By on August 19, 2017

FCA sign, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Federal prosecutors charged a fourth player in the widening United Auto Workers-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles corruption scandal on Friday, providing a clearer picture of how the years-long conspiracy went down.

Virdell King, a former senior UAW official and the first black woman to head a UAW-FCA local, now faces the same charges as three others indicted in the $4.5 million money-funnelling scheme. King, who retired in 2016, served on the board of the scandal-plagued UAW-Chrysler National Training Center — a facility prosecutors claim acted as a money pit for the enrichment of FCA and UAW execs.

In a document filed in U.S. District court in Detroit yesterday, prosecutors allege former FCA vice president Alphons Iacobelli opened the cash taps to UAW brass in an attempt to bribe them into taking “company-friendly positions.” The training center’s funds, earmarked for autoworkers, served as the bank. NTC credit cards apparently made making the lavish purchases a breeze.

“If you see something you want, feel free to buy it,” Iacobelli said, according to the court filing.

(Read More…)

By on February 27, 2017

Elon Musk ice cream

With his employees showing a growing interest in unionization, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shot off a lengthy email to staff urging them to forgo joining the United Auto Workers. While the UAW has romanced Tesla’s growing workforce for years, a recent — and highly publicized — blog post written by an employee expressed renewed concern over the company’s treatment of its workforce, as well as his hope to see them join the labor federation.

Musk initially reached out to the press to defend his company and is now appealing to workers directly, refuting allegations about subpar wages and condemning an earlier investigation into worker safety. “After looking into this claim, not only was it untrue for this individual’s team, it was untrue for any of the hundreds of teams in the factory,” he wrote. (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 May 23, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

The folks at United Auto Workers are eyeing Tesla’s production targets and making plans.

The electric automaker wants to manufacture 500,000 vehicles per year in 2018, and the union wants the workers behind those EVs in its fold, according to USA Today (via Left Lane News).

Though it hasn’t announced anything officially, UAW boss Dennis Williams recently expressed interest in unionizing Elon Musk’s California assembly plant employees. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2016

2013-volkswagen-lineup

Volkswagen to European diesel owners: “Why you mad?”

That, the mailman can’t deliver on the first lawsuit against GM, Caddies built in China and 51.3 million cars were recalled in 2015 … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on December 23, 2015

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO

From DNF to DNS, the Nissan GT-R LM project has finally been retired.

That, and it’s lights out for some Crown Vics, the UAW just wants to talk, Hyundai will spend more to lend more, and more … after the break.

(Read More…)

By on December 7, 2015

Nissan Canton Plant. photo courtesy Automobile.com

The National Labor Relations Board accused Nissan of violating workers’ rights by creating a uniform policy for its workers at its Canton, Mississippi plant.

According to the charges, Nissan introduced a policy in 2014 that barred workers from wearing pro- or anti-union clothing at its Canton facility and at its plants in Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee. Employees were expected to wear company-issued pants and shirts, and visible writing underneath those clothes was prohibited.

The United Auto Workers made the complaints leading to the charges, according to the Associated Press. The union has long sought to unionize workers at Southern U.S. manufacturing facilities with limited success. Last week, skilled trades workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted to join the UAW, the first victory for the union in decades.

(Read More…)

By on December 5, 2015

volkswagen-chattanooga-solar-park-08 (1)

Skilled trades workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga Assembly Plant in Tennessee voted Friday overwhelmingly to join the United Auto Workers union, the first UAW victory at an automotive plant in the South, Reuters reported.

The union vote was the first victory for the UAW, who tried unsuccessfully in February to unionize the entire plant, which included nearly 1,500 production workers. In August, the union filed to open voting only to maintenance workers and ballots were cast Friday.

Friday’s victory for the UAW only incorporated just over 10 percent of the overall workforce. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, 152 skilled trades workers voted in Friday’s ballot question.

(Read More…)

By on December 1, 2015

Kentucky Truck Investment

Ford announced Tuesday that it would spend $1.3 billion to retool, update and build a new body shop for its Louisville, Kentucky plant, which produces its Super Duty truck and large SUVs.

The announced spending, which will create 2,000 jobs at the plant, is part of Ford’s new contract with the United Auto Workers — and part of the automaker’s last deal with the UAW, according to Automotive News.

The investment will create an all-new body shop for the aluminum-bodied truck scheduled to go on sale late next year. With an all-new shop, production of the outgoing truck can continue while the new shop gets online, which could help the automaker avoid another shortage when the redesigned truck hits dealers.

(Read More…)

By on November 30, 2015

uaw_ford_logos

Ford will pay only 1.5-percent more in labor costs each year under a new contract with the United Auto Workers, the automaker reported Monday.

Ford announced it would take a $600 million charge this year to pay out the $10,000 ratification bonuses to their workers as part of the new deal.

The new deal allows the automaker to hire more low-cost workers who will either be temporary or entry-level employees, shift production of some of its cars overseas and continue using controversial “alternative work schedules” that favor fewer, longer shifts instead of traditional work days.

(Read More…)

By on November 21, 2015

UAWstatement112015

A week before Thanksgiving, the United Auto Workers and all of the domestic automakers know they will enter the holiday season without having to worry about a strike.

According to the Detroit News, the UAW announced late Friday that their members at Ford approved a proposed contract by a narrow 51.4-percent margin.

That news followed closely the union’s announcement that its International Executive Board considered ratified its contract with General Motors. It will go into effect starting next week. That deal had been delayed because, although the overall vote was in favor of the contract, almost 60 percent of skilled trade members of the UAW at GM voted against it. (Read More…)

By on November 19, 2015

Chicago Assembly Plant new 2011 Explorer

My, that went downhill quickly.

United Auto Workers at a large Ford facility in Chicago voted 2-to-1 against a proposed contract with the automaker, according to the local union’s Facebook page (via Automotive News). According to the final tally, more than 2,000 workers at the Chicago plant voted against the contract, with only 99o to approve the deal.

According to Automotive News, ratification hinges on massive approval at Ford’s F-150 plant in Dearborn, Michigan, where 60 percent of workers there would need to ratify the deal for ultimate approval.

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015

Kansas City Assembly Plant

Ford workers in Kansas City voted down a proposed contract between the automaker and the United Auto Workers, the local union reported on its Facebook page (via Automotive News). Kansas City produces many of the company’s profitable F-150 trucks.

According to the final tally, 54 percent of union workers and just over 50 percent of skilled trades workers voted against the proposed deal. The defeat was the first major setback for the company, whose workers in Wayne and other plants overwhelmingly voted to approve the deal. Last week, several hundred workers at Ford’s axle plant voted against the proposed deal.

Workers in Kansas City threatened to strike last month when it said Ford wasn’t negotiating in good faith with workers at that plant. (Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015

2015-Ford-Focus-06

Detroit automakers may be betting high-profit SUVs and trucks are a better fit for their domestic plants as those automakers shift production away from cars to make room for larger, high-margin vehicles.

Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will largely shift production of their cars to Mexico and bring more trucks and SUVs to North American facilities, according to their contracts with the United Auto Workers,  Automotive News reported.

The report consolidates production planning schedules included in UAW contracts with domestic automakers, which shows automakers’ plans to move some of their cars to Mexico or overseas. Of the Big Three, General Motors will sell the most domestically produced cars in North America, including the Malibu, Impala, Sonic, Bolt and Volt, although the small-car plant recently announced a slowing production schedule. Ford will still produce the Mustang and Fusion at its Flat Rock plant in Michigan.  (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2015

Michigan Assembly Plant Launches C-MAX Energi Plug-in Hybrid

United Auto Workers in Wayne, Michigan initially approved their four-year contract with Ford last week, signaling the first major victory for the the tentative deal, Automotive News reported.

Bill Johnson, who is UAW Local 900 president for the facility, told Automotive News that 81 percent of production workers and 83 percent of skilled trades workers approved the contract. Under terms of the contract, Wayne would likely see production of a new pickup for Ford — likely the Ranger — and new SUV, which could be called a Bronco, in exchange for production of two cars going to Mexico.

Under the deal, Ford workers would also see pay raises, a $10,000 signing bonus, annual bonuses and $700 million in plant improvements under terms of the deal.

(Read More…)

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