UAW chief Bob King arms up

Drive a non-General Motors, Ford or Chrysler product? Don't try to park it any lot owned by the United Auto Workers. That has been the stance for many years, and new UAW President Bob King is making it known that he will follow that rule to the letter, regardless of situation. The Detroit News reports that Kansas City Business Journal reporter James Dornbrook learned this lesson the hard way as he was asked to remove his Toyota Camry from Local 249's parking lot by an unidentified member. The scribe later wrote that his Camry was built at Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky plant and that the popular midsize sedan contains more domestic content than the Ford F-150.

Dornbrook may have a point, but King is standing strong on the union-made-only policy. The UAW leader wrote a long letter to Dornbrook – which the KCBJ published – accusing transplant automakers of refusing workers the right to organize. King then added that transplants have accepted millions in tax cuts to build factories in the U.S. while at the same time jeopardizing middle-class jobs. The UAW and its 300,000 members, meanwhile, still account for two-thirds of U.S. auto assembly jobs.

While "union only" parking rules are the exact sort of thing that has many Americans rolling their eyes at the UAW, Wayne State University labor professor David Reynolds suggests that the current economic recession actually makes the public a bit more sympathetic to the UAW's situation, adding "there seems to be a better understanding of buying products and supporting companies that benefit local communities."

[Source: The Detroit News, Kansas City Business Journal | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]