By on September 13, 2013

Volkswagen-Chattanooga-Plant-500x333

Reuters is reporting that in an interview with the German Handelsblatt newspaper, United Auto Workers president Bob King said that a majority of workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Chattanooga,Tennessee have signed cards supporting the UAW in the creation of a German-style works council at the factory. “Yes, we have a majority,” UAW President Bob King said.

 

The UAW leader said that more than 50% of the 2,415 employees at the factory have signed union cards and registered as future union members. Volkswagen declined to comment but the VW board member in charge of human relations, Horst Neumann, told Reuters at a panel discussion in Germany that included automobile executives and labor leaders, “I find it very depressing how deeply divided the [United States] is on the issue of labor unions. Had they been here to listen to the roundtable discussion they would have seen that we work together — it’s a model for success,” said Neumann, who represents the IG Metall labor union on VW’s board of directors.

UAW’s regional director for the UAW responsible for Tennessee, Gary Casteel, told the Associated Press that the signed cards include a statement about wanting to join VW’s global works council and supporting cooperative and collaborative relations with the company, and that according to U.S. labor law they are as legally binding as a ballot election. The company does have to recognize the signed cards, but they do have the option of recognizing the union or asking for a secret ballot election for the employees.

If the UAW is certified at the VW plant, it would be the first automotive “transplant” in the southern United States to have union representation. Foreign companies have opened many of their U.S. facilities in the South. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. does operate a plant in Normal, Ill., that is represented by the UAW. That’s currently the only foreign owned car factory in the U.S. with UAW representation.

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120 Comments on “UAW: Majority of Workers at Tenn. VW Plant Have Signed Union Cards...”


  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Mayor of Chattanooga changing his town’s name to Westmoreland as we speak.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The UAW sell them the rope to hang themselves.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Ask for the secret ballot. Who knows how much coercion the thugs used to get cards signed.

  • avatar
    morbo

    doom…Doom…DOOOOMMM!!!!

    Actually, probably nil. If it’s a blue collar only, fark the man type UAW union then yea, they’re hosed. If it brings in the white collar workers AND THE DRONES LISTEN TO THE WHITE COLLAR WORKERS, it’s actually a good thing.

    Since it’s a new factory it has a chance. But I am doubtful that the knuckledraggers in blue will listen.

    They never do.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      The mistake many observers make in a situation like this is to imagine that blue collars rationally choose between competing promises of future benefit.

      They don’t. They vote completely irrationally for the side that panders to and amplifies their own hatred and jealousy of professional management and staff. And they know they’re doing this but the hate and resentment are greater than cold self-interest.

      There are always enough slackers and emotionally damaged underachievers in the hourly workforce of even the most enlightened and generous companies to eventually throw the campaign to the union.

      I’ve been on both sides of the class divide and everything I’ve seen indicts unionization as a cancer attacking the weakest cells first, then spreading.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Tonight at 11; DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    File this under developing stories.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “I find it very depressing how deeply divided the [United States] is on the issue of labor unions. Had they been here to listen to the roundtable discussion they would have seen that we work together — it’s a model for success,”

    That is called American Exceptionalism, Herr Neumann..

    Said tongue in cheek.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Herr Schmitt Trigger:
      But please clarify. Who is ‘we’ and where is ‘here’? Were you there?

      Working together is always a key. But, why have a Union if a group if employees can work together? Especially a Union who decimated the Big-3, hand in glove, with incompetent management?

      But to the credit of the UAW, they looked at GM’s insider financials in 2008 an decreed” It’s much worse than they admit to.”

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        From Wikipedia:

        Tongue-in-cheek is a phrase used as a figure of speech to imply that a statement or other production is humorously or otherwise not seriously intended, and it should not be taken at face value.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “Said tongue in cheek.”

      Don’t need to be tongue in cheek, this really is an example of how fundamentally different American industrial culture was/is compared to German.

      You probably already know this but for anyone curious as to the tradition of two-way loyalty and cooperation between company and worker in German industrial history, William Manchester’s “The Arms of Krupp” gives an excellent account of what that company did to keep workers employed when its primary markets were disrupted by war and technological change.

      This is probably merely a pleasant fiction in today’s Germany but it would definitely be a well regarded and cherished memory in the back of Neumann’s mind; an equivalent to the misty and idealized yet nonetheless historically demonstrable American Way so fondly recalled by many of us geezers.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I predict production moving to Mexico within a decade.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Maybe its just me, but I find that the folks from the far right, are every bit as scary as those from the far left.

    What really strikes me as odd, are that people from both extremes,are never really comfortable with democracy.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    VW management should be asking themselves what they did wrong. Other transplants have operated for years without going to a union model. There’s no smoke without fire.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    ““Yes, we have a majority,” UAW President Bob King said.”

    I wonder, if this was a simple majority or a 2/3rds majority, and what the rules are regarding which type of majority is needed. Personally, I’d require the 2/3rds as opposed to 50.1%.

    • 0 avatar
      MPAVictoria

      Of course you would. Conservatives HATE democracy. Always have, always will.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        It’s easy to convince 50.1% of people of a bad idea, it happens every 2-4 years in the US. However it’s much more difficult to convince 2/3rds of one, and if 2/3rds fall for it, so be it. In the US there is a reason 2/3rds of the Congress must be in agreement to override a veto, it’s a mechanism by which people are “damn sure” the President is wrong. The workers in Chattanooga should be “damn sure” they want to let in the big bad wolf.

        “override of a veto – The process by which each chamber of Congress votes on a bill vetoed by the President. To pass a bill over the president’s objections requires a two-thirds vote in each Chamber. Historically, Congress has overridden fewer than ten percent of all presidential vetoes.” http://www.senate.gov/reference/glossary_term/override_of_a_veto.htm

        • 0 avatar
          MPAVictoria

          Like I said, you hate democracy. It is not like I am surprised.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Wow, that’s not even a response to my post, hell it’s not even intelligent rhetoric. If you’re going to throw spitballs at least toss some dictatorship of the proletariat in them.

            Intelligence follows a bell curve, if you prefer to only allow the “middle” to make a choice on an important issue that is your affair.

            http://expressiveepicurean.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/the-curse-of-being-average/

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Like I said, you hate democracy. It is not like I am surprised.”

            I bet he’s racist too :P

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Danio

            Oh you know it brother, I have to be to hate democracy so much. I’d love to stay and chat but I’m late for the klan meeting.

          • 0 avatar
            SayMyName

            Just remember, 28 Cars, it’s my turn to bring the potato salad.

            The trouble with democracy – as we’ve seen play out over the past five years – is that it empowers the lowest common denominator of a society to share its opinion, often to the ruination of a country as a whole.

            Exhibit A: The Boy King currently occupying the White House.

            Exhibit B: The likes of the UAW and other unions are still around to promote the entitlement mentality.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The irony is thick as I was simply advocating for a 2/3rds majority in the case of truly important issues rather than a simple one. However as you succinctly point out, democracy gives a voice to the lowest common denominator, which in and of itself may be a danger. The only way I can think of to mitigate this danger is to ensure the lowest common denominator is of a certain level or intelligence or experience and exclude those who do not meet this standard, which in practice may be impossible.

            Regarding to your exhibit A counselor, I might argue democracy is irrelevant as the elections are already decided in advance, and the “race” is simply done as an exercise to both placate and measure the reactions of the masses. I find it incredibly curious 42 of 43 US presidents all are distant cousins and trace their ancestry to the same English king, King John of Magna Carta fame. I might believe this for say the first dozen given their English roots and socio-economic places in society in their respective times, but 42 of 43 is simply a coincidence? Uh huh…

            Presidents are selected, not elected
            -FDR

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2183858/All-presidents-bar-directly-descended-medieval-English-king.html

            http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/208113-presidents-are-selected-not-elected

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Hey 28, who selected the community catastrophuck currently occupying the Oval Office? Unions maybe? I guess that would explain the government mandated UAW taxpayer rape-a-thon. Still waiting for my victim compensation on that one.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        That comment cannot withstand analysis. It is the Left that has used undemocratic means to advance its agenda.

        If you knew anything about the law you would know that whereas business monopolies are subject to antitrust, labor monopolies have been protected since the Wagner Act. That’s why the Auto companies had to cave with every new contract and that’s why management had to decontent their product as wages rose faster than productivity. The non-union transplants changed that calculation.

        It is the Unions that want to do away with secret ballot elections, that’s what “card check” is all about and it seems that’s what we have here. Unions want “card check” because they can intimidate workers into signing. It is the Left that wants to do away with that democratic safeguard and they want to do it against the will of the American people.

        Hopefully, VW will demand a secret ballot and the UAW will lose.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Democracy does kinda suck in many ways. Mob rule of 51% deciding the fate of the 49% isn’t a recipe for success or cooperation. I say let those wanting representation be represented, and let those who would prefer to keep their union dues do so. Why drag those who are unininterested in kicking and screaming? Is it really true that some ideas are so great they simply must be mandated?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Unless you work at the VW plant, it’s not your problem.

      And if you did work at the VW plant, then you would be under no obligation to join the union, as Tennessee is a “right to work” state.

      It would be nice if conservatives followed their own advice, and removed their noses from the affairs of private industry. It’s really none of your business what happens there, either way.

      • 0 avatar
        malikknows

        Amazingly naive. Who had to bail out the workers when Chrysler and GM went bankrupt? Of course it is every taxpaying citizen’s business.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          He really should have said, “It’s not your problem…. yet” or “It’s not your problem… unless you buy a VW product”.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Regarding the latter, no one has to buy to buy VW if he or she doesn’t want to.

            I have managed to avoid that experience ever since I started buying my own cars in the mid-1980s.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        In the micro sense you’re absolutely correct, in the macro sense the stakes are higher because without growth the UAW in its current form eventually gets restructured or dies out. Anyone with interest in the car business has a stake on the latter.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Thanks for the insight. I had no idea that the UAW was responsible for the lousy engineering that was invested in the Cavalier, Citation, and for that matter, the majority of what Detroit had produced. If there hadn’t been a union, then the Vega would have been a fantastic car.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s a little bit simplistic. How about what if GM could have hired and fired whom they wished which may have led to fewer defects during assembly? What if GM had been able retain the massive amounts of excess capital the UAW and decades of retirees drained over the years and put it toward R&D or customer service? UAW has a great track record of only looking out for UAW, they have acted like a parasite to a host. This doesn’t mean all unions are necessarily bad, nor does it mean GM would have succeeded selling those models without them.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It actually is that simple.

            Toyota revolutionized the production of automobiles, making them far more reliable.

            Honda successfully copied the process. Detroit spent decades resisting it, with few exceptions.

            Americans began to realize that they had genuine alternatives that were better. Between the Japanese offering a more durable car and Germans providing a more interesting driving experience, there was little reason to keep buying cars from the Big 3.

            Until Americans understand that the Japanese built a better product, they will never understand why GM and Chrysler filed bankruptcy. Detroit made cars that largely sucked to some degree, and they suffered the failures that any company that makes lousy products can expect to suffer. But if you refuse to acknowledge what lean production brought to auto manufacturing, you will never comprehend this.

      • 0 avatar
        Yeah_right

        I’d imagine that this wasn’t consistent with your opinion when Wisconsin and Michigan were deciding on their union issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Sorry, he is right, you hate democracy. There is no reason for a 2/3rds majority. In this case it would amount to about 240 more people agreeing. You’re also making a flawed bias argument than making a completely foolish statement. You literally fall into every rhetorical fallacy involved in democratic theory because it’s convenient to your moralistic view.

      In other words: minorities don’t win but have their rights protected. By definition a union is there to protect everybody’s rights so there is no need for a super majority.

      Also the current rules dictate only a need for simple majority though in most card check situations they reach 80%+ then the time between the vote and check dictates the final percentage as the corporation sends in thugs and aggressors to intimidate people away from joining. Which I guess is the irony in right-wing world. There have been numerous cases of corporate thugs going to court but zero of unions. So perhaps the reality is a bit reverse to your view?

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    http://www.autoblog.com/2012/12/10/chrysler-workers-fired-for-drinking-back-on-job-against-automake/

    The union will protect those who should lose their jobs while forcing out those who want to work harder for more pay.

  • avatar
    Talegator

    “What really strikes me as odd, are that people from both extremes, are never really comfortable with democracy.”

    I wish I had said that!

    One thing absolutely for certain is the relatively higher wages being paid at these non union plants is a direct result of the union threat. VW, being a company with a conscience and a history of working successfully with unions is giving the workers of Tennessee a rare opportunity to make this decision without the usual threats and “doom and gloom” rhetoric companies normally issue. This decision could very well determine the fate of the UAW and other unions, who’s demise would surely result in wages being driven to a minimum in Tennessee. The pendulum never stops in the middle. We have witnessed unions at their worst and now we are witnessing corporate greed political corruption at its worst in America. Not since the great depression has there been so much inequity. Seems to me America was much better off with a vibrant middle class. Corportist Bob Corker knows how important this decision is, I wonder if the workers in Tennessee do.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    This is not the first plant with the UAW in the southland. In the mid 80s, Mack Truck moved thier heavy dury truck plant from Allentown PA to South Carolina in part to run away from the UAW. The UAW followed and eventually won the election to represent the hourly workers there.
    The plant operated for about 20 years before being shut down after Mack Trucks was acquired by Volo who already had a plant in Virginia that had the capacity for all it’s production needs.
    I wouldn’t worry about VW packing up and leaving for Mexico anytime soon after making a substantial investment in this plant. So much of manufacturing is automated now, and the UAW is not the same organization it used to be. If VW management is any good, they should not have any trouble competing.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      The workers there hated the UAW (I hired about 20 former ones), the only reason the UAW made it in there was because mack came in and tried to pay the equiv. of near minimum wage, while management was still living in Roger Smith’s “War on the workers” mentality, so there only recourse was to turn to the UAW, now when the workers there realized that thier $27/hr pay and benefits were killing Mack (same reason Mack abandoned PA), they wanted to make significant concessions to keep it going, place was sacrificed for the greater good of the UAW, the UAW was looking out for the UAW, not the people they represented (If mack made concessions, other companies under distress, thier workers might be willing to do the same, how much manufacturing was lost because of that mentality, but a few 100,000 live a great life, when it could still be millions).

      Moral of the story, if Mack had come in and paid around $15/hr and treated the workers with respect, there would have been no UAW, so it took management and union to both destroy that company.

      Where Germany is different, they (unions) have 45% of the board, access to the detailed financials, forecasts and actuarials, they know exactly were the companies stand, they know how much they can take and when they have to give back and in addition there is a stark difference b/t US and German upper management who seem to acknowledge/know when enough money is enough and when its to much.

      Hate the unions in America, but study the history of the dynamics in US vs. Germany and in US it was management and union both doing equal damage.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      rnc,

      I think you proved my point that the UAW by itself was not the downfall of Mack. In fact, they have another plant outside of Allentown that produces off road and specialty trucks like garbage scowls and it is doing just fine with UAW labor. In fact, it has expanded employment this decade.
      I’m no fan of the UAW, but also no fan of the sorry state of corporate governance since the 80′s. If I were in the attorney general at the time, I would have prosecuted both as corrupt organizations under RICO. Management’s utter contempt for the workers, customers, and stockholders had more to do with the downfall of the US auto industry than the UAW.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    More robots
    Less skilled technicians
    No expansion
    Eventually closed

    That’s what we can expect in 2-5 years with a closedown in 7.

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    Once upon a time there was no UAW.

    Why, exactly was the union formed? At $15/hr a worker earns ~30k a year gross.

    How many houses, washing machines, et al… will a $15/hr worker buy?

    A race to the bottom will bring the entire US economy down with it.

    My good friends above who argue that blue collar workers lack the foresight of white collar workers need only look at how megastores like WalMart destroy small shops, how doctors in India now read xrays and other medical tests, and how a lot of R&D is going to India and China to see whats just ahead for the US.

    A falling tide will lower all boats more certainly then a rising tide has lifted all boats.

    • 0 avatar
      malikknows

      You are missing the point, Mr. K. The issue is not one of worker pay and benefits which I’m sure would gather lots of support here. The issue is the destructive, oppositional nature of American unions and the detrimental effect they’ve had on American manufacturers. Everywhere they operate eventually results in dysfunctional work rules, vicious coercion and political cronyism. Perhaps the positive influence of German works councils will change the UAW for the better, but there is no evidence to date that it will. In any event, the idea that only through unions are workers lives bettered is a self-serving union lie. See what is happening in Wisconsin for evidence. When workers have the opportunity to leave unions without penalty, they do so.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        Rather then discuss myths from long ago why not address the real world. labor and management were oppositional for many reasons, some firms have better labor relations then others.

        Show a person the respect that some commentators above have demonstrated and gee ya think they will have a less the friendly disposition toward you?

        GM and the rest of the auto industry signed the contracts from long ago and GM and the rest did not fully fund the obligations (pensions) they incurred. When their market share shrank they experienced some difficulties.

        I have worked for union and non union shops and in general union shops were better for me as a worker.

        Those who say otherwise usually have an agenda to defend or only have information from sources with an agenda, and yes YMMV.

        Wisconsin??!! You mean the place where wages and jobs have be cut wholesale by strong arm tactics?

        The place where a virtual police state now exists arresting not only those who dare to protest the actions of the Walker administration but those who stop to watch those protesting?

        I am sure that just like in Europe there were many abuses in the 70′s and before, but the 70′s were 40 years ago.

        People who earn low wages spend very little and don’t grow the economy.

        The continuing downward spiral of REAL wages for the bottom 80-90% makes it quite clear that at least in the USA wages don’t rise without externalities coming into the picture.

        • 0 avatar
          walleyeman57

          “When their market share shrank they experienced some difficulties.”

          “some difficulties” is a rather nice way to put that the taxpayers were forced to top up their bloated pensions while stiffing the legal bond holders-like my neighbor who lost $150K in Chrysler bonds.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            Your neighbor took a risk and lost, that’s why there’s disclosure when you buy financial instruments.

            The South Koreans bailed out their car companies. America never loses to more capitalist countries, just to more socialist ones.

        • 0 avatar
          malikknows

          Unions exist to exert political pressure to gain economic benefits. It’s that simple. The unions were able to use political pressure to garner contracts that were economically unsustainable. And when bankruptcy loomed, they used more political pressure to have government underwrite their inflated benefit packages. This is not a myth from long ago.

          Economic benefits should flow from economic value. Unions used political pressure to squeeze economic benefits from management that were simply not sustainable and the companies eventually failed, were bailed out, and those contracts changed.

          And I’ve also worked union and non-union shops so your ad hominem argument is pointless.

          Wisconsin a police state? Quite the opposite. Once union members got the right to exit the unions, they are doing so by overwhelming margins. That’s democracy, that’s freedom. Unions have been fighting it all the way.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The union was formed due to having no OSHA or Internet or mass media.

      With the wealth of information available today – along with improved worker mobility – do you really think an employer can get away with low pay, unsafe conditions, and mistreatment of its workers?

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        “SCE to AUX
        September 13th, 2013 at 1:46 pm
        The union was formed due to having no OSHA or Internet or mass media.

        With the wealth of information available today – along with improved worker mobility – do you really think an employer can get away with low pay, unsafe conditions, and mistreatment of its workers?”

        Yes.

        BTW OSHA is toothless now. It’s not 1975 any more, Toto!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The practice of livable wages and benefits started becoming widespread well before major unions organized most of industry. It’s pointless to argue Unions are the only things that can provide these things. If a plant closes, workers get $0/hr.

  • avatar
    morbo

    “A falling tide will lower all boats more certainly then a rising tide has lifted all boats”

    Same argument could have been made during the mechanization of farming, when double digit human percentages of people tied the farm economy were dislocated.

    Union or non-union, increased mechanization, increased computational efficiency (fewer humans doing the engineering/manufacturing), is going to dislocate those workers. UAW just expedites things (GM turning to robots en masse in the 80s, Ford/Chrysler in the 90s).

    Whether its robots, Chinaman, or Alpha Centaians (once we colonize and enslave Alpha Centauri as the 51st Earthican state), manufacturing will never employ the percentage of Americans it once did.

    I don’t have a good answer for the next phase in economic theory. I do know slashing the cost of food production benefitted humanity, and I suspect slashing the cost of manufacturing will do the same.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “manufacturing will never employ the percentage of Americans it once did.”

      At least not in industries of the status quo. There will always be demand for products, services and innovation. Many people just refuse to embrace change and instead try and strong arm those affected into regression.

      You just wait til the robots unionize. You ain’t seen nothin yet.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    The workers voted their interest in a “works council”, not necessarily to bring a Detroit-style UAW into the plant. Many possibly went along with the suggestion knowing they had the RTW law in their back pockets as a defense if they didn’t like what they saw. They can vote for anything now, but when they see the contract, say no thanks, I’m not joining and the law says you can’t make me. Would a works council member have to pay UAW dues? (Do they have to pay them to IG Metall?) What would said member get in exchange? They’re already being paid about the same as a D3 Tier 2 worker. We know the UAW isn’t down there because of some deep concern for the workers, but Tennesseans aren’t going to hand over their money to Bob King just because he needs the money.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      My question is this – if I recall correctly, the Wagner Act bans what used to be known as “company unions.” The goal was to ensure that a union wasn’t just a puppet of management, and was really an independent entity.

      Is a works council classified as a company union under the Wagner Act, and therefore not permitted in this country?

      If the VW workers really do want to initiate a “works council” at the plant, under the Wagner Act, they essentially have to approve representation by the UAW.

      Is that correct?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “My question is this – if I recall correctly, the Wagner Act bans what used to be known as “company unions.” The goal was to ensure that a union wasn’t just a puppet of management, and was really an independent entity.”

        That’s correct.

        “If the VW workers really do want to initiate a “works council” at the plant, under the Wagner Act, they essentially have to approve representation by the UAW.”

        That seems to be VW’s interpretation of the law, and the reason that this is happening.

        “Is a works council classified as a company union under the Wagner Act, and therefore not permitted in this country?”

        This I don’t know for certain. However, for labor to be represented on the council, it would need to appoint representatives. I would guess — and I am guessing — that the issue isn’t with the works council per se, but the process by which the workers choose who represents them on that council.

        That being said, they could choose a different union. If some other union was smart, they would try to toss their hat in the ring, and create some competition for the UAW. If I was a worker there, I would be shopping around for an alternative union.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        They could chose the american woman’s seamstress union to represent them if they wanted too, they could form the IAW – International Automotive Union (the UAW’s greatest nightmare, imagine tier two’s at all of the other UAW’s jump on that ship)

  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    I worked in a union shop in Texas (also a RTW state) and declined to join the Teamsters. I was never harassed or intimidated into joining. Union rep in a RTW state might work best for everyone – given the fact that workers can opt out if it sucks and opt in if they need it. Competition!

    Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn91im4SjzQ

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ Don Mynack….just a quick question. As a guy that opted out,did you get the same pay and benefits as the dues paying members? You say,you can “opt in” if they need it?

    How does that work?

    • 0 avatar
      Don Mynack

      Yes, same pay and bennies. Only diff was you could not have a union rep with you to mediate disputes in case you got written up, etc.

      I didn’t work there long enough to find out if it had any effect on promotions, workplace issues, etc. I did hear a story about a Teamster’s guy threatening to beat up an non-union dude over some beef, but it wasn’t really a union/non-union issue.

  • avatar
    JD321

    Why don’t the UAW Parasites start their own company instead of stealing from those who do? Filthy animals.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @JD321…That’s really nice. Perhaps you should show up at the nearest union hall and expand on your views.

      Oh!oh..so sorry…. I forgot that wussy little f–ks that hide behind a keyboard,are lacking in that sort of intestinal fortitude.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I’m your Huckleberry, and wow. Insulting and ignorant in one sentence: 1. How are they parasites? 2. Workers don’t have the money to start their own company. It appalls me when people get on here and whine “those horrible union employees; why they want as much money and as many benefits as possible; why those cads!” Filthy animals? No son; I’m gonna go open a union made beer, delivered by a teamster, to a union grocery store. Stay strong Mikey!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      @el scotto

      Serious question for you and Mikey, if the union at a more local level creates a policy you personally disagree with, is there any recourse for you the worker to act upon?

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ 28-Cars-Later….That’s a good question. To give you an honest answer, no, your kind of stuck with whatever decision is made.

    Contrary to popular belief, it is a democratic process. Like any organization,your going to have different views,and or opinions.

    If I “personally disagree” it don’t mean squat. If there is many of us that disagree? We are like any other political body. Union Politics,while somewhat cruder,are no different than any other politics. Voter dissent is something you ignore,at your own peril.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I might work in a unique type of company then, but if there is a policy change say made by my department head I’m free to voice my opinion either in an open meeting or in private depending on the nature of my disagreement. Granted I don’t have the power to make decisions but on more than one occasion decisions were reversed or changed and suggestions implemented (in particular when we lost an experienced team member I suggested we get an intern to help until a replacement was hired. We had a summer intern within two weeks). By the same token if somewhere up the chain such as HR issues an edict we’re stuck with it.

      The reason I asked is one thing I’ve always heard about union work is policies and processes are set a certain way and you may not deviate from them. If I’m running an assembly line and one of my employees has feedback on how to improve the process in any way (or even only improve his own job) I’d be happy to implement it. Personally I believe all rules are made to broken.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Mickey
      How is it democratic in say, Michigan?

      Closed shops?

      You know the issue that scare the daylights out of diehard unionts, Right to Work rulings.

      I do support that. No one should be forced to join an institution they don’t believe in. Like religion.

      Do you support witch hunts and the Spanish Inquisition? I mean it’s based on the same philosophy. Do as we say or you have nothing.

      Doesn’t this reduce the flexibility of a business to operate? Flexibility another word union affectioncondo’s don’t like to hear either.

  • avatar

    The UAW bullied 60% of Nissan workers into signing cards. When they finally held the secret ballot only 31% of workers voted to unionize.

    This is why the UAW supported the EFCA which would have made secret ballots illegal.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      How do you know that 60% didn’t just sign the cards as a way of saying to Nissan “We’d like alittle more” vs. being bullied by strongman lurking in the alleyways or in the bushes by there driveway when they got home?

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Want to restore American auto manufacturing? Round up all the UAW leaders and activists, teach them Mandarin, give them a one way plane ticket to Shanghai, and repeal the NLRA so this never happens here again. Our problems will be solved! Sh-t, I’d offer each of them $1 million in taxpayer dollars to participate in this program. The long term benefits would be well worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      SayMyName

      The Chinese are much smarter than we are. They’d never let Bob King and his horde off the plane alive.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Bob King in China? I’d like to see that on a cable channel. Almost every union member is an activist. Most are level headed/low-key activists,showing union bumper stickers and buying union when they can. Most union leadership amplifies this activism. I’ve parked my BMW in the Teamsters parking lot with signs saying UAW Vehicles Only. Yes, I was hassled by a Teamster; I just fired back saying I was skilled trades; learn to read. Anyhow, I’m rambling. Use taxpayer money to offer severance pay to UAW leaders? Oh Lord, the political spin on that. There would be a lot of UAW “leaders” if the payout was big enough :)

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    This plant must have some major morale problems to vote in a union these days. The only growth sector for unions right now is government work. Last I heard unions were down to 8% in the private sector. They are taking a beating in Wisconsin:

    http://www.rightwisconsin.com/dailytakes/WEAC-Official-Admits-Most-Locals-Will-Not-Recertify-223560001.html

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’m fine with Unions as long as they are completely voluntary and rank and file get to decide where resources are spent regarding political campaigns.

    When unions operate this way, it’s amazing how focused they are on real issues for the due paying members and less about being political kingmakers.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’ve been biting my tongue, UAW equals poor decision making on VW’s part unless they are planning to move manufacturing out of the US.

    Will the UAW emulate the model of the German auto workers? The UAW blames Europe/Japan for the position the US manufacturers are in, not themselves or Big 3 management along with the governments.

    I think what most must realise that the UAW is supposed to protect jobs first and foremost.

    They have failed at this dismally over the past 40 years or so. How many US UAW jobs have gone to the wayside.

    The UAW has used the wrong tactics by supporting tariffs and regulations which has made the US vehicle manufacturers uncompetitive to the point where they can’t survive without them.

    Look at the US vehicle manufacturing sector, the only real American vehicles are a handful of pickups and a few cars. Most everything is Asian/Euro based. Commercial vehicles are heading that way now.

    With the UAWs influence the US auto manufacturers have turned to $hit.

    This was caused by the practices of the UAW and piss poor decision making by the Big 3 and sucessive GOPs and Dems.

    Before tackling the UAW the US must remove the ‘closed shops’ policy in some of the states like Michigan. Is this democratic? Free to work without being part of a union should be a must in any industry. Not forced to join a bunch of thugs if you don’t want.

    A slow process of removing and reducing protective regulations and tariffs must start as well.

    If a auto manufacturer goes under, sell it to the highest bidder. Let more foreign manufacturers in to build vehicles.

    VW will not stay in the US, why should they. The UAW must realise that the Eurozone will have cheap wages for the foreseeable future and outcompete the US as its wages outstrips them as well as the Japanese.

    Think about it.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    “Join Da Union or else we’ll break your legs…”

    UAW = Thugs R Us

  • avatar
    OldWingGuy

    Some interesting comments here.

    Myself ? I’ve been a union member in a closed shop, been in management in a closed shop. Worked in union and non-union companies. I don’t have an axe to grind in this one way or the other.

    I understand that in the absence of unions many years ago, North America would be a much different place. Do you really think the robber-barons of old would have parted with money willingly ? Do you think today’s Wall Street hedge fund managers have the working stiffs interest at heart ?

    By the same token, the union movement has missed the boat for decades, living off its laurels. The stronger unions became, the more and more effort of companies goes into dealing with the union. Endless negotiation over small workplace changes, dealing with restrictive jurisdiction in a changing environment, seniority promotions instead of merit, etc. Over time, the company becomes inwardly focused, instead of looking out towards the customer.

    The inward focus can exist in companies with limited competition, such as government, heavy resource based (mining, etc – you can’t pick up the mineral deposit and move), and until lately auto manufacturing.

    The sad reality is that North American manufacturing needs a strong union movement to balance the power of the investment community. But a different union approach. A union that strikes not over wage increases or job security (read: bumping clauses that make it impossible for companies to adapt), but instead strike over companies lack of R&D investment, strike over over-paid and ineffective executive suites. Perhaps this is what a VW Works Council brings to the table.

    Can the UAW learn from the past ? Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      star_gazer

      @ OldWingGuy:

      Well said. If I’m ever in your neck of the woods, I need to buy you a beverage of your choice.

    • 0 avatar
      Yeah_right

      It is a pleasent enough fantasy, but unions exist for two reasons and two only: enrich the union leadership and protect the jobs of unionized workers (which means defending the laziest, most incompentent sluggard.) The group that is responsible for making sure that R&D spend is appropriate or that management is being held accountable are the owners of the company.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Face it, VW is doomed. Add UAW’s non-existant quality to German “engineering” and they’are doomed.

    I’ll be trading in my two year old Mercedes C Class next week for a reliable car. Japanese? Of course. (Nope, Mercedes is not UAW, but they start with a design by EEs who obviously had Ds in university. Now, add UAW sh*tty construction to German D engineering…and you deserve what you get.)

    The only car(s) that were more unreliable than the Mercedes were my GM junkers.

    The UAW can shove their products up their collective smelly Obamas.

    And they can clime in right afterwards.

    FUUAW.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    GM in the ’30s put out some long and excellent film tours of their manufacturing processes. I would so love to witness the reaction of a ’30s assembler to the building, the tools, the tech..etc. in the photo here.

    What would he make of auto construction using foil-thick metals and umpteen varieties of floppy plastic layered like baklava?

  • avatar

    A union does not necessarily make a car plant produce a bad product or go bust. However, a bad union does. Case in point? Chatta…I mean, Westmoreland.

    I’ve owned three Hyundais, two of which were produced at the company’s Ulsan, South Korea plant which is home to the strongest auto worker’s union in the world. Anybody who keeps their ear to the ground on these happenings will know that the workers there threaten to strike (and occasionally do) at least once a year, sometimes more often than that. My 04 Santa Fe and 12 Elantra both came out of that plant and now at 33,000 miles (just rolled over today), my Elantra is still tight as a drum. No creaks, rattles or anything.


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