When, in early February, the first (unconfirmed) rumors made the rounds that UAW’s Bob King would get a seat on Opel’s supervisory board, the assumption was that King will speak for “the equity side.” According to the “co-determination law,” the supervisory board of a large German company consists of 50 percent equity side and 50 percent labor, with the chairman having two votes in case of a tie. The UAW, through VEBA, owns 10 percent of the stock of GM. That puts King definitely on the equity side. One would assume.
When AFP reported yesterday that “King was appointed by IG Metall, the German’s metalworkers union, to serve as a labor representative on Opel’s supervisory board,” it sounded like a mistake, something lost in translation between the UAW spokeswoman Michele Martin and the French wire service.
A few phone calls later, it indeed looks like King was nominated by the German metal worker union IG Metall. According to reports, King will take the seat vacated by the union representative of Opel’s Zaragoza plant. Why the German metal workers nominate a major shareholder of GM is anybody’s guess.