GM’s stock may be hovering near its IPO price of $3/share, but the UAW doesn’t need much more growth to cash out with every penny it wanted from GM. The UAW’s VEBA account has banked $3.4b in stock sales so far, and Forbes reports
The VEBA will break even on its investment if it can sell the remaining 206 million shares at an average price of $36.96.
Taxpayers, meanwhile, need GM’s stock to top at least $52/share in order to break even on the bailout that it funded. Because it’s just not a bailout unless the least deserving benefit the most. Meanwhile, with its accounts once again flush with cash, the UAW is turning South in hopes of accomplishing what it has never accomplished before: unionizing at ransplant auto factory in a right-to-work, Southern state.
UAW boss Bob King tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press that
“We want workers there, and not just Chattanooga but all nonunion assembly facilities… We want workers to have a choice to come into the UAW.”
The UAW is “committed to the success of the employers that we represent, Ford, GM, Chrysler,” King said, and the union supports a “winning formula” for overseas transplants “whether it be Volkswagen, Toyota or Honda.”
Of course the bailout proved that, when push comes to shove, the UAW not only prioritizes itself first, but it also has the political clout to get the government to prioritize it over taxpayers as well. Which is probably why Senator Bob Corker advised bosses at the new VW plant in Tennessee to keep the union away.
I certainly shared with [VW] I couldn’t see how there was any possibility it could be a benefit to them to enter into a contract with UAW,” said Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor.
He stressed he is not “anti-union” and said he often employed union craftsmen when he ran a construction company.
But the UAW “breeds an ‘us versus they’ relationship, and I just don’t think it’s healthy for a company to be set up in that regard,”
To which King responded that
There is a difference between “this 20th century perception of UAW” and “the 21st century reality where we’re proactive on all these issues of quality and productivity.”
But again, the bailout speaks to the most current reality in Solidarity Hall. And VW is taking care to avoid confrontation with the UAW, preferring to let workers boot the union of their own accord, just as Tennessee workers already rejected two attempts to unionize the Nissan plant in Smyrna. According to management at the new plant
At Volkswagen Chattanooga, the employees will decide for themselves about their representation
And VW’s hands-off approach (not to mention, it’s history of “labor relations”) aside, you have to assume the UAW will have its hands full trying to organize Southern transplant shops. Especially without the help of a certain popular, caffeinated beverage.