By on June 11, 2008

1bd19312429e9f7f951d37cb7884.jpegLast time we checked in on the Oshawa closure debacle, a GM spokesperson was calling the CAW blockade "understandable." After nearly a week of being barred from Oshawa by angry CAW workers, GM has lost its sense of empathy. The General is asking for a court injunction to end the protest. The Detroit News also reports that although CAW understands why GM wants their 250-car blockade of Oshawa removed, The General's request for $1.5m in damages from the Union comes as a bit of a surprise. Neither side likes the other, and both feel betrayed, so why is GM trying to squeeze an extra million bucks or so out of the situation? GM has said the blockade caused it to lose some production. With cash burning and nothing to gain in Oshawa, well, why not get that back from the union? For CAW, this is just more insult on top of losing the Oshawa plant. In short, this is the desperate squabbling with the short-sighted over the few remaining scraps of a once-healthy relationship. Cheery stuff.

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35 Comments on “GM Wins Friends and Influences People: Sues CAW for $1.5m...”


  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I like it, good for GM. Who gave the CAW the right to block traffic?

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yes indeed betrayed is a good word.So GM wants to set labor relations back 25yrs,fair enough.The CAW has not broken any laws yet,nor are any planned.

    I was down for the rally on Sunday and I was impressed at how civilized it came out.It was wives and kids and grandmas,dogs and no alcahol.

    Of course there were speeches and it was well recieved by all.

    Buzz did mention that in his 25 yrs of dealing with some of the hardest ass corp guys you can imagine,you could allways trust thier honer.

    Not so anymore.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    Nice 2nd effort at the article title.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    Last time I checked it was illegal to block the entrance to private property.
    The union doesn’t get it that the plants are there to produce product. The unions have over time, started to believe the companies built the plants to provide high paying jobs. This is going to get a lot worse before, if ever, it gets better. Next Ford is going to announce the closure of the LVL V10 line at the Windsor plant. Expect this anouncement soon.

    It is probably to late for Buzz to stop the bleeding that his bombastic bullying style has caused.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Mikey,

    Would it be okay if a group of people gathered outside your home and peacefully prevented you from entering it?

    Whether they are weilding clubs or daisies, IF the protestors are preventing the lawful use of the property, they should be liable for damages. Now proving damages is another story. Of course, I’m assuming a belief in the concept of private property.

  • avatar
    Rix

    I’m not a union fan but GM’s behaviour was unacceptable. It’s one thing to play hardball. It’s another to make a deal and go back on it.

  • avatar
    scrubnick

    GM did not go back on “the deal.” The deal said that the agreement to keep the plant open was subject to market conditions. For those not following along, the market for that plant’s product has tanked, hardcore. The market no longer needs that many trucks, so GM is axing it.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    GM never went back on any deal.
    It is written in the contract that they can shut plants due to market conditions.

    Just why do you think Buzz was in such a rush to sign the contracts months early? Do you really think Buzz has no idea of what is behind that light at the end of the tunnel? Looks to me like Buzz is trying to cover his tracks.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “The market no longer needs that many trucks, so GM is axing it.”

    Whilst keeping the Mexican pickup truck factory humming along.

  • avatar
    AGR

    Buzz, Arturo Elias, Dalton McGuinty are all having dinner together tonight in honour of Buzz. It will be interesting to see what is being said, what is not being said.

    Its a an interesting situation with the “optics” playing against GM, as usual GM thrives in ensuring that it garners negative optics.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    How, exactly, does blocking the administration building (quite a ways from the truck plant, by the way) stall production?

    As much as CAW has been stupid in general, Oshawa (the plant), it’s workers and the surrounding city have been very good to GM through some very bad times.

    Memo to GM/CAW/Government: Go down the road to Ford’s Oakville assembly plant (Edge/Flex/MKX) for an example of how this ought to have been handled.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    There is little doubt GM snookered Hargrove, majorly. The consensus appears to be it was way past due.

    The job action is peaceful because GM has not asked police to remove protesters obstructing its property. It’s extremely doubtful the gendarmes would respond anyway

    I doubt the CAW is losing sleep over GM’s suit. The most recent instance of a union boss being penalized for an illegal job action I can recall was Canadian Union of Postal Workers boss Jean-Claude Parrot’s 1980 jailing for defying back to work legislation.

  • avatar

    Even if Market conditions changed in “three weeks” dont you think that lard ass CEO in Detroit knew he was going to shutter the Oshawa Truck plant, well before his Canadian minions signed the collective agreement? I think that Rick W. has a lot of explaining to do as well

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Betrayal may be the prevailing emotion in Oshawa, but both sides were invested in the products assembled there. When those products stop selling, both sides lose out. Especially when there’s a “market conditions” clause.

    It’s a testament to GM’s shortsightedness that they “committed” to another contract for truck production. But the fact that CAW is so desperate for GM to continue production of Sierra and Silverado is proof that they can’t see what’s in front of their faces.

    Besides, Ontario loves GM… right?

  • avatar
    Samir

    George Labrador is right. The issue isn’t that GM is producing too many trucks (which it is; as 100+ days of supply indicates). If we accept the premise that market conditions do not change overnight, we must conclude Rick W’s decision to close GM-Oshawa was known before his guys sat down at the negotiating table – which means, clearly, the GM was negotiating in bad faith. So GM’s (million-dollar) suits didn’t have the balls to tell Buzz what the score was, what’s new?

  • avatar
    NickR

    Next Ford is going to announce the closure of the LVL V10 line at the Windsor plant. Expect this anouncement soon.

    I am astonished that it’s still open. I thought that had been euthanized long ago. But yes, if it’s still open, it won’t be for long.

  • avatar
    mikey

    No I would not want anybody to blockade my home
    Lumbergh 21.Say I sold you a VW and give you my word that it woudn,t break down for 3 years.Now you tell your family,you payed a good buck for it cause mikey assured you 3yrs good driving.

    Now 2 weeks later the motor siezes and leaves your wife on the side of the road.So you call me up and I tell ya,well sometimes VWs do that.Like 2 weeks ago it was knocking and hammering so I poured in some STP and some 50 weight oil.Who would of thought it would do that?

    I’m not going to be shocked if I see Lumbergh21 and his wife and his 3 strapping sons with thier angry dog standing in my driveway.

    Legally your screwed cause I’m gonn’a call the cops and you are gonn’a vacate my driveway.

    But for sure whatever respect you once had for mikey is gone.And I will bet my ass you will never buy another car from him.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    sorry..not a valid comparison.

  • avatar

    FYI, there’s a typo toward the end – Oshawa is spelled ‘Oashawa.’

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Correction: Ontario taxpayers got majorly snookered.

    http://tinyurl.com/6878e9

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    So GM’s (million-dollar) suits didn’t have the balls to tell Buzz what the score was, what’s new? Or maybe they did. I bet Buzz knew what was going down, either way he should have. Buzz's role in all this is suspicious. He puts on a good show in front of a camera with his rhetoric but he holds his cards tight to his chest. Now, because there is no real hope that Oshawa truck will stay in business he and his union minions are flogging that long dead horse: import tariffs, surcharges on imported vehicles as something that can be changed to keep auto manufacturing in Canada. One reads it in the national and local papers about how the playing field is not level and that these jobs are being lost because the current Conservative Federal Government won't railroad the Japanese and Korean governments to lift the non-existant tariffs off of Canadian made vehicles. It never seems to dawn on Hargrove, Buckley and the rest of them in the CAW that the Japanese and Koreans don't want our Silverados, Impallas and LaCrosses. By banging that drum all the time, it seems like they are really doing something for Oshawa autoworkers while all the time they are really furthering their own political agendas at the expense of those same autoworkers. In my view, this is where the real betrayal is. My sympathies lie with those autoworkers who will lose their jobs but not with those lying SOB's who purport to represent them. How is it that as the numbers of CAW autoworkers decline in Ontario the number of non-CAW autoworkers increases? Buzz and company better be very careful because before long, all Oshawa will have is the new Camaro which is not exactly the ideal car in today's fuel price environment. If it does not sell well GM could pull that plug also. What was it that was said during WW2? Loose lips sink ships!

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    mikey :
    June 11th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    No I would not want anybody to blockade my home
    Lumbergh 21.Say I sold you a VW and give you my word that it woudn,t break down for 3 years.Now you tell your family,you payed a good buck for it cause mikey assured you 3yrs good driving.

    Now 2 weeks later the motor siezes and leaves your wife on the side of the road.So you call me up and I tell ya,well sometimes VWs do that.Like 2 weeks ago it was knocking and hammering so I poured in some STP and some 50 weight oil.Who would of thought it would do that?

    I’m not going to be shocked if I see Lumbergh21 and his wife and his 3 strapping sons with thier angry dog standing in my driveway.

    Legally your screwed cause I’m gonn’a call the cops and you are gonn’a vacate my driveway.

    But for sure whatever respect you once had for mikey is gone.And I will bet my ass you will never buy another car from him.

    While I do not see that as a valid comparison, I guess that makes me Buzz in this analogy and my wife and kids the union workers. I would say that I didn’t practice due dilligence and am a fool. Of course, the difference is that Buzz isn’t out any money; the union workers are.

    A better analogy would be somebody sells my client some “prime” lake front property for $40,000, and I tell me client this is a good deal, this kind of property normally costs $100,000+ per acre. My client sees the property and signs the purchase agreement. A few weeks later my client goes up to view the property and starts making plans for building his dream house. He goes to the local public works department to get a building permit and finds out that the property has no water service, won’t have any water service due to a lack of potable water, and he is not even allowed to drill his own well, as the local CSD (the one without sufficient water) has sole right to supply water to that area. If I was honest and responsible, I would have found out the status of the property and woudl have warned my client this wasn’t a good deal. Who should the client be most angry with? The prior owner (GM) who made no representations as to the ability to build on the property (it can still be used for recreational activity such as camping and fishing). Or, the agent (Buzz) who was “acting on his client’s behalf” yet chose to look the other way or just didn’t care to take the time to practice due diligence in order to protect his client who was paying him.

    If anything, the union workers should be outside union headquarters or Buzz’s house voicing their displeasure with Buzz.

  • avatar
    daro31

    Dealing with the any of the Big 3 is like asking your little sister for a promise. When they break it they just say “I had my fingers crossed.” Buzz should have know better.

    Just like Henry Ford they all think they are so important that their S..t doesn’t stink.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yeah you make a good point lumbergh21.However Buzz has dealt with GM before,and past practice has been,they kept thier word.

    If Buzz is guilty of anything its from coming from an earlier time.The era when a mans handshake
    and his word meant something.

    Every day in my world I see the younger newer and better educated management.Some of these kids are wonderfull.Some of them would stick a knife in your back in a heartbeat.So I guess we know wich group of kids made the recent agreement.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    mikey–sadly, it’ll be the kids in management that would stab you in the back that will be leading the company. ruthlessness and networking trumps talent and a good heart anyday.

    and your analogy makes no sense to me. VWs are always reliable and would never have an engine sludge problem. that cold air make you crazy?! :)

    best of luck to you and your friends in Canadaland

  • avatar
    mikey

    Engine sludge?It was a VW not a Toyota.VWs reliable?Maybe a 1966 bug thats the last one I can remember.

  • avatar
    rocket88

    i agree with oboylepr and some others 100% . The CAW has completely lost the support of the public. No one gives a damn for them. and even worse, if they make a car, im not sure i want it. (many many people feel this way)
    This is 2008, not 1938. The excess costs (dollars and lost productivity) they imposed on the manufactures which were paid by the public – thats right, you and me – over all these years, will be paid no more. If the CAW goes to zero, i dont care one iota. They stiffed us all for alot of years. Buzz makes me sick. and our own pride and joy Ken Lewenza too.

  • avatar
    unleashed

    mikey wrote:

    Engine sludge? It was a VW not a Toyota.

    The VW/Audi 1.8T engines are sludge-prone.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Update: Police ignoring blockade: GM

    Told ya!

    http://tinyurl.com/3jo9ja

  • avatar
    daro31

    1.5 Million, so GM has figured out a way to make a profit….

  • avatar
    menno

    I wonder how the CAW and the police (which aren’t doing their jobs – what a surprise) would feel if GM said “fuggit” and pulled the tools, machinery and robots for the Impala and Buick still built in Oshawa Car plant, and sent them to Mexico or to one of the “to-be-closed” US plants, closed out the Oshawa HQ, sold it off and laid everyone off?

    I’m pretty certain there would still be unsold stock in dealers in the time it would take to make the switch-over.

    Sure, GM sales would crater in Oshawa. The rest of Canada would relish a (purposeful) price-drop and sales might even increase.

    I hope for the sake of Mikey and the rest, that this does not happen. But hey, blocking the entrance to the Corporate HQ for days? That’s going to accomplish exactly WHAT for the CAW?

    I’m not holding GM harmless. They’re skumbums, too.

    But the OPP and/or the Mounties have some ‘splainin’ to do about why they won’t uphold the law of the Canadian land. With a country like Russia, or 3rd world countries, one might expect this kind of thing; not in Canada. Eh?

    Maybe the CAW should (as I mentioned previously elsewhere in another post) pony up some dough-ray-me and ask that GM match funds to bring the production of the Zafira micro-vans to Oshawa, potentailly saving some of these jobs. The vehicles could use the Ecotech fours (as seen in the Cobalt) and would be a worth competitor to the Mazda 5 and Kia Rhondo (which, at least locally, are selling like ice cream in July).

    But then that would mean the CAW would actually have to put their own money where their mouth is, something socialist types rarely want to do – they don’t mind demanding that other folks pony up money, of course….

    Ask GM to make the Oshawa plants a 50/50 Joint Venture between the CAW and GM and see what magic you can do. What have you got to lose, Buzz and co? Except all of those jobs, of course…

  • avatar
    rev0lver

    menno:

    Unfortunately the police inaction is typical here in Canada.

    In instances of illegal peaceful (or even semi peaceful) protests the cops don’t do shit.

    The Ipperwash crisis pretty much stopped all police action in these cases. Ipperwash

    I know that aboriginal issues are different, but similarities still exist.

  • avatar
    menno

    I’m afraid the UAW (I know, I know this is CAW but they were once one and the same) lost me when I learned that the UAW HQ management refused to “allow” their cleaning staff to unionize. After that, I knew what kind of people they were and I pretty well have written them off as (insert unmentionable commentary not fit for a family publication online commentary here, use your imagination, people!) Heh.

  • avatar
    AGR

    It would seem that the population of Oshawa and Durham Region is siding with the CAW…its not in the best interest of Durham Regional Police to side with GM in this instance.

    Durham Region has been a strong supporter of GM for years, and GM made its presence felt in Durham Region for many years.

    Durham Regional Police needs to support of the population especially in Oshawa.

    An article from today’s The Star…Click

  • avatar
    menno

    I just read the article in The Star and I’m totally unimpressed.

    Remind me not to bother ever buying a vacation home in Canada. Property rights apparently mean nothing in your fair country.

    I’d actually considered doing so, but naw. Not now. Not ever.

    Besides which I’m a Christian and apparently, folks like me are unwelcome in your nation. Certainly, it would appear that you don’t have freedom of speech in your once-fair nation any more. At least, that appears to be the case for Christians, anyway. But as Pastor Neimiller said “first they came for… and when they came for me nobody was left to stand up for me…” so you’d best watch your rights if mine are “disappeared” for the sake of PCness. Yours are next.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=66704

    So while I’ve already planned a big expensive vacation in Alberta in July, I don’t think I’ll be coming back after that. Maybe Belize vacations are in order, in future. Besides, they apparently have prettier beaches and I already live on the great lakes so can enjoy the beaches in Michigan and not travel far.

    But the rot isn’t just in Canada. It’s in the USA too.

    So my planned vacation next year to Colorado? No way. Fugedaboudit. Why would I spend money there after reading this?!

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=66829

    Just as folks with a worldling lifestyle and viewpoint have a right to not spend money where they disagree with another’s opinion, SO DO I.


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