UAW Transplant Organizing Campaign DOA?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
uaw transplant organizing campaign doa

Do you recall the UAW’s last-ditch bid for relevance, its campaign to organize the transplant auto factory workers of America? The union’s campaign against the Hondas, Toyotas, BMWs and Hyundais of the world was supposed to begin in earnest in January, but all they have to show for it thus far is a perfunctory slap-down from Honda. So what happened? Where’s the confrontation, the picketing, the accusations of human rights abuses? Remember, the UAW has all of its skin in this gambit, now that i ts President has confirmed that

If we don’t organize the transnationals, I don’t think there is a long-term future for the UAW.

But based on the dearth of media reports on either the campaign’s success or failure, it would seem that the UAW has given up on the effort and is hoping everyone just forgets about it…

But the union hasn’t forgotten about its transplant offensive… it’s simply focused on its traditional format for confrontation, the quadrennial contract negotiations with the Detroit Three. And it seems the union president Bob King is so focused on sticking it to the union’s bailed-out hosts, he’s gone and dialed back all expectations of success on the transplant front. According to Bloomberg

King has said he expects to organize at least one non-union automaker this year.

“At least one?” Seriously? After all that bluster, that’s the best King and his allies can muster? Meanwhile, which transplant is the “at least one” that King thinks he has in the bag? And how did he make that sale? Until the UAW publicizes a successful organization, it sounds like the Great Transplant Organizing Campaign of 2011 is dead on arrival. Good thing there’s always the Detroit companies to kick around…

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  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Mar 15, 2011

    Labor shot its wad in Wisconsin. They have nothing left for the UAW.

    • Rob Finfrock Rob Finfrock on Mar 16, 2011

      On my drive home yesterday from my merit-based, right-to-work job, I passed a line of picketers outside Corrales Elementary School. Their signs had such messages as "We stand in support of Wisconsin teachers" and "I don't make $250,000, I need help!" If I actually thought their protests were doing any good, I would have perhaps stopped and engaged them (respectfully!) on the issue. The "I need help!" sign struck me as particularly insipid. Didn't you know that coming in, and did you not make your choice instead to make less? Is it anyone's fault but yours that you don't make $250K? In the end, I decided I'd rather go home and enjoy the financial perks of not being an elementary school teacher. What it comes down to is, unions are done. They're dying. We all know it, even the unions know it. Leaders in the government are against them, the general public is increasingly against them, their own memberships are increasingly against them. What's left? Sheer and utter irrelevancy.

  • HerrKaLeun HerrKaLeun on Mar 15, 2011

    I wonder which transplant workers want to have 2-tier wages unless all current workers get first tier :-) Even if I didn't have an opinion on unions, why do they need to "conquer" other workers. If unions are so great, then the workers in the transplants would come up with that idea on their own. I'm not saying unions are completely useless. If nothing else, they give management some stability. But, the way they are organized now is completely ridiculous and if they don't change they will disappear. Hope at some point all states have freedom and "right to work". Nothing against unions, but forced membership just is not good, no matter how good the intention is.

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