By on May 2, 2012

800 workers at a Daimler plant that builds Sprinter commercial vehicles downed their tools and walked off the job after wage talks collapsed.

After years of wage freezes, workers are looking for a raise.

“Our patience is at an end, we want a 6.5 percent wage increase,” Oliver Burkhard, a regional union leader, said in a statement.

“If employers don’t get moving, then today’s warning strikes will be just the beginning. We’re ready for a fight,” he said.

The workers are part of the powerful Ig Metall trade union, which is seeking an identical raise for its 3.6 million members. More walkouts, affecting a further 100 companies, are also planned. Other unions in less prosperous have achieved favorable pay wages in recent years. German workers in unions, particular the public sector have achieved similar wage increases, which far outweigh the rate of inflation.

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21 Comments on “800 Workers Walk Out At Sprinter Plant...”

  • avatar

    So pitching a fit, dropping your tools and refusing to work is acceptable? Why not act like adults and just look for another job?

    • 0 avatar

      Amen! There’s a behavioral essence which I’ve observed in some shop workers, in a couple of different work environments. It’s “me me me, I sweat all day so everyone owes ME and I’ll throw stuff down and pout and walk out if anything pisses me off…” If I managed wither of the facilities in which this occurred, we’d have some serious talks about work-appropriate language, attitude, and behavior.

    • 0 avatar

      If you don’t like the job or the conditions, no one is forcing you to stay. Pack your crap and get out. The glory of being able to choose your own job means you’ll always be paid exactly what you think you’re worth.

      • 0 avatar

        Spoken like how most U.S. companies want you to think. It’s why continuing efforts are being made to run unions out on a rail in exchange for “Right to Work.” Which usually means “Right to Accept What We Feel You’re Worth, Regardless of Whether or Not You Can Live on It.”

    • 0 avatar

      Why not? The rich often pitch a fit when they don’t get the tax incentives or trade deals they want.

      Oh, wait, that’s right: globalization, coercive bargaining and collective personhood are okay when it’s rich people doing it. I forgot.

  • avatar

    It could have been worse – they could have sprinted out…

    (OK, I admit that was a silly one.)

  • avatar

    its a good thing sprinters last a long time, that wont help the union though ;)

  • avatar

    6.5% is indeed much more than inflation — but how long have wages been frozen?

    VW, Daimler and BMW can certainly manage 6.5% but whether all the other employers in the same sector can is another matter.

  • avatar

    “800 Workers Walk Out At Sprinter Plant”

    …and nobody noticed.

  • avatar

    Reading the linked article, it says the union REJECTED a 3% raise offer last month. REJECTED. “You’ve been bitching…err, asking politely for more money. We don’t think you’re worthy of a raise, but we will give you one anyway!” No, we will hold out, negotiate, and leave unless you more than double your offer.

    I really don’t know the ins and outs of unions, nor do I know the history of the relationship between this particular union and Daimler, but on the surface that just sounds ridiculous and a lot like extortion. Workers forcing their employer to give them more money, regardless of their true market value. I can’t imagine what the look on my boss’ face would be if I rejected my raise – which doesn’t come every year anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      They build Sprinters. Sprinters! You don’t. You couldn’t possibly understand the level of Sprinterness it requires.

    • 0 avatar

      If Daimler comes back and says ‘fine, four and a quarter’ and the union walks out again… yeah, then I certainly hope the plant stays closed for a while. I’m certainly for unions and the protection they offer, provided they’re willing to negotiate after making their demands.

  • avatar

    My goodness, if Sprinters are not being assembled will civilization collapse? Is there any hope for a quick pay raise to rectify this injustice?

  • avatar
    Volts On Fire

    This is where the absurdity of modern-day unions should come into stark relief for anyone with a working mind. These organizations/gangs have grown from the outdated need for common representation, into yet another enabler of entitlement behavior.

    Unions are for the weak. It would be pitiful enough if this story came from a history book; the fact we’re still living with these relics should insult and anger anyone with some semblance of a work ethic.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    In other news… Ford Increases Transit Production…

    (Not really but that’s what just might happen…)

  • avatar

    The lozenge-shaped front door window is strongly reminiscent of the Toyota Hi-Ace van. Speaking of that van, I completely fail to understand why Toyota isn’t building or at least selling them here. We were just in Costa Rica, and at least in the touristy areas where we were I think the passenger version of that might be the most common vehicle of any kind. Each one I rode in was a diesel with 5-speed, but I’m sure Toyota could Camry-ize them for American drivers.

  • avatar

    You all really need to stop looking at this issue from such an american-centric perspective. Unions are very much an integral and important part of the german economy – warning strikes during wage negotiations, but also forming half the supervisory board in almost all big german companies. This “strike” for example certainly is no surprise and didn’t even really make the news here in Germany.

    Unions by themselves are neither a problem, nor the solution. However, the extreme “us vs. them” attitude found in american companies and unions certainly does seem to be a problem…

    EDIT: Also, the Sprinter is the most succesful van in its segment in europe. Just saying… ;)

  • avatar

    I would have to agree with Fusion there. American Unions are a problem, and there are countries where they are desperately needed (China anyone?)

    I’ve not heard many complaints about unions from Germans like I hear about them from Americans.

    Different countries different rules, trying to paint every country with 1 brush is the biggest problem America has in international relations and American-centric views like replica and lemansteve are saying doesn’t help the situation around the world.

    The USA has an image problem and it’s one we need to fix and it starts by us.. the citizens of the USA learning a bit more about other countries before we shoot our mouths off.

  • avatar

    “Just the beginning.” What pray tell in Deutchland is the next step after a walkout? If this were Detroit I’d know what that mean, (and it wouldn’t need to be said) but how far will they go to get their 6.5?

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