“Carmakers Say They Can’t Afford UAW Demands, While Paying CEOs $1 Billion” —Financial Post, October 13, 2023
“GM lavishes shareholders with cash weeks after saying it couldn’t afford workers’ demands”—CNN, November 29, 2023
During the recent (recent as I write this, in November 2023) auto workers strike, I saw many online prognosticators explain that it was impossible for the auto makers to agree to the UAW’s demands, as the expense would drive the companies our of business. You can’t get blood from a stone and all that.
Now the auto makers have agreed to the bulk of the union demands, and I will make a prediction: The companies will still be in business a year from now. We’ll check back in and see!
The night after I’d finished the linework for this cartoon, I was lying in bed and thought “I should set two of the panels at night, to make it clear that we’re looking at two separate scenes, not a single scene.” And I very clearly pictured the first panel, with the night sky visible behind the characters.
The next morning, I looked at the cartoon and saw that I’d completely misremembered the perspective I’d used in panel one – a perspective that makes it impossible that any sky would be seen at all. No matter; I just made panels three and four nighttime panels,
Looking at it now, I wonder if I didn’t overdo it – the change in color scheme is so striking that it might detract from the gag. But on the other hand, the challenge of figuring out nighttime colors (something that I very rarely do in these cartoons) ended up being a lot of fun. It’s always possible that a year from now I’ll look at the art and wince, but right now, I think it’s pretty attractive, and hoping it’ll be enjoyable for you folks to look at.
As for the gag – I have to admit, the right wing character in this cartoon, with her absolute shamelessness, amuses me a lot. It’s much more frustrating in real life, alas.
I thought this cartoon was finished, but then realized that I hadn’t show the phone screen glowing in the final panel. I initially shrugged and said “oh well, next time,” but it kept bugging me so I went back and added the glow.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
The entire strip features the same two characters walking and talking. The first character is a woman who keeps her black hair pulled into a bun; she has large round glasses and is carrying a smartphone. Let’s call her BUN. The second character has brown hair in a sort of pageboy with bangs, so we’ll call her BANGS.
Bun and Bangs are walking on a suburban sidewalk. Bun is holding out her smartphone to show Bangs some story she’s just been reading; Bangs is reading something on her own cell phone. Bun is looking a little panicked.
BUN: Have you seen these striking auto workers’ demands? The raises they want are literally impossible!
BANGS: Actually, the news just said the car companies agreed to the union’s terms.
A close up of Bun, holding up a forefinger and looking just a little smug and pleased as she makes a prediction. Behind her we can see a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.
BUN: Yeah? Well, just you wait—a year from now, all the auto companies will be out of business!
A big caption at the top of panel 3 says ONE YEAAR LATER.
Time has passed, but Bun and Bangs look much the same, although they’re now in different clothing, and it’s now nighttime. They’re walking on top of a hill and talking. Both of them are cheerful in this panel.
BANGS: So last year you said auto companies would be out of business by now. Since that didn’t happen, have you rethought anything?
BUN: I never said that.
Bangs is taken totally aback. Bun is looking at her smartphone and finding something new to panic about.
BANGS: What? But you—
BUN: Hey, fast food workers are on strike! A year from now, a Big Mac will definitely cost $40!