• Jun 20, 2010
No, as a matter of fact, we didn't think Bob King's newly minted tenure as UAW president would begin like this. King was elected just last week, and he's already called for the membership's first major action: picket their neighborhood Toyota dealers. Why? To put pressure on Toyota to let its U.S. factory employees unionize, especially after the messy closure of the NUMMI facility– and while the UAW is at it, Volkswagen, Honda, Hyundai and Kia factory employees need to unionize as well.
The plan is for UAW members to "adopt" a local Toyota dealer and picket in front of it. In a speech, King said, "We're going to pound on Toyota until they recognize the First Amendment rights of their workers to come into the UAW," and "We're going to show these corporations that if they are unjust to our members that they are going to pay a price." Since dealers are franchise operations that can't really affect corporate policy, the hope has to be that Toyota will simply wish to avoid more PR hassle and sit down with the union.

King is determined to raise membership by getting the import factories unionized (curiously, no mention of Mercedes-Benz or BMW in any reports), as well as suppliers, so that the body has more wage- and concession-bargaining power. And he's not just looking to auto workers to help with this push – he's suggested retirees and other non-factory workers help on the picket lines. Of course, American International Automobile Dealers Association has come out with Gatling guns blazing against the move.

After a couple of years of Gettelfinger's quieter realpolitik, an immediate switch to ruckus tactics is a bit of a surprise. But hey, that's what a president with a landslide victory feels his people want, so let the drums boom. One can only hope that all the noise doesn't bring the whole house down...

[Source: Automotive News – sub req'd | Image: Carlos Osorio/Getty]


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  • 93 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Parasites kill their hosts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Naive....... ok so I'm supposed to give a crap about loser UAW employees wasting their day picketing Toyota ? WTF??? Just shows the childish b/s the UAW represents... how about instead of picketing, take your ass to work, earn a fair living and figure out how to make a desireable product.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So now that thigs are turning around for U.S. manufacturers like Ford and GM, this idiot wants to mess things up?? Voting union has nothing to do with the 1st amendment, the UAW wants more power and more $$$ like they once had. They had little to no value to the product they produce, only cost. Get rid of this man before he puts the U.S. automakers back into the 70's and 80's!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Go read his interview in the Detroit Free Press (http://www.freep.com/article/20100620/BUSINESS01/6200543/1320/UAW-is-ready-to-rebuild-King-says):

        "King said he knows he must balance the desire to win back some of the many concessions UAW workers gave up in recent years without damaging domestic automakers' ability to compete with Asian automakers.

        'It is shortsighted on our part if we make them uncompetitive by giving them demands that their competition doesn't have to match,' King said."

        and

        "To rebuild its image, King said, the UAW must more frequently talk about how it has helped companies save money, and how the union's mind-set has changed.

        For example, King said an automotive supplier in Indiana that wanted the UAW to agree to $3 million in wage and benefit concessions agreed to allow the union to study the plant's production process. The result: The UAW's team found ways to save $9 million annually.

        'So we didn't have to do any concessions, and they were far better off,' King said. "That is the approach we have to take.""

      • 4 Years Ago
      Yet another reason why the UAW should just fade away. To my knowledge a Union is formed when workers feel they are mistreated and under paid for their jobs. Once formed they strike and negotiate better treatment and pay, once terms are met they de-unionize. The employer then realize's that if they start to mistreat their workers again they'll unionize once more and it will cause more trouble in the long run.
      The UAW to me is still around soley to make profit for those in power if you will. They'd rather make money off their workers in the factories than disolve the union and allow those workers to make more money in the long run

      How many strikes have happened at the Toyota plants since they started here in the states? How many stories have we heard from any other Non-Union plant striking? Think my point in that regard is made.
      • 4 Years Ago
      say no to higher priced toyotas.
      say no to unions.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One of the priorities that Obama administration had coming in was to pass a "card check" law, which would eliminate the secret ballot in union organizing elections. This would allow the union thugs to harass and and intimidate employees into voting for unionization, and retaliate against those that vote against unionizing. It's been pushed onto the back burner by other priorities, but don't think for a minute that they have given up on it.

      Imagine how you would feel about people from either political party knowing how you vote in elections. It's un-American.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I may lean to the left on some issues, but let me say this.

      **** YOU UAW. I HOPE YOU ROT. I HOPE YOU ROT AND YOU GO TO HELL!

      Unions have had their time and place, but here and now is not the place for the UAW (or teacher's unions, but that's for another show).
        • 4 Years Ago
        nony, you are an idiot.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's obvious King is about appearance not substance (he is a lawyer you know).

      1. UAW workers are found in union shop states (anti-right to work).
      2. Union shop states are likely to have unionized dealerships.
      3. UAW pickets unionized dealerships?
      Doesn't work does it?

      1. Non UAW auto plants located in right to work states.
      2. Right to work states are likely to have carry permits for concealed weapons.
      3. UAW pickets non-union dealerships?
      Still doesn't work does it?

      King probably realizes that lobbying for a boycott of non-union manufacturers wouldn't work as most Americans don't care and those who are serious union supporters have already acted. They can't stop purchasing any more Toyotas because they hadn't planned buy to begin with. Boycotting dealerships in union shop states doesn't make sense and taking a road trip to the South to picket dealers will likely only heighten dislike of the unions at best and could be dangerous at worst.

      King remains to be no better or worst than any other UAW leader. You rile up the membership, make headlines in the paper and you continue to cash your paycheck. Just remember a union leader's paycheck is like a congressman's it is catalyst that insures their real income of graft and corruption.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't be to sure about that. Those "signboard" carriers are members of an organized crime group, which is in the business of extortion. Indvidually, they are simply thieves. I certainly wouldn't vote to convict anyone of using deadly force when defending their business from these thugs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Concealed weapons?

        We're talking about picketing here. It doesn't involve anyone getting shot at.

        I would hope that the kind of person who would draw a weapon because of a few signboards is incapable of getting a permit anyway.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This will be a massive mistake.
      They have enough bad press now...

      Not only would I cross their picket line - but my choice might well be swayed against UAW produced products.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Obama and his union power whores.
      Isn't it enough that the UAW was handed GM at the taxpayers expense?
      Now they're going to use their fascist style intimidation tactics on sweet little Toyota dealerships?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Level - your post is on of the most misinformed, totally incorrect posts I've seen. Exactly how many votes is the UAW capable of delivering? That's the fault in the premise of all of you bitterly complaining about the GM & Chrysler bailouts. The shear lunacy of claiming it was to buy votes ignores the absolute fact that the UAW's numbers are a shadow of what they were two decades ago, and not only are all of their members not all in manufacturing, as some are in gaming (casino workers), education (university employees) and health care (nurses), but their numbers are spread out over a dozen states, minimizing their impact in delivering votes.

        The UAW has a whole 513,000 active members and a bit over 575,000 retired members. Of those active members, some are in Dallas, TX (GM Arlington Assembly plant - maybe 5000 active employees and another 8000 retirees), Shreveport, LA (GM assembly plant, again about 5000 active employees and another 8000 retirees), and about 15,000 in Georgia, a third laid off from the closed GM & Ford assembly plants, and the rest retirees from those plants. The same applies to Oklahoma, site of a now closed GM truck plant. There's also a few thousand in Alabama from Delphi and some former Chrysler defense operations (that I believe are in the hands of Lockheed or another aerospace firm). Of these active, laid off, and retired UAW members in Red states, you can bet, that regardless of what the UAW leadership says, at least half vote die-hard GOP because of their their stance on guns and abortion.

        Then you get into the other areas with closed Detroit auto maker plants, like Virginia (former site of a Ford truck plant), and you have active, but laid-off, and retired UAW autoworkers who don't vote in lockstep with the UAW leadership in Detroit. With about 15% or more of the UAW's auto workers being located in Red states, spread out in what amount to small numbers in those states (relative to the rest of those states populations), another 50,000 members, according to the UAW's own information, being public sector employees (NOT counting all the critics trying to include GM & Chrysler), more than 40,000 members spread out at colleges and universities (teaching & research assitants, post-doctoral researchers, some tenured faculty, administrators, clerical & technical staff), another 5000 to 8000 in health care (again, spread out throughout the United States and Puerto Rico), 25,000 members spread out over 51 aerospace and defense companies, 18,000 UAW working for Freightliner, Mack, Volvo and Navistar heavy truck, and many UAW members from all three Detroit automakers and those four heavy truck manufactures posting in employee forums, in 2008, active support for John McCain, answer me one thing:

        Exactly how votes did, and could, the UAW have possibly delivered in 2008? Carter, do you or anyone else posting this point-of-view even have a clue? I understand everyone's displeasure with how both the Bush and Obama administrations bailed out GM & Chrysler, but try and have a clue before you claim payback for delivering votes. There aren't enough active and retired UAW members left, concentrated in enough states, to sway any election anymore. Those days have been long, long gone.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Go screw yourself Change 2010. Your brand of patriotism is to spend trillions to "help the people of Iraq" (and make Haliburton great profits) but to never ever help fellow Americans.

        You make me puke.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @level - as far as the ignorant comment you made "Now if you don't know how wrong it is for a Union member to have a seat in the board then you need a lot more schooling...", here's some reading for you:

        http://www.boardmember.com/Print.aspx?id=3883

        http://cog.kent.edu/lib/ApplebaumHunterUnionParticipation.htm

        http://mitsloan.mit.edu/iwer/pdf/tfmckersie.pdf

        • 4 Years Ago
        Len_A: if you don't know by now that the Democratic party supporters are the Unions then you are being ignorant.

        food for thought: "Since 1990, labor unions have contributed over $667 million in election campaigns in the United States, of which $614 million or 92 percent went to support Democratic candidates. In 2008, unions spent $74.5 million in campaign contributions, with $68.3 million going to the Democratic Party. Already, unions have contributed $6.5 million to the 2010 elections, and $6 million has gone to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C."

        Off course 100% of any union votes are not going to go to the Dem party but they are one of the biggest supporters. sure 513,000 active members might seem small but thats a big number to have rally the Dem party, Those members have kids, friends relatives ect promoting how great the Dem have been to them...its a lot of voices to market and campaign not to mention almost all unions are aligned together...Supporting one union member in UAW is like showing support for a Local 3 union member...If you don't understand the concept then I can't help you there...

        Both GM and Chrysler under bankruptcy proceedings had the power to eliminate the unions but thats where the catch 22 came; In exchange for the help, one of the clauses was the Admin stepped in and stopped it while also giving the union a seat in the board..Now if you don't know how wrong it is for a Union member to have a seat in the board then you need a lot more schooling...

        • 4 Years Ago
        Kevin, so I take it your brand of patriotism is to bribe union members to win elections? By handing the UAW a seat in the board of GM big catch 22; that pretty much guarantees every union member to vote for the same admin...When have you ever heard of such a thing??? an employee is not entitled to company decisions they are just entitled to do their job for its wages....but you were saying?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Remember, Obama spent his private career working for the SEIU. Obama is all Union all the time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like a great idea. As if the U.A.W. hasn't already done enough to kill the auto industry in America. The market works best when left alone. Unions have outlived their usefulness. Who needs more organized crime?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ass wholes like this guy were personably responsible for destroying the automobile industries in the 70's. I can't believe that we have forgotten 40 years history to listen to this doo-doo- again. I guess this shows that we are NO SMarter THAN THE LAST GENERATION. God help American stupidity.
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