I wouldn't say that unions are the only reason GM went under. But they are the primary reason they went under. I would compare it to the following: You go golfing with your drinking buddies and come home late and ask to see the taxes that your wife was supposed to be working on while she watched the three kids, who happened to be sick that day. You notice several mistakes in the forms, and ask her what happened. She gets a look in her eye, and tells you that three children have been screaming in her ear all day long, and that's why the taxes were not done right. Do you: a) explain to her that she is equally at fault with the children, and ask her to accept responsibility for her mistakes? b) tell her not to worry, the mistakes were trivial and you can easily fix them while she takes a rest away from the kids? It's very hard to focus on quality when you are faced with multiple and repeated episodes of childish behavior. And anyone with experience with unions will tell you that a lot of their griping and grievances are exactly that--childish behavior. Union workers are taught early on to extract power from management in any way that they can. Slow down the work--they'll hire more people! You want new tools? Break the old ones--they have to buy you more.