As you read this, it will be more than a week since the UAW went on strike against General Motors in the latest round of a decades-old ritual of union vs. auto company.
And regardless of what may have happened between press time and now, if you believe that the battle will be over for four years once this fight gets settled, I am sorry to report you're sadly mistaken. The UAW still has to duke it out with Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Eventually they will line up their own deals, and everyone will go home just a few dollars poorer.
There are always real issues to be decided. Although the management of GM probably has little or nothing to do directly with the actual negotiations — those are left up to the bargaining experts — a deal will be ratified after a long enough time to make everyone feel like they got the best terms possible.
Then Ford and FCA will have to decide whether they want to duplicate the GM package or go their own ways. In this world, nothing is certain, so it is always a bit of a horse race, with a surprise or two awaiting.
If things were not complicated enough, the corruption scandal surrounding the union is getting worse. There were indictments and guilty pleas and convictions before the feds raided the homes of the current and former presidents, who reportedly have been implicated in the feds' investigation, too.
That fact appears to have had little impact on some of the rank and file, who seem to be a very forgiving lot.
It is a mess, as usual. Thousands of UAW workers are on a $250-a-week stipend to keep the wolves from the door until the assembly lines are running again.
In the end, the union will be able to say it got most of what it wanted, and GM will be able to breathe a little easier knowing that it did not give away the store, just some pieces of it. New life may even be found for some U.S. plants. The drama will last longer than we hoped, but the strike won't be as long as those of decades ago.
In spite of all the challenges, somehow it gets done, and there will be peace — until the next time.午夜剧院