Volkswagen Won't Let UAW In

Don Jackson, manager of Volkswagen’s spanking-new plant in Chattanooga, dispelled rumors that unionization of the VW works is imminent. “No one from the UAW has visited the plant, or asked to visit,” Jackson told Bernie Woodall of Reuters. Jackson said that neither he nor anyone else at the new VW plant has been in contact with UAW representatives, and dismissed talks about the UAW representing workers at the plant as “speculation.”

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A Works Council In Chattanooga? It's For The Dogs

What TTAC readers have known for a while already, Germany’s Financial Times has realized: The UAW is trying to get its foot into the door of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant. Apparently, the UAW is banking on the fact that the plant is new, that Volkswagen is used to working with the unions, and most of all, that wages in Chattanooga are lower than at Daimler, BMW, Toyota and Honda. Financial Times Deutschland reports that a worker makes $14.50 an hour in Chattanooga, $19.50 after three years. Now the German Metal Workers Union IG Metall wants to help the UAW – by establishing a works council in Chattanooga.

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Which Side Are You On, UAW? Detroit's?

Earlier this year, UAW President Bob King said that if the union didn’t organize foreign auto plants, “I don’t think there’s a long-term future for the UAW, I really don’t.” Now why would he say such silly things if chances for success on that front are slim to none? Currently an intricate plot unravels. The goal: To lower expectations in the rank & file for big breakthroughs at the Detroit bargaining sessions. After all, the UAW still holds a lot of stock in certain Detroit companies, and they don’t want to shoot themselves in both feet in that regard. But what does that have to do with unionizing the foreigners?

The Freep is peeling a complicated onion of arguments that brings us to tears.

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UAW Launches United Nations Of Chrysler And Fiat Unions

Uh-oh: The UAW has reached out to unions representing workers of Chrysler and Fiat in other countries. They want to form a “global network.” The group will not collectively bargain with the companies, King told reporters from Reuters. The group will be just an innocuous clearing-house for information.

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Japanese Automakers And Unions To Government: Lower Then Yen, Or We Are Out Of Here

In an (especially for Japanese tastes) strongly worded joint statement, Toshiyuki Shiga. Chairman of Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, and Koichiro Nishihara, President of the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers’ Unions threw down the gauntlet to the Japanese government. Executive summary: “We are sick as hell of the high yen and we can’t take it anymore. Do something, or kiss those jobs sayonara.”

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How To Get Rich Quick: Lose Your Job At Opel, Collect $360,000

After tedious negotiations, and only after an arbitrator was brought in, GM’s Opel finally has a deal for its Bochum plant in Germany. As planned, 1,800 jobs will be cut. The deal will cost GM dearly.

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Hyundai And Kia Run Out Of Parts

Assembly lines at South Korea’s Hyundai Kia ground to a halt this weekend after the companies ran out of a needed engine parts. Production of Hyundai’s Tucson ix, Santa Fe and Veracruz and Kia’s Carnival has stopped. On Wednesday, production of most of Hyundai’s and Kia’s cars will be affected unless the parts shortage is solved. The Korean units of GM and Renault will suffer, as well as Ssangyong. Do they all get their engines parts from Japan?

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Volkswagen And The Unions: That Was Easy

No war of words, no strikes, no hard feelings: After only two rounds of negotiations, Volkswagen and the metalworkers union IG Metall had a deal late last night. There will be a 3.2 percent increase in base pay effective May 1, 2011, and each employee will also receive a one-time payment corresponding to one percent of his or her annual pay but no less than €500.

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Only In Italy: Unions Demand Alfa Romance With Volkswagen

Usually, unions take to the streets when their company is supposed to be sold. In Italy, unions demand the sale of their company.

In Milan, union representatives marched to the German consulate and handed the consul a letter in which they demand that Fiat lets Alfa go and that Volkswagen takes over.” With the letter delivered, the demonstrators grabbed megaphones and shouted: “Alfa has no chance with Fiat. We want Volkswagen!” Scusami?

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German Unions Want Payback

German media calls it the “second economic miracle.” The German industry is hitting on all cylinders, a lot driven by exports. Europe’s biggest economy is officially forecast to expand by 3.4 percent this year, equal to the rate of 2006 and the highest since German reunification in 1990. When the recession/credit crunch hit a couple of years ago, the mantra from management to the unions was quite clear. “We need concessions to keep the company competitive and prevent going under.” Unions gave the concessions and life went on. But now, the climate is different. Volkswagen announced massive profits and Ford are also rolling in it. Well, if things are that good… ?

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Quote Of The Weekend: Viva Italia Edition

Fiat could do more if it could cut off Italy

Having been handed a bankruptcy-rinsed Chrysler by the American government, Fiat’s Canadian-born CEO Sergio Marchionne is beginning to see Italy as nothing more than aging, uncompetitive factories and troublesome unions. And now he’s not just telling the Italian media that not only would Fiat be better off without the country that birthed it. According to Reuters

The CEO added that not a single euro of the 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) of trading profit that Fiat is targeting for 2010 will come from Italy, where all Fiat car passenger plants are loss-making.

The funny part: Chrysler still holds a value of precisely zero dollars on Fiat’s balance book. And with the Fiat and Alfa-Romeo brands headed to the US, Italian-ness is still an important element of Fiat’s identity. But until Marchionne’s Chrysler revival and Italian invasion take hold stateside, and as long as mother Italia is a drain on its resources, Fiat might be best described as a Brazilian company.

Italian speakers can enjoy Marhionne’s interview here.

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The Spring Hill Saga: Put A Corker In It

USA Today reports that Tennessee’s 2 Republican Senators, Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and GOP congresswoman Marsha Blackburn received a rather frosty reception when they went to Spring Hill on Friday to toast GM bringing jobs back to the Ex-Saturn plant. They got booed and heckled. Why the frosty reception? Well, if you remember, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (along with the unnamed Congresswoman) were very vocal opponents against the bailout of GM and Chrysler. So, for 3 politicians to come back to their state and welcome back the very jobs which they would have been quite happy to see lost in the name of free market economics, probably stuck in the craw of the electorate. Namely, the UAW.

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Saturn Factory Coming Back In Orbit?

When GM went into bankruptcy, people had their money on Saturn going to die. The odds changed a bit when Roger Penske was in talks to buy Saturn. But, in a cruel twist of fate, Saturn was condemned to death by a bunch of executives in France. They vetoed Carlos Ghosn’s idea of supplying Penske with Renault cars for the Saturn brand. The death of Saturn meant that its manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, would join Saturn in the grave. And so it did, along with 800 people who lost their jobs. Suddenly, there is the proverbial glimmer of hope for those 800 workers and the economy of Spring Hill.

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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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Hyundai CEO: I'm No Joker. I'm No Smoker. I'm No Mid-Night Toker

The Korea Times reports that the Seoul Central District court has ordered the union of a subcontractor of Hyundai-Kia to remove a picture from the walls of the union headquarters. A court order? To take down a picture? Why?

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  • Namesakeone If you want a Thunderbird like your neighbor's 1990s model, this is not the car. This is a Fox-body car, which was produced as a Thunderbird from MY 1980 through 1988 (with styling revisions). The 1989-1997 car, like your neighbor's, was based on the much heavier (but with independent rear suspension) MN-15 chassis.
  • Inside Looking Out I watched only his Youtube channel. Had no idea that there is TV show too. But it is 8 years or more that I cut the cable and do not watch TV except of local Fox News. There is too much politics and brainwashing including ads on TV. But I am subscribed to CNBC Youtube channel.
  • Jeff S Just to think we are now down to basically 3 minivans the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna. I wonder how much longer those will last. Today's minivan has grown in size over the original minivans and isn't so mini anymore considering it is bigger than a lot of short wheel based full size vans from the 70s and 80s. Back in the 70s and 80s everything smaller was mini--mini skirt, mini fridge, mini car, and mini truck. Mini cars were actually subcompact cars and mini trucks were compact trucks. Funny how some words are so prevalent in a specific era and how they go away and are unheard of in the following decades.
  • Jeff S Isn't this the same van Mercury used for the Villager? I believe it was the 1s and 2nd generations of this Quest.
  • VoGhost I don't understand the author's point. Two of the top five selling vehicles globally are Teslas. We have great data on the Model 3 for the past 5 years. What specifically is mysterious about used car values?