I am responding to your Aug. 4 article ("Northern states study South's success") about a study by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. It said that much of the new investment from the auto industry is going to Southern instead of Northern states because of the incentive packages offered. That seems absurd or naive.
The amount of the incentives in the South is due to the Southern states competing with each other for new jobs. I doubt that they see themselves competing with Michigan.
If the researchers really think that the high labor and benefit costs in Michigan as compared to the Southern states can be overcome by a few thousand dollars per employee, they should contact me so I can explain a few things about business, the auto industry, the world economy and the costs associated with labor in Michigan as compared to other parts of the country.
I've attended two plant dedications in the South recently. It's fantastic to see how excited the political officials, the media, and the employees are to have that investment.
It's also frightening for the future of Michigan when you compare such enthusiasm to the attitudes of thousands of employees in Michigan who prefer to lose their jobs by way of noncompetitive contract demands rather than share the increased costs of benefits.
Only real union and political leadership can reverse that trend.
The Center for Automotive Research should compare Michigan to England. It can start by noting the historical number of cars built and the related manufacturing jobs in England and how many cars are built today and how many manufacturing jobs are left. They can research where new European manufacturing investment is and is not being made.
If we don't want Michigan to become the U.S. version of the British auto industry, someone will take notice and lead.