By on March 3, 2021

Stellantis is reportedly bringing back a controversial policy that would have skilled trade workers doing 12 hour days for 7 days a week as a way to maximize shift coverage. The original arrangement had staff pushing long hours only to be rewarded with a full week off. But it was temporarily nixed after workers complained about the schedule and fretted over how the change might impact benefits. An alternative schedule prioritizing flexibility was created, though the automaker (still owned by FCA at the time) stressed that it needed more tradespeople working on the weekends to help avoid production gaps.

The 84 hour week is now back, with Stellantis testing it out at Sterling Heights Assembly, where the Ram 1500 is manufactured. However, it doesn’t appear to have grown in popularity.

(Read More…)

By on April 21, 2020

Image: UAW

With very little going on in the automotive realm amid the pandemic, we decided to check in on the United Auto Workers to see if another chapter had been added to the organization’s ongoing corruption scandal. Not much news on that front, though the union did announce its pick for presidential candidate. On Tuesday, it publicly embraced Joe Biden.

While Biden has long been the presumed UAW favorite, a March confrontation with a Detroit factory worker over the former vice president’s 2nd Amendment policies briefly resulted in a cadre of union members pushing back against the candidate over social media. At the time, the situation looked to have done real damage to his prospects of getting union endorsements in the Midwest. However, it seems the outrage was short-lived. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has taken great strides to appeal to factory workers living in states like Michigan and Ohio — measures that clearly helped get him elected in 2016.

Recall the UAW came out rather aggressively against Trump prior to the last election and ultimately endorsed Hilary Clinton. With that in mind, it would be almost unthinkable to see the union change course. It was probably always going to be Biden; the union just needed to make an the obligatory announcement.  (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2020

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While Ford Motor Co. plans to reopen several factories by early April, it’s not doing much of anything at present. That’s a standard problem among domestic brands with the coronavirus afoot, and two of them — Ford and General Motors — are coming off sizable restructuring efforts that included staffing reductions in the thousands. Additional cutbacks aren’t desirable; not with everyone watching how these companies handle the outbreak.

As it secures extra spending power from credit lines, Ford knows the steep financial cost of having the majority of its workforce stuck at home (to say nothing of its customers) will be steep. A plan is now afoot to keep jobs secure. (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2019

Ontario Labor Relations Board Chairman Bernard Fishbein recently ruled that Unifor’s actions over the winter were illegal under the province’s Labor Relations Act, stipulating that the union must “cease and desist from engaging in, authorizing or counseling unlawful strikes or engaging in any act that is likely to cause employees at the Inteva, Lear or GM plant (or any other supplier of the GM plant) or any employees having notice of this decision to engage in any unlawful strike.”

However, Unifor President Jerry Dias says the board’s finding that the union engaged in unlawful strikes against General Motors and its suppliers will not stop its workers from walking off the job in the future.  (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2019

The Ontario government isn’t pleased with Unifor’s handling of General Motors’ decision to close Oshawa Car Assembly. Like the UAW, Canada’s autoworker union has been extremely vocal in its opposition to GM’s restructuring plan. Over the last few months Unifor members have picketed, held multiple rallies, protested the automaker during the North American International Auto Show, called for a boycott, and aired commercials condemning the manufacturer during the Super Bowl.

Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade, believes all of this has been detrimental to future business investment. “The Unifor message hasn’t been helpful, not just for General Motors but the auto industry in Ontario,” he said during the Automotive News Canada Congress in Toronto.  (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2019

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

Subaru’s sales in the United States effectively tripled in the past decade, making it the most important market for the brand by a wide margin. However, the automaker has had to expend quite a bit of energy in its home country of Japan to address recalls and regulatory scandals over the last few years.

While the duality hasn’t caused issues on a global scale, many observers wonder how long its good fortune will last. In America, Subaru is a feel-good brand that uses love as a core marketing concept to improve sales. In Japan, it has become synonymous with overworking employees lacking compensation, regulatory scandals, sudden work stoppages, and recalls. Many believe it’s only a matter of time before Subaru of America will have to contend with Japan’s issues, and evidence exists that problems are already beginning to surface in the West. (Read More…)

By on January 13, 2019

Jerry Dias, Unifor President, Image: OFL Communications Department (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Things are starting to get truly ugly between Canada’s Unifor and General Motors. On Friday, the union held a rally in Windsor, Ontario, with that automaker’s headquarters just a river away. During the event, Unifor President Jerry Dias expressed his annoyance with the automaker’s restructuring plan and promised to bring the noise to GM’s front door during the North American International Auto Show this week.

Friday’s gathering, which Unifor and the Windsor and District Labour Council claimed drew around 2,000 people despite its brevity, focused primarily on the company’s decision to shift more of its North American production to Mexico and the shuttering of Oshawa Assembly and the end of this year. Dias said he wants the union to work with the automaker to keep Canadian jobs and avoid a potential boycott. Though that might be just around the corner, as the UAW has already issued a boycott of its own within the United States. (Read More…)

By on January 10, 2019

Ford Escape Titanium badge logo, Image: Ford Motor Company

On Thursday, Ford announced preliminary details of a plan that will ultimately erase thousands of European jobs in an attempt to return the business to profitability. The decision comes after several reports indicated the automaker’s restructuring program will be particularly hard on the region.

The plan now officially includes a slimmer product lineup, which is likely to result in the shuttering of several facilities. The manufacturer also announced a “leveraging” of existing relationships — specifically referencing a potential alliance with Volkswagen Group that would help support Ford in that market.

“We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe,” explained Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business, creating value for all our stakeholders and delivering emotive vehicles to our customers.”

What does Ford think it needs to do to achieve a 6 percent operating margin in Europe? Read on.  (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2019

 

Ren Cen. GM

Last week a lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court in Youngstown claiming that General Motors is in violation of a “memorandum of understanding” with the United Automobile Workers by allowing temporary employees to support the launch of some new product from Fort Wayne Assembly Plant. The facility, which is responsible for manufacturing the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, is alleged to have brought on temporary workers from May to August of 2018 instead of using its laid-off full-time workers. The UAW claims this is decision represents a breach of contract.

The union says there are nearly 700 workers laid off from the “nearby” Lordstown, Ohio Assembly Plant — many of whom have applied to transfer to the Fort Wayne as is their right under the current contract with GM. (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2018

Employees at Tesla’s solar-panel factory in Buffalo, New York, are launching a drive to unionize with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Steelworkers. The campaign aims to unify about 300 production and maintenance employees at the the facility.  If it succeeds, it will be the first time the automaker has failed to stop its staff from organizing inside the U.S.

The EV manufacturers’ labor force wants the same thing we all want — more money. Many claim that Tesla offers unfair wages and believe collective bargaining is the only road to higher pay.  (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2018

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As part of Ford’s massive restructuring plan, which is said to focus primarily on its European assets, the automaker will end assembly at its Blanquefort transmission plant in France next year. Its 850 employees will now have to find gainful employment elsewhere by August.

However, there was a brief glimmer of hope after transmission supplier Punch Powerglide (encouraged by the French government) launched a bid to purchase the facility and rescue it from being shuttered.

“Despite thorough and rigorous talks over the past nine months, and the best efforts of both sides, the plan put forward by the potential buyer presents significant risks,” Ford said in a statement. “We do not believe that the prospective buyer’s plans offer the level of security or protection, or limit the risk of possible future job losses, that we would like for the employees.”  (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2018

ford logo

Wages may have stagnated, but companies know they can still curry the public’s favor by other means. Because corporations aren’t people, despite the government saying otherwise, they can’t really be good or evil. This frequently results in meaningless pandering, perplexing business decisions, or disingenuous marketing that pushes an empty moral narrative in an attempt to bend to rampant social pressures. Still, it occasionally leads to those in charge making a decision to do the right thing and getting some deserved praise.

Ford Motor Co. is significantly expanding the amount of paid time off available to new parents among its salaried workforce in the United States.  (Read More…)

By on October 31, 2018

Wednesday morning, General Motors announced third-quarter 2018 earnings “reflecting profitability in all core operating segments.” Operating profits were at $2.5 billion, with North American profit margins hovering around 10.2 percent thanks to healthy truck sales. All in all, things were looking pretty good.

Then GM announced a plan to extend buyouts to salaried employees in the region with 12 or more years experience in order to cut costs. Roughly 18,000 salaried employees are said to be eligible for voluntary severance packages. The reason? General Motors says it wants to do this while the company is still healthy, which sounds like a pretty strong hint that bad times are ahead.  (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2018

Audi Q2 factory production

With the UAW currently coping with a high-profile corruption scandal in the United States, news of Germany’s widespread auto strikes has taken a backseat in domestic media. Last Friday, IG Metall concluded its third day of striking against Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Porsche, Audi, VW, and BMW.

However the 72-hours of downtime may only be the appetizer in the German union’s strike-buffet. While both IG Metall and the manufacturers have expressed a willingness to resume talks on Monday, the union remains on the cusp of a vote that could extend striking indefinitely. Here’s why they are so pissed:  (Read More…)

By on October 24, 2017

ford logo

Ford is restructuring its upper management for the second time since former CEO Mark Fields took permanent leave of the company. Now in the top executive slot, Jim Hackett wants to continue tweaking staff in order to “improve efficiencies” and reshape the automaker in an image more appetizing to investors and potential buyers.

Hackett’s initial culling served to streamline the corporate hierarchy into something more manageable. The more recent shakeup, announced Tuesday, appears to be more of the same — leaving some with additional duties as Ford attempts to realign its global strategy. (Read More…)

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