Unions

U.S. Asks Mexico to Investigate Stellantis' Labor Practices

The United States has requested that Mexico investigate worker rights violations that were alleged to have taken place at one of the parts factories owned by Stellantis. Officials are curious about what’s been happening at Teksid Hierro de Mexico, a facility located in the border state of Coahuila that’s responsible for manufacturing iron casings, in regard to unionization. According to U.S. officials, this is the fourth such complaint under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Having supplanted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed into law by the Clinton administration in 1993, USMCA sought to rebalance trade laws the Trump administration believed had disadvantaged the United States. However, it also sought to advance worker protections in Mexico and give employees an easier pathway toward unionization.

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GM Canada Tells Unvaccinated Workers to Stay Home, Union Unhelpful

Unvaccinated workers from General Motors’ CAMI Assembly Plant have been removed from the facility and forced into unpaid leave. The automaker had a deadline set for December 12th to have all employees vaccinated, with Unifor previously having urged the company to postpone the date. The Western world has seen a surge of citizens protesting vaccine mandates this year, with Canadian unions conducting more than a few of their own. Though several organizers have said they’re operating independently due to a shared belief that Unifor was offering insufficient support to members and was effectively siding with automakers.

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Chicago Mechanic Strike Continues

Technicians at over 50 dealerships in and around Chicago are now in their second week on strike.

They’re fighting with the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee, which represents the 56 dealers involved, as they negotiate their next four-year contract.

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UAW Annoyed With GM's Mexican EVs

General Motors has decided its fifth electric vehicle facility should be in Mexico and has set aside $1 billion for its complex in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico. While a portion of the funds will go toward a new paint shop, the manufacturer also said the money would be used to prepare the site for EV and battery production, angering the United Auto Workers (UAW).

“This is a slap in the face for not only UAW members and their families,” stated UAW Vice President Terry Dittes. “General Motors automobiles made in Mexico are sold in the United States and should be made right here, employing American workers.”

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Green Dreams: Unifor Releases New Economic Strategy for Canada

Unifor hopes to sway the Canadian government toward an automotive strategy centered around the adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles and a totally revised economic system. On Wednesday, the union released its “Road Map for a Fair, Inclusive and Resilient Economic Recovery” while announcing that corporations have failed everyone.

It’s all part the #BuildBackBetter campaign, which sees the coronavirus pandemic that made 2020 a collective — yet strangely isolating — hell for all of us as a unique opportunity to rebuild society under the banner of economic justice. “Unifor’s plan is designed to build a more strategic and self-reliant economy that can both withstand and prevent future crises,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said in the initial announcement.

“This is an ambitious road map but I think ambition is what our country and its workers need right now.”

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UAW Corruption Probe Continues as Jewell Heads to Prison

Former union vice president Norwood Jewel has become the highest ranking UAW member to be convicted of corruption charges in a federal investigation that has lasted four years and delivered prison sentences for eight people, including Fiat Chrysler’s former labor negotiator, Alphons Iacobelli. You might recall him from to his extravagant spending habits.

The probe amassed evidence showing UAW officials receiving extravagant gifts, private residences, vacations, parties, and even cash furnished by FCA. Bribes, essentially, to help draw union concessions. Investigators looked into claims that high-ranking UAW members received kickbacks after giving business executives contracts to produce union-branded chachkies (shirts, keychains, frisbees, etc) and concerns that union members’ donations to flower funds intended for funeral services were misappropriated by the leadership.

Ford and General Motors are also under the microscope, with both saying they’re in full cooperation with authorities and cannot comment further.

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Union Vaccine: Elon Musk Promises Free Frozen Yogurt and Roller Coasters to Employees

With his employees showing a growing interest in unionization, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shot off a lengthy email to staff urging them to forgo joining the United Auto Workers. While the UAW has romanced Tesla’s growing workforce for years, a recent — and highly publicized — blog post written by an employee expressed renewed concern over the company’s treatment of its workforce, as well as his hope to see them join the labor federation.

Musk initially reached out to the press to defend his company and is now appealing to workers directly, refuting allegations about subpar wages and condemning an earlier investigation into worker safety. “After looking into this claim, not only was it untrue for this individual’s team, it was untrue for any of the hundreds of teams in the factory,” he wrote.

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Tesla Could Have Trouble Meeting Its Looming Production Targets

After posting a profitable fall quarter, Tesla returned to spending more than it made. However, its fourth quarter losses, announced on Wednesday, were substantially less than originally assumed by analysts. The electric carmaker’s stock price continued to climb during the final three months of 2016, despite losing $448 million from its operations.

Tesla has been throwing a lot of money at projects and acquisitions. It recently purchased SolarCity and Grohmann Engineering, so going into the red was to be expected. However, the dark cloud looming in the distance isn’t related to capital — it’s about production.

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TTAC News Round-Up: China Brings Long-Dead German Automaker Back From the Grave

Although it would been cheaper to build elsewhere, the Chinese-resurrected Borgward has opted to return to its hometown of Bremen for its new factory. Not only is the Germany company back after a half-century absence, China is also giving it a proper homecoming.

That, time is running out for Ford as union strike date nears, Toyota invests in a future of needing fewer cars, and Alfa’s Giulia is changing shape… after the break!

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Fiat Serbia Workers Demand Higher Wages, Get Chicken Discount

The union representing workers at the Fiat 500L factory in Kragujevac, Serbia has a big job ahead of it. Workers are demanding raises, bonuses, and a steady work schedule. In its most recent newsletter, the union listed those demands once again, but instead of news of a pay negotiation the union told workers they’ve negotiated a chicken discount at a local butcher.

Samostalni Sindikat FAS has represented workers at the 500L factory since their collective bargaining agreement was signed in 2010. At the time, the union was able to negotiate fair wages and additional benefits for workers, including a 31,000 RSD ($294 USD) monthly average salary. Workers were happy as many were unemployed after Yugo production was shut down in 2008, and the wage was considered fair at the time.

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What I Learned When I Published Two Opinion Pieces Regarding The UAW

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Don’t let anybody tell you the economy’s tough nowadays; when our beloved, game-changing Managing Editor, Derek Kreindler, posted in a Facebook auto-journo group offering cash money to anybody willing to write a pro- or anti-UAW piece for this esteemed publication, only one of the several hundred members even bothered to contact him about it. I don’t know about you, and I don’t know about me, but the bacon-and-buffet junketeer crowd is doing just fine.

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No New Product For Chattanooga Unless Works Council Implemented

As Volkswagen gears up for a decision on expanding their Chattanooga factory, a member of Volkswagen’s supervisory board told the Handlesblatt that any new product would be contingent on VW adopting a works council ( explanation by our own veteran of Volkswagen BS here) for the plant.

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GM, CAW Angling For Renewed Crossover Production In Canada

The cost of doing business in Canada may be high for auto makers, but that isn’t stopping GM from looking to re-negotiate their contract with the CAW nearly a year in advance as a means of keeping production of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain at the CAMI plant in Ontario.

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America's Hot Export Article: "Import" Cars

Many people don’t realize that most of the “import” cars bought and sold in America no longer roll off a boat, but off an assembly line somewhere in the American heartland. Or at least in the North American heartland. It comes as an even bigger surprise that these cars are one of America’s most successful export products, going from American ports to many countries in the world – where people often are likewise ignorant of the car’s American origin.

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Protectionism Kills Jobs. As Demonstrated In Chattanooga

There is a shiny new car factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. People enjoy working at this Volkswagen factory. The factory is airy, there is a lot of space inside and outside the factory for expansion. However, it will be a while until it will make more than the Passat. The people in Tennessee had hopes for Audi moving in here. Instead, Audi decided on going to Mexico. When the new Golf MkVII comes to America, it will be made in Mexico. There is no other car in sight for Chattanooga. Why is the factory, one of the best specimens in Volkswagen’s vast global collection, losing out on new jobs? The Chattanooga Times Free Press thinks it knows the reason: Lack of free trade agreements.

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GM Calculations: Plant Closures At Opel Will Take A Lot of Time And A Lot Of Money

Looking for a way to stop the chronic bleeding of money at it notoriously loss-making Opel division, GM has been crunching numbers to see what it would cost to close one of its European plants. Bad news for GM stockholders: Relief won’t come cheap, and it won’t come soon.

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Between The Lines: The UAW's Principles For Fair Union Elections

The UAW today released its complete “Principles For Fair Union Elections” [ full PDF here], the document that it wants every transplant auto manufacturer in America to sign ahead of its organizing campaign which kicks off later this month. With so-called “card check” legislation dead in congress, the UAW hopes to shame foreign automakers who manufacture vehicles in America to guarantee certain concessions to the union that, having helped kill off its Detroit “partners,” now owns large stakes in the bailed-out successors to GM and Chrysler.

In the past the UAW has failed to organize a number of transplant factories, including Nissan’s Tennessee plants and Toyota’s Kentucky factory, and the introduction of these principles ahead of the next organization attempt signal’s the UAW’s perspective that “manipulation” by management prevented UAW organization in transplant factories. If bosses from Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes don’t sign onto these principles, they will be on the menu for the UAW’s new campaign… but are the principles worth agreeing to? Let’s take a look…

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UAW: What's So Funny About Peace, Love And Understanding?

Earlier this week, newly-elected UAW President Bob King gave a speech before the Center For Automotive Research Conference, touting the deep changes that have transformed the union. The first half of King’s speech sounded a much-needed note of contrition, and highlighted the new spirit of cooperation between the UAW and Detroit’s management class. But a number of observers noted that the second half of King’s speech represents the flip side of the UAW’s new sense of responsibility for the fate of Detroit: a commitment to targeting the transplant factories that have made life hell for the union and the Detroit automakers alike. After all, nothing brings enemies together like a common adversary. But the UAW’s enemy isn’t just South of the Mason-Dixon line… it’s lurking within its own confused body politic.

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Trade War Watch 12: "Nationalist assault on a foreign corporation, an economic war"

Recently, there have been voices that mentioned that the attacks on Toyota could be politically motivated. Let’s face it: Toyota has problems. So have other auto makers. There are marked differences in reaction to and treatment of these problems.

One of the tenets of warfare is that you never attack the innocent. You wait until your opponent bumbles. Tricking an “enemy” into doing something really stupid, and exploiting this to declare a “righteous” war, is as old as Julius Caesar. Being the “defender” makes you a winner in the war of public opinion. You need the public on your side to win a war.

Using an outside scapegoat to deflect criticism is the oldest trick in the book. Time and again, people fall for it.

The Japanese were docile, polite, and cautious when in came to Toyota’s troubles. The more surprising is today’s piece in the Nikkei [sub]. Usually, we don’t copy and republish whole pieces. But in the name of authenticity, and because the Nikkei is only available on-line as paid subscription, we make the whole piece available.

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Editorial: Is Hyundai The New GM?
Editorial: The Truth About The UAW's Legacy Costs
Editorial: Bankruptcy Watch 189: Poll Position
Buzz Hargrove: Still Full of Piss and Vinegar (Part 2)
Buzz Hargrove: Still Full of Piss and Vinegar (Part 1)
Detroit Deathwatch: Outrunning the Bear
Strike Two! Is The UAW About to Strike Out?
The UAW Goes Back to Work: Even the Winner Loses
UAW: Do or Die at DENSO?
The UAW's Mad, Mad World
Chrysler Suicide Watch 20: Cerberus Bares Its Teeth
UAW Negotiations: The Blame Game
UAW – Big 2.8 Negotiations Set to Start: Veni, Vidi, VEBA
NUMMI RIP? Toyota Considers Dumping UAW Plant
Delphic Dilemma: The United Auto Workers Opt for a Two-Tier Future
The United Auto Workers, Ford, GM and Chryslerberus Ante Up
Oh What a Feeling! The UAW Targets Toyota
The United Auto Workers: Conventional Wisdom
Toyota's Troubles: Money, Metal and Memogate
UAW '07 Contract Negotiations: No Surrender!
The UAW: Cut and Run?
State of the Union
  • FreedMike Can the final last call edition be the Secretary Special, with a V6 and a vinyl roof?
  • FreedMike I’ve never heard of this so I’ll have no problem not attending.
  • ToolGuy As I understand it, the Toyota Prius basically lasts forever because the engine gets a gentle duty cycle and the battery gets babied. This seems like the opposite of that.[Impressive tech, not for me, but then neither is the Prius.]
  • Dusterdude Excellent work ! Your stories are always linguistically interesting . Even if you weren’t writing about a quirky car on a long and adventuresome journey - I know your write up would still be interesting ! ( I also have a Soft spot for large cars - as my daily driver is a 2000 Chrysler Concorde )
  • MaintenanceCosts There have always been just two reasons to buy AMG cars: the menacing, hard-edged V8 warble, and the styling with subtle shapes but perfectly aggressive details. This is missing both of those things: the styling has gotten cartoonishly aggressive, and the engine will sound like a fart-can Civic. I don't understand why I should want it.