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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…)

UAW Local 961 Sues to Stop Transfer of FCA Plant to Supplier

Local believes bribery scandal may have influence transfer decision.

by Joseph Szczesny on Feb.19, 2019

Members of UAW Local 961 filed suit to prevent the transfer of FCA's axle plant in Marysville, Michigan, to supplier ZF.

Members of United Auto Workers Union Local 961 in suburban Detroit have sued both the UAW International and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to prevent the automaker from transferring an axle plant in Marysville, Michigan, to the giant German automotive supplier ZF.

The lawsuit asks a federal judge to halt the transition of the plant, which makes axles for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram pickup, and give the Local the opportunity to determine if any of the corruption cases in which both UAW and FCA officials have plead guilty to violations of federal labor law might have tainted the transaction.

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So far, five UAW officials and three FCA employees, including former FCA vice president of labor relations Alphons Iacobelli, have plead guilty in the federal investigation that originally began nearly several months before the original indictment was made public in 2017. (more…)

Mexican Strikers Taking Aim at Automotive Supplier Plants

Protestors looking for higher pay, raise in minimum wage.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.23, 2019

A series of wildcat strikes in Mexico threatens the U.S. auto industry. (Credit: AquiMatamoros)

A series of wildcat strikes in the maquiladora plants in Matamoros, Mexico, along the U.S.-Mexican border near Brownsville, Texas, could threaten auto production across North America.

More than 30,000 Mexican workers have been involved in the strikes, which have hit factories owned by a number of automotive suppliers, among them prominent companies such as Inteva, Delphi, Dura and Key Safety Systems.

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The walkouts, which have been described by some observers as the largest industrial strike in North America in decades, also have hit plants belonging to a number of aerospace, textile and electronics firms that during the past four decades have set up plants on the Mexican side of the border in search of cheap labor. (more…)

General Motors Eyes Cuts in Brazil

Union calls need for cuts "absurd."

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.22, 2019

GM warned that after three years of heavy losses, its Brazilian operations will need to make some cuts.

General Motors is warning that it will need to restructure its operations in Brazil after three years of heavy financial losses.

In a message posted at Brazilian plants, GM’s top executive in Brazil and Argentina, Carlos Zarlenga, said after running up a heavy loss during the past three years the operation had reached “a critical moment that will require sacrifices from everyone,” according to Reuters.

Global News!

GM Chairman Mary Barra said last week GM, like other automakers, is facing challenges in South America. “We are not going to keep deploying capital to lose money,” she said. (more…)

UAW Seeks to Reverse GM Plant Closure Decisions

Officials say they've done it before, they can do it again.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.21, 2019

The UAW protested before and during the annual NAIAS Charity Preview, in hopes to changing GM's opinion about the plant closures.

The United Auto Workers has succeeded in reversing plant closing decisions in the past and union leaders believe they can pressure General Motors Co. into reversing its decision to close factories in the United States and Canada.

Frank Stuglin, a member of the UAW’s executive board from the region in which GM plans to shutter two plants, said in an interview Friday night during a union rally outside the “Red Carpet” Charity Preview for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the union has succeeded in the past in reversing plant-closing decisions by GM and Chrysler.

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“We kept open the plants in Orion Township, Michigan, and in Sterling Heights, Michigan, when they were supposed to close,” said Stuglin, referring to the plants the UAW succeeded in protecting even after they were ordered shut during the 2008-09 recession. (more…)

Unifor Puts Pressure on GM in New Advertising Campaign

Ads have a pointed message for the company.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.02, 2019

Unifor President Jerry Dias said the new advertising campaign is designed to get GM to change its mind about the Oshawa, Ontario plant.

Unifor, the union representing autoworkers in Canada, has launched an advertising campaign attacking General Motors’ decision to shutter plants and idle workers.

Jerry Dias, Unifor president, the successor to the old CAW, hase advertising campaign objective is to force GM to reconsider the decision to idle an assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, on an industrial site with a history of vehicle building stretching back more than 100 years.

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The Unifor ads are scheduled to appear in Canada and the U.S. and appeared even as GM was airing an expensive advertising campaign during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays that featured GM “employees,” touting Chevrolets. (more…)

GM Listens to Unifor Proposals about Canadian Plant

Executives promise response by Jan. 7.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.21, 2018

Unifor President Jerry Dias called his meeting with GM officials "frustrating," but also noted officials said they'd keep an "open mind" during negotiations.

General Motors Co. is promising to respond by Jan. 7, to Unifor, the Canadian union that represents GM workers, which has laid out proposals that would maintain production at an assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, GM is preparing to shutter permanently.

Unifor President Jerry Dias met with senior GM officials in Detroit Thursday to make the case that the Ontario plant should be kept open. “The meeting today was frustrating,” said Dias at a press conference in Windsor on the Canadian side of the Detroit River.

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“But in the meeting today, General Motors did not unilaterally slam the door either,” Dias said during the press conference. “They announced that they would listen to our proposals and they would get back to us by the 7th of January whether or not they will work with us to find a solution.” (more…)

UAW Contract Talks to Determine Fate of Lordstown Plant

Automaker leaves door open to saving at least one of three threatened assembly plants.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.20, 2018

Could the Lordstown, Ohio plant be spared? Contract negotiations between the UAW and GM could bring it back to life.

Workers at General Motors’ Lordstown, Ohio plant may have reason to hope their prayers will be answered.

The automaker is dangling the possibility that the factory – one of five it plans to shutter next year – could be salvaged when GM and the United Auto Workers Union sit down to negotiate a new, five-year contract next summer.

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“Plant closings are a matter of negotiations between GM and the United Auto Workers,” spokesman Pat Morrissey told TheDetroitBureau.com. “At this point, the plants are ‘unallocated,’” which, under the language of the current union/management contract, means there is still the possibility GM will move forward and allocate new product there as part of the next agreement. (more…)

Hyundai Workers Plan Strike to Protest New Venture

Automaker teams with city for non-union auto plant.

by Michael Strong on Dec.05, 2018

Hyundai workers in South Korea are planning to strike in protest of a new joint venture planned between the automaker and Gwangju to build a non-union plant.

Union workers in Hyundai Motor’s plants in South Korea plant to walk off the assembly line in protest about a potential joint venture between the automaker and the city of Gwangju to build small vehicles using non-union labor.

The plan, which is still in negotiations, calls for the two sides to jointly own a plant employing 1,000 workers to produce mini-SUVs. The employees would earn a little more than $31,000 annually, which is less than half of what unionized workers earn at existing auto plants.

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South Korean workers often strike to during wage negotiations, walked this time for four hours to protest the salaries and use of non-union workers. (more…)

Trump Threatens to Kill NAFTA — Again

Move design to pressure Congress to approve new deal.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.03, 2018

President Donald Trump said he might cancel NAFTA immediately, hoping to pressure Congress into approving its replacement deal.

Only a day after signing a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, President Donald Trump said he is now free to cancel NAFTA in a move that will create major problems for global automakers.

Trump, who is facing mounting political challenges at home, made his remarks to reporters as he prepared to return to the U.S. after the G-20 Summit in Bueno Ares. The remarks came after he had formally signed a new version of NAFTA with leaders from Mexico and Canada.

Trade News!

Trump’s goal in announcing the end of NAFTA is to put pressure on Congress to accept the new agreement with Mexico and Canada.  (more…)