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 |  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]

 |  Apr 27 2010, 12:47 PM

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A candidate for the Labour party in the British general election was dumped by the party after it emerged that he had made a series of inappropriate comments on a popular automotive message board. John Cowan, 35, a former manager of glamor models, was kicked out of the Liberal Democrat party in 2004 for sending “sexual emails”.

A string of messages left on Pistonheads.co.uk, a popular online car forum, as well as PlentyOffFish, a dating site, saw Cowan boast about various taboo topics, including tales of his sexual exploits, paying his housekeeper in cash (for the purposes of not reporting her income to the government), speculating on the deats of Jeremy Clarkson and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and soliciting nude models for a photography business, and expressing his displeasure at the prospect of his daughter marrying a Muslim.

Cowan’s comments have been met with widespread displeasure in Britain, but for anyone who has ever frequented an automotive message board, comments like these are unfortunately typical, if not slightly tame.

[Source:  The Telegraph]