Fisker Delaware Plant To Be A Union Shop

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

It gives me great pride to give UAW Local 435 workers the opportunity to partner with Fisker Automotive to create a greener America by building a plug-in hybrid car that will compete globally

So goes the line from Gary Casteel, the new Union boss for Fisker’s new Wilmington, Delaware plant at Automotive News [sub]. Why would the luxury EV startup hitch its wagon to the union that helped bring down Detroit? Was it a condition of GM’s sale of the plant where Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky were once built? Or does Fisker think that running a union shop might help bring in federal dross? Or are projected profit margins so strong that Fisker just doesn’t care? One thing’s for certain: though the UAW has agreed to a number of concessions over the past year, there’s a reason that most new US auto plants avoid union representation like the plague. From VW and Kia to Hybrid Kinetic Motors and Tesla, new US factories are being located in Southern states and California largely to escape the profit and productivity-sapping union. Either Fisker knows something that they don’t, or inviting the union into the new shop was a potential error of enormous magnitude.

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • Lokkii Lokkii on Oct 28, 2009

    There is an advantage in having an experienced workforce for a start-up. I've been in the situation of new plant, new systems, new workforce, new product. It ain't pretty. You just have too many variables which make it very difficult to sort out the root cause of problems. Is the product design faulty? Or, is the production equipment faulty? Or, was the equipment just improperly set up? Or, are the workers using it wrong? Or, is this component right, but one of the other components it interfaces with wrong because of (see above). Of course there were political reasons for the choice, and I firmly believe that (as with SAAB) the true purpose of the enterprise is to provide good salaries for the top executives as long as they can ride the government-paid electric-car gravy train. However, I do understand the arguments for a seasoned workforce in an established plant.

  • CarPerson CarPerson on Oct 28, 2009

    The morning news says it is all but a done deal. Boeing was not looking to reduce wages ($28 in Seattle, $14 in Charleston), benefits (very generous), or anything beyond four words "No strikes for ten years" to stop the horrible cost and disruption a strike involves. Use binding arbitration to resolve conflicts. Jobs for union members, their kids and grandkids will vanish. Taxes that pay for schools, emergency services, the city, county, and state infrastructure will disappear. Commercial activity in our stores and shops will plunge. The rank-and-file will see a hugely negative impact on their living across the board. The IAM union leadership is totally detached from the reality of what best benefits the union members on the shop floor. Indeed, the union IS the problem.

  • Accs Accs on Oct 31, 2009

    Edward Niedermeyer: This site is 10min from me. Its not like me to be positive here... But Im happy its happening. I also heard that a local dealership is picking up a dealership.

  • Doug Doug on Nov 02, 2009

    Some colorful metaphors in the first few comments here... The purchase of this plant (solely for the lower cost, yet to be revealed Nina) seems premature to me given that Fisker has yet to deliver the Valmet manufactured Karma or prove to have any chance at being profitable. I don't think the manufacturing on the Nina is expected to start until 2012 at this rate. Why even make a statement about the labor force at this point? At the same time, Tesla's purchase of a southern California plant for the Model S seems long overdue.