By on August 6, 2010

When Bob King was elected UAW president in June, he did something that was once seen as highly un-American: He swore to give his full attention to the Japanese. At closer look, he just followed the trend: American carmakers had lost more than half of the market to foreign name plates. And the UAW, with a membership of just 350,000 is only a shadow if its former 1.4 million member glory. King wants to get new members where Americans get new cars: from Japanese and other foreign automakers’ plants in the U.S. How does he want to go about it? With good old UAW arm twisting.

According to The Nikkei [sub], the UAW is crafting “a set of guidelines” that will be given to nonunion foreign automakers. If the companies sign on, the UAW pledges to honor nonunion workers’ decisions to join the union or not. How democratic and freedom-loving of them. What if companies refuse?  Then the UAW will pull out the big hammer and “expose those companies in any and every way we can until they agree to respect workers’ rights and to rectify their anti-union actions,” King said.

Details of the guidelines or how or to what the companies will be exposed are not available. Judging from the way King put it, that exposure ought to be pretty decent. Indecent exposure cannot be ruled out,

First to answer was the UAW’s main target: Toyota. Steve St. Angelo, an executive vice president who oversees Toyota’s North America engineering and manufacturing, said that  Toyota workers are angry over the union’s picketing at dealerships. This according to another story in The Nikkei [sub]. After all, the unions are messing with their jobs. Not a good way to win friends and influence prospective card-carrying members.

“When the UAW pickets our dealerships, our team members get angry because they want to build cars that are their livelihood,” St. Angelo said.

St. Angelo also expressed doubts whether the UAW would be allowed to hold organizing rallies in Toyota plants: “Our workers make the ultimate decision if they want to unionize or not and for the past 25 years they have said no.”

St. Angelo said there have been no new discussions with the UAW and the union probably won’t be allowed to hold in-plant rallies at Toyota, which has a no solicitation policy. “Our team members like it the way it is,” St. Angelo said.

Here is one company that won’t sign those guidelines. How many signatures do you figure King will get, and from whom?

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59 Comments on “UAW: Sign Here, Or We’ll Expose You In Any And Every Way...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    If Toyota wanted to be clever, and perhaps tweak a nose or two, they could encourage the formation of a competitive union. I don’t think it’s legal to have a full “company union” so in the United States, but such a union/management structure has worked out really well in Japan.

    Were they to extend such a union to suppliers and, importantly, non-autoworkers (especially in service and white-collar) it would badly, badly wound the UAW.

    A large part of the UAW’s problem is that they’re stuck in an adversarial mode, but that attitude is definitely a “takes two to tango” situation that’s been enabled by management. What is the union’s fault is their inability to think outside the box about how to fix these problems.

    Trade unions in other countries work in direct partnership with industry. Many of those other countries aren’t bleeding jobs, and most of those that are western have a better standard of living and a more enabled middle class.

    Do you think there’s a lesson, here?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      That’s an intriguining idea, but “company” unions have been banned by the Wagner Act in the U.S.

      I agree that the UAW is stuck in the adversarial mode. And that it takes two to tango.

      The UAW’s problem is that it’s still fighting the thuggish Harry Bennett at Ford or the aloof, patrician Alfred P. Sloan at GM. It isn’t 1936 anymore, and Toyota isn’t going to allow company goons to assault union organizers on company property.

      Whatever we can say about Toyota, I’m sure that it has extensively studied the mistakes that GM and Ford made in the 1920s and 1930s that allowed the UAW to gain a foothold.

    • 0 avatar
      CarTechMan

      I agree with psarhjinian with regard to the adversarial relationship unions and in particular the UAW has with companies. Definitely antiquated thinking. Your point regarding overseas trade unions is well taken. I am not a big gov’t or big union fan …but they do know how to protect the skilled trades from illegal immigration destroying their job base. The UAW dimwits toe the Democrat party line so well that they don’t realize that their support of illegal immigration erodes their membership numbers. Here in Michigan illegals have decimated the carpentry and masonry skilled trades – both unionized and non-union. The UAW would do well by supporting strict border enforcement, employment I.D. checks, etc to bolster their skilled trade brethren. But then again many a sheeple has been led over the precipice by blindly following uninformed dogma.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      Unofficial “de facto” company unions do exist in the US. They are independent, but represent workers of one company only. Allied Pilots Association, not ALPA, representing American Airlines pilots is one example.

      I was once represented by what was originally a Douglas Aircraft Company union. Parts of Boeing still have the same thing.

      There is no legal reason why Toyota workers at one or several plants could not organize without the UAW.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “Unofficial “de facto” company unions do exist in the US.”

      You are right that some unions represent employees at only one company, but that does not make them “company unions” by the generally accepted definition of the term.

      The term “company union” refers to a union formed by the management and forced upon the workers without the worker’s consent. This infringes on the worker’s right to self determination and is not legal in the U.S.

      Saying the APA is a “de facto” company union suggests that the management of American Airlines, through some clever arrangement to contravene law, runs the union, but that is definitely not the case. The APA is firmly controlled by its employee members.

      The Allied Pilots Association is properly described as an employee union, not a company union.

  • avatar
    MU78

    I am sure every worker for Toyota or Honda is fully aware of the UAW and they are also fully aware of GM, Chrysler and Ford. If the union believes there is some underground desire on the factory floors to join the UAW just waiting to bubble up I question Bob King’s sanity. I understand he has to do what he can to grow his membership but this is not 1937. The companies do not have to build cars here to sell cars here and the UAW’s monopolization of auto workers is over.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    psarhjinian makes a good point. Is the UAW the only option for unionization? How about TAW, Toyota Auto Workers instead?

    What, ineffective because it’s too small? Well it might be small but representing all Toyota workers only will keep the focus on one company, probably in the workers best interest.

    How bold of the UAW to think they speak for auto workers when in fact people speak for themselves.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Extortion

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    If Toyota workers were underpaid and working in dirty dangerous conditions, they would be seeking the UAW with vigor.

    Surely Toyota is astute enough and has enough cash that they can find out the key pain points that their workers have and address those thus staunching any yearning for the protections of UAW membership.

    Yes, that is akin to ‘buying them off’ but that’s exactly what you want from from your employer.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      That’s exactly why there is no union representation at Toyota and other transplant factories. Toyota knows that if they can make the workplace satisfying there will be no reason for workers to desire union representation. So the transplant workers mostly get the benefits of representation without all the baggage that comes with it. But what happens when the UAW shrinks into irrelevance? Will Toyota still be as caring? We can’t say for sure, but history is not on their side. Outsourcing is common whenever it can be applied. A recent Times article was about how legal support services are now being performed in India. Just like credit services, CAD drafting, etc. Outsourcing is destroying middle class America. I would encourage any young person today to think about this question when choosing a career: “Can my job be outsource or privatized during my career lifetime?” If so, you might want to find another career. Seems the only jobs that offer good pay, stability, pensions, health care and don’t come with a lot of negativity would be City police and firemen. Don’t know why they escape the negative view since they are far and away the biggest abusers of the system, but you can’t ship a firefighter to China.

  • avatar
    polska

    No matter whose fault it is, losing automotive employment has been pretty bad for my city. You can say that they should have seen the writing on the wall, but strictly putting blame on the UAW is pretty short-sighted. This is such a complex issue – we can go all the way back to education and skill-set. What do you do with a large skill-less portion of the population? Have them figure it out for themselves and feel self-righteous about blaming them for their own outcome (meanwhile footing the bill for their drain on govt. and other services they won’t/can’t pay for)?
    A guy making 50 + grand at the Chrysler mini-van plant w/ spouse working was probably able to qualify for a 250+ grand house in St. Louis suburbs in ’04. Whose fault is it when he forecloses? Government, bank, UAW, Chrysler, Him? Fenton city? Construction company (easy build loans)?
    No sympathy here for the UAW, but TAC would only make it right to cover more aspects of this issue.

    • 0 avatar
      1996MEdition

      “Whose fault is it when he forecloses?”

      His….it’s called personal responsibility, living within your means, saving for a rainy day, etc…..

  • avatar
    jaje

    Damn – this cancer is looking for any way to infect and ruin any new hosts.

    Read up on the UAWs attempt to unionize Honda’s Marysville plant over the past 25 years regarding the lies, scare tactics, threats of physical harm that UAW representatives used when they visited peoples houses and organization meetings.

    • 0 avatar

      +1.

      Alas, the only way to eradicate this cancer is to allow it to kill its hosts. Shame we came so close to finally seeing that happen two years ago, only to have the feds step in…

      That’s why all my future new vehicle purchases will be foreign nameplates, assembled either out-of-country or at non-UAW American plants.

      Yes, I’d rather support foreign workers than UAW-controlled Americans.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      Rob,

      Please keep in mind when making your purchasing decision that most European assembled vehicles come from plants that are just as heavily unionized as any UAW plant in the U.S. (I don’t know much about the auto plant union situations in Japan and Korea, sorry I can’t help there.)

      There are many choices of cars assembled in the good ol’ U.S.A. by hard-working, efficient, skilled American without any union influence. You are free to make any choice you want, but I encourage you to “buy American” as much as possible simply because its a good idea for us all to look out for each other, support each other and not buy foreign when there may be perfectly acceptable alternatives.

      Yeah, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes are all foreign controlled, but they are examples of “foreign” brands that are employing Americans to assemble vehicles in non-union plants and are also supporting American jobs at domestic parts suppliers. These are good things.

      The UAW sucks, but there’s no need to completely abandon ship. You can “buy American” and still avoid the UAW. Here’s an interactive map that will help you figure out which vehicles are made where in the U.S. by whom and whether or not the plant is unionized: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/06/19/automobiles/20090619-auto-plants-4.html

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    As I posted on another UAW thread re: corporate campaigns, the UAW isn’t all that concerned with convincing the transplant workers and/or overcoming reticence due to the UAW’s history. The goal is to strong-arm management to agree to “neutrality” and “card check” (if they can’t get the latter via legislation first).

    Once the union can bypass secret ballot elections it’s pretty much home-free, for then it is merely a matter of getting the minimum majority to “sign” — whether those signatures are obtained through informed consent (highly unlikely when the “neutrality” agreement means that the only information targeted employees hear is that which the union wants them to hear), or misleading or actual threats.

    Unions are in business to obtain “dues units.” Period. The workers are incidental, merely the conduits through which the union bosses fill the coffers.

    Don’t believe me? Note these:

    http://edlabor.house.gov/testimony/020807JenniferJasontestimony.pdf

    http://www.1-888-no-union.com/images/Teamster_Overnite_Posting.pdf

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Steve St. Angelo, an executive vice president who oversees Toyota’s North America engineering and manufacturing, said that Toyota workers are angry over the union’s picketing at dealerships.”

    Executives speaking on behalf of the hourly workers are not entirely credible, eh?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I agree that his statements need to be taken with a huge grain of salt, given his position and obvious interest in keeping the union at bay.

      But each attempt by the UAW to organize a transplant operation has gone down in flames, so we don’t need the Psychic Hotline to divine how those workers feel about union representation.

      The simple fact is that they already make good money and receive decent benefits; bringing in the union will only give them the opportunity to LOWER their take home pay, thanks to mandatory dues deductions.

      As I’ve said in other threads, the UAW needs to figure out a way to become relevant in the 21st century. It must add some value to the car-making process, because buyers (the people who really matter) don’t give two hoots about the union, and aren’t going out of their way to support it.

      The union ultimately succeeded in the 1930s and 1940s because most people sympathized with the plight of auto workers. Unfortunately, just like management, the union became a victim of its own success, and allowed arrogance and complacency to rule the day, acting as though Americans had some sort of obligation to buy their products so that no one would ever lose a job.

      The union simply does not have that level of public support in 2010 – certainly not enough to assume that the public will side with it as opposed to Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, BMW and Mercedes.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “Executives speaking on behalf of the hourly workers are not entirely credible, eh?”

      When the executive is telling us that the Toyota assembly workers don’t like union goons trying to slow sales, threatening Toyota assembly jobs, I’m pretty sure we can take his word at face value.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Obviously, the UAW needs another Battle of the Overpass. This time with thuggish organizers using tire irons to convince reluctant workers to sign up. The union just needs to first eliminate secret ballot elections.

  • avatar
    Invisible

    eff that organized crime unit out of Detroit.

    Here’s hoping the UAW’s death continues to a conclusion. I realize Obammy is backing and funding the UAW efforts, but we as a nation need to fight against this organized crime.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Ironic that UAW wants to see who is voting what (so they can slash their tires or worse) and convincing our elected officials who are voted in via secret ballot!

    • 0 avatar

      The hypocrisy of the UAW is unconscionable… and yet completely in keeping with the blatant thuggery that comes to mind whenever one hears those letters.

      Look, if you aren’t required to disclose who you voted for in a US presidential election, then no one should be forced to tell Vinnie who he or she voted for in a union.

  • avatar
    Invisible

    Here is an excellent video on the productivity and efficiency of the UAW.

    Watch the video, then respond if you want to buy one of their cars to support this activity.

    http://www.clickondetroit.com/video/15908257/index.html

  • avatar
    rpiotr01

    Every time I start to get the serious “buy American!” itch, something like this pops up.

    This man is insane. Like a couple people said, this isn’t the 1920’s or 30’s. Mr. Burns’ grandfather isn’t walking around checking workers’ pockets for stolen atoms.

  • avatar
    slance66

    The government made most unions unnecessary over the years. We have OSHA, EEOC, wage and hour laws, labor laws, discrimination laws, unemployment insurance, workers compensation and so on. Most of the reasons for the existence of unions is already codified at all employers. If those employers then provide decent pay and benefits, why unionize?

    The only remaining things unions like the UAW can offer are (1) excessive benefits and (2) job security arrangements. Smart employees know that job security systems mean that the best workers are not rewarded, the most senior ones are. They have also seen fist hand that excessive benefits, with absurdly generous pension plans and sick-leave/disability rules, have crippled competitiveness at GM, Ford and Chrysler with their costs. Unfortunately, there is even less justification for unionization of public sector workers (can the government be an abusive employer?), yet they find they can vote themselves excessive benefits and competitiveness is irrelevant.

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      Unions are unnecessary? Who do you think would stand vigilant in protecting those hard-earned rights without the unions? Toyota? GM? OSHA, EEOC and the rest of the labor laws can be repealed even easier and faster than they were erected. Human nature and the inherent conflict between capital and labor was not changed by a few, but important, laws. It’s a little bit like saying we don’t need Civil Rights legislation because people are no longer openly racist. Wishful thinking.

    • 0 avatar

      Unions were necessary in the US back in the late-1800s, when children still worked in coal mines. They are absolutely NOT necessary today, and should be eradicated.

      If you don’t like the conditions at your current job, find another one. It’s really as simple as that. Fend for yourself, don’t rely on others to do it for you.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      @getacargetacheck

      The unions aren’t looking out for workers, they are looking out for their own self-serving bureaucracy that keeps the union bosses in $4,000 suits while the workers are left to swing in the wind.

      The hourly workers at the U.S. assembly plants for Honda, Toyota and Mercedes aren’t union represented and contrary to your assertion, they are sitting pretty. From wage, benefit and job security standpoints they are streets ahead of their UAW counterparts not because of a union contract but because of there aren’t any artificial union imposed barriers to good business decisions that ensure both productivity and profits.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    There is no value proposition with the UAW. What do they bring to the table?

    GM, Ford and Chrysler’s problems were exacerbated, not helped, by the UAW’s MO – intransigence.

    Playing devil’s advocate here with good ol Bob for a moment – How would he possible convince other auto workers that he can be impartial when the UAW owns a chunk of one of their competitors?

    UAW = Fail

  • avatar
    troonbop

    Bob’s feeling a little delirious due to his partnership with the obozo administration. And maybe ACORN can help out with some harassment.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Dear Mr. Obama,

    Thank you so much for rescuing Government Motors and Chrysler. Not only does it mean success for the government but also means a big win for the UAW.

    You have given Mr. King and his goons the momentum they needed to rebuild their gangs and bully their way back to greatness.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      P.S.

      My friend has a business building VCR’s and Audio Cassette players.
      Unfortunatly, it’s a product that isn’t very good quality or reliable and finding very few buyers these days so it is at risk of bankruptcy. Sure, it’s an outdated product line that nobody wants anymore and there are better, newer and more reliable technologies out there but the company has been in existence for 35 years and if it goes under, the whole U.S. economy would be in jeaopardy. Could you please help him out?

      If you do, I promise all of his employees will vote for you come election time.

      Thanks.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Good on the UAW and Bob King. The transplant workers have been taking worker rights, which were hard-earned by the UAW membership in the 20th century, for granted. The longer the UAW allows its membership to atrophy the faster American workers will be brought down to third world working standards. The UAW has Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Daimler, BMW, Hyundai, and the rest over a barrel — these companies will not leaving the US anytime soon. Really Steve Angelo? Your workers like it the way it is? Of course you would say that. I guess you have nothing to fear. LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      Mailbox20

      Did you read any of the news about Toyota layoffs during the downturn or even when production was stopped for the “recalls”. I’m guessing not, since there were no layoffs. And no UAW to force Toyota into that position, they did it on their own.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Wow…after reading getacargetacheck’s post, I realized that I hadn’t seen or read anything that unintentionally hilarious since I watched an episode of The Bachelor. Thanks for the chuckle, but I can only hope and pray that you don’t really believe that.

      Perhaps the next post will tell us how much better the Malibu is than the Accord, largely because the former is built by the UAW. That will really be funny…

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      Mailbox20, I guess you’ve never heard of NUMMI or Toyota’s practice of hiring temporary workers with no benefits and then laying them off when needed?

      http://www.autospies.com/news/Toyota-Starts-First-Layoffs-At-Texas-Tundra-Plant-31265/

      http://www.14wfie.com/Global/story.asp?S=6435509&nav=3w6o

      By your logic, we could simply do away with layoffs forever if we could just get rid of unions first. Sure, and would the remaining workers (serfs?) be able to earn a living?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      How horrible! A company attempting to control costs and screen potential employees by using temporary workers, as many companies do in the real world!

      You’d almost think that Toyota is trying to run a successful business and ensure its long-term viability!

      I guess this is a foreign concept to some people. The preferred method of operation, apparently, is to hire more workers than needed, then never be able to let them go, even when demand slumps. Never mind that this method is one factor that greatly increases the likelihood that said company will be driven to bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar

      “Mailbox20, I guess you’ve never heard of NUMMI or Toyota’s practice of hiring temporary workers with no benefits and then laying them off when needed?”

      Um… you’ve just defined “temporary workers.” We use them at my job, too, when needed. Almost always, we end up hiring the best ones full-time.

      And tell me anyone with half a brain couldn’t distinguish themselves working on an automobile manufacturing line. No doubt Toyota kept the best workers, and threw the chaff to the wind. As it should.

    • 0 avatar
      rcdickey

      I work at one of the transplants you mention. I and the majority of my coworkers have no interest in being represented by a union, much less UAW. UAW and some machinist union has tried to organize here. Little interest has been generated in the 13+ years I have been here. Just because I have the benefits similar to what union plants have is not reason enough for me to pay dues to your union. I have worked in union jobs. I hate the adversarial relationship generated by having a union. I’m sure if things deteriorate enough we might reconsider. Most of the people here that are pro union just do not like this type of work. These people usually end up quitting. I really don’t know what they think a union would do for them. To shorten this story I’ll just say any union would serve to do more harm here than help with anything.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “The UAW has Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Daimler, BMW, Hyundai, and the rest over a barrel”

      Actually, you have that backwards. The UAW is a toothless tiger that has been in decline for decades. It is bureaucratic, disorganized and old fashioned. Society and the modern economy have the UAW over a barrel.

      In the last year tracked for which data is available, according to the NLRB, 66% of union represented work groups have voted to de-certify unions when given the choice. When union represented employees are voting to kick out the union a majority of the time, I fail to see how any union, let alone the UAW, has anyone over a barrel.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “which were hard-earned by the UAW membership in the 20th century”

      The UAW and its members are -not- solely responsible for “workers rights”. That’s just crazy, fantasy land talk.

      Those non-union auto workers are not in any way required to give a darn about what such and such group did 100 years ago. What has the UAW done for workers lately? Nothing. What does the UAW have to offer workers today? Nothing. What do the UAW union bosses have? $4,000 suits and country club memberships paid for with worker’s union dues.

      It’s just sad how the unions trot out what they accomplished before our grandparents were born as reasons to “go union” today. The modern age, its nice. You might want to check it out some time. (Sorry, we still don’t have jet packs or food in pill form, but I’m sure that as soon as we do the UAW will be there to take credit for both.)

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Wow, just unbelievable, and sad. After reading most of the uninformed union bashing on this post it is clear why wages, benefits, and overall standard of living for north Americans is in a race to the bottom. Like it or not union agreements set the bar for wages and benefits that the non-union intentionally come close to, but undercut just enough to keep workers happy. The union shops cut to be more competitive, the non-union soon follows ,and on it goes. I agree that unions need a shake-up now and then, but to wish them completely gone, regardless of any “government labor laws” will be a disaster in the long run for the middle class. Sorry for the rant…

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      Don’t be sorry. It’s easy to dismiss the importance of something while you still have it. Everyone who doesn’t have “Director” or “Chief” in their title, including the poor college-educated souls answering telephones in call centers, benefit from unions. People need to wake up.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Our standard of living is not declining. The simple fact is that today’s poor people enjoy gadgets, medical care, diets and clothing that even upper-middle class people could not have imagined in the 1970. Middle class people live like the rich of that time in many ways.

      In the great majority of the country, even white-collar employees did not receive the wages and benefits enjoyed by UAW members, so the idea that the union set some sort of bar for everyone else is a myth.

      GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC once enjoyed a virtual monopoly on new-vehicle sales, and the union enjoyed a monopoly on the labor used to build those vehicles. Given those circumstances, it’s no surprise that the union was able to push wages and benefits far above the norm for people of that education and skill level. The UAW benefited from this double monopoly (the domestic car makers’ monopoly of the market, and the UAW’s monopoly on the labor used to build them).

      That is why it was able to negotiate those high wage and benefit levels, which were ultimately paid for by new-car buyers in the form of ever-escalating car prices for ever-crappier vehicles.

      It had NOTHING do with the any inherent justice of the UAW’s position.

      The transplants broke this cycle, and surprise, surprise, cars have become MUCH better. The union has to compete like everyone else. Nothing more, nothing less. So stop pretending like it’s still 1936 and join the real world like everyone else.

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      geeber, you are either ignoring a lot of history to support your ideological position or you simply haven’t read enough. Look up 8-hour day and then tell us that unions establishing a “bar” is a “myth.” Unions have affected how you work in more ways than you realize.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      getacargetacheck,

      You’re making geeber’s point. The UAW once played a key function. That has not been the case for decades. They have failed to adapt to changing realities around them.

      Work safety, work hours, FLSA, etc. are all now laws. The union is not needed to enforce them.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      You need to read more history beyond what is contained in Solidarity magazine or taught at Wayne State University. The simple fact is that many companies were extending benefits and cutting back work hours in the 1920s, long before unions were really powerful.

      Auto workers were actually well paid for industrial workers of that time (1920s and 1930s). Their complaints centered on the indignities of factory work (they were often forced to go the bathroom in glass-topped lavatories to ensure no loafing, for example), the capriciousness and power of foreman (you could be fired for looking at someone the wrong way) and the speed-up of the lines.

      The simple fact is that unions addressed many of these issues within the auto industry, but, over time, the UAW became as complacent and arrogant as management. The UAW acted as though car buyers had some sort of obligation to buy domestic products to ensure that its members never lost a job or had to renegotiate benefits.

      Well, check the sales figures. The car buyers – the ones who really matter – thought differently.

      The bottom line is that the union was successful because of the monopoly enjoyed by the domestics, and its monopoly over the labor they used to build their vehicles. Nothing more, nothing less. Any other interpretation is simply union propaganda.

      What you cannot seem to realize is that, just like management, the UAW thinks that car buyers exist to serve the union (by buying a Chevy to keep the union members employed), when it’s really the other way around.

      YOU have a job because people want to buy the product you make at a price THEY are willing to pay. It’s up to YOU to work to satisfy the customer. And if you think that the public is going to reflexively support the UAW over the transplants in any organizing struggle, I’d say you need to get out and see what people think in the real world. The UAW does not have a very good reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      UAW has by far outlived its benefit to society. It is now just another middleman taking handouts. King is your classic confrontational UAW leader meaning we’ll see more strikes by its largely uneducated factory workers – asking for more money and over the top benefits. King things that striking Toyota dealers will help their cause is asinine. It only supports public opinion that the UAW is outdated and unneeded.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      There’s unions, and there’s American unions.

      I have no problems with unions in theory. I just have problems with ones that forget that they are in a symbiotic relationship with their companies, and that if they are too selfish they will end up killing the golden goose.

      To me that’s the story of the last 50 years of labor relations; the unions refuse to deal with the reality that you can’t sell televisions, electronics, cars, steel, coal, etc… when your labor force is too expensive, and hanging on so long they help destroy their own industry.

      A union that realized that it’s own best interests are served by competitive pricing and benefits programs that don’t hang millstones around their employers necks would have a lot more sympathy for me. It sounds like other countries have that sort of arrangement; maybe we should look towards adjusting our labor laws so that we have unions that don’t play key rolls in screwing themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “Like it or not union agreements set the bar for wages and benefits”

      No, they don’t. The two tier wage structures in place at the railroads and now the old-fashioned auto plants are evidence of that. The UAW is self serving. Any union that would let existing workers keep inflated wages while making new hires doing the same job do it for much less pay is a pitiful disgrace. Brotherhood and solidarity are just meaningless words. Where’s the fairness and equality in unequal pay for equal work?

      The eight hour day? That’s an alleged union innovation from 70 years ago. What have unions done for workers lately? Nothing. But the union bosses sure do make a lot of money, wear expensive suits and drive expensive cars to the country club the union bosses belong to and pay for with your union dues because, you know, they do union “business” there, at the nice country club that you can’t afford to join.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    The last, desperate gasps of a dying parasite. The Ugly Abdominal Worm.

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      Like I said before, absolutely amazing ignorance of how life in the workforce truly is for the lunch bucket crowd, troll.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “how life in the workforce truly is for the lunch bucket crowd”

      There are comments on this post and another related recent post from folks who work in the non-union U.S. auto plants. They’ve said nothing but good things about their work situation and have also said that they’d never have anything to do with the UAW.

      Those folks are truly part of the lunch bucket crowd, they know exactly what life in the workforce is like for that crowd and they think the UAW is a Useless Abomination of the World. They aren’t trolls, they know what they are talking about and I couldn’t agree with them more.

  • avatar

    You GO UAW peoples!
    -Makin’ Grampaw Feliks Dzerzhinsky proud!!!

  • avatar
    Zas

    Depending on your point of view, this may or may not be off-topic, so here goes…

    Zenith. A brand every American who is older than 35 years of age, will recognize as an American company that produced electronics for many years, most of them using leading edge technology that no other company had for it’s time.

    Circa 1948: Zenith produces it’s first consumer TV sets, leaders of such innovations as “Wireless remote controls” and Flat-faced picture tubes over the next 40 years.

    Circa 1980’s: struggling against the Japanese, who were producing cheaper sets, Zenith started shedding off assets of it’s divisions to stay afloat. In 1990, it sold a partial (5%) stake in it’s company to LG, until LG bought Zenith out of bankruptcy in 1999.

    Today: LG (for those who are old enough and remember the Goldstar brand name from years previous) owns all rights and patents to all of Zenith’s technologies developed through the years.

    So, what was Zenith’s fall attributable to? I dont know, but this is what my cousin relayed to me while he worked there in the early 90’s:

    My cousin worked in R&D for the company in the early 90’s, at it’s Glenview, IL center before it got shut down. I remember him commenting on the union laborers who made more money than he did, although he had a college degree and was working on his Masters in industrial design. He confessed that it sickened him to year that an unskilled worker, who had been there for 30 years, on the line, made almost 3 times as much as he did for producing the same kind of material good that cheaper labor in Mexico was doing with a lower failure/breakage rate. He had over-heard management saying that they needed to cut costs in order for the company to remain competitive, but the union was preventing them from doing so due to the collective-bargaining contracts that were set in place. He feared that HIS job would be lost, not because of brand name, but because costs had become so escalated that Zenith was preparing to move all operations out of the country in order to survive into the late 90’s.

    Well, we all know what happened in 1999, and that year, we saw the end of Zenith as we knew it, here in Chicago. Could the unions be partially blamed? When cheaper labor costs in Mexico allowed Zenith to produce the same goods down there before the bankruptcy, then one has to wonder how the union was even relevant back then.

    Yes, they did help the American work-force AT ONE TIME. Those times are over, and they need to become progressive if they want to stand a chance of surviving. SEIU aside, even those employers are now getting a clue and doing pro-active and positive things for their employees before they realize that their shop could go full-out union.

    Then again, the SEIU hasn’t helped the workers at the Hyatt-Regency Chicago recently, when they walked off the job and caused head-aches for hundreds of hotel guests and their families. I know of one traveler who said he’ll never stay at a unionized hotel ever again after that fiasco. Kinda sounds like what the unions are doing at the Toyota dealerships: causing strife and more issues than actually solving the problems at hand.

    So yeah, when has a union been good lately to add value to an employer’s bottom line, especially when the economy has been in the toilet for as long as it has?

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      I agree, unions are their own worst enemy.

      The Boeing Machinist’s Union played chicken with Boeing and lost big time. Even when it was clearly obvious that Boeing could and would choose to build a new assembly plant in South Carolina if the Washington union didn’t become less combative, the union didn’t back down from their childish positions and royally screwed itself in the process.

      New, good paying jobs, lots of construction activity and increased local tax revenue all in South Carolina and all thanks to the aggressive combativeness of unionized Boeing workers in Washington. Remove gun from holster. Aim at foot. Pull trigger. Solidarity, even if it kills us!

  • avatar

    You guys talk about how Toy car treats its workers so well and they are so happy about everything… First of all if GM workers had started at 14 an hour toyota employees would be making 13 or less, second people at GM have complete “Cadillac” healthcare plans, defined benefit pensions, and older employees make 28 an hr, to get this people literally lost lives, Toyota workers make $27 and that’s it, it isn’t “extorsion,” this being one of the single most idiotic comments I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Extorsion is take this awful job that should be paying alot more or go screw yourself because there are no other options for you. The idea that a BS “market system” approach would do better for people because “the skilled workers would go somewhere else where they are treated more fairly” makes zero sense, consider the fact that business owners are usually well acquainted, chambers of commerce, conventions and etc. they can just decide that they will all pay the same crap awful wage now where are you going to go… They don’t pay “out of the goodness of their heart” they don’t give a crap about their employees, they are just another part in the machine. Toyota has already had reports about how they want to start cutting costs now that GM’s older employees are getting buyouts, and younger employees are coming in to make less and not to start making any benefits for 3 years, and GM’s using many “contract” employees, (some severe arm twisting union huh…)
    I’ve also seen personally reports about employees at toyota that were injured on the job and treaed like crap for it, one about seven of them all working at the same plant in the Lexington KY complex. GM of course tries to do the same thing all the time that’s what the union is for. UAW members have many complaints but very few of them would actually drop the union, and even fewer so would drop the UAW unless another more Rank and file union was to take its place.

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