The Truth About Cars » Union News http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:47:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Union News http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/union-news/ Report: Toledo Plant Gains a Jeep Pickup, Loses a Cherokee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/report-toledo-plant-gains-jeep-pickup-loses-cherokee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/report-toledo-plant-gains-jeep-pickup-loses-cherokee/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157850 Automotive News is reporting that Jeep will produce a Wrangler-based pickup at its Toledo, Ohio plant and shift production of its Cherokee to another site. The details were reported by the outlet as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ ongoing negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. Officials from FCA didn’t comment on the report.  According […]

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Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

Automotive News is reporting that Jeep will produce a Wrangler-based pickup at its Toledo, Ohio plant and shift production of its Cherokee to another site.

The details were reported by the outlet as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ ongoing negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.

Officials from FCA didn’t comment on the report. 

According to the story, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne addressed the plan in vague details.

“We found a solution that accommodates a variety of other interests to us because of the way in which we can move some product around,” Marchionne told Automotive News. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (to know) that the only way I can move around the Wrangler is to move it into the other Toledo plant.”

Union officials said they would have liked to have kept Cherokee production in Ohio, however the plant’s unique supply structure, production requirements and Wrangler sales required Cherokee to move, according to the report.

Production of the Wrangler and its associated pickup could reach up to 350,000 units per year.

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Marchionne: “To Be Perfectly Honest, We’ve All Fucked with the UAW, Right? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-to-be-perfectly-honest-weve-all-fucked-with-the-uaw-right/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-to-be-perfectly-honest-weve-all-fucked-with-the-uaw-right/#comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:15:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155986 Sergio Marchionne seems to be taking a different tactic in this year’s UAW negotiations. Instead of threatening to take product out of North America and send it to China, the head of FCA is playing to the hearts and minds of the union membership, even going so far as to admit all automakers have screwed workers […]

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marchionne

Sergio Marchionne seems to be taking a different tactic in this year’s UAW negotiations. Instead of threatening to take product out of North America and send it to China, the head of FCA is playing to the hearts and minds of the union membership, even going so far as to admit all automakers have screwed workers in the past.

“To be perfectly honest, we’ve all fucked with the UAW, right? We were threatened by them, so we took all the pickup trucks that we sell — and 90 percent of those pickup trucks are sold in this country, right — we took it away, and then we delocalized them” Marchionne told Automotive News’ Larry P. Vellequette.

Marchionne believes he and UAW President Dennis Williams “share a view about the fact that, in some fashion, to the extent that we are successful in creating wealth out of these car companies, real wealth, then we should be able to distribute that,” he said.

Bringing Mexican pickup production back to the United States would be a massive win for the UAW. Since March 2014, Ram has sold fewer than 30,000 pickups only once (January 2015).

Ram pickups are built at FCA’s Warren Assembly Plant in Michigan and Saltillo Truck Assembly.

“What a wonderful idea, distributing cash when you have it,” Marchionne said.

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Union Leader Blasts Obama on Pacific Trade Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-leader-blasts-obama-pacific-trade-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-leader-blasts-obama-pacific-trade-talks/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153377 The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with […]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with countries such as Japan jeopardizes American jobs because those countries may be able to source cheaper parts from outside the negotiated area, according to the report.

“I hope it is not the case that the Canadian and Mexican negotiators are actually holding a harder line than our own government on this issue. But due to the unaccountable lack of transparency from USTR, absolutely critical decisions are being made without our input or voice. Thousands of good American jobs and an iconic American industry are at risk, and we don’t even know what our government’s negotiating position is.”

According to the Detroit News, a free-trade agreement with Asia would be high on Obama’s priorities before his administration ends.

Trumka said there would be no guarantee for American automakers to gain a foothold in Japan if the Trans Pacific Partnership were created.

Instead, he said, the deal would make it easier for American automakers to source cheaper parts from China and Thailand, or other developing nations, which would come at the expense of American auto workers. Under current free trade rules in North America, 62.5 percent of a car or light truck must originate within the trade zone to be tariff free. Mexico, which is currently building nearly 4 million cars a year, would like to increase that to 65 percent. Japan is proposing a 45-percent threshold for vehicles and 30 percent for parts.

The agreement could also end the 25-percent import tax on light pickups, commonly called the “Chicken Tax.”

Automakers have said they’d prefer to renew the Chicken Tax or slowly roll the tax back after years — or even decades.

According to the story, Japan doesn’t place any import tax on American-built cars, and has said they’ve spent billions building production facilities in America — which American automakers haven’t yet done in Japan.

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Automakers Using Chinese, Mexican Production As Leverage With UAW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-using-global-production-leverage-uaw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-using-global-production-leverage-uaw/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 20:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151673 As talks with the United Auto Workers continue, domestic automakers may be using global production strategies to leverage lower wages from the massive union, Automotive News is reporting. News that Buick may import most of its lineup from outside North America, or Ford shifting production from Michigan to Mexico, could be weighing on conversations to […]

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GM Arlington Plant

As talks with the United Auto Workers continue, domestic automakers may be using global production strategies to leverage lower wages from the massive union, Automotive News is reporting.

News that Buick may import most of its lineup from outside North America, or Ford shifting production from Michigan to Mexico, could be weighing on conversations to keep production in the U.S. and Canada at union plants.

“It’s a veiled threat to the workers,” Gary Chaison, a professor of labor relations at Clark University told Automotive News.

The automakers may be saying: “If you ask for too much, we can take the work out of the U.S. So, give us a reason not to shift more production overseas,” he added.

It was widely expected that the UAW would be looking to narrow the pay gap between its veteran workers and newer, Tier 2 workers who make considerably less during its talks with the automakers.

Automakers, for their part, have potentially looked to appease the UAW by announcing plant upgrades and more shifts for the cars it produces in North America. Already, General Motors in Canada said it would invest $12 million into its Oshawa Assembly Plant on top of larger investments in North American plants, including its Arlington and Flint Truck Assembly Plant. They were all announced after talks with the UAW started in July.

Those plant improvements may have be announced to leverage demands from the UAW to increase pay for its workers.

In North America, Tier 1 workers make about $28 per hour, and Tier 2 workers make around $15 an hour. According to the report, workers in Mexico make $8.24 an hour and Chinese auto workers make just $4.10 an hour.

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Report: Buick Will Import Most of its New Cars by 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-buick-will-import-new-cars-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-buick-will-import-new-cars-2016/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 19:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148865 Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan. Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come […]

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buick-verano-china-is-6-660x488

Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan.

Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come from Europe and China respectively. Production of the Verano would shift from Michigan to China, the next-generation Regal would come from Germany instead of Canada, and the Encore would continue to be assembled in Korea, but would eventually shift to China, Reuters reported from an unidentified source.

If true, executives would deliver a sizable blow to contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. Already, General Motors has announced substantial investments in North American plants during negotiations.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for Buick declined to comment on the report. A spokeswoman for the UAW said Buick would be unwise to import cars “after the sacrifices by U.S. taxpayers.”

Buick is expected to launch the China-built Envision in North America later this year.

Buick sells four times as many cars in China as they do in North America. 

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Union Protests Tesla Showroom, HQ with the Grim Reaper Driving a VW Thing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-protests-tesla-showroom-hq-grim-reaper-driving-vw-thing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-protests-tesla-showroom-hq-grim-reaper-driving-vw-thing/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1142385 Following a similar effort last month at Tesla’s headquarters, Carpenters’ Local 713 of Hayward, CA, set up a protest on Friday outside  the EV maker’s showroom in nearby San Jose, saying that the automaker’s policies “hurts workers, hurts families, hurts community.” The protest was not without a bit of theater, including a giant papier-mâché puppet of […]

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flyer1Following a similar effort last month at Tesla’s headquarters, Carpenters’ Local 713 of Hayward, CA, set up a protest on Friday outside  the EV maker’s showroom in nearby San Jose, saying that the automaker’s policies “hurts workers, hurts families, hurts community.”

The protest was not without a bit of theater, including a giant papier-mâché puppet of death. Fliers were handed out saying “Shame on Them” and calling on the company to require “General Contractors and all their sub-contractors pay the Carpenter Area Standard Wages and Benefits on all jobs all the time”.

One assumes this labor dispute has to do with construction that Tesla is doing in California and not about the Gigafactory for making batteries that Tesla is building in Nevada, unless Local 713 is taking up the cause of their union brothers and sisters in the Silver State. The UAW has so far unsuccessfully attempted to organize Tesla’s assembly plant in Fremont, CA, formerly the UAW facility operated by GM and Toyota known as NUMMI.

flyer2

In addition to the giant puppet, the fliers handed out featured a drawing of the grim reaper driving a Volkswagen Thing (with a Tesla badge) with the slogan “Driving the car industry into the future. Sending workers [sic] wages and benefits back to the past.” I think I get the symbolism of Death (you can see a photo of the GPMPOD at the Teslaowner blog), the union wants us to think that the people at Tesla are bad, but why a VW Thing?

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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General Motors Investing $1.4B into Texas SUV Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-investing-1-4b-texas-suv-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-investing-1-4b-texas-suv-plant/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 21:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116713 General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest $1.4 billion into its Arlington Assembly Plant, which produces SUVs. The investment will create a new paint shop, body shop and “general assembly area upgrades” for the plant that produces Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs and Cadillac Escalades. Construction will take three years and plant […]

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GM Arlington Plant

General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest $1.4 billion into its Arlington Assembly Plant, which produces SUVs.

The investment will create a new paint shop, body shop and “general assembly area upgrades” for the plant that produces Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs and Cadillac Escalades.

Construction will take three years and plant operations won’t be impacted, GM said.

GM received tax incentives from Arlington for the plant expansion in April. According to minutes from the Arlington City Council, the plant will add 589 new jobs as a result of the expansion.

The announced $1.4 billion for the Arlington plant comes ahead of GM’s negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which will focus on pay raises for “second-tier” workers hired after the recession.

GM said it will invest $5.4 billion in U.S. manufacturing over the next three years. GM says it has identified $4.5 billion in improvements so far.

 

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Covering GM-UAW Event Today? Better Drive an American Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/covering-gm-uaw-event-today-better-drive-american-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/covering-gm-uaw-event-today-better-drive-american-car/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 15:23:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114697 According to Automotive News reporter Krishna Anatharaman, members of the media who aren’t driving American-branded cars won’t be able to park in the building deck of today’s UAW-GM handshake event. Before you say, “What the Toyota Camry?” keep in mind: Most of the automakers make you park in hinterlands if you don’t drive what they […]

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UAW Bridging the Gap Banner Circa March 2015

According to Automotive News reporter Krishna Anatharaman, members of the media who aren’t driving American-branded cars won’t be able to park in the building deck of today’s UAW-GM handshake event.

Before you say, “What the Toyota Camry?” keep in mind: Most of the automakers make you park in hinterlands if you don’t drive what they like.

Today’s event at GM signals the beginning of negotiations between the Big Three automakers and United Auto Workers union. Negotiations are expected to focus on bringing “second-tier” workers’ pay more in line with veteran workers who were hired before the recession.

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Union Talks Set to Start on Monday, Will Focus on Raises http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/union-talks-set-start-monday-will-focus-raises/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/union-talks-set-start-monday-will-focus-raises/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:30:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113441 The newest round of negotiations between the Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers will focus on narrowing the gap between veteran workers and “second-tier” workers hired after 2011, Reuters is reporting. Talks between the UAW, which represents around 138,000 workers, and Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors will begin Monday. The UAW’s contract […]

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UAW Wages

The newest round of negotiations between the Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers will focus on narrowing the gap between veteran workers and “second-tier” workers hired after 2011, Reuters is reporting.

Talks between the UAW, which represents around 138,000 workers, and Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors will begin Monday. The UAW’s contract with GM ends Sept. 14.

Union President Dennis Williams said he wanted to focus on narrowing the gap between veteran workers, who make on average $28 an hour, and workers hired post-recession, who make on average $16 to $19 an hour, according to the story.

The raises would be significant for more than 39,000 workers who were hired after the recession on the “second-tier” system. More than 40 percent of FCA’s union workforce was hired at second-tier rates of $15.78 to $19.28 per hour, compared to 28 and 20 percent for Ford and GM respectively.

Falling labor costs have helped the Big Three stay competitive with other automakers, Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research told Reuters. However, rising profits and sales have prompted Williams to call for the automakers’ to share profits with workers.

In an interview in February, Williams told Reuters that the union’s workers need the automakers to remain competitive in the long-term for his membership.

“We’re … mature organizations that have been through a hell of a lot together to survive,” Williams said. “None of us want to blow it.”

On Thursday, Ford announced it was ending production of the Focus and C-Max at its Wayne, Michigan plant by 2018.

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Jalopnik, Other Gawker Media Writers To Unionize http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/jalopnik-gawker-media-writers-unionize/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/jalopnik-gawker-media-writers-unionize/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 18:15:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084625 It’s official: Writers for Gawker Media’s online publications, including our friends at Jalopnik, have voted to unionize. Out of 118 eligible voters throughout the online-only media company, 107 cast their vote Wednesday to decide whether or not to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, Gawker reports. The results came to 75 percent (80 […]

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Jalopnik Front Page

It’s official: Writers for Gawker Media’s online publications, including our friends at Jalopnik, have voted to unionize.

Out of 118 eligible voters throughout the online-only media company, 107 cast their vote Wednesday to decide whether or not to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, Gawker reports. The results came to 75 percent (80 votes) in favor, 25 percent (27 votes) opposed.

As for how some of Jalopnik‘s staff voted, writer Raphael Orlove said he supported the move to unionize despite reservations regarding demands other Gawker Media writers have been making. Orlove goes on to state he would like the contract to focus on safeguarding against the company when it makes moves to the detriment of those who, while valuable as far as writing talent goes, are the least equipped to sort out the messes left behind.

Meanwhile, editor of subsidiary Black Flag Stef Schrader said she would likely vote against unionizing, based on Gawker’s unique situation as a company and WGA’s focus on more traditional forms of media. Schrader adds she and other remote employees haven’t received replies to emails about what WGA does from the union itself – asking for any organization working to represent the employees be “as responsive as work on the web demands,” especially with those not in New York – and is concerned for the company’s contractors who are prohibited from joining the WGA by the National Labor Relations Board, leaving them vulnerable come negotiation time.

And Gawker Media owner and founder Nick Denton’s take on the vote? In response to a comment from former vice president of editorial and sometimes Jalopnik contributor Joel Johnson, Denton praised the transparency leading up to the vote, an aspect his company says could be applied even further than the “transparent to a fault” stance already present. He also looks forward to working with whomever the writers choose to represent them during the company’s strategic discussions.

The next step? Jalopnik Editor-in-Chief Travis Okulski explains:

Gawker writers have approved the WGA to negotiate a contract on their behalf with Gawker management. If the contract is agreeable, which I think is what they expect, we’re unionized. If not, ties are dissolved or a new contract would be brought to the table.

Should all go as planned, Gawker Media would be the first online-only media company ever to have union representation. Time will tell if other companies follow in Gawker’s footsteps.

[Image credit: Jalopnik]

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Ford Otosan Ceases Production In İnönü Amid Ongoing Industrial Action http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-otosan-ceases-production-in-inonu-amid-ongoing-industrial-action/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-otosan-ceases-production-in-inonu-amid-ongoing-industrial-action/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076338 Remember when we said all was well for Ford Otosan regarding recent industrial actions? It’s no longer the case, as one plant ceases production once more. Ford Otosan said it ceased production at its İnönü facility “until further notice” — where the Ford Cargo commercial truck is assembled — as a precaution after some of […]

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Ford Cargo Rolling Out Of Container Port

Remember when we said all was well for Ford Otosan regarding recent industrial actions? It’s no longer the case, as one plant ceases production once more.

Ford Otosan said it ceased production at its İnönü facility “until further notice” — where the Ford Cargo commercial truck is assembled — as a precaution after some of the strikers did not leave the plant, Reuters reports.

The industrial action over working conditions and pay — also affecting Ford Otosan’s plant in Gölcük, as well as operations belonging to Fiat (Tofaş) and Renault-Nissan (Oyak-Renault) — began last month when union Turk Metal negotiated a 60 percent wage hike for workers at a Bosch Fren factory, but failed to do the same with the rest of Turkey’s auto workers.

Renault-Nissan offered to pay striking workers ₺1,000 ($370 USD) to resume production by midnight May 25, only for workers to reject the deal when the automaker’s employer union made revisions said not to benefit employees.

[Source: Ford Trucks/Facebook]

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Ford, Fiat Factories In Turkey Resume Production After Week-Long Shutdown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-fiat-factories-in-turkey-resume-production-after-week-long-shutdown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-fiat-factories-in-turkey-resume-production-after-week-long-shutdown/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 18:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073098 Over a week after wage disputes shut down production, Fiat and Ford report operations are back to normal at their plants in Turkey. Both Ford Otosan’s Gölcük and Yeniköy plants, and Fiat’s Tofaş saw production restart Friday after going offline for over a week, Automobile News Europe reports. The plants are responsible for building models […]

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Fiat Ducato Passenger Transport in Turkey Circa November 2014

Over a week after wage disputes shut down production, Fiat and Ford report operations are back to normal at their plants in Turkey.

Both Ford Otosan’s Gölcük and Yeniköy plants, and Fiat’s Tofaş saw production restart Friday after going offline for over a week, Automobile News Europe reports. The plants are responsible for building models such as the Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster City, and the upcoming Fiat Aegea set to hit showrooms in November.

The shutdown came about due to a dispute over working conditions and pay which began last month when union Turk Metal negotiated a wage hike of 60 percent for those working in a plant by Bosch Fren, neglecting to include the rest of Turkey’s auto workers in so doing.

Meanwhile, Renault’s joint venture with the Turkish military pension fund in Bursa remains closed, prompting the automaker to reconsider future investments into the nation’s auto industry should the ongoing labor dispute present more instability.

[Source: shankar s./Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Ruling Frees General Motors Of $450M Obligation To UAW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ruling-frees-general-motors-of-450m-obligation-to-uaw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ruling-frees-general-motors-of-450m-obligation-to-uaw/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069154 The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday General Motors will not owe $450 million to the UAW for funding health care among Delphi retirees. The ruling affects a stipulation in the contract signed by “Old GM,” Delphi and the union in 2007, where the automaker would make a one-time contribution of $450 million, […]

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Delphi Audi Circa March 2015

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday General Motors will not owe $450 million to the UAW for funding health care among Delphi retirees.

The ruling affects a stipulation in the contract signed by “Old GM,” Delphi and the union in 2007, where the automaker would make a one-time contribution of $450 million, Detroit Free Press reports. Said stipulation remained in a revised 2008 agreement, but would not be included in a new contract when GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

However, the UAW sought to hold GM to its obligation, suing the company in April of 2010 after the “new” version of the company refused to pay the contribution.

While a spokesman for the automaker said it was “pleased with the outcome of the case,” the union remains silent as to whether it will appeal the ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court.

[Photo credit: Delphi/Facebook]

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Volkswagen Denies UAW’s Request For Sole Representation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-denies-uaws-request-sole-representation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-denies-uaws-request-sole-representation/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 17:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064274 Volkswagen announced Thursday it would deny the UAW’s request to be the sole representative of the automaker’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant. Instead, VW would continue to work with both the UAW and rival organization American Council of Employees toward the goal of establishing a works council at its sole U.S. facility, Bloomberg reports. While the company […]

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2012_volkswagen_chattanooga_3158

Volkswagen announced Thursday it would deny the UAW’s request to be the sole representative of the automaker’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant.

Instead, VW would continue to work with both the UAW and rival organization American Council of Employees toward the goal of establishing a works council at its sole U.S. facility, Bloomberg reports.

While the company said meeting with both factions “has been a very effective way to start dialog with each of the groups,” UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel proclaimed VW should recognize his union “as the bargaining agent,” adding “a works council can only exist with a union and VW has said their preferred union is the UAW.”

The UAW is said to represent 55 percent of hourly workers on the floor, while ACE has between 15 to 30 percent of hourly and salaried employees.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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Ford UAW Members Meet To Receive Info On Leaving Union http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ford-uaw-members-meet-receive-info-leaving-union/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ford-uaw-members-meet-receive-info-leaving-union/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057010 UAW members at Ford’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant met to gain advice on how to leave the union or stop paying dues under Michigan’s new right-to-work law. Two meetings were held Wednesday to discuss the topic ahead of the union’s impending contract negotiations with the Detroit Three, Detroit Free Press reports. While some will, indeed, […]

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UAW Hall at Bowling Green, Kentucky

UAW members at Ford’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant met to gain advice on how to leave the union or stop paying dues under Michigan’s new right-to-work law.

Two meetings were held Wednesday to discuss the topic ahead of the union’s impending contract negotiations with the Detroit Three, Detroit Free Press reports. While some will, indeed, bid farewell to the union while still being allowed to continue working on the factory floor, labor experts don’t see a mass exodus from the UAW in the foreseeable future.

At one of the meetings in Sterling Heights, plant worker and right-to-work proponent Brian Pannebecker proclaimed that union members should send a message to the UAW by not paying any more dues until it addressed its members’ needs. He added that the right-to-work law wasn’t an effort to destroy or do away with unions, but one meant to use the collective bargaining process to the members’ advantage.

Michigan’s law prohibits employers from requiring employees to pay union dues in order to work. In turn, those who opt-out of dues cannot vote on union contracts, but the unions must represent those workers in matters of conflict within a given company.

[Photo credit: Michael Miller/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Ford, GM Looking Into Tier 3 Wages For Lower-Skilled Workers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-gm-looking-tier-3-wages-lower-skilled-workers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-gm-looking-tier-3-wages-lower-skilled-workers/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028897 While the UAW wants to “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, Ford and General Motors want to have a Tier 3. Bloomberg reports the two automakers are considering the issue before its talks with the union in September, proclaiming the new tier — for lower-skilled labor — would help them better […]

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UAW Member Assembling Corvette in Bowling Green Circa 2015

While the UAW wants to “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, Ford and General Motors want to have a Tier 3.

Bloomberg reports the two automakers are considering the issue before its talks with the union in September, proclaiming the new tier — for lower-skilled labor — would help them better compete against the transplants and their non-union employees through lower labor costs.

Meanwhile, the UAW leadership are seeking raises for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, just as its rank-and-file want an end to the two-tier wage system entirely. The thought of a Tier 3 would prove hard to stomach among all in the union, though such a tier could help bring work that had been outsourced to suppliers in-house, as those employees would not be assembling vehicles.

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Delegates Call For End Of Two-Tier At UAW Bargaining Convention http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/delegates-call-end-two-tier-uaw-bargaining-convention/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/delegates-call-end-two-tier-uaw-bargaining-convention/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028857 Delegates at this week’s 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit are pushing hard for an end to the two-tier wage system in place since 2007. Detroit Free Press reports that while the union may likely “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers as far as pay goes during its talks with the […]

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UAW Bridging the Gap Banner Circa March 2015

Delegates at this week’s 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit are pushing hard for an end to the two-tier wage system in place since 2007.

Detroit Free Press reports that while the union may likely “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers as far as pay goes during its talks with the Detroit Three — FCA US, Ford and General Motors — in September, the delegates want nothing more than the complete end to a scheme that was meant to be a temporary solution to keep the trio afloat through the darkest days of the Great Recession.

One delegate, Bill Parker of UAW Local 1700 in Detroit, went as far as to convince the 900-plus gathered inside Cobo Center to pass a resolution formally committing the union toward complete dismantlement of the two-tier system; the resolution did not pass:

Ending the two-tier wage and benefit relationship is something that we the delegates want to make abundantly clear coming out of this convention. Not as one of many things that have to be corrected, but as the issue that needs to be corrected.

As of this moment, 28 percent — 39,500 — of 137,000 hourly workers on the floors of the Detroit Three are under Tier 2, earning $15.78/hour with a raise to $19.28/hour after four years; Tier 1 employees — those hired before 2008 — earn $28/hour in comparison. FCA US holds the highest percentage of Tier 2 employees at 42 percent, with Ford and GM holding 29 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

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Two-Tier Wage System May Merge Toward Tier 2 In UAW-Detroit Three Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/two-tier-wage-system-may-merge-toward-tier-2-uaw-detroit-three-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/two-tier-wage-system-may-merge-toward-tier-2-uaw-detroit-three-talks/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027497 The two-tier wage system in place now may come down in this year’s UAW negotiations with the Detroit Three. If so, Tier 1 may be the dead man walking. Automotive News says its sources and analysts believe the outcome of the upcoming negotiations could see Tier 1 wages phased out in favor of more Tier […]

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Auto Workers at Labor Day Parade Call for an End to Two-Tier Wages

The two-tier wage system in place now may come down in this year’s UAW negotiations with the Detroit Three. If so, Tier 1 may be the dead man walking.

Automotive News says its sources and analysts believe the outcome of the upcoming negotiations could see Tier 1 wages phased out in favor of more Tier 2 employees, mainly on the basis of keeping up with the labor-cost schemes among the transplants. Center for Automotive Research industry and labor group director Kristin Dziczek states that the tiers could merge over the next two negotiation cycles, proclaiming that “over the next eight years, we won’t even be talking about tiers.”

At present, nearly 40,000 workers are under Tier 2 contracts, making up just 29 percent of the 137,000 hourly employees working for FCA US, Ford and General Motors. Among the UAW rolls, FCA has the most members under Tier 2 with 42 percent, followed by Ford’s 29 percent and GM’s 20 percent.

Ford worker and bargaining committeeman Gary Walkowicz believes Tier 2 should give way to Tier 1, which pays $28/hour, a feat he says could be done overnight for $335 million a year at his company, which made $6.9 billion last year. He adds GM could do the same, considering the automaker recently bought back $5 billion in shares.

However, the two companies have higher hourly labor costs than FCA or the transplants, coming to $59/hour compared to the latter’s $40. Further, FCA’s situation is a result of a hiring cap suspension made during its bankruptcy proceedings in 2009, allowing the automaker to hire as many Tier 2 employees as it needs. The cap, established in 2007, limits hirings to between 20 percent and 25 percent of total hourly employment, though FCA and GM had theirs lifted through September 2015; Ford never had its cap removed.

Tier 1, meanwhile, could disappear due to demographics: average age of those workers at FCA and GM is 51, 49 at Ford. Eight years and two cycles later, most of those workers will have retired or nearing retirement. The hiring cap could also push the upper tier over the cliff, as all three automakers will want to gain or maintain a higher percentage of Tier 2 hiring than the current cap allows.

One proposal, according to consultant and former GM labor negotiator Art Schwartz, could see the UAW raise Tier 1 wages, while the Detroit Three offers to boost those of Tier 2, adding that the end of Tier 2 could jeopardize jobs that would not have happened were it not for the two-tier system.

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UAW Local 112 President Working To Organize MBUSI http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uaw-local-112-president-working-organize-mbusi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uaw-local-112-president-working-organize-mbusi/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020505 The UAW hasn’t had the best luck unionizing the South thus far, but one man hopes to bring Mercedes around. Ward’s Auto reports UAW Local 112 president and MBUSI quality operations employee George Jones is leading the effort to organize the 2,200 full-time employees and 1,200 temporary workers in Vance, Ala. The local has support […]

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MBUSI Mercedes-Benz Alabama

The UAW hasn’t had the best luck unionizing the South thus far, but one man hopes to bring Mercedes around.

Ward’s Auto reports UAW Local 112 president and MBUSI quality operations employee George Jones is leading the effort to organize the 2,200 full-time employees and 1,200 temporary workers in Vance, Ala. The local has support from German union IG Metall and the Daimler World Employee Committee, as well as favorable rulings from the National Labor Relations Board, though Mercedes has appealed a ruling that would allow union leaflets to be distributed in non-work areas.

According to Jones:

We’re the only ones on this little island. Tuscaloosa (Vance) is a cash cow. All we’re asking for is fairness. Management has total control. It’s all about power.

The president is focused on giving a voice to the union as far as job classifications, staffing and perks go, adding that temp workers earn half of the $29 full-timers receive, with no guarantees of becoming full-time, and no benefits. He says that Mercedes also doesn’t offer a pension plan in MBUSI, while the 401(k) plan provided “is like going to the casino,” citing what happened during the early days of the Great Recession.

Jones says it will take a while for Local 112 — whose membership numbers he did not disclose — to organize the facility, with no set time to hold a vote or card check. Should the UAW win in Vance, however, it would be the first transplant-owned light-vehicle assembly plant in the South to be organized.

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Beshear To Transplants: Kentucky Is Not Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/beshear-transplants-kentucky-not-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/beshear-transplants-kentucky-not-tennessee/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006426 Unlike his Republican counterparts down south, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says his state is not like Tennessee as far as attracting transplants go. Associated Press reports those remarks were first made during a recent recruiting trip to Germany and Sweden, the latter’s Volvo considering a factory in the Bluegrass State. Beshear reaffirmed his stance upon […]

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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at Churchill Downs

Unlike his Republican counterparts down south, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says his state is not like Tennessee as far as attracting transplants go.

Associated Press reports those remarks were first made during a recent recruiting trip to Germany and Sweden, the latter’s Volvo considering a factory in the Bluegrass State. Beshear reaffirmed his stance upon returning home:

I’m not trying to tell Tennessee or any other state how to handle their economic development efforts. I can just say that in Kentucky we would welcome either type of situation, either companies with unions or without them. We have an open-door policy and welcome companies no matter what their desires may be in terms of labor-management relationships. We don’t try to dictate what that relationship should be. We think that’s up to the company and to the employees.

The comments come after Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and his administration, as well as U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, did their best to persuade Volkswagen to reject the UAW’s offer to represent the transplant’s workforce in Chattanooga, including a $300-million incentive package that would be paid if labor talks were “concluded to the satisfaction” of the state’s interests.

Beshear adds that Kentucky can best attract economic development — whether from the auto or other industries — by not getting the middle of the labor negotiation process, noting that said lack of interference is “a positive sales point” for the state.

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Williams: UAW Must Balance Member, Corporate Demands In Detroit Three Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/williams-uaw-must-balance-member-corporate-demands-detroit-three-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/williams-uaw-must-balance-member-corporate-demands-detroit-three-talks/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006346 Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive. UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes […]

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UAW-logo-outside-Union-Solidarity-House

Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive.

UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes time to sit down with the management at Ford, FCA US and General Motors this summer.

The main issue will be the two-tier wage system that has been in place since 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. The policy has been applied at varying rates since the division took hold, with 42 percent of FCA US’ UAW workers — 35,720 — being paid at the second-tier rate of $15.78 to $19.28 an hour; second-tier workers at Ford and GM make up 28 and 20 percent of their respective 50,700 and 49,900 represented employees.

While the union is facing pressure to get as much for its membership as it can, it also has to make sure the Detroit Three remains viable over the long-term. With GM in particular, the UAW has a major political and institutional stake in the automaker’s well-being, as the union is its largest shareholder via its retiree health care trusts.

That said, should push come to shove, Williams says his membership is ready to strike, following in the footsteps of workers at oil refineries and those along the West Coast ports. The UAW hasn’t conducted a major industrial action since the 1990s, and were barred from striking at all at GM and Chrysler as a result of the agreements made in 2009.

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Jaguar Land Rover Considering Turkey, Austria For New Factory http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/jaguar-land-rover-considering-turkey-austria-new-factory/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/jaguar-land-rover-considering-turkey-austria-new-factory/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006298 Amid a pay dispute between itself and the U.K. trade unions, Jaguar Land Rover is considering Turkey and Austria over North America for a new factory. The Birmingham Post reports plans to locate a factory in North America, and particularly in the United States, were switched to the aforementioned countries due to the negotiations between […]

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Land Rover Discovery Sport

Amid a pay dispute between itself and the U.K. trade unions, Jaguar Land Rover is considering Turkey and Austria over North America for a new factory.

The Birmingham Post reports plans to locate a factory in North America, and particularly in the United States, were switched to the aforementioned countries due to the negotiations between the automaker and JLR Unite over the autumn of 2014. The talks led to a two-year pay deal, but not before workers threatened industrial action amid accusations by the union of JLR planning to cut £240 million ($370 million USD) from pensions to pay for the deal.

Per a inside source, the automaker is looking at locales where costs are much lower than in the United Kingdom, “and where there is not the same union influence” on the factory floor compared to that in its British factories. The insider adds that Continental Europe is more likely at this point in time, but that nothing was in place thus far.

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Ford Elevating 55 To First-Tier Pay After Hitting Second-Tier Cap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ford-elevating-55-first-tier-pay-hitting-second-tier-cap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ford-elevating-55-first-tier-pay-hitting-second-tier-cap/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 15:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992474 Fifty-five Ford employees will be elevated to first-tier pay status after the automaker exceeded its cap on second-tier hires. Automotive News reports the employees were hired between February and June of 2010, and work at the automaker’s facilities in Kansas City, Chicago and Louisville, Ky., per the announcement by the United Auto Workers. The union […]

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Ford Louisville Assembly Plant + Ford Escape

Fifty-five Ford employees will be elevated to first-tier pay status after the automaker exceeded its cap on second-tier hires.

Automotive News reports the employees were hired between February and June of 2010, and work at the automaker’s facilities in Kansas City, Chicago and Louisville, Ky., per the announcement by the United Auto Workers. The union praised the move, considering it a milestone as it presses forward toward the goal of eliminating the two-tier system in its contract with Ford. The contract requires that second-tier employees be promoted to first-tier in order of hiring when the cap on the former is exceeded.

As a result, those 55 employees will see their pay rise from $19/hr. to $28/hr., though benefits will still fall short of those received by employees hired in 2007 and earlier. Currently, 14,200 of the automaker’s 50,400 U.S. employees are on second-tier pay status, and that it was 69 employees away from hitting the cap of 28 percent of all employees for that level of pay. Ford is the only one of the Detroit Three to have a cap in place; General Motors and FCA US had caps of 20 to 25 percent of all employees, which were lifted in 2009 under bankruptcy protection.

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German Automakers Rally In Support of US-EU Trade Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/german-automakers-rally-support-us-eu-trade-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/german-automakers-rally-support-us-eu-trade-agreement/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989578 Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition. Automotive News reports the agreement between the European Union and the United States, which is supported by the likes of Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn, and even Germany’s chancellor Angela […]

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Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition.

Automotive News reports the agreement between the European Union and the United States, which is supported by the likes of Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn, and even Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, would be the largest such agreement put into play when signed. The deal would deliver a gain of €119 billion ($135 billion USD) for the EU and $131 billion for the U.S. by 2027, which equals an average of €545 ($620) and $910 for a family of four in their respective locations. Eighty percent of the gains would be the result of eliminating duplication costs linked to maintenance of two different bureaucracies and regulations.

However, German union IG Metall and various consumer groups take issue with key parts of the agreement, if not the entire agreement itself. For the union, the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism — which grants corporations the right to sue the government if revenue is lost due to government policy — is unacceptable, as are the threats of softening environmental and consumer protections, and hollowed workers’ rights. Other groups fear U.S. companies could force European legislators to draft policies in the former’s favor, and “harmonize safety or product standards downward.”

As for why the German automakers are rallying, the aforementioned harmonization would allow all automakers to focus on one set of safety and emission standards, thus allowing for the possibility of buying a new car from a different market without waiting 25 years first. That said, the agreement could collapse without majority support from all 28 members of the European Parliament.

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UAW Faces Right-To-Work Laws in Kentucky Counties http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/uaw-faces-right-work-laws-kentucky-counties/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/uaw-faces-right-work-laws-kentucky-counties/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971185 Organized labor has had setbacks as states formerly seen as union strongholds in the industrial midwest, Wisconsin and Michigan, have enacted right-to-work legislation that makes paying union dues voluntary. Now, the United Auto Workers, which has been trying to organize autoworkers at ‘transplant’ facilities operated in the American south by foreign automakers faces the prospect of […]

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States with right-to-work laws are in green.

States with right-to-work laws are in green. Wikipedia graphic.

Organized labor has had setbacks as states formerly seen as union strongholds in the industrial midwest, Wisconsin and Michigan, have enacted right-to-work legislation that makes paying union dues voluntary. Now, the United Auto Workers, which has been trying to organize autoworkers at ‘transplant’ facilities operated in the American south by foreign automakers faces the prospect of dealing with right-to-work laws at the county level, in Kentucky. The new laws present the autoworkers’ union with a double whammy.

Three counties in Kentucky, Fulton, Simpson, and Warren counties, have already passed laws and Hardin, Todd, and Cumberland counties are expected to do so in the near future. While no such law currently exists in Scott county, where the UAW would love to organize Toyota’s large Georgetown assembly facility, many Kentucky counties are expected to follow suit, hampering the UAW’s organizing efforts in the state. Furthermore, Warren county is the home of General Motors’ Corvette assembly plant. That means that as the union faces a greater challenge to organize at foreign owned auto plants, it could conceivably be decertified at a facility operated by one of the Big 3 Detroit automakers, something unheard of.

Chad Poynor, a UAW committeeman at the Corvette recently told the New York Times, “You hear people all the time say, ‘If I were in a right-to-work state, I’d withdraw’.”

While the labor movement plans lawsuits, claiming that county laws cannot trump federal labor law, right-to-work activists point out that while the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled on local right-to-work laws, the National Labor Relations Act specifically permits the individual states to enact such legislation. Furthermore, the congressional record shows that Congress, in the NLRA, expressly disavowed that federal law superseded state right-to-work laws and that view has been uphold by the Supreme Court when unions have challenged state RTW statutes.

As federal labor law currently stands, a union that has been certified at a company can require non-member employees to pay the costs of representing them, unless such requirements are “prohibited by state or territorial law” as stated in the NLRA.

Kentucky law expressly gives counties regulatory authority over commerce and economic development, so in the eyes of the federal government, at least as RTW activists see it, county laws should be seen as the equivalent to state laws. For its part, the AFL-CIO says, “Nice try — state means state.”

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