Korean Unions Mad At Akerson

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
korean unions mad at akerson

Last month, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that GM might move production away from South Korea if tensions with North Korea escalate. Korea labor unions were not amused, saying that Akerson was using the crisis as a pretext to gain the upper hand in upcoming labor talks.

Last week in Detroit, Akerson told GM’s South Korean union leader that he won’t pull GM out of South Korea. He also said he is unhappy with the Korean union, and that he will bring up the matter this week with South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, when the “Iron Lady” will visit the U.S. this week.

Now, the union is fuming.

“We are upset by his remarks. We did not go all the way to the U.S. to hear that,” union spokesman Choi Jong-hak told Reuters.

More than four out of 10 Chevrolet vehicles sold globally, are made in South Korea.

In January, rumors about GM shifting production to underutilized European factories made the union threaten “war” if GM does that. Knowing the militant Korean unions, this is not just a figure of speech.

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9 of 11 comments
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on May 07, 2013

    Hmmmmmm on the bright side even a minor Korean conflict gives the General due cause to relocate production, utilize disused Opel facilities, and screw the militant unions (who may be drafted) all at the same time.

    • VA Terrapin VA Terrapin on May 09, 2013

      While GM Korea contributes profits to GM overall, Opel is an albatross around GM's neck. GM would be better off by getting rid of their German factories and their spoiled workers, moving production to other parts of Europe, and keeping their Korean workers from getting too pissed off so that they can continue to design and build competitive vehicles like the Cruze and Spark.

  • Thelaine Thelaine on May 07, 2013

    Take your payoff and go Dan. Playing the Nork card in a labor negotiation just pisses off the entire South Korean nation, which has been living with the threat for decades. Smooth move Akerlax.

  • Ect Ect on May 07, 2013

    "More than four out of 10 Chevrolet vehicles sold globally, are made in South Korea." This really took me by surprise. If most Chevys sold in China are made in China, and given that Chevrolet's international footprint is otherwise fairly limited, does this mean that most Chevys sold in NA are made in Korea? It's hard to think of a more iconically American brand than Chevrolet. Things have very clearly changed.

    • See 3 previous
    • VA Terrapin VA Terrapin on May 09, 2013

      A lot of Chevys sold in China are CKD units made in South Korea.

  • Wmba Wmba on May 07, 2013

    Akerson, well known diplomat, greatest CEO ever, and product planner of unimaginable capability has only one flaw from his time spent as a junior officer in the US Navy. He issues orders and edicts to the ranks and expects them to snap to. When they don't, he has a chat with their NCO, in this case the Prez of South Korea, to get help in getting the ranks to obey orders, and to assume the "tugging the forelock" position, while laying down their molotov cocktails. Good luck, Danny Boy!