Flush From GM's IPO, UAW Targeting New VW Plant

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
flush from gms ipo uaw targeting new vw plant

GM’s stock may be hovering near its IPO price of $3/share, but the UAW doesn’t need much more growth to cash out with every penny it wanted from GM. The UAW’s VEBA account has banked $3.4b in stock sales so far, and Forbes reports

The VEBA will break even on its investment if it can sell the remaining 206 million shares at an average price of $36.96.

Taxpayers, meanwhile, need GM’s stock to top at least $52/share in order to break even on the bailout that it funded. Because it’s just not a bailout unless the least deserving benefit the most. Meanwhile, with its accounts once again flush with cash, the UAW is turning South in hopes of accomplishing what it has never accomplished before: unionizing at ransplant auto factory in a right-to-work, Southern state.

UAW boss Bob King tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press that

“We want workers there, and not just Chattanooga but all nonunion assembly facilities… We want workers to have a choice to come into the UAW.”

The UAW is “committed to the success of the employers that we represent, Ford, GM, Chrysler,” King said, and the union supports a “winning formula” for overseas transplants “whether it be Volkswagen, Toyota or Honda.”

Of course the bailout proved that, when push comes to shove, the UAW not only prioritizes itself first, but it also has the political clout to get the government to prioritize it over taxpayers as well. Which is probably why Senator Bob Corker advised bosses at the new VW plant in Tennessee to keep the union away.

I certainly shared with [VW] I couldn’t see how there was any possibility it could be a benefit to them to enter into a contract with UAW,” said Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor.

He stressed he is not “anti-union” and said he often employed union craftsmen when he ran a construction company.

But the UAW “breeds an ‘us versus they’ relationship, and I just don’t think it’s healthy for a company to be set up in that regard,”

To which King responded that

There is a difference between “this 20th century perception of UAW” and “the 21st century reality where we’re proactive on all these issues of quality and productivity.”

But again, the bailout speaks to the most current reality in Solidarity Hall. And VW is taking care to avoid confrontation with the UAW, preferring to let workers boot the union of their own accord, just as Tennessee workers already rejected two attempts to unionize the Nissan plant in Smyrna. According to management at the new plant

At Volkswagen Chattanooga, the employees will decide for themselves about their representation

And VW’s hands-off approach (not to mention, it’s history of “labor relations”) aside, you have to assume the UAW will have its hands full trying to organize Southern transplant shops. Especially without the help of a certain popular, caffeinated beverage.

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2 of 18 comments
  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Nov 29, 2010

    Twenty years ago, this may have been a close call. But the UAW's recent history (and the new media that won't ignore it) will kill their chances in any open vote.

  • Contrarian Contrarian on Nov 30, 2010

    The UAW is a badly evolved parasite in that it usually kills its host.

  • SCE to AUX Probably couldn't afford it - happens all the time.
  • MaintenanceCosts An ugly-a$s Challenger with poor equipment choices and an ugly Dealership Default color combination, not even a manual to redeem it, still no sale.
  • Cha65689852 To drive a car, you need human intelligence, not artificial intelligence.Unfortunately, these days even human brains are turning into mush thanks to addiction to smartphones and social media.
  • Mike1041 A nasty uncomfortable little car. Test drove in 2019 in a search for a single car that would appease two drivers. The compromise was not much better but at least it had decent rear vision and cargo capacity. The 2019 Honda HRV simply was too unforgiving and we ditched after 4 years. Enter the 23 HRV and we have a comfy size.
  • SCE to AUX I wonder who really cares about this. "Slave labor" is a useful term for the agendas of both right and left."UAW Wants Auto Industry to Stop Using Slave Labor"... but what will the UAW actually do if nothing changes?With unrelenting downward pressure on costs in every industry - coupled with labor shortages - expect to see more of this.Perhaps it's my fault when I choose the $259 cell phone over the $299 model, or the cheaper parts at RockAuto, or the lower-priced jacket at the store.Do I care about an ethical supply chain? Not really, I just want the product to work - and that's how most consumers are. We'd rather not know.Perhaps the 1990s notion of conflict-free, blood-free, ethically-sourced diamonds will find its way into the auto industry. That would be a good thing.