The nation is a car, and we the people are the driver

I don't know about all y'all, but today's news that UAW is launching a nationwide strike against GM caught me by surprise. I mean, I knew that the negotiations were on, and that UAW had set a deadline, but I didn't think Gettlefinger had the balls to pull the trigger.

How long it will go on is a guessing game. Here's a little bit of data:
The union, which pays workers $200 a week in strike pay if they take shifts on the picket line, has nearly $900 million in its strike fund, enough to cover a two-month walkout.

G.M., meanwhile, had a 65-day supply of vehicles at the end of August, about normal for summer, and it had already announced plans to reduce production in the final three months of the year because of slowing sales. |NY Times|

And the only fact I can think to add is that a whole lot of GM's production is outside the USA nowadays. On the other side of the coin, I think the UAW is going to be able to raise truck loads of money for its solidarity fund when it comes down to it.

All of this only matters, though, if what we're looking at here is an existential throwdown. My gut is that it isn't. I think GM wanted to prove to the UAW that it isn't afraid of a strike. And I think Gettlefinger wanted to prove, partly to GM but mostly to the UAW rank and file, that he is a dog who knows at least one trick other than rolling over. So I'm betting that this is all over pretty quickly -- probably within a day or three.

Update:: Tentative agreement reached.

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