By on November 10, 2014


With major negotiations between the Detroit Three coming up in 2015, United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams has vowed to be more open before the union’s membership and the general public in his leadership.

Reuters reports Williams established a small social media department to help communicate with the 390,000 members during the upcoming negotiations:

I don’t have a Twitter account. I don’t have a Facebook or any of that. I’m not an expert on it, that’s why we hire experts.

The inspiration to create the department likely came after a recent meeting with UAW relations chief for General Motors, Cindy Estrada, who showed photos of workers using their smartphones or tablets in the break room. Williams wanted to make sure the union was able to talk to these workers in the venues the workers were likely to visit.

The union is no stranger to social media, having used the tools available in 2011 during its last round of negotiations under the leadership of now-former president Bob King.

Outside of the social network, Williams recently brought on-board Brian Rothenberg into the role of head of communications, with the aim of being more open to the press [including those of us at the TTAC Zaibatsu, we hope – CA]. Rothenberg was the executive director of non-profit liberal super PAC ProgressOhio, a group he founded in 2006.

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20 Comments on “Williams: UAW To Be More Open Before Members, Public...”

  • avatar

    And then we all laughed heartily.

  • avatar

    Now that we’re being open with one another, I expect the UAW to pay back all of those billions from TARP.

    • 0 avatar

      @TW5 The UAW received billions from TARP? I don’t recall the UAW receiving any money from TARP. Perhaps you could expand on that statement with more details.

      • 0 avatar

        Stop raining on Ayn Rand’s parade with your pesky facts.

        • 0 avatar

          He’d probably hate it if I mentioned that Ayn Rand was a welfare queen who hid behind a pseudonym while taking advantage of social assistance to treat her self-inflicted lung cancer.

          Libertarianism is to socioeconomic theory what dianetics is to science.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe I can help out.

        As part of the bankruptcy proceedings for GM and Chrysler, the UAW was given major stakes in the new companies.

        Both of the original companies were deeply bankrupt, with GM having twice as much in liabilities as it had in assets. It was less than worthless. No for-profit lending entity was willing to finance restructuring, as for-profit banks like making profits. The UAW did not finance the restructuring. So the US Government, in an attempt to preserve jobs, used TARP money to finance the restructuring with full understanding that they were probably losing money in the process.

        The UAW sold off their shares in new GM and new Chrysler that were financed by TARP and received billions. The US Government sold off the shares they received in return for TARP financing and lost billions vs. their initial investment.

        Although not directly in the form of a check, the net effect of the UAW receiving shares in a company financed by TARP that they sold for billions of dollars is that the UAW received billions of dollars from TARP.

        • 0 avatar

          Is being inaccurate an acquired skill, or does it come to you naturally?

        • 0 avatar

          Nope. Not even close. The decision was to consider the pension fund a creditor is not a new or revolutionary idea, so when the assets were divided up the UAW was given the value of shares based on the evaluation of their shortcomings. In short you’re confusing TARP with the Auto refinancing bill. They’re two different bills and technically the auto refinancing bill made money (or broke even) for the government as they sold off shares to replace their costs.

          So the UAW was actually owed more, settled for less, and the right is still whining.

        • 0 avatar

          Not helpful. The UAW didn’t get “shares”. The VEBA was forced to take equity in lieu of the cash that was due to it from GM and Chrysler to fund retiree health care

          Neither the VEBA nor the UAW received TARP funds.

          • 0 avatar


            Regardless of the reason why the UAW got equity in new GM, the fact remains that the UAW received equity in a company that exists only because it was financed by TARP.

            And while the UAW was owed funds, so were a lot of other people. Part having twice as much in liabilities as assets means you owe people twice as much as what everything you own is worth. Outside of the UAW/VEBA, most of those creditors got little to nothing.

            Now, if the UAW did not get equity funded by TARP and GM/Chrysler were liquidated, the taxpayers would have still been on the hook. In that case, the pensioners would have been paid out of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC- a government agency) directly, rather than through the UAW. However, this would have likely meant less in benefits for the pensioners, potential bankruptcy of the PBGC fund, and probably more total cost to the taxpayers. So, they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. No doubt, this was a factor involved with giving out equity to the UAW versus GM’s other creditors in the bankruptcy negotiations. However, GM’s other creditors were still left holding the short end of the stick.

            In the end, the restructuring was lesser of two evils. However, GM should not have been allowed to get in such bad shape and the taxpayers should have been better protected.

          • 0 avatar


            What you are neglecting is that if TARP did not finance the restructuring of GM/CHrysler, the UAW/VEBA would likely have gotten nothing. They were not “forced” to take equity– they negotiated for it. Many creditors GM/Chrysler owed money to got nothing. If the UAW hadn’t received billions in equity in the restructured companies, the retirees would likely have gotten compensation from PBGC, although directly, at a likely higher net cost to the government, potentially bankrupting the program, and likely at a lower rate of pay to the pensioners. No doubt, this “rock and a hard place” position was a factor in the UAW’s compensation.

            But regardless of why or the potential justifications, the fact remains that the UAW/VEBA received equity they sold for billions as a result of the money-losing TARP financing of GM/Chrysler restructuring.

          • 0 avatar

            Ine937s, your interpretation of the facts is indeed accurate and held by a very large number of movers and shakers within the auto and financial industry.

            GM/Chrysler were troubled assets and without TARP the UAW would also have sucked hind teat.

        • 0 avatar

          Thank you for saving me the trouble, Ine937s.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting to see a Union, being up to date with Social Media etc. My experiences is they tend to be laggards in this area, structure of the Union does not help

  • avatar

    Actions speak louder than words, and so far the UAW’s say that a leopard cannot change its spots. But then the same could be said for GM.

  • avatar

    Now THERE’S an honest face.

  • avatar

    Why does he look like he’s wearing a Mao suit?

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