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Former UAW VP Jewell Expected to Plead Guilty

Six others have already been found guilty.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.22, 2019

Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell is expected to plead guilty in federal court next month.

Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell is expected to U.S. District Court early next month to plead guilty on charges of violating federal labor law and could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Jewell, who abruptly quit his UAW post in December 2017, months before he was scheduled to leave office, is the second top union official implicated in the ongoing investigation. He accepted more than $40,000 in travel and gifts.

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Federal prosecutors are investigating a scam in which the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executive responsible for relations with the UAW used money designated for training UAW workers for lavish parties and gifts.  (more…)

Ford Increasing Large Sport-Utility Production

Automaker adding 550 jobs to handle increased output.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.20, 2019

Ford is increasing the production output at its two sport-utility plants in Kentucky to meet demand for the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.

Ford Motor Co. is planning to increase production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator as both vehicles continue see sales rise in the large SUV segment.

Boosting the production of the Expedition and Navigator after the annual summer shutdown in July will raise the output at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky. as much as 20% as it puts more pressure on archrival General Motors, which has dominated the full-size SUV segment for nearly 15 years.

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Raising production requires more people to build the two popular vehicles so Ford is adding 550 jobs at the Kentucky Truck Plant and moving approximately that same number of employees from the Louisville Assembly Plant, Ford’s other assembly plant in the state of Kentucky where it builds the new Ford Escape and Lincoln Aviator. (more…)

GM Declined Offer to Keep Lordstown Plant Open

Cleveland car dealer wanted Cruzes for ride-hailing business.

by Michael Strong on Mar.19, 2019

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra reportedly turned down a deal that would have kept the Lordstown plant open.

General Motors Co. could have avoided the latest round of flogging via Twitter from President Donald Trump about its Lordstown, Ohio plant if it had accepted an offer from one of its dealers.

Cleveland-based dealer Bernie Moreno reportedly met with GM officials last fall with an offer to buy as many as 180,000 Chevy Cruzes annually as part of a nationwide ride-hailing fleet to rival Uber and Lyft. The deal could have run as long as five years, according to a Detroit Free Press story.

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Moreno owns a dozen car dealerships across the country selling brands ranging from Lotus and Rolls Royce to Mercedes-Benz to Buick and GMC. However, GM officials studied the deal and then declined the offer apparently viewing it as not viable. The plant was idled last month as the last U.S.-built Cruze rolled off the line. (more…)

Former UAW VP Jewell Charged by Feds in FCA-UAW Scandal

He's the highest ranking UAW official charged.

by Michael Strong on Mar.18, 2019

Norwood Jewell, left, is the highest ranking UAW official to be charged in the ongoing investigation into the theft of UAW-FCA training funds.

Just days after rallying the troops in Detroit for the upcoming contract negotiations, the UAW received another black eye as former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell was charged Monday by federal prosecutors for violating the Labor Management Relations Act.

Jewell, according to court documents, allegedly received more than $40,000 in travel, lodging and meals between 2014 and 2016 from people working for Fiat Chrysler.

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He is the latest in a string of FCA and UAW executives and family members who have been indicted or convicted in the FBI investigation. Representatives from the FBI and the UAW have been available for comment. (more…)

VW Drafts Plan to Cut 7,000 Workers in Europe

Automaker looking to offset rising EV development costs.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.14, 2019

Volkswagen AG COO Ralf Brandstaetter said the company will be cutting thousands of jobs in Europe.

Following in the footsteps of some American automakers, Volkswagen AG is preparing to trim costs by eliminating thousands of jobs in face of a slowing European economy, and profits across the industry begin to slip while the high cost of shifting to electric vehicles and self-driving cars adds up.

The German carmaker said Wednesday it will eliminate as many as 7,000 positions – with measures including early retirement and not filling vacant positions – to achieve an annual profit gain of 5.9 billion euros $6.7 billion starting in 2023.

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GM recently cut 4,000 white-collar job and plans to close five plants while Ford is in the midst of an $11 billion restructuring plan that will include cutting a slew of salaried personnel, plus the announced closure of its plant in Brazil, resulting 2,700 losing their jobs. (more…)

Rise of Electric Vehicles is a Threat to Jobs, UAW Says

Union calls for new investment.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.13, 2019

UAW President Gary Jones told members that new investment was needed by automakers to offset the 35,000 union jobs that could be lost to EVs.

The move to electrification could wipe out as many 35,000 jobs in engine and transmission plants operated by the Detroit’s three automakers and their suppliers during the next several years, the UAW suggests.

Jennifer Kelly, the union’s research director, offered up the observations Wednesday during a sobering presentation to the final day of the UAW’s Special Convention on Collective Bargaining.

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She noted during presentation the auto industry is rapidly changing and electric vehicles are the wave of the future. Automakers, especially General Motors, are charging hard to advance electric vehicle technology. (more…)

Top UAW Bargainer Takes Aim at General Motors

Terry Dittes ready to make tough demands of No. 1 automaker.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.12, 2019

Terry Dittes, vice president of the GM Department for the UAW, said its time for GM to build more vehicles in the U.S.

The leader of the United Auto Workers responsible for negotiations with General Motors took aim at the automaker’s Mexican production during a speech at the UAW Special Convention on Collective Bargaining in Detroit.

Terry Dittes, UAW vice president in charge of union’s GM Department, said in a report to the 900 delegates that roughly one third of the vehicles GM sells in the U.S. now come from Mexico and that will be a major issue in the UAW’s upcoming contract talks with the automakers.

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“Don’t kid yourself there are more plants that may be in jeopardy as time goes on,” Dittes warned the delegates. “This is not a good will speech. (more…)

UAW Raising Strike Pay Ahead of Big Three Negotiations

Workers get $250 a week now, up $50 a week.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.11, 2019

UAW President Gary Jones said striking workers will get $50 more in their check effective immediately.

In a warning that it was preparing for a fight during contract talks with Detroit’s automakers this coming summer, the United Auto Workers raised the amount it will pay workers, who walk off the job from $767-million strike fund.

UAW President Gary Jones told opening day attendees of the union’s Special Convention on Collective Bargaining said the union’s executive board approved raising the weekly strike pay, effectively immediately to $250 per week from the current level of $200 per week.

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The strike pay will be raised to $275 per week effective Jan. 1, 2020, said Jones, adding the union’s strike benefits also include health insurance for union members and their families during the duration of any contract dispute that leads to a strike. (more…)

UAW Leaders Meet as Prelude to Bargaining With Automakers

Expect tough talks with auto companies.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.11, 2019

UAW President Gary Jones will be looking to get feedback from union locals across the country.

The United Auto Workers heads into its bargaining convention this week against tumultuous backdrop that includes suddent plant closing, a grinding federal investigation of the union’s handling of training funds and grumbling among union members, who have made it plain this winter the expect some gains  when the UAW goes to the bargaining table this summer with Detroit’s three automakers.

The resolutions adpted during the meeting will be broad so as not to encumber union bargainers in future negotiations but specific enough to shape the tenor of upcoming  talks not only in the auto industry but also other sectors where the union has members.

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“It is an ideal way to get members from a variety of workplaces and backgrounds together and discuss what is important to their fellow workers, their families and their communities,” UAW President Gary Joines said in a new issue of Solidarity, the union’s magazine. (more…)

Lordstown Plant Manufactures Last Chevy Cruze

Event moves site one step closer to closure.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.06, 2019

The Lordstown, Ohio plant that builds the Chevrolet Cruze will produce the last model today.

The last Chevrolet Cruze is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Lordstown, Ohio, today, moving the big General Motors assembly plant alongside the Ohio Turnpike in northeast Ohio, one step closer to abandonment and intensifying the confrontation between GM and the United Auto Workers.

More than 1,400 blue-collar workers will be impacted by the end of production at Lordstown and GM has promised that it has jobs for all of them, while offering special packages to employees ready for retirement.

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But the UAW has already filed suit in federal court charging the idling of the Lordstown plant and two other factories, claiming the shutdown down violated the union’s current contract with the automaker. GM has denied the UAW’s claim. (more…)