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Andy Stern
Labor leader

Andy Stern

Andy Stern is president of the two-million member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the fastest-growing union in North America.

Tough Management is Good Politics

I think there are always two issues in making change: perception and reality. At times they reinforce each other and other times contradict one another.

In terms of reality, GM is a company in deep trouble, nearly bankrupt, and one that, for outsiders at least, lacks a coherent future business model. When you are walking down a road, and believe you know where it ends, and the result is not good, it is often wise to walk in a different direction. In this case the Obama administration is hoping for a new direction, a more cogent plan, and stronger leadership before it invests more taxpayers dollars. The facts of this reality are sufficient to warrant a leadership change and should not be seen as "irrespective of talent or disruptive" anymore than tanking the company might be.

The perception of tough management of taxpayer's dollars is both a strong signal and good politics. The perception of leaders being held responsible might help some bankers hear the drums beating, start to cancel their private jet orders, and shelve any new creative bonus strategies. Accountability, sharing in the pain and gain, is a tried and true American value.

By Andy Stern

 |  March 30, 2009; 11:14 AM ET
Category:  Economic crisis Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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That was a good call, and I’d like to add, finally!

I am a big Obama supporter, but I have been cringing at the handling of all of these bailouts, particularly, the auto industry. In a supersaturated supply situation, elementary economics dictate that suppliers will undergo a contraction; inferior products and inefficient organizations will disappear. Ford and foreign automakers have been responding to that trend for some time now, but Wagner and his team have continued to ignore the warning signs, and produced more and more lines of expensive cars and trucks under badly damaged brands.

It’s about time something was done about it. I only hope any successor is smart enough to really streamline GM down to a maximum of two brands with only a handful of models each.

Posted by: todd@toddmoniot.com | March 30, 2009 2:26 PM
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