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What would Marx say? Labor agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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  1. Marx's writing on on union negotiations in Canada.
  2. capitalist, his competition and selling more.
  3. This grand conflict between capitalists and workers.
  4. Ford.
  5. CAW struggle.
  6. Conclusion.

This past 12th of September, 2005, Ford's labor agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) reached its three-year expiration date, and was remade and renewed after negotiations between the two parties. Talks focused on questions of wages, benefits, retirement plans, and other economic issues, as well as possible downsizing and job cuts. The finalized agreement for Ford employees includes minor wage increases as well as 1,100 layoffs in the next three years. In this agreement also, Ford and CAW set the precedent for the next big three auto companies' ? Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler ? upcoming negotiations. Following industry standards, it is very likely that the next two companies will finalize very similar deals with CAW. After an overview of Marx's theories and works, we will discuss what he himself - were he alive today ? might have to say about this labor deal.

[...] Marx is successful in shaking us out of our usual perspective on labor relations, which is often blinded by intellectual environments that rarely question private ownership of the means of production or the extraction of labor surplus. For instance, the CAW-Ford pact would seem upon first pass a simple compromise of two side's demands, but Marx reminds us that the worker is inherently at a huge disadvantage. Still, Marx makes little compensation for some structural disadvantages faced by the company. [...]


[...] Since machines are the most economical workers possible, and since one company's technological innovation is soon made obsolete by another's, Marx theorizes that capitalists will therefore continually implement more machines and improved technology. The capitalist then takes these dual techniques of labor subdivision and mechanization, and multiplies their beneficial effects by expanding the scale of his company to near infinity. According to Marx, these are the major steps in order to increase the company's capacity to undersell the competition and develop capital. [...]

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