Volkswagen Employees Have Rejected The United Auto Workers Union

The Detroit Free Press posted an article today about the vote by workers at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee. The workers voted against the United Auto Workers Union (UAW).

The article reports:

Volkswagen has said it favors the creation of a German-styleworks council,” which gives workers a voice on a variety of product and other decisions. Under U.S. law, a union must represent employees for a company to form a works council.

But Snyder voted against the UAW because, he said, Volkswagen is the best employer he’s ever worked for.

“How is somebody here really supposed to know what a works council is going to be like?” Snyder said. “You can have somebody tell you one thing and somebody tell you another thing. Nobody really knows.”

I think that is a really smart statement. The UAW has played something of a role in the bankruptcy of Detroit. They are not totally responsible, but they are not totally innocent either.  I think this vote represents a realization by the workers that they have been treated fairly by the management of Volkswagen and they do not want to risk their current benefits. Unions have traditionally had a role to play in American industry, but many of the benefits of unionization have been taken over by the government. The government now monitors working conditions, waste disposal, and benefits–all things the unions were originally involved in. Unfortunately the unions have become political organizations with overpaid leadership that lives far above the living standard of union members. They have become no different than the corporations and corporate fat cats they continually criticize.

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Should The President Be Allowed To Ignore The Constitution ?

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article by Michael Barone on President Obama’s tendency to ignore the law when he decides he wants to do something. The article cites a number of examples.

In January 2012 President Obama made some recess appointments–three members of the National Labor Relations Board and the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Unfortunately the Senate did not happen to be recess at the time.

The article reports:

Last month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously that the NLRB recess appointments were unconstitutional.

…decisions of the NLRB are the CFPB are in legal limbo, pending a Supreme Court decision. Hundreds of thousands of people and are affected and millions of dollars are at stake. There is a price for not observing the rule of law.

The article goes on to list a few more examples:

For several years the Obama administration has refused to obey a law requiring the president’s budget to be submitted on a certain date. As budget director, Treasury nominee Jack Lew refused to obey the law requiring him to issue a report in response to the trustees’ report on Medicare.

During the 2012 campaign the Pentagon told defense contractors not to inform employees that they may be laid off if the sequester took effect as required by the WARN Act.

They were even told that the government would pay any fines for not complying. What law authorizes that?

…In spring 2009 we got our first glimmers of this modus operandi. In arranging the Chrysler bankruptcy administration, officials brushed aside the rights of secured creditors in order to pay off the United Auto Workers.

This represents a pattern–there are no isolated incidents here. Unfortunately we have almost four more years to get through before we can get back to the Constitution.Enhanced by Zemanta

I Guess It Depends On Your Idea Of A Good Investment

2010 Ford Mustang photographed in Fort Washing...

Image via Wikipedia

In my head I can hear my stockbroker yelling, “Dump that turkey!” What am I talking about? The current state of the government’s investment in General Motors.

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article about the current state of the stock in General Motors that the government still owns.

The article points out:

President Obama glowingly defended the $85 billion auto industry bailout during a speech to Detroit auto workers Friday, saying “the investment was worth it.”

But the government still owns 500 million shares of General Motors which, if sold at today’s market price of $20 a share, would leave taxpayers on the hook for $16.5 billion in losses.

And…under the law of unintended consequences (I’m not sure about the unintended part), the agreement the government signed with General Motors and Chrysler makes Ford (the company that is not partially owned by the government) the only company that the United Auto Workers (UAW) can strike against.  As reported in rightwinggranny.com on October 13, 2011, the UAW is already making plans to strike Ford Motor Company.

Where is this going? Unless someone throws a wrench in the works, it is leading to a nationalization of the American auto industry.

My husband, a drive-by reader of this site, just pointed out to me that if the UAW strikes Ford, forcing them to be bailed out, then the UAW will not be able to strike any American auto company. Payback is a *****!

 

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The End Of Free Enterprise In The American Automobile Industry

2010 Ford Mustang photographed in Fort Washing...

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the union workers at Ford Motor Company’s Chicago assembly plan have voted to reject a new four-year contract proposed by Ford Motor Company.

I would like to repost a quote from an article posted at rightwinggranny.com on September 19, 2011:

Workers at Chrysler Group LLC, whose contract also expired on September 14, continue to negotiate for terms of their new deal.

The UAW is not allowed to call strikes for workers at GM and Chrysler under the terms of the federal bailouts which those companies received.

Workers at Ford Motor (which did not receive a federal bailout, which allows them to strike) are also in talks for a new contract.

One of the problems the union workers have with the proposed contract:

Some workers are angry that in the wake of Ford earning $9.3 billion in profits the last two years, the contract does not give back some of the things they lost in previous agreements, including cost-of-living raises. They are also mad about Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s $26.5 million pay package for 2010.

Also included in the proposed contract:

The deal would also commit Ford to hiring a total of 2,000 workers in the Chicago area, including 1,100 to be part of a new third shift at the company’s Chicago assembly plant. The contract agreement calls for Ford to hire 900 workers at its stamping plant and assembly plant within the next four years.

The most amazing statement in the article:

Morton (Grant Morton, United Auto Workers Union Local 551 plant chairman) said he still expects the 1,100 new jobs and new third shift at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant even if the contract does not pass. That is because the company plans to produce sedan and SUV versions of its new Police Interceptor vehicle at the plant. The vehicle will be launched in February. The plant has already produced a couple hundred of the Interceptors, according to Morton. The plant also produces the Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer.

Something has gone horribly wrong with the way people look at their jobs and the companies that hire them. I suppose heads of corporations make ridiculous money. They also work a lot of hours and carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, why shouldn’t they be paid for it? What relationship does that have to the man who does an honest day’s work on an assembly line and goes home when the whistle blows? As employees, we need to be concerned about making ourselves more valuable to the companies we work for rather than worrying what the officers of the company make. I guess this is a very old-fashioned idea, but generally speaking, people are paid for the jobs they do. Some industries pay better than others, and some jobs pay better than others, but usually if you want a really high-paying job, you either have to have skills that are unique and hard to find, or you have to work at a job that has a high risk of failure. Those of us who are ‘average’ are going to receive ‘average’ wages. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is, and no amount of labor disruption or strikes against companies will change that. The only thing a prolonged strike against Ford will do is create financial problems for the company and put jobs at risk. Considering the economics of the present time, that is probably not a really good idea.

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Even The United Auto Workers Union Is Struggling !

Red Volkswagen Bug

Image via Wikipedia

A website called thetruthaboutcars.com posted a story on Thursday about the financial situation of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW).

The article points out:

In many ways, the UAW resembles the companies it opposed for so long. The UAW is America’s richest union. One of its biggest assets is its strike fund, which stood at $763 million at the end of 2010. If push comes to shove, a union is as strong as its strike fund. The trouble is: The UAW spends more than it takes in. Increasingly, the union has to dip into the strike fund, the Reuters report says. According to government filings, the UAW liquidated $222 million of investments from 2007 to 2009 to cover the shortfall between expenses and revenue.

The article has charts that illustrate the financial problems of the UAW in recent years. One thing mentioned in the article is the fact that the UAW membership fees have dropped to $30 a month. At the same time, the union is having to spend a great deal of money on organizing as some car manufacturers are no longer in Detroit and are no longer unionized.

A Reuters new story reports:

“Volkswagen AG is paying newly hired workers at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant $14.50 per hour. That is almost exactly what a second-tier UAW worker would make in Detroit. In a sign of demand for jobs at that pay level, the Chattanooga plant had 85,000 applications for more than 2,000 jobs. VW workers have been promised $19.50 after three years on the job. That is just above the $19.28 per hour maximum that entry-level workers at GM would make over the term of the four-year contract now before workers for ratification.”

That is not good news for the future of the UAW.

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General Motors (aka Government Motors) and the UAW Have Agreed On A Contract (Or Why I Drive A Mustang)

Normally, I wouldn’t particularly care whether or not GM reached a contract agreement with the UAW, but since the government has made me a stockholder, I thought that maybe I should pay attention.

The International Business Times reported on Saturday that a new contract between GM and the UAW has been tentatively agreed on. The contract includes signing bonuses and better profit sharing for the employees.

The article reports:

Workers at Chrysler Group LLC, whose contract also expired on September 14, continue to negotiate for terms of their new deal.

The UAW is not allowed to call strikes for workers at GM and Chrysler under the terms of the federal bailouts which those companies received.

Workers at Ford Motor (which did not receive a federal bailout, which allows them to strike) are also in talks for a new contract.

Any bets on the possibility of a UAW strike action against Ford this year?

There is one aspect of this contract that I could not find any reporting on. In his book, Car Wreck, Mark Ragsdale explains an auto industry practice called ‘jobs banks.’ Jobs banks require that two and a half years of wages be paid to laid off workers. On February 10, 2009, Ford Motor Company announced it had negotiated jobs banks penalties out of its UAW contracts. Because Ford rejected federal bailout money, the UAW was forced to negotiate in order to avoid the company going bankrupt. I suspect the UAW will try very hard this year to put those jobs banks penalties back in.

Taxpayer bailout money is currently paying General Motors workers for work while they sit at the ‘jobs bank’ all day and do nothing–another example of a total waste of tax dollars. Obviously when this was done by a private company (GM), it was not practical–the company had to be bailed out, so why is the government allowing the nonprofitable behavior to continue? It will be interesting to see what happens to the jobs banks in the new contract and if the UAW decides to strike Ford to put the jobs banks back in there.

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