“The most recent hourly unit labor cost per new car is about fifteen percent.”1 “The automakers are asking Congress for $34 billion… If the entire labor force volunteered to work for free next year, that would save [the big three] about $18 billion.” 2 Unionized labor is not to blame for the big 3′s troubles.

Yesterday (Dec. 10, 2008) Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) spoke at length on NPR’s All Things Considered about his opposition to the US automakers loan request. He used the term “antiquated” when describing unions in “today’s world.” This struck me as both naive and shortsighted.

DeMitt with Supporters

Maybe DeMint rarely travels outside the US. Or maybe he sticks to the resort towns when venturing south-of-the-border. None-the-less, his ignorance of present day human-rights violations committed by individuals pursuing private monetary gain should automatically void his position as a US senator.

Mr. DeMint, not only have unions been responsible for creating better working conditions and fairer wages in the US, they’re also giving hope to workers around the world. Yes, unions are not free of problems and corruption. You know, unlike an under-regulated capitalist economy which favors greed over basic human rights…

1 Change in Car Production Costs: the Effects on Dm, Dl, Oh
2 Blaming the workers

EDIT (12-15): New York Times Article: $73 an Hour: Adding It Up