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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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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"

  • Richard Poore Sure, as the article itself notes (hence my ire) California has mandated that all new vehicles sold in state be EV by 2035. They require EV or hybrid by 2026. Since the author admits to this mandate it seems that the article title is clickbait... was really hoping that there was some sort of changes in the CA position since the state is sorely behind on where they need to be with charging stations for this sort of requirement.
  • VoGhost When will Audi eliminate the fake, oversized grills that impede aerodynamics?
  • Kelley It's about time! I was so discouraged to see those poor Chevy Bolts stuck at the charging station receiving level 2 speeds after 80%, it was ridiculous. It would be nice if EA would had more level 2 chargers, also, at the same locations for people to top off above 80% on the fast chargers.
  • Tane94 Carmela Harris is supportive of EV adoption, so government incentives will be continuing under her watch.