• Jan 6, 2007
Hyundai's labor union has taken a note from the Teamster playbook and is attempting to strong-arm the automaker. During a ceremony to celebrate the new year, union members ganged up on Hyundai's president and discharged fire extinguishers. The ceremony came screeching to a halt with the president suffering a facial wound in the melee. The hubub arose over bonus pay. Workers were given a bonus equivalent to 100 percent of their normal pay. The extra pay was directly correlated to how close they came to hitting their production target. In this case, 1.62 millon cars was 98 percent of the goal. Nice and tidy, eh? Not so fast.
If labor had managed to eke out that last 2 percent of volume, they would have found 150 percent tucked in their envelopes. Unfortunately, the union isn't acknowledging that the reason for the near miss was their own doing. 2006 was rife with labor unrest for Hyundai. The unions kept striking in an effort to increase pay, while the Won climbed against the dollar, putting Hyundai in a bind between labor's outstretched hand and a vehicle that was suddenly more expensive than its competition. Disregarding the slip in market share, Hyundai's union kept ringing the bell for more pay, all the while forcing losses on Hyundai. Hyundai even lowered the production target to accomodate labor's inability to attain the original number. Hey, we'd love to get paid more for doing less, but demanding a bonus you didn't earn seems counterintuitive to us.

[Source: Digital Chosunilbo]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Remember, there are always three sides to every story. Your side, their side and the truth.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sweet now we get to see an Asian car maker have the same problems the domestics do and now maybe some people will realize why things are the way they are with domestics.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #10....

      The picture you describe of South Korea, from the 80's to now sounds in some way a carbon copy of the United States back in the days of the rise of Organized Labor.

      The Unions saved US workers from severe explotation during their birth... but even still it was an ugly scene, especially during strikes, with riots breaking out as 'Scabs' were trucked in, and the local Police would of course defend the Manufacturer and beat up and attack with tear gas the striking US workers.

      Interesting insight you have described, thanks for the mental picture.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A little more information would be helpful.
      Was this at US plants or in Korea? I have been thinking of a Sonata but really don't want to purchase a car assembled by workers whose heart isn't in the job.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #3 "It's funny how mere workers try to be more than than the company. They are bunch of insolent mfs."

      And for what company are you a "mere worker"?

      Are you aware of the wages and working conditions in Korea? Are you aware that part of the reason for the strike was for a 5 day workweek? You know, sort of like we used to have? That the pay increase was 8% or about $98 per month. Are you aware that the reason they are targeted each year is to try and set the tone for other workers in Korea?

      Of course you can always compete if you outsource jobs to a communist country that does not give a rats behind about human rights and never give the managers and company much to worry about. That would be China by the way. As our current president has pointed out though, "they are great trading partners"

      As to the bonus, well that's a whole different story.

      Of course the crook on the take CEO is just a mere CEO.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yeah really AutoBlog..

      Set up some interviews with both the Union President and the Hyundai President before you cast judgement.

      If the Union Boss is at fault.. expose him, but constructively to the Union's Members so they can vote the guy out if warranted.

      If this is their plant in 'Alabama'... I tell ya, AutoBlog could really make a name for itself by looking out for the worker and exposing an unqualified individual that is responsible for reckless decisions as their Union Boss and putting their communities at risk by potentially giving Hyundai a reason to close up shop and move it's operations back to South Korea.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I guess they were Westernized faster than I thought.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This was Korean workers, from a Korean labor union, and it took place in Korea. Nothing to do with the US.

      Another news article noted that Hyundai in the past had always paid the full bonus, no matter if the quotas were met or not.

      see:

      http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200701/200701050017.html

      That article also says that Hyundai has now sued the leaders of the labor union for damages from the incident, and in response, the union is going to stage its biggest protest yet at the company headquarters. Not an encouraging start to the new year for them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm sure Korean automaker will start moving production out of the country to counteract situations like this in the future.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You're right, Dan, it is counterintuitive. But that's the way auto unions are.