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 |  May 26 2011, 1:12 PM

UAW President Bob King is angling for seats on the Big Three’s respective Boards Of Directors, and will likely use this as a negotiating point when contracts are discussed with automakers this summer.

“I believe there should be workers’ representation on all boards,” King told The Detroit Bureau, arguing that German car companies employ the same practice, although German law legally mandates worker representation on car company boards. King also argued that the UAW should be given board seats as a “general principle”.

The Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA), an organization responsible for UAW retiree health care benefits, currently holds seats at GM and Chrysler’s boards, and King claimed that VEBA would ultimately decide whether Chrysler can issue its IPO later this year.

[Source: The Detroit Bureau]

 |  May 04 2011, 2:22 PM

2010-chevrolet-corvette-zr1-10

General Motors is investing $131 million into their Bowling Green, Kentucky factory to help improve the legendary plant that produces the Chevrolet Corvette, but a new car won’t show up for another two model years.

Having made upgrades to the 2012 model, General Motors will focus on re-tooling the plant, while also adding 250 workers to supplement the 400 UAW employees already building America’s sports car. General Motors has remained tight-lipped on details regarding the 7th generation Corvette, but considering how good the current car is, we can’t wait to see what improvements arrive in 2014.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

 |  Apr 28 2011, 5:16 PM

UAW President Bob King said that the union may abandon their tactic of targeting one automaker during contract negotiations and negotiate with Chrysler, Ford and General Motors at the same time.

The UAW previously targeted one automaker during negotiations and used that to set an example for the others. However, King says that the relationship between the Big 3 and the UAW is better than previous years. King would like a deal to be completed before the union’s contract expires on September 14th.

King is hoping to extract concessions from the Big 3 after workers gave up thousands of dollars worth of compensation during the automakers lean periods.  The resurgence of the Big 3 has spurred some union members to demand King take a more aggressive tone with the automakers.  King previously criticized Ford for offering CEO Alan Mulally a $26.5 million compensation package, calling it “morally wrong”.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 |  Apr 28 2011, 12:57 PM

Hyundai‘s Veloster sports coupe will have its North American introduction delayed by two months due to a labor dispute involving a union at its South Korean factory.

A labor dispute involving changes to the shift structure at the Veloster’s plant in Ulsan caused a production slowdown, which saw the plant operate at 33 percent capacity. Labor disputes and strikes are extremely common in the South Korean auto industry, with one occuring every summer for a 20 year period from 1988-2008.

While North American launch plans are still on track for the second half of this year, Hyundai has been forced to go ahead with a limited roll-out in South Korea, with a target of 18,000 cars sold. The Veloster is a key product in both markets, with the car being both a push into the “premium” market at home, and a way to bring in young customers in the United States.

[Source: Automotive News]

Discuss this news and more at Veloster.org

 |  Feb 08 2011, 3:03 PM

Even though Toyota saw its dealerships and other facilities picketed by UAW members in 2010, Honda is taking a tough stance on any interference by the United Auto Workers, with John Mendel, Honda‘s executive vice-president, dismissing them in a speech made on Tuesday.

“The union announced that they’re going to target the operations of international automakers this year,” said Mendel, while speaking to the American International Automobile Dealers Association. “The issue of union representation is one for our associates to decide, not us. Having said that, we do not believe that an outside party will improve upon [our] outstanding track record of success … over the past 30-plus years.”

Mendel stressed that the prime directive for dealers was to “remain focused on your relationship with your customers and associates.

[Source: Automotive News], [Photo Credit: Al.com]

 |  Jan 18 2011, 1:00 PM

The United Auto Workers continued its campaign of irrelevancy as its President, Bob King, launched a series of veiled threats at foreign automakers with American plants (such as the Honda plant seen above), while simultaneously stating that the very survival of the UAW is at stake – and the organization of a foreign automaker’s plant is the key to the UAW’s continued existence.

“If we don’t organize these transnationals, I don’t think there’s a long term future for the UAW — I really don’t,” said King in a speech to members of a political conference held in Washington, D.C.

Despite the fact that foreign automakers offer equivalent or better wages than UAW plants, King is aggressively targeting them, with King planning to pick a target within 90 days. Other actions include targeting dealers of the chosen automaker for protests, and asking automakers to comply with “fair bargaining” principles, despite that fact that it runs counter to the complete absence of collective bargaining in foreign auto plants. “They don’t fear us and they think they can’t get away with it,” King said, in an almost naked display of insecurity regarding his own relevance.

King was at least cognizant enough to acknowledge that the UAW was a spent force, stating “Here’s the terrible position we’re in autos. Because we’ve fallen so far in the percent of workers represented by the UAW in autos” the union can’t demand big increases because of non union competitors. “So if we go in, we dramatically raise fixed costs for Ford, General Motors or Chrysler, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. … We don’t want to disadvantage the (Detroit 3) companies.” King ended his speech by telling UAW members that Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012 would be beneficial for the UAW, due to his pro-union stance.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 |  May 27 2010, 4:55 PM

Honda was forced to shut down all four of its Chinese car plants, after 1,850 workers at an auto parts plant went on strike over wages. The strike is reported to have crippled Honda’s production capability in what is now the world’s largest car market.

The lack of parts means that Honda is unable to assemble cars at any of its four Chinese plants. The employees at the parts plant want their wages increased to between 2,000 yuan ($293) and 2,500 yuan per month, from 1,500 yuan ($220). Workers at Honda’s car plants make a similar wage.

“China is experiencing a labor shortage that’s shifting the natural bargaining power to workers,” Chang-Hee Lee, a Beijing-based industrial relations specialist at the International Labor Organization told Bloomberg News. While much of China’s economy is owned by the state (and Honda’s own operations are jointly owned with the Chinese government), governmental authorities claim that Honda has done nothing wrong in the labor dispute. China account for about 17 percent of Honda’s global sales, making it a crucial market for its operations.

[Source: Bloomerg]