UAW Talking To "A Lot" Of Transplants, But Soft-Pedals Goal

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

After the UAW threatened to start 2011 with a bang by going after foreign-owned “transplant” factories and accusing uncooperative firms of human rights violations, the union’s campaign suddenly went quiet earlier this year. With the union’s fate apparently hanging in the balance, all we’d heard was a polite “no thanks” from Honda and a more subtle message from Hyundai, and little else. Was the war still on, we wondered? UAW boss Bob King tells Reuters that yes, it definitely is… sort of.

To our pleasant surprise a lot of companies have agreed to confidential discussions with us. What they’ll lead to, I don’t know. Some days I’m worried, some days I’m frustrated. Are we putting too much hope into these discussions? I don’t know, but we’re continuing them and we feel like we’re making some progress

And that’s not all…

While not identifying any of the companies, UAW secretary-treasurer Dennis Williams said this week the union was making “great inroads” in its organizing efforts.

“You’re going to see before the end of the year a campaign or a plant being organized,” he said.

Oh, that’s an “or”… which means it’s actually a step back from King’s earlier position that he “expects to organize at least one non-union automaker this year.” So now the union will either successfully organize a plant by the end of the year… or try to organize one and fail.

King probably thought the transplant organizing campaign would make the union look strong going into negotiations with the Detroit automakers, but at this point the transplants will probably wait to see how those play out before even considering letting King’s organizers in (if they’re even considering it). After all, if the UAW is reasonable with the Detroit 3, the transplant workers will see no reason to join up… and if the union fights hard, the transplant managers will feel justified in barring them the door. A Catch 22 to be sure… and King’s already signaling which way he’ll be leaning, telling the AP [via Google]

Our members deserve a fair share of the upside more than, in my opinion, what the current profit-sharing formula would pay out. If we’re willing to take more flexible compensation instead of just putting in fixed costs, we should do better than we would have done [under the current profit-sharing plan]

We have said very strongly and very consistently that there’s no justification for further concessions. There’s got to be a program that’s viable, that allows our members their fair share of the upside.

As the UAW-Detroit Three negotiations kick off, you can bet that transplant managers and workers alike will be watching the proceedings with some interest.

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jul 21, 2011

    These guys (King and the UAW thugs) are like date-rapists who don't understand that "no" means "no". And like I've said before, where is the public outcry about the human rights abuses at all these automakers? The silence is deafening.

  • GS650G GS650G on Jul 21, 2011

    Is Mr. King insinuating that the companies will somehow assist in the decision to unionize made by workers? He's not getting a UAW sign on the building without member participation. I do think Bob is in a position to paint a rosy scenario around this. What is he supposed to say,? "We have not a hope in hell of expanding into more companies"

  • KOKing That base hybrid system must be something other than the normal Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, since that uses the two electric motors as the ('CVT') transmission without a separate transmission of any kind.
  • Analoggrotto Too much of the exterior is shared with the Grand Highlander. Toyota/Lexus is clearly over extended here as this was rushed in direct response to the Kia Telluride which has decimated RX sales. Lexus was not such a major offender of just changing the front and rear end caps on a lesser Toyota model (this worked for LX / Land Cruiser as the latter is already expensive) but for such a mass market vehicle, buyers will notice and may just go to Toyota (or Kia) for their big SUV.
  • Crtfour I'm a BOF SUV fan. In my opinion it's certainly not a looker (but what is these days). But it does look the part and should be great off road. Plus kudos to Toyota for retaining actual shift levers. So I give it a thumbs up.
  • Theflyersfan UX Hybrid, NX, NX Hybrid, NX Plug-In Hybrid EV, RZ, RX, RX Hybrid, RX 500h, GX, LX, and now the TX. (source: the bloated section of the Lexus SUV site) It's looking like the Taco Bell menu over there - the same dozen ingredients mixed around to make a lineup. I'm waiting for something like the WX to compete with the Chevy Trax and maybe the LXXXL to compete with the Hummer EV and maybe a four row crossover in 2025 and a lower-cased line like the rx or nx to compete with the German CUV-"coupes" and their slashed tops and cargo areas. C'mon Lexus, there are more micro-niches to be filled! Gather your boardroom committees together and come up with another plan! And careless parent alert: shouldn't that kid be in a booster seat? I mean in my age, we sat in the way back of station wagons on the flat floor and bounced around with every curve, but these days you gotta deck your kid out in 50 pounds of pads and bubble wrap before they leave the driveway, so get that child seat in the way back right now!
  • 28-Cars-Later Nice minivan, just add the sliding doors and quit living in denial.