• Apr 24, 2006


What if the UAW and automakers recognized their mutual interest in building better cars on a tighter budget? What if creativity were used in negotiations instead of confrontation? Wonder no more as UAW Local 12 and 14 in Toledo have decided to adopt such a stance with DaimlerChrysler against the behest of the UAW at large.

Michael Oneal of the Chicago Tribune has penned a nice piece on the town’s organized labor and the creative ways it’s conjured to cut costs in order to save jobs. One idea the local union is currently pitching to DCX is the construction of a $1 million processing facility to capture methane gas seeping from a landfill across the street. The company would save two-thirds on its natural gas bill per year and the cost of construction would be recouped in a year.

One point the article pushes is that Toledo’s local unions are maverick among UAW locals nationwide. Their ingenuity, however, has attracted $4 billion in investment, two new assembly plants, a GM transmission plant, as well as saving 10,000 union jobs and creating 1,200 more. How many industrial towns in the U.S. can say that?

[Top tip from Ryan, thanks!]

[Source: Chicago Tribune]


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  • 13 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Congrats, it's what all unions should be doing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey #3, Don't you have a young Republicans meeting that you should be leading? Be careful of what you wish for, your time may come.

      The unions can't run the business, but let's leave the "at-will" jobs for the third world countries.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Raf, I agree that a company *shouldn't* fire someone without cause. They have the right to. All they have to do is raise your workload and then fire you because you can't perform all of your duties. But I don't believe that an employee should be able to keep their job on the sole basis that they've been there for so long. If he comes to work and has an enthusiasm for what he does and he can perform his work at the pace of everyone else (on average), he should be thanked and continue to do what he does well. But if this employee shows up to work at 8AM and is at the starting line to jump out the door at 5PM when he sees it on his phone, why should an employer keep him if they can find a replacement that shows a desire to fulfill that position to it's best.

      You should never jump into a position hoping to ride it until retirement. I look for a job where I can do my best at what I do, and I look for opportunities to contribute my knowledge in any area possible at my place of work. Employment is a privledge, not a right. Even the white-collar workers should put some sort of enthusiasm towards their job. They're not drones; just because their only job is to put something together on an assembly line doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to voice their opinion on what they think could make the place better. I'm not saying they have to, because it's not part of the job description.

      I dislike both sides of the spectrum: the corporations which want to hire lowest-cost labor and demand high expectations from them as well as the unions that want to keep people employed because they have some notion that once you're hired, nothing you ever do should change, and you should get paid more for doing the same thing (other than cost of living increases and raises based on performance evaluations, that is). I don't expect there to ever be a happy middle, but I've learned that even though I'm still in college, there are employers out there who know me from references who want me to quit school and work for them because they know what I can do. It's not only about what you do, but how you do it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "younger vs older ppl"

      We don't discriminate base on age in the US. That's illegal.

      What you meant to say is, the job requires the person to bench 200 lbs. Firefighters have a bench requirement. As long as a person continues to do meet the job requirements, independent of sex and age, then there shouldn't be a reason to fire that person.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Although I don’t agree with everything union’s do or all of their politics, unions do have their place. I started out working as a toolmaker in a small tool shop with no union. When I left for a job at one of the OEMs my yearly earnings nearly doubled. Can’t argue with that.
      I kept going to school as I was working and got a bachelor’s degree and started working as a tool engineer for non-union companies. The raises were smaller. Every year they took away more benefits and made the employees pay more for their health insurance. Can’t argue with that unless you want to find another job.
      Most of he people who rail the loudest against unions are people who would take a union job in a second if it were offered to them. They secretly wish they had the same benefits. It’s easier to stereotype union worker as lazy than to think about what you don’t have and why you don’t have it. Unless you’re in the club of the select few executives that run corporate America, you will find some truth to what I’ve said.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "but I do believe that companies have the right to hire and fire people if they feel they can get the job done more efficiently (younger vs older ppl, depending on what actually is being done) for less money (newer hires vs 20-year employees who ride the pay raises)."

      What if they thought they could do better with people who aren't named jordan? I'm a White Collar worker but non-parasitic unions serve a purpose. You can't fire people without cause.
      • 8 Years Ago
      That the locals in Toledo are considered "maverick" instead of revolutionary says alot about the UAW. Good for them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      At Will employment is what keeps our economy going. Look at what is happening in France with the new labor contract. It is very hard to fire someone in France, and as a result, no one gets HIRED.

      By having an at will job market, it forces all of us to work a little harder, as a result, the country is more successful. If your boss fires you for no reason, is that a person you want to work for anyway?
      • 8 Years Ago
      All unions should take a hint from these folks in Toledo. Rather than having the "what can YOU do for ME?" attitude, it seems they are TRULY trying to look out for their union memebers by being proactive. The result is providing new and more stable jobs rather than having to fight to save existing jobs.

      I'm impressed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bravo! This is how it should be!

      I concur that is is distressing that the Toledo UAW folks are considered "maverick" and that they decide to make progress happen "against the behest of the UAW at large." The UAW-at-large should overlook the "insolence" and take a look at the $4 billion worth of investments because of the Toledo workers.

      Utterly refreshing news about the UAW!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "but I do believe that companies have the right to hire and fire people if they feel they can get the job done more efficiently (younger vs older ppl, depending on what actually is being done) for less money (newer hires vs 20-year employees who ride the pay raises)."

      Or with people who aren't named jordan.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Raf, actually you can. It's called "at will employment". It's how those of us who have entered the work force in the past few years have been forced to work thanks to the strong armed tactics of some of the unions out there.
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