Automobiles

The Vexing Details of Vehicle Discrimination

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University of Michigan economics professor Mark Perry tries (in vain) to parse the logic of a UAW parking lot where only "American-Union made" cars are welcome:  

First of all, is that really legal in the U.S. to engage in such blatant "vehicle discrimination/vehicle profiling" based on a car's national origin? Is there really much difference between a sign that says "No Mexicans allowed on our property" and the sign above that essentially says "No cars built by Mexicans allowed on our property"? 

Follow Perry down the rabbithole as things get even more confusing. What about cars made by unionized Canadian auto workers? Cars assembled in both Canada and the United States? Cars manufactured in the United States by foreign companies?

There's a metaphor for the futility of automobile industry protectionism somewhere around here.

Check out more of Reason's (unionized) car commentary here and here.

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  1. Does the union own the parking lot?

    If they do, they get to say who can park there, and what can be parked there.

    There, that was simple.

  2. I wonder when the Obamabots are going to be trading in their Japanese cars for GM and Crysler ones. Isn’t it their patriotic duty to help in the bailout? The Obamabots have certainly hurled enough invective at those outside the cult who have pledged never to buy a GM or Chrysler product again.

  3. I used to own a GM car(a Saturn) that was manufactured in Tennessee by non-union employees. I guess I could just take the sticker off the car, and they would never know the difference.

    And John, could you please direct me to some of that invective? I would like to read that. 🙂

  4. d’oh, come on, Fluffy, nobody needed the Standard Libertarian Disclaimer on this one.

  5. My driveway’s ban on Big Three vehicles hurts the UAW more than their parking lot’s ban on foreign vehicles hurts me.

  6. It would fun to try a *drive-through* test of “in this parking lot”. “Halt and be towed!”

  7. John,

    Are the Obamabots servants of the Obamalytes?

  8. Good question Kyle. I am not really sure.

  9. My driveway’s ban on Big Three vehicles hurts the UAW more than their parking lot’s ban on foreign vehicles hurts me.

    lol, good one…

  10. There is a logic to it. The logic is that the union chumps can feel like they’re striking a blow at those damned people who buy foreign cars instead of being patriotic Americans.

    It’s a feel-good measure, nothing more.

  11. Could a man get away with banning fat people from his buffet? Or at least charging a little extra?

    It’s at least tangentially related, and I do wonder sometimes…

    Also, there is a difference between “No Mexicans” and “No Non-Union Cars,” and I don’t appreciate the discussion killer, “RACIST,” ending this conversation before it started; or, that was at least the obvious intent of the good professor.

  12. Thanks, John

  13. Gee, this would be highly inconvenient if anyone still had any need to visit the union hall.

    -jcr

  14. John’s du link made my soul cry a little bit.

  15. “Is there really much difference between a sign that says “No Mexicans allowed on our property” and the sign above that essentially says “No cars built by Mexicans allowed on our property”? :

    Yes?

  16. It’s not my fault they don’t make BMW in American.

  17. Just ban all cars that run really well past 100,000 miles. That would eliminate most of the ‘murican union vehicles.

  18. Could a man get away with banning fat people from his buffet?

    “I ask you, do these sound like the actions of a man who had all he could eat?”

  19. Just ban all cars that run really well past 100,000 miles. That would eliminate most of the ‘murican union vehicles.

    They could also employ the “mysterious rattling” standard.

  20. EoT

    Saturns were always built by UAW workers. However the Saturn Corp had a separate contract with the UAW which had much more flexible work rules and lower wages and benefits.

    That is until the UAW decided that was working to well and pushed the Saturn workers to strike for the same contract that the rest of GM had.

  21. So, what Solana is trying to say is that he has a learning disability, which prevents him from recognizing the word “American” when it appears in print.

    For example, he sees a sign that actually says, “American-Union.” Unfortunately, he’s only able to see, “Union.” The word “American” is completely filtered out, perhaps due to a stroke. It’s a tragic condition. I will be passing the hat around to see if we can raise enough money to buy a clue-bat with which we can then whack Brother Solana over the head.

  22. VIOLATORS WILL BE TOWED

    Or, unlike some of the union-build competition, they could simply drive out under their own power.

  23. pistoffnick, Red state equals soulfree commie scab-built and Blue state equals patriotic higher tax payin American union labor?

  24. I used to passively dislike unions. Then the head if the IBEW in our area spent a week calling my house to hound my wife, who at the time worked as a television engineer and was doing freelance work for a non union company doing tape work for Anheuser-Busch, to force a unionization of the shop. My wife could have cared less since they were paying above top scale for freelance work and she liked the people and the work. The moron actually drove her to tears one night. So I made a return call informing the local I would be there in 5 minutes to discuss this issue and his harassing my wife. I drove down to the local hall to find only one secretary at 3PM. He never called again. Fucking strong arm bullshit.

    I know detest the unions and will do what I can to eliminate them. The coworkers of my wife tend to avoid the subject with me and her, which can be hard for her since TV is a tight knit group.

  25. god forbid you ever get mugged by a black guy, hmm.

  26. Look for the union label and avoid that product. Whether it’s cars or students of public schools.

  27. My uncle used to work for Chrysler and consequently refused to buy Chrysler products. But he was compelled to lease one to drive to work because non-Chrysler cars were repeatedly vandalized in the employee parking lot.

  28. It’s common practice at UAW plants to have a tall barbed wire fence around any area designated for “Imported Vehicles” to protect against vandalism.
    During my time in the industry, the SUV boom in full swing, it wasn’t really a big deal, but I imagine it’s a big deal again.

  29. I once had a friend who years ago had a summer job at a steel plant. On the first day, he parked his Volvo on the lot and someone, very politely, told him never to bring that foreign piece of steel onto the lot ever again. He had to buy a different car.

  30. I once had a friend who years ago had a summer job at a steel plant. On the first day, he parked his Volvo on the lot and someone, very politely, told him never to bring that foreign piece of steel onto the lot ever again. He had to buy a different car.

    Fuck that. I’d park it where I wanted, with several concealed cameras inside. Vandalize all you want, fuckers, because you’re on Candid Camera.

    I work at a unionized power plant–about 1/2 of the union members drive foreign, non-union-built cars to work.

  31. I once had a friend who years ago had a summer job at a steel plant. On the first day, he parked his Volvo on the lot and someone, very politely, told him never to bring that foreign piece of steel onto the lot ever again. He had to buy a different car.

    A hand gun would have been cheaper and much more practical and fun.

  32. someone, very politely, told him never to bring that foreign piece of steel onto the lot ever again.

    I would have filed a very polite police report about the threat.

    -jcr

  33. I know detest the unions and will do what I can to eliminate them. The coworkers of my wife tend to avoid the subject with me and her, which can be hard for her since TV is a tight knit group.

    Union TV is doomed. TV stations as we know them are rapidly being replaced by web sites. There’s no need to produce a show in Hollywood anymore, you can get better work done for less in Vancouver or Wellington.

    -jcr

  34. I think it’s funny watching the lefties rallying around the UAW. I guess none of them are old enough to remember how the “hard-hats” used to kick the asses of kids at anti-Vietnam war rallies.

    -jcr

  35. It would have been easier if they had just written

    “Only old shitty J-bodies are allowed here. All others should flee this godforsaken city”

    It would have been more clear.

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