By on July 20, 2021

Despite American carmakers and the United Auto Workers abandoning mask mandates at the end of June, there’s been an about-face in Wentzville, Missouri. The state witnessed an uptick of cases, encouraging both the UAW and General Motors to reintroduce masks and social distancing protocols.

The facility is responsible for the GMC Canyon and Colorado, as well as Chevrolet’s Savana and Express. It’s also likely to be the first facility of many we’re assuming will be told it’s time to go back to the old masking rules. But why is this happening so soon after everyone was given the green light to return to normal operations?  (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2021

The COVID-19 Joint Task Force comprised of Detroit automakers and the United Auto Workers (UAW) has announced that it will be removing mask mandates for vaccinated employees. After meeting on Monday to discuss changes within state and federal health policies, the group decided masks should be made voluntary items for staffers. They could not get the rule change to coincide with the date the decision was made, however.

Lineworkers will instead be waiting until July 12th to pitch their masks in the trash bin so they can be deposited upon beaches and sea beds around the world. Of course, if a government agency (city, state, or county) wants to uphold old mandates or introduce new ones, the COVID-19 Joint Task Force said it would automatically comply. But that might not matter if employees have already decided to stop observing pandemic protocols.  (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2021

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.” (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2020

The U.S. Department of Justice has reached a proposed civil settlement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the gigantic corruption case that absorbed two former presidents and a slew of union officers over the last few years. With many involved already serving the first part of their prison sentence, the UAW has reportedly agreed to hold a referendum among the rank-and-file to change the way it elects the top brass. The proposal predictably includes some court oversight designed to catch any new instances of fraud coming from inside the union but doesn’t appear to address the corporate aspect.

As a positive, it’s not assumed that the union will see a complete government takeover. Like laundry, it’s already better to separate your alleged corruption to create legal buffer zones.

(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 November 14, 2019

UAW

They’re not calling it that, but we are. The United Auto Workers, rocked by scandal and indictments stemming from an ongoing federal corruption probe, is embarking on a serious clean-up operation in a bid to maintain its autonomy.

Under the direction of Acting President Rory Gamble, the union has outlined a series of reforms intended to keep the federal government from stepping in and grabbing the tiller. (Read More…)

By on November 2, 2019

UAW

Hot on the heels of charges laid against his top aide, UAW President Gary Jones has taken a leave of absence, the union stated Saturday morning.

Two days ago, federal prosecutors charged UAW official Edward Robinson with conspiracy and fraud in an embezzlement scheme alleged to involve a number of top union execs. Sources who spoke to several media outlets this week fingered Jones as the “UAW Official A” mentioned in court documents.

Jones, who was nearly invisible in the ongoing contract talks between Detroit Three automakers and UAW bargaining teams, is alleged to have shared in the spoils of a nearly decade-long scheme that saw $1.5 million in union dues funnelled into executives’ pockets. (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2019

Our last update on the GM-UAW strike revolved around union reps playing hardball on issues like health care, wages, temporary employees, skilled trades, and job security. The United Auto Workers sent General Motors’ proposals back, holding its nose in disapproval.

With the strike now roughly one month deep and looking like it may disrupt the automaker’s well-laid plans, GM is firing back by suggesting the workers’ union is intentionally wasting everybody’s time. The company’s latest contract offer was issued Monday, with the union having yet to offer any formal feedback. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra even joined negotiations on Wednesday in an effort to speed up discussions. But the UAW has said it will only issue a counter proposal after five separate committees address a “series of issues” and the automaker publicly furnishes its suggestions.

“We object to having bargaining placed on hold pending a resolution of these five areas,” Scott Sandefur, GM’s vice president of North American labor relations, wrote to UAW Vice President Terry Dittes on Thursday. “As we have urged repeatedly, we should engage in bargaining over all issues around-the-clock to get an agreement.”  (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2019

The issue of China’s totalitarian government intimidating American businesses into silence over protests in Hong Kong and human rights violations in China has come to the fore, with three nearly simultaneous incidents. The National Basketball Association didn’t quite censure the Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey for tweeting “fight for Freedom” and “stand with Hong Kong,” but league commissioner Adam Silver’s attempts to mollify Xi JinPing’s regime, to preserve the NBA’s profitable ventures in China, have been described as craven. E-gaming company Blizzard Activision, which is 4.9-percent owned by the Chinese Tencent company, stripped a tournament champion of his title and winnings and banned him for a year for expressing support for Hong Kong in a post-event broadcast. When the animated South Park comedy show satirized censorship in China, the Chinese government simply erased South Park from the Chinese internet as though it never existed. On that side of the great firewall of China, South Park has become like Nikolai Yezhov.

To their everlasting credit, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, South Park’s creators, unlike the NBA and Blizzard Activision, didn’t kowtow, instead releasing an “apology” that mocked both Chinese government censors and the NBA.

It’s abundantly clear that China will use the threat of punishing American companies by restricting access to the Chinese market in order to exert intimidating influence here in the United States.

What does that have to do with cars? (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2019

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. (Read More…)

By on September 15, 2019

Hours after a four-year contract between the United Automobile Workers and General Motors expired without an extension, the union voted to kick off a nationwide strike against the automaker at 11:59 pm Sunday. The move would leave plants darkened and upwards of 49,000 auto workers on the picket line.

In a letter to members, UAW leadership said that while “some progress” has been made in its negotiations with GM, numerous outstanding issues remain — among them, wages, health benefits, temporary employees, job security, and profit sharing.

Given a number of looming or already completed plant closures announced by GM last fall, the union picked the automaker as its first bargaining target. UAW bargaining units for Ford and Fiat Chrysler opted to extend their deadlines. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2019

Workers represented by Local UAW 892 went on strike last night in Saline, Michigan. The union’s contract with Faurecia Interiors Systems, which expired on June 1st, was given a three-week contract extension to provide for negotiations. But, with no new deal on the table, employees walked out Friday at midnight. They’re demanding better wages, improved working conditions and profit sharing.

Plant workers have been complaining about conditions inside the plant to local media and online for several months, often citing plumbing issues and a leaky roof as the facility’s biggest problems.  (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2019

 

Ren Cen. GM

General Motors’ legal team has requested that the lawsuit filed by the United Automobile Workers, which claims that its decision to idle factories is in violation of an existing union agreement, be dismissed by a federal judge. The UAW alleges that GM sidestepped the collective bargaining agreement established in 2015 by closing plants prematurely. But the automaker has been careful to say that the facilities are being “unallocated,” claiming the union failed to adhere to the grievance arbitration procedure outlined in its contract — which forbids UAW from going to court until all other avenues have been exhausted.

The request came with a bundle of other motions, filed on March 21st, and included a request to transfer the case from Youngstown, Ohio (where the contentious Lordstown Assembly is located) to the eastern district of Michigan.  (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2019

Federal investigators are expanding their ongoing corruption investigation into the United Auto Workers and Detroit Three by taking a long look at donated money intended to buy flowers for member funerals. The concern is that the UAW’s “flower fund” may have been used as a slush fund to finance personal expenses for union officials.

It wouldn’t be the first time. Prosecutors have already secured the convictions of seven people via a probe into the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center. Several jailed union officials, along with former FCA-VP Alphons Iacobelli, helped investigators uncover illicit funds funneled through training centers and charities — including the Leave the Light On Foundation, created by the late General Holiefield. Now they’re helping the feds branch out.  (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2019

2018 Ford F150 assembly line -Image: Ford

Opioid addiction is on the rise in America and the United Auto Workers wants to confront the problem in its next round of collective bargaining. While the issue is most visible in parts of the Western United States, large pockets of the Midwest, South, and Northeast have cited an influx of drug overdoses since 2002.

The UAW, knowing that prescription medications are being increasingly abused by factory workers (as heroin simultaneously makes a comeback), wants to nip the issue in the bud. In addition to promoting job security, higher wages, and healthcare, union officials have identified combating opioids as an important element of future contract negotiations.  (Read More…)

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