By on September 3, 2013

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Negotiations between Volkswagen and the United Auto Workers over the UAW’s possible representation of workers at VW’s Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant began last Friday, according to the German newspaper, the Handelsblatt and Automotive News. The newspaper also reported that UAW president Bob King and VW board member for human resources, Horst Neumann discussed the establishment of a German style “works council” to represent factory workers at the plant. VW and the UAW both declined comment.

VW likes the works council scheme, wherein both blue and white collar employees vote for representatives who work out labor conditions with company executives. The local works councils also elect representatives to a global council that has input into VW’s major business decisions, including product and production planning.

To satisfy U.S. labor law, which disfavors labor unions started by a company, if VW  will have to negotiate with an outside labor organization if it wants to start a works council. Back in March, Neumann said that “the UAW would be the natural partner” for a works council at the Tennessee facility, acknowledging the UAW’s ties to IG Metall, the German labor union that represents most of VW’s workers in Germany.

Bernd Osterloh, the head of VW’s global works council was present for the UAW/VW talks, according to Handelsblatt. The talks come as VW evaluates the possible expansion of the plant’s capacity from 150,000 units to a half million. VW will likely build a new mid-sized 7 passenger SUV previewed in the CrossBlue concept, either assembled in Mexico or Tennessee.

If the UAW is certified to represent VW workers, it will likely not reverse the fortunes for the union, which has had difficulty organizing foreign-owned automotive assembly plants. Efforts to organize Mercedes-Benz and Nissan transplant operations have not been successful, but some progress with VW is possible.

“I don’t see it as a renaissance that will bring the U.S. labor movement back,” Steve Silvia, an American University professor and labor expert, said. “But seeing whether they can get their foot in the door — that might work. And given the plight of the U.S. labor movement, they don’t have too many other cards to play. So they might as well play this one.”

Only a single foreign owned car or light truck assembly operation in the U.S. is organized by the UAW, a Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Ill. that inherited UAW representation when the facility began as a joint venture with Chrysler.

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119 Comments on “VW, UAW In Talks Concerning Chattanooga Plant Representation...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Dum Dum Dum.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX (formerly gslippy)

    VW is dumber than they look.

    • 0 avatar
      FordRangerFTW

      John Aaron… You are a steely-eyed missile man! And, yes, this will be the second act in the beige-ification of VW. Step 1: Bigger, softer, more cupholders. Step 2: Allow organized labor to drive up costs. Step 3: *insert malaise here*

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Did anyone ask the VW workers about any of this? From what I understand; if the UAW considers them Tier II workers, they won’t be making that much money. Kinda makes a guy/gal wonder if union dues are worth it. “Works Council”, trade union guys do that all the time.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    There’s dumb, and then there’s political. VW is a political organization. They’re doing this because they have a powerful internal faction that thinks it will be better off if VW’s international operations can’t be more efficient than their domestic ones. VW had a US factory thirty years ago. The MKI and MKII Rabbit/Golf/Jetta were the most competitive products VW ever fielded in the US. VW also opened their doors to the UAW then, allowing them to be the first transplant to fail since before WWII. See also Kenosha and NUMMI. What do they have in common that Marysville and Spartanburg do not?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      In all fairness, NUMMI ended when GM terminated their partnership – oh I know, it’s all the UAWs fault, not crappy design, uncompetitive product, channel stuffing, a bloated dealer network, stupid franchise agreements, products like the Iron Duke that self-destructed when you sat in the driver seat, signing bad deals that management agreed to, horrible business decisions, or the arrogance of senior leadership for about oh I don’t know, four decades give or take. Nope, those UAW dogs really did them in.

      There is hard evidence NUMMI worked – no one would call a Toyota Tacoma or the Toyota Corolla trash in this or any other universe, and the NUMMI built Vibe was every bit as good as the Ontario built Matrix (Matrix was not built in Freemont because it was not tooled for RHD). The entry on Wikipedia for NUMMI is in error (gasp) and if you dig into Toyota manufacturing records, you’ll see the Matrix was built in Canada. The entry for the Toyota Matrix on Wikipedia correctly identifies it built in Cambridge, Ontario, CA

      NUMMI was dropped by Toyota because it was an old facility and they had massive over capacity issues in 2009 with their new Mississippi plant sitting idle and looking for a reason to exist, and the San Antonio truck facility at about 50% of planned output. Remember, Mississippi was going to build Highlanders, errrrrr, Prii I mean, no, no, Corollas; NUMMI was an easy target when GM went BK and walked away. TSLA had to update for their one line…in the end it worked out well for all parties concerned. I’d be curious, but doubt any hard data exists, on how many line employees at Freemont returned to work with TSLA.

      By the way, not in defense of the UAW – but the history of NUMMI is well documented, and calling out NUMMI’s transfer of ownership as a UAW failure is a stretch – at best. I actually agree with the rest of the post, and lets not forget, as fondly as people remember VW products, their reliability in the 80s and beyond was errrrrrrr, questionable, They were as much a victim of the Corolla, Civic and later the Camcord in the US during the 80s as the big three.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “In all fairness, NUMMI ended when GM terminated their partnership – oh I know, it’s all the UAWs fault, not crappy design, uncompetitive product, channel stuffing, a bloated dealer network, stupid franchise agreements, products like the Iron Duke that self-destructed when you sat in the driver seat, signing bad deals that management agreed to, horrible business decisions, or the arrogance of senior leadership for about oh I don’t know, four decades give or take. Nope, those UAW dogs really did them in.”

        You said yourself that NUMMI didn’t build Iron Dukes and Cavaliers. They built Toyotas, yet they still failed. Check out the NPR “This American Life” podcast about NUMMI, then tell me the UAW is a force for good.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          We’re all entitled to our opinions, but is really necessary to rewrite history?

          NUMMI’s shutdown came from GM bailed out of it in conjunction with its bankruptcy.

          Toyota itself was also in trouble. Just as it was feeling the squeeze of the financial crisis, the company also found itself with a brand new plant in Mississippi, which was slated to build the Prius.

          Concerned about its own possible failure, TMC pulled the plug on the US Prius project. Rather than let a new plant go idle, Corolla production was moved to take the place of the Prius.

          Fremont produced a high quality product. But the facility was aging, and given its location in California, was a bit isolated from the rest of Toyota’s North American supply chain. With the collapsing car market, Toyota had to shut down something; closing down the aging facility with GM’s bankruptcy strings attached was the most logical decision.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            CJ it appears at times will go out of his way to say the sky is red damn it only because I said it was blue.

            I agree his view on NUMMI is an attempt at rewriting history, as you note further down, UAW workers under Toyota management did great, competitive work. No one would call a UAW built 1997 Corolla a piece of crap, No one, You can’t blame the person assembling a crappy design for the crappy design.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    The UAW has been one of the greatest civil rights organizations in American history. The “I have a Dream” speech that was celebrated last week was given at a joint NAACP-UAW rally in Detroit at Cobo Hall, the UAW bailed MLK out of Birmingham jail and Walter Reuther marched many times alongside Dr King. VW is one of the most progressive businesses in the world and has long had significant union participation in management.The thirdworldlike American South will be dragged kicking and screaming into the future whether it likes it or not.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The latest and most futuristic plants in the US ARE in the South. Regardless of how you feel about it, that is the more likely future of US labor when it comes to building cars.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        To building everything – and yet with all of the jobs created when you look at wealth, health, education, and social status the “prosperity” of moderate paying skilled manufacturing jobs isn’t moving the needle in states like Mississippi or Alabama.

        Of course one can point to the crumbling monuments of industrial production in Detroit like the Packard factory and go, well, that sure as Hell didn’t work out either.

        Jobs are better than no jobs, but there is a fair amount of evidence that can be pointed to that indicates that outside of the immediate locals, the expanding auto industry in the south isn’t moving the prosperity needle.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Lower wages and benefits = lower cost. That’s why it’s the future. Corporations don’t sit in meetings and discuss things like, “How can we increase our costs today?”

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        And the future of the labor movement. BTW, the big 3 have some pretty nifty factories. Chrysler is building the most advanced transmission in the world in a UAW factory.

        I think it was a big shock to some that South Korea and even some Chinese auto factories have unions. Unions will go global just like manufacturing. The Germans being the most unionized have a stake in promoting unions and I’m sure at some point the Chinese will jump in.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          As long as the supply of workers vastly outnumbers the number of jobs, this prediction isn’t likely to come true in any widespread way.

          The masses can pass all the laws they want, plants will be built elsewhere. And there will always be an elsewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            None of these plants are built without government assistance and there may someday be no more elsewheres, globalization can work both ways.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If Detroit is the “First World” in this country, I’ll take my chances with the Third World.

      And it’s funny how those “thirdworldlike” transplant operations manned by those dumb old non-union hicks in the South keep churning out vehicles that are better built and more reliable than the firstworldlike plants of the Big Three.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ geeber….An interesting point you make. Just wondering,is that just your opinion,and or your view? If that’s the case, Well, I’m cool with that. Your entitled to your opinion.

        However if your views are indeed based on hard data. Could you please share with the rest of us, your source? I’d be interested to hear about the “more reliable” VW’s that are produced in the South. As in “more reliable” compared to….?

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          The previous VWs produced in the south…

          To quote Squdbillies, “Georgia public schools. Because someone has to build America’s cars”

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          Check out the Consumer Reports annual auto issue.

          The vehicles produced by Honda, Subaru and Toyota (which includes the vehicles produced by their factories in the United States) outscore those produced by the Big Three.

          The magazine rated brands for the overall reliability of its vehicles, along with how well they performed in various tests.

          In its 2013 Annual Auto Issue, the magazine noted that “the top seven brands are Japanese, with Toyota accounting for three and Honda, two. Most Detroit brands fall toward the bottom, with several marred by subpar reliability. ” (page 15 of the April 2013 issue).

          There are some Big Three brands that do score well. Cadillac was singled out for praise by the magazine in that very issue. It was the highest ranking American brand.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I think that Mikey’s point is that quality varies by manufacturer, not by the location of the plant or whether it is unionized.

            Management dictates the design, engineering, parts quality and assembly processes. You shouldn’t fault the worker for bad designs, poor engineering, substandard parts or the lack of a good lean system.

            VW manages to build cars with iffy reliably, regardless of location. Toyota generally does well, even when the UAW is the one who is doing the assembly work.

            The fact that Fremont was a disaster with GM in charge, but an excellent facility when managed by Toyota, should alone make it clear that it’s management that makes the difference. GM blamed the problems at Fremont on the UAW, yet Toyota was able to achieve things there that GM could only dream of elsewhere in the company.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Pch101 is spot on.

            The men and woman putting together the cars are not responsible for bad design. Subaru is used above as an example of “good” quality so should I blame non-union southern workers for self-destructing head gaskets and subframe rot?

            Should I blame non-union southern workers for failed 5-speed automatics in Honda sedans?

            Should I blame non-union workers in Mississippi for building 2014 Corollas with 4-speed automatics, drum brakes, torsion beam suspension, and spiritually speaking, an engine that can trace its roots back about 20 years?

            I mean, GM W-bodies that were as reliable as the sunrise were roasted a decade ago for spiritually speaking 20 year old engines and 4-speed automatics and hard plastic interiors…

            Those bastard Mississippi workers, THEY SCREWED UP THE COROLLA!!!

            Or is it management…

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            I don’t doubt that quality varies by manufacturer or that Toyota (and Honda) plants are well-managed regardless of location. My problem is with management apologists or union boosters who refuse to realize that the transplants have made serious and beneficial changes to our domestic auto industry.

            It’s ridiculous to characterize the plants operated by Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai in this country as “thirdworldlike” (which wasn’t done by mikey).

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        The south has the worst quality of life statistics of the US, Canada and most of Europe. You can cherry pick Detroit as bad but southern industrial cities aren’t very good either.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/us-life-expectancy-shorter-in-southern-states_n_3618146.html

        Funny you should mention quality. My dad had a high skill machinist job in the north and they tried moving his job to Tennessee 3 times and failed because of poor quality. They tried to get him to move but he wouldn’t live in the south. They eventually moved his job to the most unionized place on the planet, GERMANY. They went there because they still make hard to make things because they pay their workers well. The dirty secret about the south is that to get anything done, you need to get a Yankee or an immigrant. The education system sucks for white kids let alone minorities. The only thing the south ever can brag about is low wages.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          You need to get out more and stop relying on issues of Solidarity for your information. It isn’t leaving you very well-informed.

          The transplant operations of Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai have been producing high quality vehicles that have easily matched – and, in the case of Honda and Toyota, regularly beaten – their Big Three competition in reliability, build quality and overall performance. And, in many cases, using those dumb Southerners to build them. Imagine that.

          If a company failed to get decent quality out of a plant, it was a management problem, not a worker problem. Ford has had no problem getting very good quality out of its Mexican plants.

          There is one big reason that the Big Three plants are as good as they are today – and, by historical standards, they are very good. That is because the transplant operations opened shop in this country and showed them a new way of doing business. The Big Three and the UAW were thus forced to reform or die.

          Read the book “A Savage Factory” by Robert Dewar to get an idea of what it was like to work in a Big Three plant during the 1970s. He worked at the Ford Sharonville Transmission Plant as a foreman. He tells of bored, unhappy workers; rampant racism and sexism (including the sexual assault of a female line worker by her co-workers); crappy machinery; plant management focused on production quotas above all else; and lip service by corporate headquarters to quality as it demanded more production.

          The morale was awful and the vehicles were lousy. The union didn’t care about quality, either.

          He says that friends told him of similar conditions at various GM and Chrysler plants, so this wasn’t a problem unique to Ford.

          The simple fact is that those transplant operations forced the Big Three to clean up their act and stop building junk, and we are all better off because they are doing business here. That includes, ironically enough, the UAW workers at Big Three plants, who enjoy better working conditions and more satisfying jobs today.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Thanks Geeber. Is it a good read? I’m always looking for reading material. I’ll get that on my Kindle!

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @ Geeber….Did you read “Rivethead” I don’t know about accuracy. However Ben Hamper leans a bit towards the left. {Michael Moore was his mentor.}

            Whatever, the guy is a brilliant writer. Read it, you will come away with a different view.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Mikey,

            It was an excellent book. The author, Robert Dewar, published a follow-up column on this site a few years ago.

            He returned to the Sharonville Transmission Plant around 2005, and was astonished at the transformation (for the better) of the plant, and how much better the atmosphere was for both workers and management.

            I’ve never read Mr. Hamper’s work, but, if I recall correctly, he didn’t have much good to say about GM management. I doubt that he would change my view much – I don’t have much sympathy for the “old guard” among either union or the management.

            My problem is with the domestic loyalists in both management and the union who scoff at the very real changes brought about by the Japanese transplants in North America.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @ Geeber…The changes are indeed real. For too long management,and the union ignored the competition. Around 2006 -2007 they started to wake up. However the domestics were still truck heavy.

            The summer 08 with 4.00 gas stopped the big trucks,and with it the big profits.

            We all know the rest of the story. I havn’t set foot inside the plant for 5 years. I’m told that I wouldn’t know the
            place.

            I will read that book.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s a bit of revisionist history. While Walter Reuther himself, and his brothers Roy and Victor may have welcomed blacks into the UAW, his was not a unanimous opinion and the UAW itself has somewhat of a racist history, certainly in some locals, as does much of the trade union movement, which saw blacks willing to work for lower wages as undercutting them. The U.S. labor movement has a spotty record on race. I’ll have to check but I seem to recall the Pullman porters not getting much support from organized labor until the late 1930s. Industrial unions were a bit more friendly to blacks than trade unions, but in general, the labor movement’s role in civil rights was mixed. The Knights of Labor embraced black workers, the AFL didn’t.

      I guess the uniformly racially progressive labor movement is another one of those myths about organized labor, like unions giving us the 8 hour workday, the weekend, and getting rid of child labor.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      What’s the record of UAW vs non-UAW auto companies in this country?

      Oh that’s right, Chrysler had to be bailed out TWICE by the American taxpayer, and GM once. And Detroit looks like a war zone and just went bankrupt.

      How many non-UAW car companies required a taxpayer bailout?

      But those dumb hicks in the South, they just don’t understand nothin’ about what’s best for them.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        All the non UAW companies are government sponsored by their home countries and by tax breaks in the American states they’re located in.
        Every Japanese, German and Korean company have the workers backed up by government run healthcare far more socialist than Romneycare. The Japanese carmakers profitability is pumped by their government buying down the yen to the point thier the world champion by in debt per capita,far worse than Greece. Hyundai/Kia are the posterchild for government bailout. Nissan was bailed out by the French government to help Renault to have a worldwide presence.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    I’m simply not familiar with the level of detail necessary to opine, but it will be interesting to see how the UAW could add value for the VW employees (I’m neither a union supporter or detractor). In this case, there’s only one VW plant (as far as I know). It would seem that any labor rule issues could be ironed out between local management and local workers without the need for a union. Wages and benefits could be another matter, but the union would have to deliver value for the money (dues). If we get the first whiff of nonsense (e.g. silly work rules, jobs bank, etc.), it’s time to run for the door. I couldn’t be happier to see manufacturing jobs returning to the U.S. — I hope the UAW and VW workers don’t fumble them away.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @Waterview…..The silly work rules are more, or less, gone. The skilled trades,are separated from production still. However production does do some of the more menial trades work, As per an agreement worked out with the UAW in 2009.

      The Job Banks disappeared in 2007.

      I’m not up on my US labour laws. I do believe that if the majority {50 percent plus one} vote against it there will no UAW in the plant.

      Now, if VW wants the UAW in, and the workers don’t. Who knows what the outcome may be.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        It is also worth pointing out that for US Toyota full-time workers, job banks essentially existed. Line workers in San Antonio, when the Tundra didn’t deliver expected sales volumes planted flowers and sat watching PowerPoint presentations about Toyota history. Ya, it’s better than staring at the wall and smoking, marginally at best. Do a search – easy to find stories. In San Antonio it costs way more to use factory workers to plant flowers and other “beautification” projects than hire a landscape company. Never mind that a key part of LEAN manufacturing is 100% utilization of capacity – ironically costs skyrocket as excess capacity creeps in.

        The “perk” of job banks forced Toyota’s hand on the promise of no union = no short term RIFs. I give management credit for making this decision.

        Toyota’s win was a massive war chest and what was a strong product mix (the strength of that mix easily questioned today)

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        VW may move production to Mexico if they can’t unionize the factory. The world’s greatest manufacturing nation’s iconic auto manufacturer thinks different than the Tea Party, imagine that?

        “Last week, VW Group deputy works council chief Stephan Wolf threatened to block expansion in Chattanooga unless a similar labor panel is put into place at the factory.

        But in Tennessee, jobs apparently aren’t a good enough reason to shirk ideology. Gov. Bill Haslam says he is wary of what unionization at VW would mean to other industries across the state. He must mean that the precedent of actually treating workers fairly would be set and thus undermine Tennessee’s sterling image as a bastion of anti-worker policies.

        “The alternative for VW is to move their operation to Mexico. This would be bittersweet for pro-unionists as Haslam and his anti-union lot in Washington would effectively become accomplices to outsourcing. They care little, though, I’m sure. This is American politics: Jobs can easily be created and workers can have their voices strengthened, but a few billionaires are willing to spend a couple bucks to throw it all away.”

        http://wepartypatriots.com/wp/2013/06/28/vw-wants-to-unionize-its-tn-plant-but-anti-union-beltway-insiders-are-trying-to-stop-them/

        • 0 avatar

          I think this whole discussion is pretty amazing. VW wants to sit organized workers on the board to give them a greater voice, and in case people aren’t noticing, a greater stake in the more efficient running of the plant. It’s amazing that in this day and age people still actively persecute organized labor. Sure organized labor has excesses, but so does the opposition.

          Call me perplexed.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “VW may move production to Mexico if they can’t unionize the factory.”

          VW wants subsidies. Naturally, it’s going to pit at least two locations against each other, so that it can negotiate more favorable terms.

          “The world’s greatest manufacturing nation’s iconic auto manufacturer thinks different than the Tea Party, imagine that?”

          I think that it’s fair to say that IG Metall, VW’s union in Germany, is the one that is pushing for unionizing Chattanooga. As the union has representation on the German works council, it is able to force the issue.

          I don’t know how deeply VW’s institutional memory runs, but the experience in Pennsylvania was a disaster. VW’s Americanization of the Rabbit doomed it to failure, but regardless, relations with the UAW were terrible at that time and strikes were commonplace.

          I suspect that things would be easier this time around, but it’s hard to imagine that anyone would want to repeat the Westmoreland experience. The UAW gets no bragging rights at all for how it drove VW out of here the first time around.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      VW’s greatest problem isn’t with the union or lack thereof, but with its general inability to understand the US market.

      It needs crossovers that it doesn’t have. It wants to bring back a Phaeton that has no place here, solely due to the inflated ego of one man in Germany. It enjoy the occasional hit, but offsets those with more than its share of misses.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    If the UAW become involved with VW, you can kiss VW America’s ass goodbye.

    The UAW will destroy VW in the US. The UAW want input with no strings attached. They never assume responsibility and expect the taxpayer to bail them out.

    The Big Three are only still afloat and not owned by overseas interest because of the US taxpayers and draconian protectionism (support and enforced by the UAW).

    What a loss for VW. I hope the Asian NA manufacturers don’t become involved with the UAW.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Big Al from Oz….The “draconian protectionism” {support and enforced by the UAW}..? I guess you refer to the “Chicken Tax” on trucks. If there is a draconian protectionism on cars, could you expand on that, with some hard facts

      How exatly does the UAW “enforce” that particular tax? Do they have paid thugs with baseball bats,at all ports of entry? Or maybe the UAW uses lobbyists? Is that a violation of some law? If that’s the case??? Wow! there whole lot of people breaking laws eh?

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Big Al’s anti-union propaganda makes for “truthy” narratives but are not grounded in reality. He thinks America suffers because we don’t get the opportunity to buy Mahindaras and Tatas because of the “chicken tax”.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Guys
        Also the refusal of the UAW and NA Big 3 to become part of the world with protectionist regulations that haven’t made any real impact on vehicle safety.

        You must admit the UAW, historically have a pretty bad track record and they blame management for the error of their ways.

        Sorry, from what I’ve read the UAW sucks and destroys US jobs. Without all of those trade barriers that are supported and enforced by the UAW the US could be the worlds largest vehicle exporter.

        It’s not just the chicken tax, but a plethora of barriers.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @BAFO…You are aware that the domestics only have about 50 percent of the N.A market.

          So your so called “trade barriers” really aren’t that effective eh?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Domestics?

            Isn’t a Toyota/VW/Kia etc made in the US domestic?

            It isn’t according to the UAW. Well where are they manufactured?

            The domestic manufactured vehicles in the US totals 75% of the market, not 50%

            Another UAW untruth. Hey but the other manufacturers aren’t unionised, so they mustn’t be American, right?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – It’s a language “barrier” you’re up against. Simply building in North America doesn’t make offshore OEMs “domestics”.

            And by having a major stake in the US Market, it’s these offshore OEMs (Toyota, VW, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, etc) that stand the most to lose from worldwide free-trade and regs harmonization.

            Big 3 domestics have little or not much to lose here in the US, but have TREMENDOUS potential from the opening of new markets around the world.

            The top offshore OEMs (selling in the US) are already in every meaningful market around the world. Ask yourself who’s doing all the lobbying for what you call “trade barriers” in DC?

            Not only would these offshore OEMs take a tremendous loss here in the US from any and all OEMs from around the globe, but would then have to compete with US ‘Big 3′ autos, SUVs and trucks in places they’d never dreamed of… Like Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverMike
            Again you illustrate how little knowledge and insight into the vehicle industry you have. Your UAW training is deluding you.

            How can true global vehicles be affected if the US adopt a more liberal attitude towards the motor vehicle industry?

            The US not the globe is losing out. If the US had an open market and adopted the same regulations as most others then you wouldn’t have required Euro and Asian designs to prop up your manufacturers.

            Isn’t this using of other designs and ideas show you that a failure within the Big has occurred?

            Your commercial vehicles will gradually adopt better designed vehicles as well. This process of change is already occurring.

            One day you UAW stalwarts will accept that your idealology is destroying the US vehicle industry.

            I thought you socialists/UAW are liberal? Maybe not, you are selfish and only worry about yourselves even if you send a company/country broke.

            The UAW know they have created an uncompetitive environment. They are staunchly hanging onto the socialist protectionist barriers as long as they can. Even if it screws everyone over.

            Do you think the US public will again just bail you UAW guys out? I would think again. Next time the Chinese might even buy the remaining Big 2 out.

            Who owns the legendary US Hummer brand?

            You are a blind fool being lead by an equally foolish organisation in the UAW.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “adopted the same regulations as most others”

            This “everyone but the US” argument is complete nonsense. Why you insist on repeating such a blatantly inaccurate statement like a broken record, I have no idea.

            Go try importing cars built to Latin America, Middle Eastern or African spec into Europe, and see how far you get. Hint: If they are under ten years old, their importation will not be permitted.

            And guess what? You won’t get those cars into Australia or Japan, either. Their standards are too high to permit cars that get zero stars on the Latin NCAP.

            There are no true universal standards. There is an UN agreement that has done little to harmonize standards. Some components have been harmonized to some extent, but the cars as a whole product have not been.

            The US has high standards. It was the first to institute crash test standards. It was the first to introduce unleaded fuel. Euro NCAP was inspired by NHTSA testing methods (but aren’t as stringent.)

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – Use your head, mate. The global OEMs that have “made it” in US, don’t exactly want the Tatas of the world to move in next door and setting up shop, after complete harmonization and the dropping of all import duties.

            I agree US OEMs are losing out the most, but it’s not up to the US to harmonize. US regulators are only concerned with safety on US roads and the idea of compromising those would create a huge conflict. Harmonization may also never happen because UNECE regs are set up to make US OEMs incompatible and to protect the EU market from possible US imports.

            Obviously Big 3 OEMs have the most to gain from harmonization/free trade on the world market and the least to lose at home.

            So what the heck makes you think Big 3 OEMs are behind a push for keeping “barriers” alive? And these barriers are a minor hiccup for OEMs or cars that actually sell. Don’t kid yourself. That “26% equivalent” you keep bringing up is an absolute joke. Completely ridiculous. You can not back that up anything. Pure propaganda started by Big 3 OEMs and the UAW no less… Garbage.

            Big 2 OEMs failed for too many reasons. If it was for “uncompetitive” cars, how have they changed since pre bailout? Are they that much better now? We have an offshore OEM saturation of about 50% of the US market, “barriers” and all… So has that changed dramatically?

            And Hummer was only “legendary” in their owner’s minds. They were re-skinned Chevy Tahoes and Blazers with skidplates and BFGs. Who cared?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DlM
            The manufacturers that made it in the US. What a joke, they are only there because of the US taxpayer.

            Really Tata? WTF? Again you come out with some inane and asinine comment.

            It’s not the OEMs keeping the barriers alive now. It’s you guys at the UAW and the left wing Bin Banana left wing government you have.

            Are all you socialist the same. Utopia doesn’t exist DlM. The American taxpayer will soon get sick of your UAW socialism.

            You UAW guys shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what an American can and can’t drive.

            You guys are really subversive in the way you operate with tariffs (overt) and the technical barriers (overt).

            Once you screw over the Big 3 and lose jobs what will you do.

            The only real money earner is full size pickups. These are useless outside the US unless your an enthusiast.

            Really DlM your comments reek of bull$hit, smoke and mirrors.

            Provide links to justify your comment as your wisdom is very clouded by UAW propaganda.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – No, I said the “global OEMs” that have “made it” in the US. Why would they be looking forward to competing with Tata? Or others similar to Tata? And what’s wrong with Tata? They have a full line of smaller cars, SUVs and trucks. Or which global OEMs do you think Toyota, VW, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Kia, Subaru, and Mitsu have to fear the most in the US?

            Either way, bailing out failing businesses doesn’t make us a socialist regime. Unions are don’t normally suck on the taxpayer teat and we’re already sick of the UAW. So what?

            Technical “barriers” only exist to protect the health, safety and fuel expenses or Americans. “Overt” is all in your simple mind and makes excuses for weak global products.

            The tariff “barriers” the US imposes on import cars is among the lowest in the world. Australia’s are 100% greater and Europe’s are 400% greater. So who’s the “socialists”?

            And I’m not throwing out obscene/comical statements like “a 26% tax equivalent” with nothing whatsoever to back that up.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DlM
            Yet again you author another piece of UAW propaganda.

            If the cost to the US vehicle consumer is 8 billion dollars a year to change vehicle design to suit the anti competitive US design regs (and produce vehicles that assist in giving the US one of the highest fatality rates of an advanced economy) and the US sells approximately 16 million vehicles a year, what is the cost per vehicle?

            With some relatively simple arithmetic it amounts to a staggering $1 000 extra per vehicle the consumer has to pay. Now 25% of vehicles are imported and from what mikey stated 50% are made in America by the Big 3.

            Now you are telling me that the manufacturers of non-Big 3 vehicles in the US are happy with that? Don’t you think if the cost of a non-Big 3 vehicle was $1 000 less per vehicle you UAW guys would really cry foul that it isn’t fair that you can’t compete even within the US.

            Keep on mis-informing your UAW crap DlM. Keep on spinning Spinner.

            Provide a link to prove me wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAF0 – How am I supposed to prove your outlandish propaganda “wrong”? You might as well be claiming Bigfoot really exists, because I wouldn’t know where to begin to disprove that one either. Try providing links to your ridiculous claims.

            Not that you’ll provide link, but if US consumer buy 8 million non Big 3 vehicles, at say $35K each, they’re spending 280 billion total. Now that “8 billion dollars” is more like 2.8% instead of the “26% tax equivalent” you claimed earlier.

            You’re all over the “map” and yet to prove any of your wild claims. You’re not fooling anyone here and you should take your propaganda to kids on YouTube…

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I still do not understand why the UAW is making such an all-out effort to organize in a right to work state. They’re not staying awake at night fretting over the poor abused workers in Chattanooga; they need an infusion of dues-paying bodies. The TN law is explicitly clear, you can’t force someone to join a union or pay ten cents a month in dues if they don’t want to. The UAW could win their election by 50% +1 vote, and then come to find that only the +1 vote actually deigns to become a dues-paying member. They’d be in worse shape than before the campaign.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      VW will move without worker councils.

      One of the world’s greatest manufacturing cultures pisses on Tennessee’s “right to work ” laws. They don’t like the guns in the parking lot crap either.

      This is a wake up call for the south to join the first world.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        My question still stands: suppose the works council and the UAW get into VW; then what? Do you seriously believe a significant number of workers are going to start paying dues to get pretty much what they’re already getting? If the almighty works council couldn’t stop VW from building a billion dollar plant in TN, they sure as hell can’t force VW to walk away from it. If one of “the world’s greatest manufacturing cultures” has that much of a problem with the laws of 24 of our states, (regarding either right-to-work or firearms ownership) they should teach us a lesson and stop taking our dirty money. We’ll survive better than they will.

        The South needs to join the first world…of union corruption and political cronyism. Because it worked so well there.

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          Yeah like Senator Bob Corker representing Tennessee and Wall Street is so honest and upright.
          http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=n00027441

          http://firedoglake.com/2008/12/04/corker-their-subsidies-are-socialism-ours-are-just-good-business/

          You can make sport of the city of Detroit’s plight but they had a good 4 or 5 generation run and there were a lot more problems than those that they try to blame on unions

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      Yeah, Walter Reuther risked his life fighting for African American civil rights to gain dues paying members. He must have been stupid, he could have got white guys just as easy to pay dues.

      • 0 avatar

        As mentioned above, the UAW’s role in civil rights is mixed. There were antiblack strikes by UAW locals in the 1940s and 1950s, when blacks were placed in skilled positions, and earlier the white UAW leadership resisted calls from black UAW activists to endorse the civil rights movemeent. This book, not written by someone on the right, catalogs some of that history, you can find the relevant excerpts on Google books:

        Racism: From Slavery to Advanced Capitalism
        By Carter A. Wilson

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          The UAW was like Jesus compared to the South’s general treatment of African Americans!

          You hold unions to impossible standards while holding management harmless!

          “Toward the end of his life, when he took the UAW out of the AFL-CIO for a short-lived alliance with the Teamsters union, and marched with the United Farm Workers in Delano, California, Reuther seemed to be dissatisfied, looking for the ability to challenge the injustices that had made the union movement so vital in the 1930s. He strongly supported the Civil Rights movement; Reuther was an active supporter of African American civil rights and participated in both the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs (August, 1963) and the Selma to Montgomery March (March, 1965). He stood beside Martin Luther King Jr. while he made the “I Have A Dream” speech, during the 1963 March on Washington. Although critical of the Vietnam War, he supported Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and met weekly with President Johnson during 1964–65. He was instrumental in mobilizing UAW resources to minimize the threat that George Wallace would win more than ten percent of union votes (Wallace won about nine percent in the North).
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Reuther

          It’s also a fact that the wonderful Japanese put all their first factories in as lily white areas as possible and to this day have no African American executives and very few minority dealers.

          • 0 avatar

            “You hold unions to impossible standards while holding management harmless!”

            I don’t believe that I said anything at all about management. I was just correcting the historical record. Walter Reuther supported civil rights for blacks, but that was not a universal attitude within the UAW. There were racist strikes by UAW locals over the hiring of blacks for skilled positions. Black labor activists had their own struggle internally in the UAW. Those are the historical facts.

            I know that post the GOP’s supposedly appealing to southern whites in 1968 (the “southern strategy” myth has been amply disproven), we’re supposed to forget about Jim Crow, eugenics, and other racist attitudes having had their homes in the Democratic party and among progressives.

            History, though, is still history and the history is that the UAW had a mixed record on race.

            America has had no genocides so I’m not sure that Asians and Europeans are in any position to lecture Americans about race relations but that’s completely unrelated to the historical record concerning racism within the U.S. labor movement.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Billfrombuckhead
            I think your view on the US vehicle industry is from the 50s and 60s. Back then the US vehicle market represented nearly 40-50% of global demand.

            The US (along with Canada/Australia/NZ) had the income and means to afford to operate large vehicles.

            The Big 3 along with the UAW put in place barriers and tariffs starting back in the 60s. DOT was formed back then as well to counter the Euro invasion, so was the chicken tax.

            The US can no longer afford not to play ball with everyone else. Like I have stated the Big 3 need Euro/Asian design and technology for vehicles.

            Only pickups (and a few low volume vehicles) are truly of US design even then pickups are based on low technology.

            Outside of the US pickups are being designed, fantastic pickups as a matter of fact. When the US (UAW/manufacturers/government) realises that the CAFE approach embedded with design regs that aren’t any safe than UNECE design regs that aren’t giving the US citizens safer vehicles then you will again need to use external designs.

            It’s a real pity that the US is so reliant on these external technologies and can’t create an export market due to the isolationist UAW views of the world.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Sorry to get worked up about this but the anti-union crowd always thinks globalization works for them and against unions but they could get some surprises as South Korea, Brazil, India and Communist China start exerting their muscles. The American south is changing with more immigrants and racially mixed marriages slowly breaking down the old order. Europe won’t always be down either, their real problems have Goldman Sachs fingerprints all over them and I think they know that better than Americans do.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @billfrombuckhead
      Well, read the title of the article? I think it is about the UAW.

      You can support the UAW I don’t mind. There are people who support freedom and capitalism as well.

      It takes all types to make up the world, winners and as you know losers.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        I guess Germany isn’t free and not the world’s greatest exporter because it doesn’t adhere to your rigid ideology.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @billfrombuckhead
          Do the Germans have their own set of design rules? Do the German design rules equate to an equivalent 26% tax?

          Do the German auto workers’ union try and ensure Germany only builds cars for Germans?

          No they don’t the German auto workers realise that the world is their oyster and build design and allow imports of all types in.

          It’s the US/Canada that are the odd ones out. And nowadays the US is representing less and less of the global vehicle demand.

          Why? Because of the insular view held by the UAW, Big 3 (2) and government.

          If the US had a truly competitive market it would be designing, developing and exporting many more vehicles.

          Protectionism is the biggest killer of innovation and progress, just what the UAW want.

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            I tend to agree with the export. With tafta we have a great opportunity to build cars for European consumption.

            But Al you must realize We have “not invented here” cultural problem. We have to make up everything for ourselves even if an existing standard already exists.

            Hell we still don’t use the metric system (sort of ), but we have a government that comes out and says you can use whatever you want. Well no i can’t because gas is sold in us gallons, road signs are not in metric. That about the only thing stopping me. Packages are dual labeled ( thank god because i don’t know half our units, since i used metric nearly exclusively in school ).

            Some people claimed the metric system was communist when they tried to adopt it. I kid you not. This happens all the time. The new big things is calling everything socialist. When we don’t even have a left party mind you. Only center, and center right.

            Anyway enough ranting for a day.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @onus
            I’ve been lucky with metrification. In the US I learnt the US imperial system, then as a kid I had to learn the British imperial system, then we went to metric.

            My argument is to those whose defend the position the US has. I feel this is to the detriment of Americans.

            I would love to see the US lead in vehicle design and exports. But it isn’t possible with the current regime of tariffs and barriers.

            The US is now actively trying to gain FTAs, for FTAs to work a level playing field is needed. The US needs this to maintain as much influence as possible.

            I’m actually in the centre of politics, I know our UAW guys will be shocked to hear this.

            I just don’t like subsidisation or any organisation/institution that promotes/supports that type of activity.

            I believe in public health and welfare for those that truly require it. But not one industry should have welfare. If an industry can’t compete, get rid of it.

            This will make for more competitive and progressive business. Locking your borders in industry and agriculture is why most of the Western world is broke.

            Public health, providing education and welfare to the unemployed isn’t.

            Protecting and providing support to business makes them less productive and creative.

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            @ Big al

            I use the everyday units of US customary. But, i still never remember how many feet are in a mile. Just things like that. If i don’t user it everyday its not worth remembering. I’m not a engineer and i work with computers where everything is metric.

            I’m a center guy myself. I used to call myself a libertarian but the Idiots called the Tea Party ruined it for us libertarians. Those idiots don’t understand half of the crap they are supposed to represent. Plus I’ve found we need some services and protections in our lives and not all regulation is bad but helpful. I’m all for protection of people’s rights and freedom and the reduction of protectionist regulation.

            I also am socially liberal. If people want to do stuff to themselves and another consenting person or many. Have at it as long as it doesn’t harm me physically.

            I totally agree on the business and having them lock themselves into a market. They should face the world and competitors. That makes a stronger business.

            I also agree that the current attack we have on here on tiny benefits like social security, unemployment, food stamps, is just sad.

            I know quite a few people who would starve without food stamps and not because they don’t work hard and are lazy, etc. They just haven’t had easy life. On top of that they hope they don’t get sick since they have no health insurance.

            I think a bunch of people need to be dumped into a third world country and fend for themselves. We should look out for our people. There is a balance to be found between our people and capitalism.

            Companies need to pay their way. No bail outs when they screw up. We can’t have capitalism when money is good and not when they screw up. The average business doesn’t have that luxury.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    “VW’s Chattanooga plant is the only facility the automaker operates in the whole world that isn’t represented by a union of some sort, and US labor law apparently requires that an outside body, such as the UAW, be involved in any such negotiations. Horst Neumann, the board member for human resources at VW, said in March that “The UAW would be a natural partner,” but that any deal would “depend on negotiations.” It would seem those negotiations are now underway in earnest.”

    http://www.autoblog.com/2013/09/03/vw-uaw-union-negotiations-chattanooga/#aol-comments

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      No they don’t. The workers can create their own organization instead of letting the UAW stagger in. Call it a guild or something. Workers pay low dues which cover the costs of keeping a labor law firm on retainer. Something in the order of $42/month per worker. $40/month per worker for paying the employment law firm, $1 per month administration, $1 for a lobbyist at the state legislature. No endorsement of political candidates or poltical causes without a 3/4 majority. All workers pay 1/5 of a vacation hour per month for a negotiation team bank to cover the negotiation team’s lost wages for contract negotiation every 3 years. All local control. Sound pie in the sky? It’s how my wife’s co-workers dumped AFSCME from her place of employment. Lower dues, a better contract, local control.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Probably best to leave the UAW out of this.

  • avatar
    dmw

    I see the cold war is getting fought real hard here, for old times, but the irony of the discussion is that what VW wants to do is what it does everyday in Germany. This terrible disaster that the UAW supposedly has wants to vistit upon this land, by meddling in management, is the law of the land in Germany and the Netherlands, where firms with more than, I think, 30 employees, must have labor on its advisory board. VW is doing quite OK in Europe, in profits and marketshare, while mollycoddling unions.

    In any case, U.S. states do not require two-tiered boards for corporations, so there is will be no “german style works council” for the UAW to sit on. They will get some kind of faux board representation, which will delight them, but bring no power to disrupt management. And it will make VW look like a true hero of the Sozialmarktwirtschaft. A win-win-win.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    And just one more thing about Walter Reuther from wikipedia.

    “On May 9, 1970, Reuther, his wife May, architect Oscar Stonorov, and also a bodyguard, the pilot and co-pilot were killed when their chartered Lear-Jet crashed in flames at 9:33 p.m. Michigan time. The plane, arriving from Detroit in rain and fog, was on final approach to the Pellston, Michigan, airstrip near the union’s recreational and educational facility at Black Lake, Michigan.[13]
    In October 1968, a year and a half before the fatal crash, Reuther and his brother Victor were almost killed in a small private plane as it approached Dulles airport. Both incidents are amazingly similar; the altimeter in the fatal crash was believed to have malfunctioned. When Victor Reuther was interviewed many years after the fatal crash he said “I and other family members are convinced that both the fatal crash and the near fatal one in 1968 were not accidental.” The FBI still refuses to turn over nearly 200 pages of documents pertaining to Walter Reuther’s death, and correspondence between field offices and J. Edgar Hoover.[14] Reuther had earlier survived an April 1948 incident in which he was hit by a shotgun blast through his kitchen window. Reuther happened to turn towards his wife, and was hit in the arm instead of the chest and heart. The crime was never solved.[15]
    Walter Reuther appears in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
    He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1995 by President Bill Clinton.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Reuther

    Barry Goldwater said Reuther was the most dangerous man in America.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    “I know that post the GOP’s supposedly appealing to southern whites in 1968 (the “southern strategy” myth has been amply disproven), we’re “supposed to forget about Jim Crow, eugenics, and other racist attitudes having had their homes in the Democratic party and among progressives.

    History, though, is still history and the history is that the UAW had a mixed record on race.

    America has had no genocides so I’m not sure that Asians and Europeans are in any position to lecture Americans about race relations but that’s completely unrelated to the historical record concerning racism within the U.S. labor movement.”

    Like Jefferson said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts. If you believe there was no GOP “Southern Strategy” and we didn’t have a genocide of Native Americans then we have nothing to talk about. Hitler used America’s treatment of the Native Americans as a model and precedent for the holocaust.

    I guess the audio of Lee Atwater’s explaining the “Southern Strategy” is a hoax.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/13/1161225/-Jimmy-Carter-s-grandson-strikes-again#

    It’s funny how white Republicans keep telling African Americans that they’re the good guys and today’s Democrats are the racists but African Americans just won’t believe them for some reason.

    I’ll put Walter Reuther’s ethics and morality up against any Republican since Abraham Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If you really believe that your posts about events that happened a half century ago are going to get people to buy a Chrysler 200 instead of a Honda Accord, or a Dodge Dart instead of a Toyota Corolla…good luck with that.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Union states buy more union cars, it’s just a fact. As poor WalMart and fast food workers unionize maybe some of them will support the UAW as well. Our extended family has over 30 UAW built cars, a Suzuki and a Prius.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          The percentage of workers who are union members has been declining since the 1950s, and shows no sign of reversing direction in any meaningful way. Relying on union workers to buy Big Three vehicles is not a strategy for long-term sales growth.

          The two best-selling passenger cars in this country are the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, and this is unlikely to change in the future.

          This isn’t surprising, given the number of Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members around here who drive Hondas and Toyotas.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            The UAW built F150, GM fullsize truck, the Ram truck are the 3 most profitable vehicles in the world. The next 4 are union built German cars, then the Lexus RX and then the made in Detroit Grand Cherokee, the Accord, the union built Porsche 911 and then the Camry.

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/the-12-most-profitable-vehicles-since-1990/

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            There is no denying that the percentage of workers who are union members has been declining in this country for decades. Union members are not maintaining sales of those vehicles, which was your original contention. There aren’t enough of them. Your post does not even address that point.

            It’s also interesting to note that those profitable GM and Chrysler pickups and Grand Cherokees didn’t prevent their makers from filing for bankruptcy a few years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      walleyeman57

      Bill,

      The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Firedog Lake, are left wing socialist rags. I know this because I visit them and antagonize the members with facts.

      Reading between the lines, it should be up to the workers if they want to join a union or council. This should not be forced on them because they would not vote the UAW in. What you fail to realize is that many in the south are proud of their own skills, work ethic, ability to bargain, and to make up their own mind. They do not want or need a union to tell them what to think, how many job classifications there should be or even how many hours they are permitted to work.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Indeed. Apparently some people think some ideas are so great, they simply must be forced upon others.

        • 0 avatar
          walleyeman57

          Liberalism-Ideas so good they are MANDATORY.

          The UAW working to produce the best workers building the best cars.

          http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/mikeshedlock/2012/12/13/union-victory-chrysler-reinstates-13-workers-fired-for-drinking-on-the-job-n1465518

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Linking to right-wing blogs and left-wing blogs as evidence of anything merely proves that there are right-wingers and left wingers who write blogs.

            You and Bill both need to extract yourselves from your respective echo chambers and make an effort to be objective about it. The fact is that VW is pushing for a works council, and it has determined that US law requires that workers belong to some sort of union in order to participate in a works council.

            The workers in Chattanooga don’t have to agree to the union, but it’s ultimately their decision as a matter of law. Neither you nor Bill have any say-so in the matter (thankfully.)

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            It’s mandatory that one pays money to be on a toll road or to cross the on the toll bridge or to pay for the volunteer fire department. I seem to recall firemen let a house of 2 burn down because the libertarian homeowners didn’t pay their dues to the local fire department.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        As a small businessman and car salesman in the south, I’m not impressed with southern education system or southern work ethic. All I’ve seen for 30 years is lazy white guys standing around bitching that blacks that don’t work. Almost every dealership large and small is run by Yankees.

        I’m blessed to be raised in a union family in a union town and wished I never moved south as it goes backward every year. These southern right to work for less states almost all have high unemployment. South Carolina is 37th,Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee are tied for 40th, Georgia is tied for 46th with Michigan and North Carolina is 48th. The has very little to brag about when it comes to employment especially wages, healthcare and quality of life.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          I attended my wife’s 20-year class reunion three years ago. She graduated from a high school in western Pennsylvania. What amazed me was how many of her classmates now live in North Carolina. All of them are happy there.

          For that matter, a few of our friends have moved to Texas and Tennessee from Pennsylvania within the last decade, and they all love their new homes.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            Pittsburgh recently rated most intelligent city.

            If you live in North Atlanta, Asheville, Charlotte, it’s acceptable but the rural and suburban areas suck a big one. Decaying industrial towns like Macon, Cartersville, Toccoa, Bremen and Dalton are like bad movies. Georgia has an unemployment rate the same as Michigan’s and North Carolina has an even worse unemployment rate. A lot of Yankees get good jobs and opportunities
            in the South because of the failed education system and the sorry local work ethic.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            If you think that the South is that bad, while everything north of the Mason-Dixon Line is some sort of paradise, you’ve obviously never been to North Philadelphia, decaying steel towns outside of Pittsburgh (Aliquippa, for example), Cleveland, Detroit, Flint, the Bronx or certain parts of Brooklyn.

            If the job prospects for Yankees were so great in their home states, they would have stayed there in the first place. The people I know who have moved didn’t move for the fun of it, or on a lark. They moved to get better jobs that were not available in Pennsylvania.

            They have moved to the South because that is where the jobs are, as this report shows:

            “Much of the discussion about American economic recovery and growth in 2012 focused on the usual suspects: regions on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and on the shores of the Great Lakes. But the best recent economic record, as well as the best prospects for future prosperity, are to be found elsewhere in the United States.

            “We have identified four regions of the country that we call ‘growth corridors.’ What they lack in media attention they make up for in past performance and likely future success. Over the past decade-and, in some cases, far longer-these regions have created more jobs and gained more population than their counterparts along the ocean coasts or along the Great Lakes.

            “The four growth corridors are:

            “1. The Great Plains region, made up of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.

            “2. The ‘Third Coast’ stretch of counties whose shores abut the Gulf of Mexico and which range through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida.

            “3. The ‘Intermountain West,’ consisting of counties in the north of New Mexico and Arizona, parts of eastern California and western regions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, as well as the non-coastal eastern regions of Oregon and Washington and all of Idaho, Utah, and Nevada.

            “4. The ‘Southeast Manufacturing Belt’ of counties in eastern Arkansas, all of Tennessee, and large swaths of Kentucky, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and southwestern Virginia.

            “These regions have different histories and different trajectories into the future, but they share certain key drivers of economic growth: lower costs (particularly for housing); better business climates; and population growth. Some have benefited from the strong global market for commodities, particularly food, natural gas, and oil. Others are expanding because of a resurgence in manufacturing in the United States.”

            Read all about it here: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_75.htm#.UiiM7iTD-Ul

            Given the quality of the vehicles produced by the factories owned by Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Nissan located in the South, I wouldn’t disparage those southerners. The vehicles rolling out of those plants have certain matched – and mostly exceeded – their Big Three competition in quality.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        They can think for themselves not to work for a union oriented company like VW they join the rest of south’s unemployed.

        Facts are facts for all the talk how how great “right to work for less is” the south leads the nation in unemployment as well as failed education systems, failed healthcare systems, poor quality of life but you do have good college football.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          Except, of course, that the VW workers can look at the workers in the Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai plants located in the South. Those workers have declined the chance to join the UAW, and they are not unemployed.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    So when can the Chattanooga workers start smoking dope and drinking 40’s on their breaks?

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      Only if they share their meth and oxycontin.

      It’s amazing how much drug abuse goes on in smalltown white America.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Jacob_coulter…. Don’t kid yourself dude. Put me in that plant for 2 or 3 shifts. I could point out the ones that are stoned, and drunk everyday.

      Factory work, is factory work, union, or no union. VW is no different from any other large manufacturing facility. There will be a small percentage of the workers with a substance abuse problem.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Little inside info here boys and girls. If your planning to share a faty with your buddies in the plant, outside at the loading dock is the place to to burn one.
    Another fact. I spent my last 11 years at GM Oshawa as a shipper, receiver. The same truckers deliver to all the assembly plants. GM Toyota, Ford, Chrysler and Honda.
    By law, truckers are required to do a “walk around” their rig before they leave the dock.
    The truckers would tell “no matter what plant your servicing, theres always somebody smokin a doobie. That incudes Honda, Toyota,and all the suppliers.

    I hope I havn’t shattered any illusions.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      A time-honored manufacturing tradition. Back in the ’70s at the steel mill they called it getting baked. Midnight shift in the MetLab would have half the test-prep people shuffle outside and stick the few straight arrows with their work during their 2-hour “lunch break”.

      Couldn’t say boo about it because even back then they were untouchable in the political climate. The union would do a high-profile evisceration of the poor fool manager who attempted to discipline them. He’d be lucky to keep a job chiseling slag out of pig cars and relining them with bricks.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Unions helped make America great and the stifling of unions has made America less great.The middleclass is dependent on the strength of unions. Those southern non union workers wouldn’t make very much and have worse conditions without the threat of union activity. The economic race to the bottom embraced by libertarians has diminished the American middleclass for the benefit of the Wall Street banksters. Yeah the working class libertarians are free all right, free to be poor, worked to death, undereducated and without healthcare.

    VW is trying to show Chattanooga a better way if those workers can grow beyond the dismally failed Confederate libertarian paradigm.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Bill,

      I was USW in the ’70s until they chained the gates.

      Give it a rest.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        First, the fact is that when unions are stronger the economy as a whole does better. Unions restore demand to an economy by raising wages for their members and putting more purchasing power to work, enabling more hiring. On the flip side, when labor is weak and capital unconstrained, corporations hoard, hiring slows, and inequality deepens. Thus we have today both record highs in corporate profits and record lows in wages.

        Second, unions lift wages for non-union members too by creating a higher prevailing wage. Even if you aren’t a member your pay is influenced by the strength or weakness of organized labor. The presence of unions sets off a wage race to the top. Their absence sets off a race to the bottom.

        Unfortunately, the relegation of organized labor to tiny minority status and the fact that the public sector is the last remaining stronghold for unions have led many Americans to see them as special interests seeking special privileges, often on the taxpayer’s dime. This thinking is as upside-down as our economy.

        Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2013/01/29/viewpoint-why-the-decline-of-unions-is-your-problem-too/#ixzz2e4Z0Pgah

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          idée fixe

          And aren’t we both a little old to climb up on soapboxes?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I don’t even know why I’m bothering anymore, but you have it backwards. Strong unions don’t drive the economy any more than any other sector of non-unionized workers. In case you haven’t checked lately, UAW wages aren’t higher than their non-union counterparts. Unions tend to do better when the economy is on the upswing, like everyone else.

          Apparently, the Universe revolves around the local union hall.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Yeah the working class libertarians are free all right, free to be poor, worked to death, undereducated and without healthcare.”

      With at least some chance of employment that they never had 30 years ago, they are also free to change all those things. Because of the favorable business climate in these areas, and the UAWs once strong stranglehold control of production in the North, people in the South now have the option to work in auto assembly plants.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      Hey geeber! WHAT ABOUT THE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATES IN THE SOUTH. EXPLAIN THAT!

      Georgia used to have 2 high paying UAW factories in Atlanta for over 50 years now it has one low paying Kia factory. These right to work southern states still have high unemployment despite low wages and weak worker rights. Georgia is tied with Michigan for unemployment despite having “right to work for less” laws.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Hey, Bill, it might help to check which particular states have the highest unemployment rates. The worst ten, with the worst ranked first, are:

        1. Nevada
        2. Illinois
        3. Rhode Island
        4. North Carolina
        5. Michigan
        6. Georgia
        7. California
        8. New Jersey
        9. District of Columbia
        10. Tennessee

        That ranking is for July 2013. Let’s see…six of those states are north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and five of them are solid “blue” states (Nevada is more purple, due to an influx of Californians). The District of Columbia, meanwhile, is anything but a bastion of conservatism or free-market libertarianism run amok.

        How do you explain that?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Hey Bill, here are the ten states with the highest unemployment rates (based on the July 3012 figures). The worst (Nevada) is ranked first:

        1. Nevada
        2. Illinois
        3. Rhode Island
        4. North Carolina
        5. Michigan
        6. Georgia
        7. California
        8. New Jersey
        9. District of Columbia
        10. Tennessee

        Note that six of those states are north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and five are solid blue states (Nevada is more purple). The District of Columbia, meanwhile, is hardly a place where free-market libertarianism has run amok. So, I’m dying for you to explain those actual figures.

        You still haven’t addressed how projections show that two of the nation’s four “growth corridors” in the coming years will encompass southern states.

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          There was no MasonDixon line for California and Nevada.

          Latest stats available also show Kentucky and Mississsippi tied with Tennessee for 40th.

          Southern states have high unemployment and low quality of life for most people.

          “Growth corridors” sounds like real estate crooks got together with Wall street crooks after being inspired by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.

          Haven’t been to Harrisburg since I went to a Young Republicans convention back in college when still believed in laissez- faire and didn’t know that the “invisible hand” was really insider trading. Speaking of Bob Corker…….

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            California and Nevada did not secede from the Union during the Civil War. Given that UAW boosters regularly rant about the Confederacy, it’s fair to point out that Nevada and California were never part of the Confederacy.

            At any rate, it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates are NOT located in the South. The idea that unemployment is worse in the South than anywhere else in the nation is false.

            Growth corridors are simply those areas that have been identified as having the most potential for job growth. It’s a simple concept understood by those who realize that not all areas of the country perform equally well in those factors. The fact that two of those four corridors encompass southern states may be an inconvenient fact, but it is still a fact.

            Incidentally, Bright.com recently noted that the cities with the best potential for job growth, based on help wanted ads and responses to resumes, are located in the South and West. Not one Northeast city placed in the top ten. (The highest finishing Northeastern city was Rochester, New York, at number 29.)

            We all know that you have a burr under your saddle regarding the South. I’m sure it’s partially linked to the fact that those non-union southern workers at Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Nissan have been doing a very good job without UAW representation.

            I’m also sure that being a Chrysler fan, and watching the company get whipped by Toyota and Honda on a regular basis is humiliating, but it’s no reason to disparage an entire region, or the people who have helped make those companies a success.

            And I never mentioned Senator Corker. You’re the one obsessed with him, for some unknown reason.

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          California and Nevada never had a Mason Dixon line they didn’t exist when it was drawn back in 1767.

          Latest stats show Mississippi and Kentucky tied for 40th worst employment. You have to admit “right to work for less” is no magic bullet for employment.
          http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

          Growth corridors is just Wall Street crooks getting together with real estate crooks,

          Northern unemployed at least have benefits, better healthcare and a higher quality of life.

          When you compare per capita income blue vs red states it’s ugly, look how bad “right to work for less states” do. Big deal if you have a poor paying job and are surrounded by other struggling people.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income

          In order from lowest, Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho, North Carolina……..

  • avatar
    Juniper

    “Yeah the working class libertarians are free all right, free to be poor, worked to death, undereducated and without healthcare.”
    Right, except they do have health care. They show up in the emergency room with the flu and the rest of us pay huge money for it.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The people who visit the hospital emergency room for the flu are not libertarians, and usually not even “working class” (as they aren’t working in the first place).

      And, around here anyway, the hospital will aggressively come after you for payment if you visit the emergency room for treatment. If those working class libertarians have any assets to pay the bill, the hospital WILL go after them until it receives some sort of payment.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        What if they die like Ron Paul’s campaign manger leaving taxpayers a $400,000 debt?
        http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2011/09/ron_pauls_campaign_manager_die.html

        Most of these people are who run up these emergency room visits are judgementproof and the debt will never be collected.

        BTW, foreign carmakers have an over $2000 adaventges per car from national healthcare, a huge government gift to JapanInc, Korean government motors and the Germans vs the Detroit 3

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          Most of them aren’t libertarians, either. Trust me.

          Funny, the lack of a national health care plan in this country didn’t stop car makers from Germany, Japan and South Korean from setting up factories here and offering employees affordable coverage.

          If the UAW really believed that national health care plans are sufficient and best for everyone, it would allow retired UAW members to be covered solely by Medicare, which is a national health care plan.

          Guess what – it wouldn’t agree to that.

          The complaints about health care costs are a red herring in two ways.

          One, the costs are self-inflicted. There is nothing stopping the UAW and the car makers from negotiating more affordable health care packages for current employees and allowing retirees to rely solely on Medicare. Retiree health care costs, in particular, have been a huge burden for the Big Three.

          Two, the transplant operations manage to provide health care coverage to their American employees and still turn a profit. Most of Toyota’s and Honda’s profits over the past few years have come from the North American market and associated operations, not the Japanese operations.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    LOOK AT WHAT SOUTH KOREAN AUTOWORKERS ARE GETTING! WILL GEORGIA AND ALABAMA WORKERS GET ANY OF THIS?
    “If ratified, the new agreement will see workers getting a 5.14-percent raise in base salaries, along with 8.5-million-won (roughly $7,800) bonuses. Those concessions are a far cry compared to what the union was initially demanding, though. Early proposals included a 56.25-gram gold medal for each employee (worth about $2,400) and a 10-million won bonus (about $9,100) for employees whose children chose not to attend college. The union also sought a bonus worth two months’ salary for workers that have been with the company for over 40 years, but this was negotiated down to a flat rate of six-million won ($5,464).”

    http://www.autoblog.com/2013/09/05/hyundai-union-reach-tentative-labor-deal/#aol-comments

    JapanInc’s transplant factories had young workers and no legacy costs

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    One thing I hope the travails of the American car industry in the last decade or so has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt is how much good management matters. Compare boneheads like Bill Ford, Nardelli and Wagner to Marchionne and Mulally. Then there’s crooks like Schrempf and Eaton.

    It’s never been about the workers union or non union north south Chinese or Canadian, it’s this despicable, decadent degenerate management class we have in America.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      “It’s never been about the workers union or non union north south Chinese or Canadian, it’s this despicable, decadent degenerate management class we have in America.”

      You just spent the last few days trashing non-union white workers from the South, Bill.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      William Clay Ford, Jr., was smart enough to step aside and make room for Alan Mulally to save the company.

      As the saying goes, “A wise man knows what he knows not.”

      Given that Mr. Ford realized his own limitations and supported the man hired to take his place, I’d say that makes him a very smart person, in addition to a very gracious and humble one.


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