By on August 20, 2010

We are sorry you were inconvenienced and had to worry about where your car was parked while you covered the signing. The UAW member you encountered in the UAW Local 249 parking lot meant no personal disrespect to you. Accomodating [sic] vehicles not made by UAW brothers and sisters is a passionate subject for our members.

He and UAW members across the country know that foreign automakers that allow workers to freely join unions in their home countries while denying that same right to U.S. workers are denying the First Amendment right of American workers to freely organize. Yet foreign automakers accept U.S. taxpayers’ dollars in incentives to build assembly plants, jeopardizing the future of middle-class workers in the domestic auto industry.

UAW Boss Bob King half-apologizes to Kansas City Business Journal reporter James Dornbrook, who was forced to remove his American-built Toyota Camry from the parking lot of UAW Local 249 in Kansas City while reporting a story there. The DetNews notes that King’s predecessor Ron Gettelfinger had loosened the UAW’s long-standing ban on non-UAW-made cars in its parking lots five years ago, when he allowed Marine Corps reservists who report to a nearby office park at UAW headquarters. But King is on a mission to reconnect the UAW with its old-time religion, and his letter proceeds to lecture Dornbrook on the standard talking points concerning the anti-middle-class evils of non-union transplant factories, and the general sanctity of all things UAW-approved.

King’s letter is a tedious read, but it’s proof that self-righteousness trumps self-preservation at the UAW, even when it comes to something as (relatively) easy to control as press relations. Reporters may not be quite as popular as Marines, but they have immense influence over public perception of the UAW (which, incidentally, is not in great shape just now). Kicking one off UAW property because he drives a non-union, American-built car and then lecturing him with UAW dogma is just plain stupid.

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34 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Press Relations, UAW Style Edition...”


  • avatar
    stryker1

    It amazes me that this kind of thing still occurs. It’s like normal biggotry, but with half the calories. I think unions are generally a great idea, which makes UAW antics so much worse. You guys are not helping.

  • avatar
    George B

    Which parking lot does a Ford Fusion made in Mexico use? How about a Mazda6 built by UAW workers in Michigan?

  • avatar
    twotone

    So, I can’t park my American made Camry on the lot but I can park my Korean made re-badged Chevy?

    Twotone

  • avatar
    Jeff Semenak

    As a forced partial-owner of GM and Chrysler, this is bizarre. Even worse, the media attend anyway and lap up the talking points.

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    Yes, it’s both foolish and childish, but freedom gives people the right to act in ways that are both obnoxious and detrimental to their own self-interest.

  • avatar

    I remember about 11 years ago I was working for a Big 3 supplier in Detroit and went to a meeting at Chrysler HQ in Auburn Hills. They had 2 lots: “American” cars parked close to the building, while “foreign” cars parked a lot farther away. I was driving a Jetta, and the guy at the gate told me I had to park in the far-away lot. When I told him I wanted to park where the Neons parked, I was actually threatened with violence. That guy wasn’t even UAW, but the sentiment runs deep in the business.

    So no, this isn’t surprising. At least the UAW has a logical policy in requiring UAW-built cars only. It makes more sense than Chrysler’s policy.

    (as an aside: when I went back to my office and told my boss what had happened, he actually called several senior mgmt people into his office while I sat there and told them I drove a Jetta to Chrysler. They all had a good laugh and told me what I f*cking idiot I was. Good times…)

  • avatar
    mikey

    Two questions. Who owns the parking lot? Who decides who can,and cannot park there?

    • 0 avatar
      1996MEdition

      One more question…..why are there so many empty parking lots?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Mikey’s right. Driving a UAW manufactured vehicle is not a protected class in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Now, if the person denied the parking was over 40, a minority, a female or had some type of physical impairment, then the owner of the parking lot risks being sued for discrimination.

      Just sayin’….

  • avatar
    mrhappypants

    My first job out of college was as a programmer for Ford in Dearborn. I drove my first brand-new car, a ’93 Sentra SE-R and was told, after I started, that I would have to park my car in the street in dirty slushy Michigan snow.

    I quit as soon as I got another job, just a couple of weeks later. Fuck those guys.

    • 0 avatar
      dkulmacz

      Good riddance. We never missed you.

    • 0 avatar
      mrhappypants

      They let you use da Internets in Dearborn, lunchbucket?

      Oh, I forgot, it’s friday afternoon. Nobody’s really working.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      I’ve worked 26 years at the WHQ of a large OEM in Dearborn. I have never observed any animosity, except the occasional raised eyebrow and display of I-work-at-Ford-I-drive-a-Ford stickers, to the presence of non-Ford makes in the parking lot. The only exception was an incident by unknown perpetrators of multiple keyings in the mid 1980’s, for which Ford reimbursed the owners. But that was over two decades ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      “They let you use da Internets in Dearborn, lunchbucket?”

      I hope you found gainful programming employment elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      mrhappypants

      “I hope you found gainful programming employment elsewhere.”

      I did, sir. Thank you.

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    I’d be pissed if I owned a NUMMI built Toyota Corolla. Typical Union “sham”.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yes its old time religion. IMHO, I think that King is trying to turn back the hands of time. I wish him and the UAW all the success in the world. Having said that, I’ve got some big doubts.

    Its a different time and a different era. But I got’ta admire King for showing a few gonads, that have been certainly lacking over the last few years.

    However marking your teritory like an alpha dog,does not necessarily make you a true leader.

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      “I think that King is trying to turn back the hands of time.”

      To what? The days of mass corruption and organized crime?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “But I got’ta admire King for showing a few gonads, that have been certainly lacking over the last few years.”

      Huh? What percentage of GM is owned by the UAW? Gonads aren’t lacking, but good judgement sure is.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I don’t wish the UAW success, since that usually translates into cannabilistic agreements that hurt future employees, higher costs to the employer, reduced product quality, violence, neighborhood animosity, and divisive policies such as those depicted on these signs.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    “while denying that same right to U.S. workers are denying the First Amendment right of American workers to freely organize.”

    Once again, a misinterpretation of the 1st Amendment:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    A company is not the same as the government. Also, using mikeys argument about who owns the parking lot…..who owns the auto company? If you don’t like your working conditions, look for another job. Apparently the transplants do like their working conditions. You don’t see them clamoring out the door looking for new work, do you?

  • avatar
    V572625694

    The fathers and grandfathers of these UAW members were denied their right to unionize, and did something about it besides putting up a sign.

  • avatar
    obbop

    There are several unions across the land that have embraced illegal aliens despite what is, to me, ample proof that the multi-millions of illegals are especially economically harmful to working-poor USA citizens due to competition for jobs, rental housing and social services.

    Perhaps one has to have been embedded amidst the invading multitude to truly understand the economic AND social costs that harm the working-poor.

    To reach out to the illegals as some of the unions have is a self-serving ploy expected to benefit the UNION…. as various articles available upon the Web assert.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    It is my understanding that the rank and file of these non-union plants have selected not to organize? If that is the case, where would Mr. King’s misrepresentation of the First Amendment even be germain?

  • avatar
    Jeff Semenak

    I worked for Meijers a large union grocery type company. We would have ridiculed a union sign saying only food purchased there could be brought into the lunch room.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    This is why the UAW is clueless, and keeps getting less and less support.

    So let me see if I have this right:

    It’s forbidden to park a Camry in the lot, even though it has more domestic part content than most “American” cars, and ignore the fact that it also employs at a fair wage and puts food on the table for many Americans.

    But it’s OK to park a Fusion or Fiesta on the lot, where those building the car are not Americans, but Mexicans. And those Mexicans are paid a scab wage of $4/hr.

    Ok..so what’s the UAW’s message again??

  • avatar

    This is the type of backwards, insular, bunker mentality that leads to one believing that the Cimarron or Cavalier are great vehicles, or even marginally competitive. I suppose if you never have to experience reality then it just goes away, right?

    “How did Reagan win? Every single person I know voted for Carter!”

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Do they have a lot for Government vehicles as opposed to non government vehicles?

    Government Motors parking up front, Fords in the back?

  • avatar
    M 1

    I don’t like the UAW, but I really wish people would stop to consider the important question: Where do the profits go?

    “American-made” is irrelevant here. It isn’t about where the pieces are assembled, folks.

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