Orion Workers To Picket UAW Over "Innovative" Labor Deal

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
orion workers to picket uaw over innovative labor deal

I took some flack from TTAC’s Best and Brightest on Monday when I suggested that the UAW’s deal to give 40 percent of Orion Assemblys returning workers a 50 percent pay cut was “cowardly and despicable.” What I didn’t make clear enough was that I have no problem with the UAW working for a lower wage as long as the burden was spread evenly. Instead, the union has arbitrarily divided its existing workforce into the old guard “haves” and the relatively-recently-hired “have nots” as a ploy to make the union seem capable of profitably building subcompact cars in America. It’s bad enough to prop up the old guard by paying new hires less, but cramming down recalled Tier One workers is totally contrary to the very concept of a union. And I’m not the only one who finds the lack of solidarity and shared responsibility within the union troubling.

The Detroit New s reports that dissident UAW workers of Orions Local 5960 are calling for a picket, arguing that

[UAW Boss] Bob King and Mike Dunn have forgotten who they work for

The only problem: the UAW signed a “no strike” clause with GM as part of last years bankruptcy-bailout, so instead of stopping work, the workers will simply rally in front of the UAW Solidarity House. But then, one can only do so much when ones union owns the company one works for. Hopefully this rally will help prove that the UAW has outlived its usefulness, and will drive either its reform or its dissolution. Until the UAW loses its motivation to screw its own workers and commits to shared responsibility among all of its members, it can only expect more turmoil like this going forward.

Join the conversation
6 of 56 comments
  • Timothy Barrett Timothy Barrett on Oct 08, 2010

    Ed Niedermeyer: When you said "Even second-tier UAW workers have it pretty good as far as I’m concerned." you put this whole page in the proper perspective. Thank you. Unions, especially the UAW have long outlived the reason they were welcome in the first place. A classic example of "give'em an inch...." The sooner they fold, the better. I know several people who are or have been UAW members over the last 35 or 40 years and when I hear them talk about their jobs they sound like a bunch of spoiled, lazy brats. They're never happy! Either the company is screwing them, or the union is. Never seems to be a happy middle ground. They don't seem to realise how lucky they are. Many of them, in a non-union job, wouldn't last a week. The only self motivation a lot of these guys display in a day is the dash to the parking lot at shift's end. If an honest day's work for an honest day's (reasonable) pay isn't good enough for you, get out of the way! There are unemployment lines everywhere full of people who would take your job at just about any pay. And you wouldn't hear a compaint from any of them. Ever! Like the line in an old '60s song: "...... that was yesterday, and yesterday's gone."

    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Oct 11, 2010

      Thanks but I'd MUCH rather be a "free agent". At my last job I could see that for a $3K bump in pay my stress level was going to double and my expected work hours would go from 42-45 to 50-55 per week with occasional 60 hour week. I also saw Detroit's coming speed bump thanks to the Death Watch series. The company I worked for was very connected to the fortunes of Detroit. So I got out. Took me a year to find something I was satisfied with but I was able to work at the old job until the day I started the new job. If these UAW guys/gals aren't happy start taking some night classes and get ready to bail to some other line of work with some other employer. Do this while you still have a job. While you still have a job pay off debts and get your ducks lined up. Buy a reliable car if necessary, get your house ready to sell, get an education, etc. I'd rather move across the country than kill myself for some job I hated. Take some vacation days and interview for other jobs if necessary. Don't tell a soul at your current employer what you are doing in case you need to stay there another year or two. Why poison your future with them in case you need to stay there? Don't understand why anyone would stay anywhere where they were miserable. I changed jobs, worked my way through college and after several false starts and military service I landed something I can happily live with until retirement someday.

  • 441Zuke 441Zuke on Oct 09, 2010

    since when is 17.50 a bad wage? when is subsidized healthcare terrible. work at walmart for a couple of year feel your soul shrink. USA as whole manufacturing is and will change either what we build will be more expensive (look at how harley davidosn has rejuvenated it's business- less volume more expensive bikes) or it will be a by more for less like Hyundai - more car less money. I can think of a manufacturer who was able to pull off the later of those 2 without failing. If American car industry is to suceed it will be by building up not down and by effectively controlling it's resource cost ie labor and parts

  • Shaker Shaker on Oct 09, 2010

    Since when is $14/hr considered a "good wage"? That's just a hair under 30k/yr. Maybe a single guy could get by on that, but add a wife and a kid or two, and you're talking about mommy working, too. At least the day-care centers are benefiting from this scenario.

    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Oct 11, 2010

      We bought a new $20K car and a starter house on two $7.50 per hour jobs AND we were paying childcare of about $80 per week. I was also going to college part time. Was it easy? No but we did it and no student loans. Depends on where you live. Never missed a payment and we paid that damn car off 6 months early. Still driving it at 206K miles. Still like it very much 11 years later. We both have college degrees and much better employment these days. Now a person can't have $75 TV subscriptions or $205 per month cellphone plans on $7.50 per hour. Overheard a fellow at my son's soccer game on Saturday talking about how good a deal $205 is.

  • Brush Brush on Oct 10, 2010

    So the issue boils down to everybody is equal, but some are more equal than others? The moral descision would have been a 20% cut across the board, including management. Or did I miss this? I assume the result that was to be achieved was that the total cost of producing the cars was reduced to acceptable levels. The People's Car Company (Address: Animal Farm, Prop: G. Orwell)