By on January 17, 2011

Last week, UAW boss Bob King revealed that his campaign to organize transplant auto factories had already begun with talks between his organizers and the factory operators. And though King suggested that his campaign would include the labeling of uncooperative automakers as human rights abusers, he refused to say which automakers he was speaking with, telling Reuters

We are in some preliminary discussions which we agreed to keep confidential so we will do that

But apparently not all the transplants are playing ball… both in terms of the discussions themselves as well as King’s commitment to confidentiality. Unfazed by King’s threats, Honda tells Bloomberg [via Kausfiles]

Honda has had no dialogue with the UAW and has no interest in a discussion with them. The issue of union representation is ultimately one for our associates to decide and, for more than three decades, Honda associates have spoken loudly and clearly by choosing to reject UAW outreach efforts.

Your move, UAW.

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59 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Bring It! Edition...”


  • avatar
    william442

    Unions stink!
    Bill ,from Youngstown.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      Hey look, a productive reply!  *eye roll* It’s easy to trash unions if you’ve never been part of one. If you have and you think they stink, you’ve likely had to deal with a poorly-managed union. Personally, I don’t see unions necessary in the auto industry unless the car companies decide that they’re going to start slashing pay, hours and benefits so that the CEOs can bring home more bacon to their bloated, ex-cheerleader wives.
      In that case, the unions have a point. But, if the transplant companies pay their workers good wages, good benefits and stay away from sneaky tactics, then I’m not sure what the UAW’s point is.

    • 0 avatar
      william442

      As I mentioned earlier, I have been a united steel worker, and a teamster.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    A company brings a union upon themselves with bad management.
     
    Unfortunately, or fortunately depending who you ask, the UAW will have a nearly impossible time organizing any transplant since their workers are being treated fairly – so fairly that Toyota did not lay off a single person in the face of the worst economic crisis since the great depression, and with profit sharing bonuses they get paid more than UAW represented auto workers. The difference being pensions for most transplants are company matches into your 401K. So you take care of yourself when you retire, the company gave you money while you worked there.
     
    Mr. King has a job to do, just like anything else, success is another story… and I am a card carrying member, but a realistic educated one. The UAW is better off going after Universities and Casinos.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Actually, Toyota did lay off people.  Temporary employees or permanent employees, when you let them go like Toyota did, it is a lay off.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      What part of “temporary” do you not understand?  They understood that their jobs were highly dependent on volume when they were hired as temporary.  The lines are adjusted up and down all the time.  The normal ebb and flow of the car market means that temporary people can go home at any given time… not just when the economy completely tanks like late 2008.
       
      That is like me bitching that I have to work over 40hrs/week without getting extra pay.  I took a salaried position.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Which part of “layoff” do YOU not understand? That fact that they were hired knowing there was a higher likelihood of being laid off does not make letting them go any less a layoff. And does not make claims of “no layoffs” any less disingenuous.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Quentin and Steve65, you’re both right and your both wrong. Temps by nature and name are temporary; they are paid by either an internal or external temp agency (I’ve worked for both) and are brought in to supplement the full-time workers in time of high volume. Getting rid of temps is not considered in most circles to be a layoff. When the temp assignment ends, it ends. The temp agency either places the worker somewhere else or the worker starts collecting unemployment.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      They were laid off because a temporary worker will, by design, be laid off when their services are no longer needed.  There is no promise of a “career” as a temp worker.  Should Toyota have kept them on and defied what those positions were designed to do?  As Jimal said, the temp workers work for a temp agency.
      PG should have included the “permanent” modifier, but Steven is certainly nitpicking.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

        Right, so Toyota didn’t lay anybody off. Think about this folks. If your selling 8,000 cars a month and your making 10,000 ,you need to cut back 20%.

        Its done two ways. You either slow your line down 20% and give less people, more work. So the worker has 72 seconds to perform his job instead of 60 seconds. End result 8 people now perform the work of ten. So now you have two employees with nothing to do.

      Or you shut the whole place down for one week out of five. Now you got a whole plant full of people with F.A to do.

       Logisticly, the second choice is the path of least resistence.

      I’m thinking, balancing production, to inventory is not unique to the car buisness.

      So the wonderfull, and insightfull folks at Toyota don’t lay people off. What do they do with them?

       Do they bring them all in, and reeducate the workers in the “Toyota way”…Later on, they all sit around and play cards,and read the newspapers.

       Yeah we USED to do that in the UAW represented plants.

       Any of the B&B recall the name of that particular policy?

      I’ll help you…..”JOB BANKS”

       

  • avatar
    M 1

    My opinion of Honda just improved considerably.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I look at that weasel King marching in these rallies and wonder, “Why haven’t I taken that ‘UAW Pride’ sticker off my Ford yet?”
     
    I’m all for these people earning a fair wage, but the UAW is a disgrace.  It extorts from and manipulates its members in an attempt to grab power and influence.  I’m glad Honda and presumably others aren’t playing ball.

    • 0 avatar

      +1. If your job is really that bad, you don’t need a union. You need to quit your job. If your job is good enough that you want to stay at it, what the hell is a union for? The UAW is worse than a disgrace – it’s useless. The workers lose, the employers lose. The only ‘winner’ is King and his cronies.

    • 0 avatar
      neevers1

      Unions came about from necessity, people were being treated unfairly. When you need to feed your kids, and pay the mortgage, you can’t just quit your job if they start to screw you, or you don’t like it, not everyone has that luxury. Unions are simply collective bargaining tools. People died to create unions back in the day, so they believed in them a little more than just some marching and a sticker on your car.
       
      Do we need them today? I don’t know, as long as everyone plays fairly you really don’t.
       
      My Ford has the UAW sticker on it, it’ll probably stay. I don’t love the UAW, but blaming them for Detroit’s problems is unfair. Detroit’s issue was they weren’t designing good cars, they are now.
       
      Now I think they should dump this King guy, he seems a loon.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Two things about the t-shirt.
    1. The silhouette images of people with their arms in the air. I think we’ve seen that used in a deodorant commercial.
    2. If the UAW wants to win friends outside the UAW, they should refrain from using images on a t-shirt that imply strikes. For those of us who aren’t union, the only use of the word “strike” that is good is when bowling. I’d be more sympathetic if they union showed people working, rather than striking.
    As I’ve said before though, I appreciate the UAW’s pursuit of justice and fair wages. There are plenty of people who need justice and fair wages in China. Our workers here have OSHA and various government agencies. The UAW should follow the job growth, learn some foreign languages, and head East.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      For those of us who aren’t union, the only use of the word “strike” that is good is when bowling. I’d be more sympathetic if they union showed people working, rather than striking.
       
      How true.  When I see construction workers with T-shirts with big snakes on them with the words “will strike when provoked” I could puke.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      You both listen to too much anti-union sentiment. The UAW is not the be-all, end-all of labor unions. They’re in the same league as the Teamsters though. I was a member of a local electrical union at my last job. We got fair wages and protection from tyrannical management (who by the way, HATED the union and did everything they could to stifle it because it gave refugee workers a voice they otherwise would not have!) in exchange for dues that were a tiny fraction of our wages. Now, I work at a place without an union and we do have good jobs and good benefits. However, we have no protection from management. You can’t have it all I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      This is actually a salient point: I’ve been a member of the hotelworkers and teaching assistants unions and both are very, very good for both the employees they represent and the greater good.
       
      I know that there were some damn fool things I was asked to do that our steward advised me not to, and that when I was injured (being given a cleaning chemical without instruction or equipment; got burned up both arms) that the union made it trivial to get proper support, rather than be out of work, young and too ignorant to know what to do when management tried to not pay me for a month.  People in jobs like this really benefit from union protection: I was just a kid working part-time, but some of the other staff were ESL, mentally challenged and would be trivially exploited (and, in non-union shops, often are) since they really have nowhere else to go.
       
      I did hear that, a few years later, the steward quit that job in disgust at the kind of stuff management kept trying to pull.
       
      There’s a line between market-based competition for labour and exploitation, and that line can be very trivially crossed, and that the labour side of the relationship is much, much more vulnerable than management.

    • 0 avatar

      People in jobs like this really benefit from union protection: I was just a kid working part-time, but some of the other staff were ESL, mentally challenged and would be trivially exploited (and, in non-union shops, often are) since they really have nowhere else to go.

      The only, ONLY possible need I can see to justify an outside presence to guard workers, is in the case of the mentally challenged. Otherwise, tough sh!t, you’re on your own. Not speaking the language isn’t an acceptable excuse.

      For the umpteenth time, this all comes down to personal responsibility; you and only you should be responsible for your well-being. It is not anyone else’s obligation to look out for you. And society should not tolerate bloated, corrupt organizations solely to defend the needs and rights of the weak-willed.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      For the umpteenth time, this all comes down to personal responsibility; you and only you should be responsible for your well-being.

      If we lived in a society where everyone had equal opportunity, sure.  But we don’t, and if we have a situation whereby someone in a position of power can use employment (or the lack thereof) as motivation to abuse employees, then you need an organization to fall back on because, quite honestly, poorer people are already starting with less leverage from the get-go, and ESL, the handicapped and so forth even moreso.

      It’s very, very easy to bully or delude or take advantage of disadvantaged people, and the only defence they have, really, is collectivism.

      And society should not tolerate bloated, corrupt organizations solely to defend the needs and rights of the weak-willed

      So what happens when those bloated, corrupt organizations are your employer?  Or most employers?  What do you do, then?  If the wealthy have the “natural right” to try and exploit me, then I have the natural right to attempt to collectively resist that exploitation and perhaps balance the scales a little.

      It truly bothers me that people think the right to organize and collectively bargain are somehow morally suspect, while the right to exploit the poor for the benefit of the wealthy is perfectly a-ok**.  Why is it ok for one group to put the squeeze on, but not the other?

      ** It crosses the line from “bothers” to “seems perverse” when the people cheering on the race to the bottom aren’t wealthy.

    • 0 avatar

      …and if we have a situation whereby someone in a position of power can use employment (or the lack thereof) as motivation to abuse employees, then you need an organization to fall back on because, quite honestly, poorer people are already starting with less leverage from the get-go, and ESL, the handicapped and so forth even moreso.

      Maybe… but do you really think that in our age of cameraphones, Internet, investigative reports and lawyers on every corner, that a company could seriously get away with the kind of abuses you describe? I don’t see any shortage out there of people willing to stand up and cry foul if they think they’re being abused; if anything our society preaches victimization, and the unions enable that horrid mindset to a large degree.

      So what happens when those bloated, corrupt organizations are your employer?  Or most employers?  What do you do, then?  If the wealthy have the “natural right” to try and exploit me, then I have the natural right to attempt to collectively resist that exploitation and perhaps balance the scales a little.

      You have a right to resist, by voting with your feet. The kind of collectivism you describe is counterproductive to the principles of a democracy (which, last I checked, we still sorta are in the US) and is too easily corrupted, as we’ve seen with the UAW and countless other unions. 

      It crosses the line from “bothers” to “seems perverse” when the people cheering on the race to the bottom aren’t wealthy.

      Funny, I don’t recall sharing my financial information with you, psar. As for that “race to the bottom,” the history of our country shows us those who stand up and act for themselves are the true instruments of change.

      How is a call for people to take responsibility for themselves — rather than relying on others to do it for them — a sign of weakness? Seems to me it would be just the opposite.

  • avatar
    stuki

    With China, India and others emerging as potentially almost limitless sources of increasingly educated and well capitalized labor, why would anyone want to put their comparatively high paying jobs at risk, by increasing their dependency on a rigid organization like the UAW?
     
    Even a change as small as the one from the Congress that bailed out GM, to the one of today, could very well have cost legions of UAW members dearly. Those transplant workers work for some of the best ran and most solid companies in the world. They know a thing or two about balancing cost vs. employee motivation and contentment. While the UAW seems increasingly to know or care little about anything other than influencing politics.
     

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      With China, India and others emerging as potentially almost limitless sources of increasingly educated and well capitalized labor, why would anyone want to put their comparatively high paying jobs at risk, by increasing their dependency on a rigid organization like the UAW?

      Because sometimes the costs of locating manufacturing far away from where the product is sold outweigh the savings of outsourcing.

      Never mind that the labour and regulatory environment in China and India have their own quirks.  Unions exist all over the world and, quite honestly, American labour unions are some of the weakest.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    If Toyota organizes at least they will not be painting picnic tables at the local parks!

  • avatar
    AJ

    Good for Honda indeed. The UAW are a bunch of thugs and it’s hard to every want to buy anything they touch ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @AJ…..The UAW doesn’t build cars. Engineers,designers,supervisers, lift truck drivers,pipefitters,middle, and senior, management,tool and die makers,clerks,and assemblers, to name a few,build cars. SOME are represented by the UAW.

       Another news flash..A lot parts in a Honda are built in a UAW…..represented plant.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Yep. Delphi is a good example of a major OEM that services domestic and transplant foreign automakers here in the US. They’ve got a UAW presence. So if anyone wants an entirely union-free car, well, wait for the Chinese to start importing.
       
      http://am.delphi.com/news/pressReleases/pr_2010_11_02_007/
       
      http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/13584318/detail.html

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      So if anyone wants an entirely union-free car, well, wait for the Chinese to start importing

      Almost by default every employee in China is unionized.  So are EU, Korean and Japanese ones.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    There is no reason for the transplants to organize.  The transplants model their compensation package to offer much of what UAW gets.  So, the transplant workers get most of what their union brothers get without all the baggage and hand-in-the-pocket BS that comes with membership.  Why would they want to go with the UAW?  Now, if the union should disappear, well we know what will happen to transplant wages…

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Thank You..golden2husky for pointing that fact out to the B&B. You can bet your a$$ that every transplant worker is very aware of that fact.

    • 0 avatar

      So… what would happen?

      Let’s say the UAW falls tomorrow. Within six months or so, the transplants would likely make a push for lower wages. They would only be smart for doing so — and I am not intrinsically opposed to corporations getting as much as they can from their employees for as little as possible.

      If the market couldn’t sustain demand for the higher wages transplants currently pay — thanks to all that pressure they feel from the union that no one is begging to come to their door — then wages would fall. If workers didn’t like it, they could either find something else or grit their teeth and take it.

      Free market reigns. No pressure. I say we try it and see what happens.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Doesn’t matter if the UAW were to collapse.  This would not mean that the workers would not be able to reorganize. 

      As soon as those wages fell, or work conditions were no longer acceptable via-a-vis wages, pressure would build for a new union to form, or an existing union to take-up the representation of the rank and file.

      And given the precedent for a the existance for an OEM-union collective-barganing relationship, I’m pretty sure the effort to reorganize would not be as difficult as it was in the 1930′s (there are also labor laws which make it more difficult for an employer to hinder workers desiring to organize.

      Who knows, dissolution of the UAW to be replaced by another union could be a net-improvement for the r&f.  On the other hand, the devil you know is…

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      What would happen, Rob Finfrock, is that either the transplants would push in lower wages or the wages would stagnate and inflation would eat away at the workers standard of living.  Judging from the tone and attitude of your posts, you sound like the type of management that made union representation necessary in the first place.  Many of those workers who wouldn’t/couldn’t retrain for the third time in their life would see their quality of life go down the toilet.  They in turn would spend less.  That is the problem with thinking it is ok for the middle class to continue on the decline that is well under way.  The loss of purchasing power in the long run will affect the fat cats.  Detroit as a city is a classic example of what is to come if the vast majority of the wealth gets concentrated on a few.  Consumer spending drives 70% of our economy.  Keep throwing more human capital on the scrap heap and America’s fall from preeminence is assured.  Unions may have become too powerful, but  returning to robber baron era of the industrialists is not the answer

    • 0 avatar

      As soon as those wages fell, or work conditions were no longer acceptable via-a-vis wages, pressure would build for a new union to form, or an existing union to take-up the representation of the rank and file.

      Which gives the company an incentive to maintain (and, if justified by strong performance, increase) wages, sure… but removes the kind of blade-at-your-throat “pressure” that mikey and husky allude to and would seem to prefer. The cards would be stacked well against formation of any new unions. In the end, self-interest wins out on both sides, and the hardest-working employees are those most rewarded. The worthy have little incentive to unionize; those too lazy to work and earn their keep, are also probably too lazy to go through the steps of organizing in the first place.

      And given the precedent for a the existance for an OEM-union collective-barganing relationship, I’m pretty sure the effort to reorganize would not be as difficult as it was in the 1930′s (there are also labor laws which make it more difficult for an employer to hinder workers desiring to organize.

      Legally, sure… but there is an extremely high level of distaste and contempt for unions in our current political and societal environment, which could prove more even difficult than 1930s cronyism to overcome. It’s hard to find a fan of unions outside the unions themselves, and that tide shows absolutely no signs of ebbing; even Bob King’s talking now about the inevitable fall of the UAW.

      One senses the union’s power is spread quite thin, among an inbred (in the organizational sense, of course) few. Look no further than King for proof of that; hard to argue that if members had had a more inspiring choice available, they’d have picked that person instead.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    The UAW doesn’t have the best image and IMO they’d be better suited to improving it. Instead of the “strike” talk how ’bout something along the lines of “we’re dedicated to helping the big 3 become prosperous once again and we know our fortune lies with them” or something along those lines.

    This incessant grandstanding is giving not only the UAW but all unions by association a bad name with the general public.

    I left the Navy a few months before the 9/11 attacks with visions of a career flying for Delta. After the attacks I managed to get on with a regional airline *but* there was a good amount of tension between management and the pilot group.

    ALPA prevented management from taking advantage and we were all thankful.

    Sometimes unions and union leadership are good. Sometimes not.

  • avatar
    niceun

    I retired(was paid to go away) from a transplant last year. The threat of the UAW was better than having a union for many years but when the threat was gone(UAW quit trying to organize) the benefits started eroding.  What was a great job changed to a good job and I was glad to be able to leave when I did.  The replacements make $10 to $15 less in salary(don’t know about benefits) and are unlikely to ever be direct permanent employees.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    I want to know where all the anti-union sentiment is coming from, is this a place of right-wing pro-corporate talk?  Seriously.  The UAW like all major unions has union dues and in exchange helps keep the corporates honest and the wages at a livable rate.  Currently non-unionized retail and service industries are paying minimum wage (which is at or below poverty levels according to most sources).  The fear of India and China stems from this incompetent belief that free trade is a legitimate practice we need to keep using because our corporate overlords demand it.
     
    There is nothing stopping us from unionizing the whole country as much of Western Europe has and would suffer far less from these economic slowdowns.  The fundamental problem is we’re racing to the bottom because the corporations simply want the cheapest labor to create a standard by which to judge that distracts us away from the important judgment of “real wages” (i.e. wages based on inflation against previous generations) and onto the infamous “buying power” argument where the cheapest goods allow our ever inflating currency to buy approximately the same amount of goods just at a lower quality and drive the whole market downwards as we go.
     
    The sooner we unionize the transplant plants the better.  The same would apply for pulling out of the WTO and renegotiating deals where the American labor system becomes the gold standard and NECs get to participate at a percentage of that rate for a time until they’ve grown to a stable level.  Smith in his argument for capitalism never pictured the disparities in labor between the US and China.  Ricardo who proceeded him did and advocated a hard wage floor for which the whole world would operate at to avoid these massive issues.
     
    Of course we face a world that is being increasingly politicized by the right-wing and their corporate share-holders and the left-wing’s lack of base outside of the unions and minorities.

  • avatar
    Crash80

    The Win Justice line on the shirt speaks volumes….

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    Politically speaking there is little to no sympathy for the UAW right now amongst the general public that is experiencing record high unemployment. They are trying to lobby Congress this week, but the their window of opportunity of getting the Employee Free Choice Act has pretty much closed with the GOP regaining power.
     
    Its going to be an uphill battle for the UAW to get transplants on board.  Quite simply the timing could not have been worse.  The UAW has been impatient in clawing back for concessions that they lost during the bailout, the Big 3 aren’t nearly out of the woods yet and already they are asking for more.  Which means they’ll get little cooperation from politicians.
     
    Given the massive supply chain presence that the Big 3 have made in Mexico, largely due to the UAW, the transplants have inherit incentive to move south of the border if UAW presence does increase in the South.  They simply would do what Ford does with their cars, the F150 only uses uses 55% American sourced parts, and move most of their supply chain south and assemble it in the States giving it nice ‘assembled in the USA’ sticker in the window.  Japanese makers in particular have larger incentive to move to Mexico being that there is a Mexcian-Japanese FTA in place.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    The future existence of the UAW may indeed depend on the transnationals like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, et al, but ultimately the buying public decides what to buy.  And from the previous four decades we can see that many buyers in America refuse to buy it if it is UAW-made. The pervasive thought is that Buy American-fans will always buy Ford, GM or Chrysler, even if they are made in Mexico, Canada, South Korea or Australia.  But the buyers who do not believe in subsidizing the UAW, their health and benefits retirement plan, or bailing out the same, and bailing out their employers, have since moved on to other brands that do not require the buyers  to pay a kickback to the UAW.  I recently switched too.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      All of the people I know who bought vehicles from foreign manufacturers did so because, in virtually every case, the vehicle in question was superior to its domestic counterparts. Their decision had nothing to do with avoiding the UAW. They didn’t care about the union one way or another. It was a non-factor in their decision.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Geeber, I also remember reading elsewhere that the further you get away from Detroit the fewer people care about the survival of the Detroit car makers or the UAW.  In my part of the country people are incensed by the bail outs, the hand outs and the nationalization of failed companies and corporations, including Wall Street and the big banks.  While that subject has also been beaten to death on this and other sites, there will always be at least two factions when it comes to buying American brand cars.  Those who do, and those who don’t.  It remains to be seen if those who do will be sufficient in numbers to keep the American car makers viable and profitable, while they choose to make their American cars in Mexico, Canada, South Korea and Australia. How does making them outside of America help the UAW?

  • avatar
    George B

    As long as the UAW continues to very actively campaign for Democrats and left wing policy, I will refuse to buy new cars built by the UAW.  Unions have chosen sides with my enemy.  I won’t give one red cent to an organization that’s actively trying to make government more expensive for me.  However, if workers at Ford replaced the UAW with a union that mostly stayed out of politics, I’d probably change my position.
     

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      You could still buy a Fiesta or Fusion, they’re built in Mexico (no union), or a Flex/MKX/MKT/Edge built in Oakville (or while it lasts a Panther from St.Thomas) Canada.

  • avatar
    geeber

    The entire pro- and anti-union debate has been beaten to death on this site.

    The photo does make clear, however, that the Best and the Brightest who regularly post on this site need to start a collection to help Mr. King pay for a new pair of glasses and a new hair stylist…

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    I am in the Steelworkers’ Union and have benefited financially from my membership.  That said, I despise my International union.  Our monthly union magazine reads like something put out by the Socialist Workers’ Party, and a huge chunk of our dues goes toward supporting lefty politicians that want to ruin this country.  Our International doesn’t even pretend to give a damn about the rank-and-file.  When we negotiate a new contract, they are nowhere to be seen except for the pathetic rep, who is easily outsmarted by management.  It is no wonder that unions are hardly a factor in the private sector anymore and their only growth is in the bloated public sector.  Only the most mis-managed companies have anything to fear from union organizers these days.

  • avatar

    I’m not too acquainted with US labor relations. I have followed the UAW topics here only occasionally. Probably, someone here could give me some useful hints/links to better understand the issues involved.
    Do I understand it right, that the UAW policy is to establish closed shops, and only closed shops? Why would they insist to do so? Can’t it be left to the worker at site to decide whether he wants to support a union or not? Are there any legal driving forces to do so?
    Any hints appreciated.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Don’t know if the question is serious or inflamatory.  But I’ll take a crack at answering it. 

      It’s simple.  The guys that sacrifice by striking in order to get rules and benefits for the worker, and later pay a portion of their wages to support their union tend to get a little pissed when other workers in the same shop receive the same wages and benefits without making either the initial sacrifice or the continuing payments.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @herb……Robert has summed it up fairly well.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    BTW, anybody ever see the books for a collective bargaining agreement?

    These are very complex contracts

    Ford, 4-volumes, some parts dating back to 1949:
    1. Agreements, ca. 400 pages
    2. Benefit Plans & Agreements (Retirement & Insurance), ca. 400 pages
    3. Benefit Plans & Agreements (Sup. Unemployment, Guaranteed Income Stream, Profit Sharing, Tax-Efficient Savings, UAW-Ford Legal Services Plans and Agreements), ca. 225 pages
    4. Letters of Understanding, ca. 650 pages

    Even for a major 1-tier supplier:
    1. Agreement, Letters & Sub-Plans, ca. 400 pages
    2. Insurance and Pension Plans, ca. 375 pages

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Robert. Walter ……You have only included the Master Agreements. I think its another 400 page Local agreement….plus letters.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      At the OEM level you are correct, but for the tier-1 I have the agreement for (but maybe not for every tier-1) those ca. 475 pages do cover 3 locals.

      Mikey, as a rank and file guy of long standing, I have four questions in two parts:
      1. What %-age of the guys actually read the full set of agreements?  How much did you ever read of the details?
      2.  When the Canadians kicked-out the UAW for the CAW, what was the reason, what changed for the better/worse?
       

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Robert…..I believe it was the 1984 agreement that I first read. To be honest….maybe 80% I could actually comprehend. I was 31 years old.

      Question number 2….. Up till about 78 we had a good relationship. As I recall things started to crack, with Chrysler Canada staying on strike while the US settled. Back in 82 we had a little tiff with the UAW, they wanted profit sharing we wanted COLA. We settled with GM but the damage had been done. The UAW picked GM in 1984 and we went on strike.

       GM settled in the US but once again we stayed out. With our component plants on strike GM couldn’t fire up the US plants. Things got real nasty.

      The perception at the time was one of “we ain’t takin anymore US B.S f–ck em well go it alone”

       The CAW was born.
      Since then….IMHO, we have fared better than our US bothers and sisters. With our health care system, and a 75 cent dollar the American companies loved doing buisness with us.

      However,with the dollar at par, and US taxpayer owning 33%, and with the current political climate, I can see that situation changing real fast

  • avatar

    @Robert.Walker: Thanks, I will try to follow your hints, but obviously this will need some time.
    Of course, the question was serious. But there are other models besides “closed shops”.
    So, in the meantime I will remain wondering why the UAW can’t change its business model to something like the German IG Metall, where nobody is forced to become a union member, even if he profits from agreements between companies and unions. It’s up to the IG Metall to get members supporting them, on a voluntary basis.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Even though I’m living here in Europe more than 10 years, I’m in union-lite Switzerland, but I wonder if the german union model is an outcome of a balance somewhere in the relationship, like the fact than the union has representation on the boards of directors and comparatively union-friendly labor laws?

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Regarding expatriation of wealth and race to the bottom…

    Given that the U.S. is of declining relevance as an exporter, sometimes I think that I would rather be paying more for US-made products and keeping my cash in the U.S./western economy than using it to build-up the chinese as a threat.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Additionally:

      Corrupt and inefficient as the unions are, they pale in comparison to, and are quite the opposit of, the chinese central committee … and the the union supports human rights (good), and the CCC has atomic weapons, stealth fighters, and anti-satellite missles (very bad) …


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