Orion Workers To Picket UAW Over "Innovative" Labor Deal
I took some flack from TTAC’s Best and Brightest on Monday when I suggested that the UAW’s deal to give 40 percent of Orion Assemblys returning workers a 50 percent pay cut was “cowardly and despicable.” What I didn’t make clear enough was that I have no problem with the UAW working for a lower wage as long as the burden was spread evenly. Instead, the union has arbitrarily divided its existing workforce into the old guard “haves” and the relatively-recently-hired “have nots” as a ploy to make the union seem capable of profitably building subcompact cars in America. It’s bad enough to prop up the old guard by paying new hires less, but cramming down recalled Tier One workers is totally contrary to the very concept of a union. And I’m not the only one who finds the lack of solidarity and shared responsibility within the union troubling.
UAW Saves Aveo Profitability By Pushing Workers Into Tier Two
Tough Times For Tier Two
The UAW Comes Knocking In Italy
Currency, UAW Doom US Production Of Ford's Kuga
Bloomberg reports that Ford will not build its Kuga compact crossover at its Louisville, KY plant due to the falling Euro and UAW recalcitrance. According to the report
The promise of Kuga production in Louisville began to fall apart in November when UAW members rejected Ford’s request to match givebacks it gave General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. Ford’s U.S. rivals, which each reorganized in bankruptcy last year, were granted a six-year freeze on wages for new hires and a ban on some strikes until 2015… The euro has fallen 14 percent against the dollar since Ford reached a tentative deal with the UAW in October to build the Kuga in Louisville alongside its mechanical twin, the Escape. At the time, the dollar had declined against the euro, lowering the cost of U.S.-made goods. Since then, the euro has dropped amid concerns Europe’s debt crisis may trigger another recession.
Barclays analyst Brian Johnson explains
This is a reminder to the UAW that Ford’s U.S. cars don’t have to be produced in the U.S. Ford’s global architecture allows them to build anywhere. That’s good news if the U.S. has competitive labor costs. It’s bad news if they don’t
Happy Labor Day, From GM CEO Dan Akerson
Editor’s note: GM CEO Dan Akerson sent the following email to GM’s employees, his first such communication as GM’s CEO, in recognition of Labor Day Weekend Eve.
As Labor Day approaches in the U.S. and Canada, I would like to wish everyone at General Motors a safe, happy holiday weekend. I also ask that we pause for moment to reflect on what this day means as we celebrate labor’s many contributions here and around the world.
Of course, labor’s role in building up this nation and others is well recognized and rightly so. And, coming from a union family, I know on a very personal level the good things that unions can do.
With Nothing New To Build, The UAW Charges Mitsubishi More
Automotive News [sub] reports that Mitsubishi will have to give UAW workers at its Normal, Ill plant a $1.60/hr raise because it doesn’t yet know what vehicle or platform it plans to build there in the future. Mitsubishi’s 2008 contract with the UAW required the disclosure, but the Japanese automaker requested an extension which the union membership proceeded to vote down. Because the extension failed, Mitsubishi is required by the terms of its contract to raise hourly pay to $25.60/hr. The plant in question currently builds Mitsubishi Eclipse, Endeavor and Galant models, which have collectively sold 11,215 units through August of this year. And thanks to the combination of low demand for Normal-built products, and the union’s failure to extend the decision period, it seems as though Mitsubishi may just walk away from the plant.
Bonus Gallery: "No Foreign Car Parking" Signs
The core hypocrisy of the UAW is that it claims to work on behalf of workers everywhere, while actually serving only the interests of its most senior members. And the cognitive dissonance produced by this grotesque contradiction can lead to some interesting challenges in the day-to-day life of the union, particularly in the design of parking lot signs designed to keep the competition out. The sign shown above and the sign shown in the post preceding this one show the UAW at its most honest: if it’s built by one of the Detroit Three, it’s OK. If it’s got a “foreign nameplate” it’s not. But this honesty also betrays the fact that the UAW simply wants everyone to support it’s employers, rather than lead a nationalistic or class-based crusade.
At most locals the signs are more simple and ideal-oriented, but they’re also completely misleading. For example, a Japanese-built Camry or Korean-built Elantra should be OK in a lot with a “Union Made Vehicle Parking Only” sign, and an American-built Camry or Sonata should be fine in a lot with a “No Foreign Cars Allowed” sign… but of course, neither scenario would be tolerated. While you’re pondering the deeply cynical self-delusion at play here, enjoy this hastily-assembled gallery of union parking lot signs.
Update: Picture 417 has been removed at the request of the photographer. The original photo can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlavander/4034221120/#/
Quote Of The Day: Press Relations, UAW Style Edition
UAW Sells Out Members, Holds On To Black Lake Resort
Since taking office in June, UAW President Bob King has ramped up the rhetoric level at Solidarity Hall considerably, as he seeks to portray the union as a defender of the American middle class. But, as the old adage goes, actions speak louder than words… and King’s actions this week couldn’t paint a clearer picture of the UAW’s priorities.
French Workers Protest "Chevy-fication" Of Renault
Autocar reports that Renault workers in France are jumping on a bus and heading to the Paris Motor Show. Are the doing it because they fancy a day out? Maybe they want to see all the nice cars on display? Nope, they’re going there to protest. OK, so who do you think they are going to protest? Hyundai? Toyota? Ford? Nope. They’re protesting against Renault. So, a bunch of French Renault workers are going to the Paris Motor Show to protest against their own company? Why?
Korean Auto Industry Shooting For Strike-Free Year
There’s a constant temptation for commentators on the American auto industry to idealize labor relations outside of the reach of the United Auto Workers. But, as the JoongAn Daily reports, even resurgent automaking nations like Korea still face a number of challenges from unruly workers. Hyundai, Ssangyong and GM-Daewoo have already closed deals with their unions guaranteeing a strike-free 2010, but Kia is still locked in negotiations over
several issues, including wages and role of full-time union representatives. The management wants to enforce restrictions on the number and work practices on union representatives before discussing the wage issue. The union wants to negotiate the two issues at the same time.
If Kia reaches a deal with its union, it will make 2010 the first year in the last 24 without a strike by Korean autoworkers.
Quote Of The Day: Organize This Edition
Quote Of The Day: Jobs, Justice And Peace Edition
We have made a decision at the UAW that to do the best job taking care of our membership we’ve got to be out there in the streets fighting for social and economic justice
Newly-minted UAW President Bob King kicks off a “Jobs, Justice and Peace” campaign with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, by feeding the Freep some seriously idealistic rhetoric at a news conference announcing a march commemorating Martin Luther King’s Freedom Walk. But, as King confirms to Automotive News [sub], the best way to live up to these high-minded ideals is to demonize Toyota.