By on June 2, 2011

UAW Boss Bob King spoke to Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference about what he calls “The 21st Century Union,” arguing that “the union has changed and we challenge business to change with us.” But while King talks cooperation and mutual benefit, his union is preparing for what promises to be a tough fight with the automakers to create a new contract that deals with the shop floor poison of the two-tier system, securing union representation on automaker boards, and rolling back union concessions without sending automakers back towards bankruptcy. Kings words are worth listening to and considering, but the upcoming contract negotiations will be the ultimate measure of the UAW’s professed changes.

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12 Comments on “Bob King: I’m From The UAW And I’m Here To Help...”

  • avatar

    For the record I’m not a fan of the “two tiered system. Ours in Canada differs in as much as we opted for an outside company to come in and do “non core manufactoring” Our second tier GM employees are only 30% behind the first tier.

    Personally, I havn’t set foot inside the plant for 30 months now. However,from what I hear “two tier” is not a huge bone of contention.

    So Ed….Get TTAC to cover my expenses. Put me in an assembly plant for a couple of breaks and lunches. I CAN speak the language.

    I can tell you that IMHO “two tier” might not be the “poison” that you, and many others make it out to be. Give me three days in a couple of other plants,and I will tell you how much backing Bob has from the rank and file. Once again…IMHO, I don’t think Mr King speaks for the majority of the membership.

    Time will tell…eh.

    • 0 avatar

      mikey, we may be polar opposites on this issue, but I can tell you this: for what it’s worth, if you’re appointed TTAC’s semi-official man on the scene at those plants, I’ll definitely read those articles.

      (I would suggest a good proofreader, though.)

  • avatar

    1. The two-tier system should go, but the UAW has themselves to thank for it.
    2. The UAW should have a seat on automakers’ boards. Then they could see first-hand the challenges facing the business.
    3. Concession rollbacks make sense as long as they are mutually beneficial and gradual.

    But I can’t agree with him on public-sector collective bargaining because of the various conflicts of interest inherent in such arrangements.

  • avatar

    UAW, you have helped Toyota and Honda. Thanks to you, Toyota and Honda was able to bury the uncompetitive Detroit auto industry, uncompetitive because of the UAW.

    Furthermore, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and so many others are hoping the UAW stays strong such that the Detroit auto industry remains uncompetitive.

    The only middle class the UAW is building is one in Japan and a second in right to work states. UAW, good job!

    • 0 avatar

      Did you read that in CR ? Did they go on to explain how the Koreans union,and non union, are busy handing Toyota/Honda thier lunch?

    • 0 avatar

      Oh. Yes. Because management greenlighting total crap for three decades had nothing to do with it. Of course. Certainly. All the UAW’s fault.

      • 0 avatar

        Both sides were complicit. Management certainly would have had more to spend to improve quality were it not for such horribly generous concessions to the unions.

        (Yeah, the execs would probably have spent all that extra cash instead on their bonuses, but that still doesn’t make the UAW a noble entity.)

  • avatar

    Meanwhile, back in the real world:

    “The increase in total private-sector wages, adjusted for inflation, from the start of 2001 has fallen far short of any 10-year period since World War II, according to Commerce Department data. In fact, if the data are to be believed, economywide wage gains have even lagged those in the decade of the Great Depression (adjusted for deflation).”

  • avatar

    interest rates are going to have to be raised at some point, inevitably

  • avatar

    The auto bailouts are some of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated. Most Americans still don’t understand BUT they will by the time the election picks up.
    The seizure of GM and Chrysler, transferring bondholder wealth to unions—otherwise known as seizure of private property; as noted by Todd Zywicki, “Of the two proceedings, Chrysler’s was clearly the more egregious. In the years leading up to the economic crisis, Chrysler had been unable to acquire routine financing and so had been forced to turn to so-called secured debt in order to fund its operations. Secured debt takes first priority in payment;

    it is also typically preserved during bankruptcy under what is referred to as the “absolute priority” rule — since the lender of secured debt offers a loan to a troubled borrower only because he is guaranteed first repayment when the loan is up. In the Chrysler case, however, creditors who held the company’s secured bonds were steamrolled into accepting 29 cents on the dollar for their loans. Meanwhile, the underfunded pension plans of the United Auto Workers — unsecured creditors, but possessed of better political connections — received more than 40 cents on the dollar.” (for more go to:

    Heck even the UAW will be furious when THEY understand!!!

  • avatar

    South Carolina and the other Southern car-producing states hopes the UAW keeps up the good work elsewhere.

  • avatar

    The UAW (the automotive side, not the public employee and nurses side) has been on a glide path to auguring in for 40 yrs.

    The Obama regime has given them a bit of altitude boost, but not for long.

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