The UAW may fairly ask why Detroit has designed cars that the market does not want. Drops in the US share of domestic car companies is not a labor problem, it is a product management problem. But, to some extent, the UAW is being asked to pay a price for that in upcoming negotiations.
If the UAW is smart, the will come to the bargaining table with one message. We did not get you into the mess and we will not suffer to get you out. The Big Three agreed to past labor contracts when they saw restructuring all around them in industries from newspapers to steel. The cost of labor in those segments of the economy dropped over two decades ago. And, the union can point the finger at Detroit management for failing to get the pulse of the market, building SUVs and pick-ups that sold when gas was cheap, but not creating small cars for a market that would be hit by rising oil prices over time.