Category: Union News

By on April 27, 2017

Tesla Factory California

Tesla Motors has smooth-talked its Californian workforce out of unionizing for some time, but the labor war is now being waged on two fronts.

Since acquiring German supplier Grohmann Engineering, that company’s workforce has accused Tesla of unfair wages and dissolving established business ties to focus solely on the upcoming Model 3. Elon Musk was forced to personally reassure Grohmann, now called Tesla Advanced Automation Germany, to keep it from syncing up with autoworkers’ union IG Metall and going on strike.

Since the supplier is an essential part of the Model 3’s timely production, Tesla has changed tactics and is now throwing more money at Germany and promising extra jobs in the hope of avoiding work stoppages. It also apparently removed the company’s CEO and founder, Klaus Grohmann, after repeated clashes with Musk over the firm’s future.  Read More >

By on April 21, 2017

[Image: Wikimedia Comonns]

As Venezuela descends even further into economic and social turmoil, and as mass demonstrations turn violent, we learned yesterday that General Motors’ Valencia assembly plant is no longer in the hands of General Motors.

The plant, which has sat idle for months, was “unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations,” the automaker stated. Supposedly, the reason for seizing the asset lies in a 17-year-old lawsuit filed by a disgruntled dealer group angry over torn-up contracts. The dealers wanted billions of dollars in compensation — a sum that GM said “exceeds all logic.”

A new report has shed more light on the automaker’s situation, revealing that the government wasn’t the first group to seize the factory and bar the doors. Read More >

By on April 20, 2017

Tesla Model 3

It’s no secret that the success of Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3 will dictate its position as a mainstream automaker for the foreseeable future. Tesla’s current status as the most valuable carmaker in the United States is riding, almost entirely, on the problem-free assembly of its “affordable” EV this summer. So, when one of its German suppliers threatened to go on strike earlier this month, you can imagine the series of panic attacks CEO Elon Musk probably suffered.

Last week, the company’s recently acquired industrial robotics unit Grohmann began labor negotiations over insufficient wages and Tesla’s decision to suspend all contracts that didn’t pertain specifically to the Model 3. And, to ensure things went his way, Musk has become directly involved in the process.

Read More >

By on February 17, 2017

General Motors #AMERICA

Before the end of the 1980s, disenchanted drivers were voting with their wallets in ever greater numbers. Family sedan buyers, burned by the quality control issues of the late 1970s, turned their attention to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, while German automakers increasingly carved off a larger slice of the premium segment pie.

In many cases, the buyers who turned their backs on domestic vehicles stayed in their new camp for years, buying another, and then another Japanese or German car. Luring them back remains a difficult task, as stigma often fades at a slower rate than quality improves.

“Buy American” campaigns are nothing new, but President Donald Trump’s ascent to the Oval Office has spurred a newfound focus on the health of the Detroit Three automakers. In a bid to bolster that health, the United Auto Workers union is on the verge of telling you to drive past all those import dealers.

Come home to America. Read More >

By on February 11, 2017

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk knows a unionized workforce would add another variable to his lofty, carefully crafted production plans, and an unpredictable one at that: labor strife.

Until now, the electric automaker’s top boss has fended off the possibility in a progressive-sounding way, but a simmering unionization movement, which reared its head this week, shows no signs of abating. Since the appearance of a scathing blog post written by a Tesla assembly plant worker, Musk has found himself on the defensive. A paid union agitator, Musk claimed, wrote the post to rile employees. Then the UAW jumped into the fray.

Now, it’s one big battle. Musk likely wishes a recently introduced bill to amend the National Labor Relations Act was on his side. Read More >

By on February 10, 2017

tesla factory fremont

Some employees at Tesla Inc.’s Fremont, California factory have been moving ahead with efforts to unionize. Fronting that campaign is Jose Moran, who claims to have worked at the plant for the last four years. He and other disgruntled Tesla employees have reached out to the United Automobile Workers, claiming they work long hours for low pay under unsafe conditions as the company pursues aggressive production deadlines.

While Tesla’s CEO has responded with his own claim that Moran was paid by the UAW to join his company and proselytize for a union, the organization promptly refuted that suggestion by accusing Tesla of spreading dreaded “fake news.”  Read More >

By on January 27, 2017

The enduring popularity of the Chevrolet Equinox has led General Motors to some creative manufacturing approaches to keep up with demand. In addition to the crossoverÕs assembly home in Ingersoll, Ontario, GM runs a shuttle system that takes Equinox bodies to Oshawa, Ont., for painting and final production, Image: General Motors Canada

Workers at General Motors’ CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, are reeling after the automaker announced the loss of more than 600 jobs.

The unexpected move comes after the facility recently gave up production of the next-generation GMC Terrain to focus solely on the Chevrolet Equinox. The 2018 Terrain’s new home? Mexico.

As expected, the autoworkers’ union is livid, having been told nothing about job losses during the changeover. Read More >

By on January 23, 2017

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

Reactions are varied following this morning’s announcement that President Donald Trump will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and pull the country out of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

North of the border, however, the leader of Canada’s Detroit Three autoworkers was apparently dancing a jig. Unifor president Jerry Dias seemed thrilled when he appeared on talk radio to sing the praises of the president’s executive actions. Trump’s moves are “a great opportunity to right the ship,” he said. Read More >

By on November 11, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica, Image: FCA

Tranquility returns to North America as FCA’s ill-fated minivan assembly plant prepares itself for a return to active duty.

That, the used car rulebook is getting an update, an autoworkers’ union puts its hand out for government cash, and Porsche shrinks the price-tag and stretches the length of the Panamera … after the break!

Read More >

By on October 12, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic, Image: Volkswagen Group of America

Volkswagen’s plan to cut costs by cancelling underperforming models isn’t enough to right the scandal-rocked ship.

With an incredibly powerful workers union breathing down its neck, trimming its ranks has proved a tough operation. Meanwhile, there’s only so many models it can drop, and bills are coming due from the many fines, settlements, and lawsuits stemming from the diesel debacle.

How does Volkswagen get rid of 25,000 employees while placating a union boss who sits on the supervisory board?

According to Reuters, the answer comes down to one word: attrition. Specifically, retiring Baby Boomers. Read More >

By on October 11, 2016

FCA - Auburn Hills

A weekend meeting with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne led to a final-hour tentative agreement between the automaker and the union representing Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, Unifor president Jerry Dias claims.

The deal, announced five minutes before Monday’s 11:59 p.m. strike deadline, means 3,500 Brampton assembly plant workers face a less uncertain future than before. Read More >

By on October 10, 2016

FCA_Chrysler_-_Brampton_Assembly_Plant-118lv9otvitl46gf2onfsp57uvch1

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles must make some pricey commitments to head off a midnight strike by its Canadian autoworkers.

Bargaining teams from FCA and Unifor, which represents Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, worked throughout the weekend to nail down a contract deal patterned on the recent General Motors agreement.

Without product commitment for its Brampton assembly plant and Etobicoke casting plant, among other sticking points, workers could walk off the job tonight. Read More >

By on October 7, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacificas

Canada, as the New York Times helpfully points out, actually celebrates Thanksgiving (!), but bargaining teams from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and autoworkers union Unifor won’t get to enjoy it.

The two groups are expected to bargain down to the last minute as contract talks approach Monday night’s strike deadline, the Windsor Star reports. Unlike recent bargaining between Unifor and General Motors, the FCA negotiations have been whisper quiet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t action happening behind the scenes. Read More >

By on October 3, 2016

Ford Canada Oakville

GM Canada autoworkers seemed pretty pleased with the contract deal their union reached with the company, but Ford needs to put something different on the table to satisfy its employees.

The president of a Unifor local representing Canadian Ford workers said his members would have voted down the GM deal, Reuters reports. Read More >

By on September 26, 2016

FCA - Auburn Hills

Unionized General Motors workers in Canada ratified a new collective agreement yesterday, with the automaker agreeing to invest $421 million ($554 million CAD) into its northern operations.

The deal, which sees full-size pickup final assembly come to Oshawa, was sealed after 64.7 percent of the Unifor members voted to approve it. With this nail-biter of a negotiation done (the last-minute deal averted a looming strike), contract negotiations begin with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Read More >

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