August 03, 2007

Union More Productive Than Non Union

Most people have a pre-conceived notion that Union members are lazy and not very productive, well looks like the Harbor Report (a very respected institution in the Auto Industry) shows us that Union Labor is actually MORE productive than Non-Union labor.
In the Auto Industry Union labor is thought of as the Big 3 (Ford, GM and Chrysler, along with NUMMI and Mitsubishi). Non-Union labor is thought of as the Japanese (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc).

In 2006, the Harbour Report measured precisely 12 vehicle categories in which union assembly plants went head-to-head against nonunion plants: a Chrysler plant making minivans vs. a Honda plant making a similar product. A GM plant producing pickups vs. a Toyota plant in the exact same vehicle category. A Ford plant making sedans against Honda and Toyota sedan factories.

In 11 of those 12 categories, UAW members and Canadian Auto Workers members won the top ranking and outperformed the competition.

I know your saying "But I thought Toyota's Kentucky plant took the fewest hours to make a vehicle". Well your right, but is it right to compare making a Camry to an Explorer? If you compare apples to apples Union labor is better.

Because "total manufacturing productivity" does not take into account the size and complexity of the vehicles produced. It takes more hours, for example, to produce a Chrysler minivan than it does to produce a Toyota Camry. A minivan, among other things, has three rows of seats, while a Camry has just two. So it takes more installation, more fitting and more wiring to put together a minivan.

Think of it this way: If Toyota were selling more Tundras but fewer Camrys, it would produce more of the former and fewer of the latter.

Harbour data indicate that it takes more than 26 hours to produce a Tundra, and just over 19 hours to produce a Camry, so this shift would add more hours to Toyota's overall manufacturing schedule. But that would not mean that Toyota had suddenly become a less efficient company; it would just show the result of a choice to produce a different mix of vehicles.

The only real way to measure the relative efficiency of factories run by different companies is to see what happens when they make the same kind of vehicle. When Harbour does that analysis, union plants come out on top.

The American Auto Industry has slowly been chipping away the Japanese Auto Industry, they have the same quality and are more productive but yet it's hard to convince people of that.

They just need to work a lot harder at getting that information out there.

Posted by Quality Weenie at August 3, 2007 07:44 AM | TrackBack