UAW Targeting Foreign Automaker Plants

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The future of the United Auto Workers union is directly tied to its ability to sign up workers at U.S. plants owned by foreign-based car companies, the union's leader said Monday.
In a speech to union members, UAW President Bob King laid out in stark terms the importance of the union's work to organize a plant owned by a Japanese, South Korean or German competitor to the Detroit Three. King said the UAW would decide in three months which company it would target but said the organizing plans were critical to the union's outlook.
"If we don't organize these transnationals, I don't think there's a long-term future for the UAW, I really don't," King said in a speech at the union's legislative conference.
During the past three decades, the UAW has had little success in organizing workers at U.S. factories owned by foreign car makers, which have built plants mostly in southern states which are generally not as union-friendly as the industrial Midwest.
Many of the foreign car companies pay wages comparable to UAW-represented factories owned by Detroit automakers, but the foreign companies have avoided UAW rules that owners say can make plants less efficient.
King said after years of declining membership, the union needed to represent a larger share of workers in the auto industry to strengthen its position at the bargaining table. He said the UAW had picketed about 50 of the largest foreign auto dealerships in the U.S. and planned to increase the number to 300 or 400 dealerships around the country.
King said the union would need to mobilize all of its 1 million active and retired members in the organizing push.
In 2009, when General Motors and Chrysler sought bankruptcy and Ford faced severe financial problems, the union agreed to let the companies pay newly hired workers about $15 per hour, about half the hourly wage of a longtime UAW worker. It also agreed to scrap the "jobs bank," in which laid-off workers got most of their pay indefinitely for doing nothing.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2011 at 04:53 AM
    Thee union may endorse politicans however the large paychecks the bosses get come from the due paid by the workers not the government. However they do endorse political candidates, which is something they should not be allowed to do, also they give large contributions which also something they should not be allowed to do. It is a very few people making decisions for many. Without consulting each and every person they are representing. Thats why they should stay out of politics.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:14 AM
    Any organization that contribute and endorses political candidates is an extension of the government. Any organization that represent members of our government can be considered an extension of the government. Unless they are fighting to reduce cost for the taxpayers or consumers and be willing to lose their own job, they have the same clout and administrative nightmare as any government organization.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2011 at 07:26 AM
    1. the unions are not goverment enities. 2. Union soldiers were against slavery. Also not the same meaing of the word union. 3. While the union have done a lot of good they have also helped keep people that should have been fired for being drunk on the job, late repeatedly, using drugs or theft. Its called seniority. Its also wrong. Sorry but the unions need to make some changes.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2011 at 06:32 AM
    Saturn was a great place to work at until the UAW implemented all of it rules on how deal with employees and supervisors. Saturn is no more.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2011 at 06:31 AM
    There is a simple reason why UAW has not been able to get into those plants. Those companies know how to treat their employees right and they know that bringing the UAW into the mix is like asking the government to oversee our welfare system, it does not work. The track record of the UAW is horrible right now. Two of the big 3 almost went belly up while the foreign makers thrived. UAW part of the big 3 while the others had little union reps.
  • by Todd Location: Jackson on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:25 PM
    The real problem is all of you who drive foreign cars. Every time you buy a foreign vehicle, you are killing the US economy. Buy American, and get rid of the UAW!
  • by The Poor on Jan 18, 2011 at 05:34 PM
    The people complaining here about how the unions are the cause of our economic problems are apparently forgetting all those millions of dollars that all those CEOs and top management are draining out of the auto companies for doing nothing more than sitting on their butts. They must be business owners themselves. When there were no unions, they were free to treat their workers like dirt (or worse, like slaves), not worry about polluting the environment, worry about providing a safe working environment for their workers, or worrying about fair business practices. Returning to this way of life, is that what we really want for our children? Union officials are not the only ones looking out for themselves---big business executives, government officials, financical officers, etc.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 18, 2011 at 03:18 PM
    Unions did build this country, the union soldiers who were trying to keep the states from succeeding because of the slavery issues.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 18, 2011 at 03:14 PM
    The unions have their purpose, but like any other government entity, they have become top heavy and only interested in getting themselves elected and not for the future of the company. Unions were good when there was no protocol in assisting employees. Now they are there to milk money from anyone and support the higher ups.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 18, 2011 at 01:14 PM
    I am old enough to remeber when the companies sent thugs after union organizers. What the union was then and what it is now is two different things, and I do not see where the unions have done a bit of good in the past 10 years. A lot of people lost their jobs, jobs went over seas. Just what has the union done to protect you? Nothing but take your dues and give them to politicians.
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