:04 AM

At 10/02/2006 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. A lot of US citizens are not ready to think globally, yet.

But, isn't patriotism and nationalism a tacit form of narrow-mindedness and bigotry, too?

In times of trouble, we tend to rally around the flag and attempt to find an enemy. That way we can blame someone else besides ourselves for our problems.

In fact, our armed forces depend on this mode of thinking, and a whole lot of our union members are flag-waving US veterans, so it's not surprising we have such a sign at the hall. I guess if you are trying to kill someone, you have to mentally justify such an irrational act somehow.

Personally, I don't agree with the sign. However, I know these folks and they are the type of people you want on your side. They are good people who are active in the church and community and are just trying to raise their family and provide their children with a better life than they had.

The world is changing and moving a lot of people out of their comfort zone. I know that I don't have the answers to these difficult problems, but I don't think considering well-intentioned people bigots will alleviate any problems. Quite possibly, well-traveled people see the world through a global lens. Regardless, change is inevitable and we will have to find a way to deal with it.


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