Over the last few years, General Motors has been cautiously hinting that it wants to pull out the Korean market. In 2018, the automaker started worrying about regional bankruptcy and shuttered one of its South Korean facilities after noting that labor costs had been on the rise. While the government handed GM 850 billion won ($712.85 million) in industrial aid to stick around, the region is known for labor disputes. We even celebrated the fact that South Korean Hyundai failed to strike in 2019. General Motors was less fortunate, however.
The Detroit-based company is once again discussing abandoning the market and citing labor issues as the primary cause. Employees have been organizing limited daily strikes since October 30th. Despite only lasting part of a single shift, it’s impacting production and will only end once the automaker ends a wage freeze enacted during the aforementioned deal in 2018.
With its members having recently voted to strike if bargaining teams don’t make headway, Canadian autoworkers union Unifor plans to reveal its first target next Tuesday. Contract talks kicked off last month, with Unifor aiming to maintain, at the very least, the current complement of Detroit Three workers north of the border.
With the auto industry in continued retreat in Canada, Unifor knows that the next four years could be the term in which one of the Detroit Three ceases to manufacture vehicles on Canuck soil. What’s left in the country is starting to look threadbare and futureless. Maybe some public cash will sweeten the landscape?
In a report that harkens back to the grim days of World War 2-era Germany, several automakers are accused of benefiting from forced labor.
An Australian think tank claims upwards of 80,000 Uighurs, a persecuted ethnic minority in northwest China, have been transported from state-run re-education and internment camps to the factories of Chinese suppliers. Among the companies said to benefit from the forced labor are Apple, Sony, Nike, Volkswagen, BMW, and General Motors.
Like parent Volkswagen, premium auto brand Audi is embarking on an electrified journey and, like VW, it would prefer to see the route paved with profits. A difficult task, given the expense of developing such powertrains and the currently limited public demand for the vehicles they power.
Still, Audi is determined to see it through, hoping that one day, perhaps at the mid-point of the coming decade, it will be able to turn a healthy profit off of EVs in a marketplace that’s more receptive of the technology. To get to that promised land, the company will need to free up cash, and it plans to find that dough in its labor costs.
Expect cuts, the company claims.
Voting is ongoing among UAW locals this week as the union attempts to put a contract deal in place between its members and General Motors.
Thus far, the voting process has been met with mixed emotions, with one assembly plant opting to reject the proposal. Outside that plant, the ongoing GM strike was marred by the death of a picketing plant worker.
After reaching a tentative agreement with General Motors on Wednesday, the United Auto Workers has released a summary of the proposed labor contract.
Contained within are wage hikes for GM autoworkers, lump sum increases, a generous signing bonus, the removal of caps on profit-sharing payouts, and a health care plan that maintains the status quo. It would also keep one previously doomed assembly plant open.
What we don’t know, at this point, is when the ongoing strike will end.
As reports point to progress in efforts by General Motors and the UAW to reach a tentative collective agreement and resolve the now 12-day-long strike, the automaker has removed a contentious element of the drama. Announced Thursday, GM will resume covering workers’ health benefits.
GM withdrew the coverage early into the strike, forcing hourly workers to go through their union to fund temporary COBRA plans. As one would expect, GM’s about-face hasn’t left UAW all smiles.
The United Auto Workers and General Motors are seeking to repair their fractured relationship, sitting down for talks as the union’s strike against its first bargaining partner enters its third day. Workers walked off the job at the automaker’s numerous U.S. plants at midnight Sunday, with the UAW complaining that a last-minute offer should have been put on the table far earlier.
As reported before, health coverage played a big role in the failure to secure a contract agreement before the midnight deadline. GM ultimately retracted the offer, but it was too late to hammer something out. As talks continue in the background, both sides are wrestling for control of the public’s sympathies.
The United Auto Workers claims General Motors waited almost literally till the eleventh hour to toss out a halfway decent offer, but by that time it was too late to bang out an agreement before an 11:59 p.m. Sunday strike deadline.
As talks get underway after GM auto workers hit the streets last night, the level of disagreement between the two sides remains in dispute. What is clear is that GM faces losses of 50 to 90 million dollars a day if the strike continues.
On Wednesday, Daimler’s German workers union publicly expressed concerns that neo-Nazis are trying to organize within the automaker’s ranks. While it did not specify which political groups were involved, it named several individuals from the Untertürkheim Mercedes-Benz plant in southern Germany and described the overall situation as “not acceptable.”
The works council believes Nazis are currently using Zentrum Automobil, an alternative labor union formed in 2009, as a base of operations to infiltrate the factory and placed several of its members on its board. “The Untertürkheim plant now appears in the media as a reservoir for neo-Nazis and a center of right-wing extremist activities,” explained members opposing the supposed infiltration.
That’s not great publicity for a German automaker with a rich history dating back through the Second World War. However, if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that the term “Nazi” currently gets thrown around more than a frisbee at a picnic. Are the claims valid?
Curious as to whether Volkswagen’s management agreed to “excessive” payments of its chief labor representative, German prosecutors raided the carmaker’s headquarters. While a raid certainly sounds bad, it seems like the only way the country’s government bothers to acquire information from automotive manufacturers anymore.
This year alone, VW has been subjected to numerous raids relating to its diesel emission scandal and possible pricing collusion between BMW and Daimler. While one imagines a swarm of suits, backed by uniformed officers, as employees frantically shred documents, the frequency of such impromptu investigations probably just leaves staffers annoyed. I’m starting to think the German government likes showing up unannounced more than the country’s car builders enjoy illicit activities.
Reactions are varied following this morning’s announcement that President Donald Trump will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and pull the country out of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
North of the border, however, the leader of Canada’s Detroit Three autoworkers was apparently dancing a jig. Unifor president Jerry Dias seemed thrilled when he appeared on talk radio to sing the praises of the president’s executive actions. Trump’s moves are “a great opportunity to right the ship,” he said.
It was heady days at Ford’s Windsor Engine Plant in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The facility cranked out Triton V8 engines and the mighty 6.8-liter V10 for an insatiable truck and SUV market (remember the Excursion?), but its future is now in jeopardy.
Aggressive fuel economy targets and the move towards EcoBoost power and fewer cylinders in Ford engine bays have workers and their labor leaders wondering how long they can continue building the factory’s chief powerplant — the Triton V10.
As this is written in late June, the 2016 presidential race has been whittled down to two presumptive nominees from the two major political parties, and two or three more candidates that should appear on ballots nationwide. There are dozens of issues facing the public, certainly, but as The Truth About Cars is obviously an automotive-focused site, we felt discussing issues not related to the auto industry is well beyond the scope of our talents or expertise.
However, there are plenty of issues that will affect our industry, so we are establishing a discussion on the candidate’s positions on those issues. We aim to present a fair, unbiased assessment that will no doubt be shredded within the first five comments, so have at it.
The folks at United Auto Workers are eyeing Tesla’s production targets and making plans.
The electric automaker wants to manufacture 500,000 vehicles per year in 2018, and the union wants the workers behind those EVs in its fold, according to USA Today (via Left Lane News).
Though it hasn’t announced anything officially, UAW boss Dennis Williams recently expressed interest in unionizing Elon Musk’s California assembly plant employees.
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