By on July 13, 2015

 

According to Automotive News reporter Krishna Anatharaman, members of the media who aren’t driving American-branded cars won’t be able to park in the building deck of today’s UAW-GM handshake event.

Before you say, “What the Toyota Camry?” keep in mind: Most of the automakers make you park in hinterlands if you don’t drive what they like.

Today’s event at GM signals the beginning of negotiations between the Big Three automakers and United Auto Workers union. Negotiations are expected to focus on bringing “second-tier” workers’ pay more in line with veteran workers who were hired before the recession.

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77 Comments on “Covering GM-UAW Event Today? Better Drive an American Car...”


  • avatar
    twotone

    So, is a Toyota made in the US an American car, or is a Chevy made in Korea an American car?

    Just asking.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      I think it’s pretty safe to assume in this instance that they are talking about cars built with American union labor.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If someone rolled up in a Ford Fusion, I doubt that it would be a problem. Even though it was made in Mexico by non-UAW labor.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        They’re talking about cars branded by companies that pay organized crime: Chevy Spark from Korea good; Toyota Tundra from Texas bad.

      • 0 avatar

        The Fusion is primarily assembled in Hermosillo, Mexico, but the plant in Flat Rock, Michigan also assembles the Fusion, alongside the Mustang.

        Still, unless it has one of those giant “Built with UAW pride” stickers, like the 2012 Mazda6 I once rented, it would be difficult to know which cars were built by unions right off the bat.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Granddad worked for the GM Foundry (Defiance OH) back in the 60s when if you were driving an non GM car you had to park further away while the freaks in “furin” cars had to park still further out.

    He drove Fords the whole time he worked there. That always made me chuckle for some reason, work for the General – drive one of Mr. Ford’s finest.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Girl I know works for VW….She parks her Grand Cherokee, at the far back row. BMW policy …any non BMW, vehicle must not be visible from the road.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I’m more ok with BMW and VW doing it since they give their employees unbelievable leases on their own products. I remember there was a story a few years ago about BMW trying to get a guy to drive a BMW to work instead of his old pickup. They were trying to figure out what it would take. Your non BMW or VW is also not going to get vandalized if you drive it work.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I would say that some of the Ford employee leases are pretty darn good deals. Also, the management leases can sometimes be ridiculously good. For awhile, Navigators and Expeditions were almost 50%+ off A-Plan lease price for managers.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So Dennis Williams sounded pragmatic and on point in the last interview he gave, but then the douche behavior comes out on other levels of the organization?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    When I was in college, I had a summer management internship at GM. (I remain thankful for the experience, as I realized that I had zero desire to have a career in the auto industry.)

    My car was Japanese. It stuck out like a sore thumb in the management parking lot, and I was told politely but in no uncertain terms that I would have to buy or lease a GM car if I came on board full time.

    Meanwhile, there were all kinds of cars in the labor parking lot. My car would have blended in just fine over there; finding a space with Toyotas and Hondas in the adjacent stalls would not have been a problem. (Yes, I was quite surprised by this myself.)

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @PCH….Toyotas, and Hondas, in the hourly parking lot ?? You would be talking mid 80s or later ?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’m Gen X, not a boomer. It was probably different in the old days, but the UAW guys who I encountered were not all rah-rah for GM or anti-Japanese.

        One thing that management and labor had in common: I didn’t meet too many people who loved their jobs on either side of the aisle. The labor guys were biding their time until retirement, while management had either given up and surrendered to their fate or else were hoping to escape. A lot of nice people, but not many happy ones.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          PCH…..Yeah that’s a pretty good analysis . The pendulum started to swing , somewhere around 1985. “Some” of the die hards are still clinging to the past. They don’t count for much anymore

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m sure that there is a certain group that posts here that will totally miss my point that the anti-Japanese-car vibe that I experienced came from the management side of the building, not from labor.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Management politics and appearances do matter. My friend was telling me about his son who is a Techie for a big oil company in Alberta. He was up for promotion and was told that he needed to buy a pickup. Showing up to work in a Japanese econobox didn’t cut the corporate image. He bought the pickup and got promoted. The next step up the corporate ladder apparently is a jet boat.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This is great insight.

    • 0 avatar
      rmmartel

      Wonder what GM would have done if upper management had been forced to drive the competition’s cars that were eating their market share in the 70’s and 80’s instead of staying in their echo chamber. Maybe they wouldn’t have built the Chevette and Cavalier for so long, maybe they’d have delayed introduction of the X-cars to address some of their deficiencies. Pity. (full disclosure I liked the two Chevettes I owned and our ’80 Citation was a paragon of reliability – no, really, it was!)

      I remember walking a used car lot with my father when I was in kindergarten or first grade as he was looking to replace his car – he was a general foreman at the Chevy plant in Parma, Ohio. I remember commenting on a red ’65 or ’66 Mustang and he replied “and how would it look if I showed up to work driving a Ford?”

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        +1

        I could say the same about Microsoft and smartphones. The rule of Ballmer was infamous, and his penchant for snapping iPhones out of employees hands and throwing them out is the stuff of legend.

        In 2005 when I had just started I pulled out a Nokia flip phone, which was pretty much the defacto device on the planet at the time and got roasted by a GM after the meeting for using a “competitors” product. I wasn’t even closely related to mobility and actually had no clue, nor perceived Nokia as a “competitor.” I was thinking, wait, those toys we built that are sort-of smart phones are “competitive products?!?”

        I waited and hid my shame and got a Treo 650w – and have to admit, I really liked it. But after that died two years later and the iPhone came out about the same time, the hand writing was on the wall. Windows Phone 6.x was an abomination — but Microsoft didn’t want anything doing with knowing what was going on in the real world.

        We know the rest of the story. Windows Phone in any version never became relevant. $1 billion wasted on Kin in a quarter. A QUARTER. Android rules the marketshare, iOS owns the highground, Nokia was bought apparently to put them out of business and cost Microsoft tens of billions in losses and “one time accounting write down” for layoffs and shuttering failed business units.

        When I was at Compaq we would regularly buy competitors equipment and do detailed, video taped tear downs of the hardware, with multiple engineers in the room. We would analyze their builds on the hard drive, document the software, and do benchmark performance testing. That program ended with Shrock in 1998 and the advent of the $999 PC, which was a steaming pile compared to even the Packard Bells we were pulling apart.

        You know the rest of that story too.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I read an article which claimed MSFT was essentially swindled in the Nokia dealer and it was Nokia execs and shareholders who got a windfall as a result. What are your thoughts on the merger since you seem to have a good deal of knowledge on the topic?

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I was no longer at the evil empire so my information is only what is available publicly. There are others here who post who I know work at MSFT and would have more insight than I would.

            The layoffs last week closed the book on a really ugly chapter for Microsoft – who has basically concerned full on defeat in the mobile device space.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I tip my hat to you sir, your professional career sounds fascinating.

            This isn’t the original article I read, but its on the result of the Nokia/MSFT deal.

            http://wolfstreet.com/2015/07/09/microsoft-tallies-the-true-costs-of-the-ma-boom-layoffs-write-offs-shut-downs-and-economic-decline/

        • 0 avatar
          stevelyon

          Ballmer hasn’t changed.

          I work in IT for the advertising agency that the LA Clippers chose when he bought the team. Our main account rep visited the Clippers one day carrying his iPhone. Ballmer noticed within seconds and told him in no uncertain terms that he was not allowed to show up carrying that phone again.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It was a good thing for Ford that Alan Mulally drove a Lexus.

    • 0 avatar

      As a kid growing up in the ’60s, I was a rabid GM partisan. Here’s a story about that

      tinyurl.com/fanhoodends

      Very interesting about the labor vs management.

  • avatar
    John R

    That is asinine. What kind of message does that send?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Thugs are what thugs do. They can’t help it.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        If you worked for Coke, would you drink Pepsi at work? How do you think that might influence your career prospects?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Eww, no. I hate Pepsi. Would I drink Coke while working at Pepsi? Maybe.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          It might be wise for you to drink whatever else was popular or trending so that you could learn about the competition and find new markets.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I hear you, PCH,
            My point is simply that there are a lot of companies out that look for loyalty from their stakeholders, as a counter-point to all the usual anti-UAW rhetoric.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            That kind of “loyalty” can be toxic.

            The goal should be to make the company more successful, not to play yes man and kiss their backsides while the competition outflanks them. Being an enabler isn’t loyal.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            If they have to force you to be loyal, you’re not really loyal.

            Make a product people are *authentically* loyal to and you don’t have any problems other than where to put the money.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Pepsi is hobo juice. Might as well drink some Faygo cola.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          My neighbour works for Pepsi. They have to sign an agreement that they will not consume a competitor’s product in public.

          • 0 avatar
            BobinPgh

            One thing I read that happened years ago was that Kimberly-Clark sent an offer to a company to put Kotex vending machines in their ladies room. The company they sent to? Tampax! How could they even dream of doing that!

  • avatar
    mikey

    When I started in 1972- 81 driving a late model Ford was frowned upon. Up until about 2001 -2003, nobody cared, if you showed up in a new F150. Up until 2007-8 Japanese cars were accepted, as long as they were beaters.

    Today anything goes

  • avatar
    sirwired

    In my previous job, I went through a stretch where I was renting a car once or twice a month, and for about ten months or so, Hertz gave me a Taurus or Sable. Every time.

    Every time I would go to my assigned space, I would be praying for anything, anything but a Taurus. (Driving one was like driving the exact opposite of my ’04 Passat at home.) Well, one trip, I got my wish; they gave me a Malibu! Yay! Then I realized: on this particular trip I was going to be visiting Ford Motor Credit HQ, right in the shadow of FoMoCo HQ.

    Dammit… can’t win for losing. At least I didn’t end up like my co-worker, who got assigned a Hyundai.

    (Side note: I almost broke the wiper stalk off the Malibu because I had gotten so used to every rental car having a column shifter.)

  • avatar
    mcs

    I wonder what would happen if you showed up in a Tesla? American branded, but non-union.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      From my experience the issue is union versus non-union, as opposed to country of origin. In the past when domestics were domestics and foreign cars were not UAW, this was a simple edict. Not so much anymore.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Oblig DeMuro: http://jalopnik.com/when-is-a-vehicle-really-american-1695508487

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Unless they’ve changed their tactic, the rule when my father worked for GM was non-GM cars parked out in the remote lot, but at the UAW local the sign read that “Parking was for UAW built vehicles only”. I think today would include some U.S. produced imports, no? Isn’t the Subaru plant in Indiana a UAW plant? What about wherever they build Camries?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I frequently drive past the Sharonville transmission plant for Ford. The larger majority of vehicles in the (huge) parking lot are Fords, but it’s pretty mixed, and they’re all parked together.

    Not sure if transmission workers are part of a UAW agreement or no.

  • avatar
    vtecJustKickedInYo

    I may be a young and naive Engineer, but I don’t understand why a company would shame you for buying a competitor’s car. I think they should embrace it, because at the end of the day, that person is still working for you and they can take the lessons learned from their ownership experience and use it improve the competitiveness of your product.

    For example, I think the Audi A7 is an amazing looking luxobarge that people look at and want. If I was a designer for Lincoln, I would drive an A7 and learn from my experience to improve the design of Lincoln cars. I would keep leasing A7s until Lincoln was able to make a competitive design and if they finally do, I would buy a Lincoln without any issues.

    I am a firm believer in let the best car win and I think companies (ehem GM) should embrace it because at the end of the day it makes a more competitive vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree.

    • 0 avatar

      On a similar vein, a friend of mine works at a family-owned Ford dealership. We’ll call it X Ford. The rumor is that employees can buy a new non-Ford from whomever they like, but if they buy a new Ford or any used car and they don’t buy it from X Ford, the owner will fire them.

      I hope that’s just a rumor.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The 2008-9 bailout wasn’t about ‘let the best car win’, either. The car business is tilted many ways.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ve worked for a few different car manufacturers and have seen different approaches to this. At one automaker, a coworker was openly berated for buying a competitors car, at another a coworker in the same situation was interviewed with interest about why they didn’t buy the company’s product, and at the third there has only been casual interest, leaning towards indifference.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Idiotic dogmatic beliefs is alive and well in a stunning number of industries and a stunning number of companies on the planet.

    It is just plain stupid, and has been discussed ad nauseum here and elswehere, just what the Hell is an “American ” car anyway.

    Sure, show up a the the UAW/GM press even in your Mexican built Chevy Avalanche – that’s fine apparently.

    /facepalm

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I suppose a union-built Hyundai from Korea wouldn’t qualify to park there, and neither would the non-union built Hyundai from Alabama.

    So it isn’t purely about American jobs, or even union jobs, but rather American union jobs. That’s a pretty small demographic today.

  • avatar
    markf

    It seems like they have to toe the company line even though (as we have seen) thousands of words could be written trying to define an “American Car” I suppose Union Built would a entire sub-category.

    About 25 years ago I worked as a delivery driver for Miller Beer which was owned by Phillip Morris (now rebranbded as something less scary) I smoked at the time but smoked an RJ Reyonlds product.I was told by the company VP that I would not have a pack of RJR cigs visible. I ended up putting by smokes in an empty Marlborough box.

    My thought was this is silly, but I understood it.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    My old neighbor (RIP) told me years ago his new Dodge was in the shop (yet again) and he drove his daughters Dodge Colt to his Highland Park, MI (MOPAR Engineering) office. He was forced to park in another lot that even in way back in the 80’s was not safe. In the future, he rented a MOPAR brand when needed.

    After retirement, he loaded up on Chrysler bonds because he believed in his company. He was determined to be a “fat cat” and thus lost 80% of his investment.
    He died several years ago-I think the investment loss was a big contributor to his death.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’m proud to say that none of my cars were assembled by these lazy thugs.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @. Baiter..Really, . you know them all personally ? Have you been their homes ? I guess they all live in, decrepit houses, with over grown lawns. None of them give up their free time to coach Soccer ? In your warped view of the world, they are all lazy thugs eh ?

    You sir, have insulted me, my family, and most of my friends.

    Two words come to mind…. dude…Anal Orfice

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Of all the UAW assembly line workers I’ve known, I can describe only a handful as lazy. As a percentage, there are probably way less lazy people on the line than in real life. People that say that have never worked in a factory.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      Let me try to explain in less colorful language: unions exist for one reason only–to extort above-market wages from employers who can’t readily replace a whole factory full of workers. Above-market wages harm the long-term financial health of the company and, as we’ve seen with GM, result in the company coming hat-in-hand to taxpayers like me for bail outs.

      You may be the salt of the earth mikey, but you and your friends belong to a corrupt organization that has long outlived its usefulness. I choose not to do business with the UAW; sorry if that makes it harder for you to cover your boat payment.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Using similar “logic,” you could say that most corporations exist for one reason only: to extort above-market prices from the public for goods and services, based on asymmetrical information and limited competition. But that would be oversimplified and distorted to the point of uselessness. Just like your point.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        Let me type slowly so you can understand what I am about to say: Your analysis – or should I say – grouping of false tropes and prejudices – is ahistorical and absurd. History is made up of actual events – actual outcomes from those events – these are documented in books, magazines, documentaries, and even on the interweb. History is fun.

        I hope I didn’t type to fast.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Boat payment , car payment ,mortgage payment ?…Never had a boat , the mortgage is history. I wrote a cheque ,for the last car I bought. But go ahead make your assumptions .

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ Thanks bbball

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s just disrespectful at best. I’d park miles down the street and ride the bus in, if I worked for GM and drove a different brand. I’d at least show up in a Citation with a million miles, parking it down the street at night and driving it in, in the morning. Hey they might give me a brand new Saturn out of sympathy?

    But it’s just common sense to buy/own what you build for a living. So at least you CAN complain if you’re laid off. Not that even buying a new Silverado or Escalade will keep yourself employed when things get slow, but you never know (who’s watching).

  • avatar
    JNPeila

    This only makes enemies where there were none before. Thuggish and childish to expect the MEDIA to show up in what you want. God forbid a non-UAW car shows up that catches someone’s attention (Look away brother! Think pure thoughts!) Employees’ cars are a different story perhaps.

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