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UAW To Organize Foreign Automakers

From a cheering Associated Press:

Auto union wants to organize non-Big 3 plants

By Ken Thomas, Associated Press Mon Jan 17, 2011

WASHINGTON – The future of the United Auto Workers union is directly tied to its ability to sign up workers at U.S. plants owned by foreign-based car companies, the union’s leader said Monday.

In a speech to union members, UAW President Bob King laid out in stark terms the importance of the union’s work to organize a plant owned by a Japanese, South Korean or German competitor to the Detroit Three.

Maybe the UAW will be able to do for Toyota what they have done for General Motors and Chrysler.

Still, isn’t it funny how this should come up on the one year anniversary of the administration’s attack on Toyota Toyota’s massive recall for their alleged (but never proven) brake problems.

King said the UAW would decide in three months which company it would target but said the organizing plans were critical to the union’s outlook.

Why not try Toyota again. You almost drove them out of the country the last time.

"If we don’t organize these transnationals, I don’t think there’s a long-term future for the UAW, I really don’t," King said in a speech at the union’s legislative conference.

In other words, the UAW cannot survive with any competition.

During the past three decades, the UAW has had little success in organizing workers at U.S. factories owned by foreign car makers, which have built plants mostly in southern states which are generally not as union-friendly as the industrial Midwest.

Many of the foreign car companies pay wages comparable to UAW-represented factories owned by Detroit automakers, but the foreign companies have avoided UAW rules that owners say can make plants less efficient.

Also known as ‘featherbedding.’

King said after years of declining membership, the union needed to represent a larger share of workers in the auto industry to strengthen its position at the bargaining table. He said the UAW had picketed about 50 of the largest foreign auto dealerships in the U.S. and planned to increase the number to 300 or 400 dealerships around the country.

King said the union would need to mobilize all of its 1 million active and retired members in the organizing push.

Translation: ‘We have 1 million votes. So the Democrat Party had better do something about this for us.’

In 2009, when General Motors and Chrysler sought bankruptcy and Ford faced severe financial problems, the union agreed to let the companies pay newly hired workers about $15 per hour, about half the hourly wage of a longtime UAW worker. It also agreed to scrap the "jobs bank," in which laid-off workers got most of their pay indefinitely for doing nothing.

Except where they didn’t agree to let companies pay new hires $15. Such as in the GM stamping plant in Indianapolis, which the UAW preferred to have shut down instead.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “UAW To Organize Foreign Automakers”

  1. River0 says:

    These people are toxic, and they metastasize like cancer. Unions once performed a valuable function – up until about 1920 – but now they destroy competitiveness. Look at the teacher’s and other public employee unions. They think they can press endlessly for more and more benefits, as though they lived in their own world apart from economic forces. In the end, like a deadly disease, they kill the host they infect.

    Come to think of it, this could be our chance to drag the rest of the world down. Hmmm… Naw. Those foreign countries will just put out contracts on the organizers and have them erased. It’s going to be an interesting show.

  2. proreason says:

    Eventually every ponzi scheme runs out of new suckers.

  3. tranquil.night says:

    The fierce dedication to their job of making cars sure is admirable.

    Good thing we gave these boozin’, blazin’, everyday heroes control of their own company, because now they won’t stop until they own the competition too. Dedication! And man – Detroit sure is a glittering jewel of potential for life in Obamaville – and it’s coming to a dark blue city near you! Workers of the world, unite! Victory is near!

  4. TerryAnne says:

    but the foreign companies have avoided UAW rules

    Love the careful choice of wording there – avoided. Uh, these foreign car companies (which I proudly support!) aren’t UAW, so they aren’t avoiding anything.

  5. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “…which company it would target …”

    Isn’t the word “target” violence-inducing vitriol?

    What about “mobilize”?

    “strengthen its position”?

  6. untrainable says:

    King said the UAW would decide in three months which company it would target but said the organizing plans were critical to the union’s outlook.

    Which companies it would target? Oh the humanity!! The hateful rhetoric has spilled over to the UAW. How can they get away with this hateful language? [end sarc]

    I saw an interview with a BMW executive a couple of weeks ago saying that they didn’t have any problems with employee relations and didn’t see any reason for the union. The death knell (not meant to be hateful rhetoric) of the UAW is close at hand. Yippeeee. Maybe free market competition can finally take hold in the auto industry.

    • proreason says:

      “The death knell (not meant to be hateful rhetoric) of the UAW is close at hand”

      Don’t bet your first-born on that.

      Fascists are routinely successful at forcing big businesses to do their bidding.

      It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to hear that same BMW exective extolling the virtues of the UAW this time next week.

    • Petronius says:

      There is a good reason why that BMW executive does not have problems with employee relations. He owes his job to the employees.

      Germany has unique rules of corporate governance that do not apply here in the USA.

      Under German corporation law, the employees are represented on the board of directors in numbers equal to the shareholders. Thus the employees have an equal vote with the owners in the appointment of the firm’s managers and executives, and they approve (or veto) all important management decisions.

      In Japan the business culture accords special consideration to the interests of employees and certain other stakeholders, but my understanding is that this is a matter of the Japanese business/investment environment, custom, and attitudes, rather than formal law.

  7. untrainable says:

    Pro. Call it wishful thinking. But think about it. The bailouts can only carry the unions for so long, and eventually they’re going to come up short again. When they go to DC with their hands out, there’s not going to be another bailout. The people won’t stand for it. They simply will not be able to pay for their own bloated membership to lie back and get paid for doing nothing. Without assimilating the non union auto workers the coffers are going to come up empty in pretty short order. If you think hate rhetoric is going around in the political ether now, just wait until the UAW tells it’s membership they’re going to have to go without their massive benefit plans and take pay cuts in order to stay solvent. Either way, the unionized car industry isn’t going to last more than 10 or 15 more years if their membership continues to shrink and the liabilities continue to go up. Even sooner if they price themselves out of the market to cover their costs. One question. Would you rather drive a GM car built by guys who’ve had a 40oz and a couple of joints at lunch (protected UAW workers) or a BMW built by guys who didn’t because they didn’t want to be fired for being drunk and high at work (people like the rest of us)? I’ll go Beamer.

    • proreason says:

      My point is different.

      Common sense doesn’t apply when fascists take over an industry. Case in point; the Volt. That BMW executive, if faced with the threat of heeling or going out of business will heel. Just like business execs heeled in Germany, and Spain and now in Venezuala, and wherever else the criminals who control the military demand that they heel.

      I certainly hope that Obamy, and his paid unions, and his paid “african americans”, and his paid homosexuals, and his paid Latinos, and his paid teachers, and his paid gubamint workers, and his paid lawyers, and his threatened business execs can be stopped. But it looks no better than 50-50 to me at this point. Frankly, my biggest concern is the Republicans. They may well decide that they like being paid as well.

    • untrainable says:

      Given the choice of heel or go out of business, they’d probably heel. But given a choice of heel, go out of business, or move your factory to Mexico and hire workers for 1/3 of what you’re paying in the US… I see BMW execs doing a Mexican hat dance.

      Remember 2 years ago when Conservatism was on the decline. Remember all the talk about the Regan Era being over. Remember all the talk of a Republican party in ruin? Then in the very next election a record number of turnovers were made by those very dead very ruined Republicans. Given the sweeping change in the level of political consciousness we have achieved over 2 short years, I think we’re way better than 50/50. Not that the fight is over by a longshot, but November actually gave me hope. You’re right though. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We HAVE to keep this new crop of “conservatives” under a microscope 24/7.

    • proreason says:

      I must confess to being a bit discouraged by the recent witch hunt, which I consider to be a resounding success for the marxists

      Among other things, it illustrates the totalitarians are willing to do anything. I see the Tucson murders as just one example of endless schemes to come. They never get tired, and they have no limits.

      And now, in the aftermath, Obamy’s ratings are up, and Sarah Palin’s are down. Boehner is pushing “civility”. Even rational people have trouble remaining rational in a 24×7 propaganda world.

      I’m not happy.

  8. canary says:

    King left out 2 truths.
    The “true” reason the UAW’s future is in trouble, and
    The “true” reason auto factories do not want to become unionized in spite of ongoing annoying UAW pestering.

    Because, the non-union workers have watched over the years as other workers at the auto companies left in the U.S. end up closing and moving overseas, do to the higher costs & regs the UAW lays on them.
    The non-workers told me, the more they watch those that do team up with the UAW end up with no jobs. So, no jobs left in the UAW means less dues. Ford’s quality of autos is poor. Wouldn’t want to guinea pig a new GM car either. All those changes means glitches.

  9. canary says:

    Many GM cars recalled for dangerous rear axle defect.

    ConsumerAffairs: GM Recalls 2011 Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC Trucks, SUVs : Rear axle may lock up, causing driver to lose control
    Jan 17 2011

    Chevy Volt electric auto could greatly effect your electric bill. .

    ConsumerAffairs: Electricity Costs Make Electric Cars Even More Expensive –
    Green doesn’t mean cheap even though it may save gasoline
    01/17/2011 Mark Huffman

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