The United Auto Workers currently doesn't have any representation on the boards of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford, but boss Bob King apparently wants to change that. TheDetroitBureau.com is reporting that King and co. would like to add union representation to boards, and the UAW chief is looking to Germany for inspiration. German automakers adhere to a co-determination law that requires automakers to have union representation on the Board of Supervisors of each company.

According to TDB, the UAW hasn't had any representation on a board since Owen Bieber (no relation to Justin) served on the board of Chrysler in the 1980s. Bieber was allegedly voted off the board for voting against executive pay raises. The union has also has some indirect representation thanks to the Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association. General Motors and Chrysler each have a VEBA representative, though the board spots aren't affiliated with the UAW.

King hasn't given many specifics about any plan to add union representation on company boards and he hasn't outright called for The Detroit Three to agree to such an arrangement, but it looks like it may come sooner or later. The UAW contracts are up as of September, and there has been talk that King may want to negotiate with all three automakers at the same time instead of picking one target for pattern bargaining.


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  • 53 Comments
      William
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is the fox planning to have his bed moved to the henhouse. These people are takers and do nothing to add value or quality for the consumer. Neither do they do anything to help their members progress their lives...just stay dumb and barefoot, keep working and keep shelling out the dues. Anyone complaining about domestic brands built in foreign countries should keep this article in mind.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        flammablewater
        • 3 Years Ago
        Actually decades of crappy cars and people not buying them is to blame, not the unions.
          flammablewater
          • 3 Years Ago
          @flammablewater
          Also one of the reasons labor costs are higher in the States is because the company has to pay for health care. Lobor is cheaper everywhere else because the government pays for healthcare.
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 3 Years Ago
          @flammablewater
          "Lobor is cheaper everywhere else because the government pays for healthcare." ...And even then automakers come to the States where the cost of labor and living are lower, typically in right to work states where they don't have to deal with the UAW.
          Jarda
          • 3 Years Ago
          @flammablewater
          ...because costs don't matter, right? I'm pretty sure you don't care about price when shopping.
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 3 Years Ago
          @flammablewater
          Yeah, decades of crappy cars made by companies that were forced to cut costs to remain competitive because they were bound to the floor by the UAW, their outrageous demands, and legacy costs.
      Ryth
      • 3 Years Ago
      Agreed...low skill workers who get pay and benefits far beyond what some skilled workers do. And you wonder how the Big 3 got in trouble besides crappy designs for years and why our jobs are outsourced overseas. Soon, there won't be American Car companies...just Car Companies that make their products and sell them to the world and put their plants in countries that have pro business practices and labor pay that is equal to the difficulty.
      Philip M'Rear
      • 3 Years Ago
      I REALLY want to punch Bob King in the face.
      nardvark
      • 3 Years Ago
      If I wanted to look for an upside, I would say that perhaps exposure to the boardroom proceedings would make the union more sensitive to how the business is run, i.e., don't ask for a 5% raise when the company sees a big cash crunch looming. But that would be giving them the benefit of the doubt, which probably isn't justifiable.
      Jarda
      • 3 Years Ago
      what a bunch of low ppl
      ChrisH
      • 3 Years Ago
      So will they use the NLRB to force the issue? Seems the NLRB is being very proactive these days and interpreting laws in new ways. I can easily see them "helping" out with this request. As in, King is floating a "trial balloon" here
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChrisH
        [blocked]
        Tiberius1701
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChrisH
        +1 on that @ChrisH. Just take a good look at how Boeing is being treated by the NLRB (no doubt at the direction of the Obama administration) in it's attempt to open a new line to build the 787 in SC. A move that will add numerous jobs to the SC economy without losing jobs in Washington State. In fact, Boeing has added to it's rolls in Washington. Ayn Rand couldn't have written this one any better!!!
      soundbargaming
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why does he always wear that stupid blue fabric necklace?
        kevsflanagan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @soundbargaming
        Union Rules dictate he does lawl!
        dukeisduke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @soundbargaming
        He reminds me of Elliot Carlin ("Mr. Carlin"), the always-negative patient on The Bob Newhart Show.
      flammablewater
      • 3 Years Ago
      To everyone who's upset about this, you're stupid. Unions are important. Working conditions were horrible for literally millennia before the workers started organizing, like 12 hour work days and no weekends which changed because of unions pressuring US Congress and got it taken down to 8 hours in 1866. And those conditions still exist anywhere in the world where unions are illegal (like China or Walmart). Putting union members on the board will give them a better perspective of the operations and fiscal health of the company, allowing them to make more informed demands when their contracts come up for renewal, and it will bring a new voice to the decisions at higher levels in the company.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        [blocked]
        Alex
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        Have you ever worked in a US factory? The job of the US government is to protect it's citizens and like you said there are plenty of laws the US government has passed to protect it's workers. There is no longer any need for unions. Unions were only needed before their were labor protection laws. you still have not addressed how these unions have ensured the well being of the company to be globally competitive by keeping costs down and keeping quality and productivity high. I've worked on the shop floor as an assembler in a US Manufacturing plant and the entire company was a non-union company. I received fair pay, a 15 minute break every 2 hours and a half hour for lunch, all paid for, not to mention company picnics, paid vacation, paid personal leave, healthcare, 401k, profit sharing and company stock. All of this was given to workers not by strikes and forced deals.
        OptimusPrimeRib
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        The key word is "WERE". Now that we have labor laws and OCEA we don't need them. They complain about their base $20-30 an hour job, they can do whatever they want and not get fired, and they cost companies millions upon millions that could be spent somewhere else. The money that could in to making our American cars better and price competitive goes into the Union's pockets.
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        No, you must be stupid for believing this is good for the auto industry. Either you have never been to Michigan, or you are a member of the UAW who is in denial.
        nova
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        Conditions were horrible "for millenia" because up until recently, most people were subsistence farmers and for those that weren't lack of technology made any sort of industry ridiculously inefficient. In other words, if you didn't work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, you couldn't survive. In fact, in countries that are full of subsistence farmers to this day, they still do that because if they don't, they don't eat...
      Jason
      • 3 Years Ago
      The UAW is the worst thing for automakers. Please just fire that Bob King jerk and stop driving automakers into bankruptcy. This would be a travesty if the UAW got their way.
      Alex Rodriguez MacFa
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unions is like Communism; Sounds great in theory but it has never work!!
        axiomatik
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alex Rodriguez MacFa
        I disagree that they "never work". There was a time in our history when the unions were critical in improving safe-working conditions. It use to be that working in a factory was extremely dangerous. See the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire where 146 workers died in a fire because the managers locked all of the doors and stairwells. However, in the modern era, I think many unions have out-lived their usefulness.
      Carlos Cruz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why not, I know of 3 companies that are doing great and have been doing this for years. 1. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft 2. Daimler Aktiengesellschaft 3. Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft All 3 have American based operations, all 3 are profitable, and they make great cars too. (plus their workers are represented on the board)
        Mike K
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carlos Cruz
        They also don't have to deal with the UAW like Ford, GM, and Chrysler do. The problem here is NOT union representation on the board, it's UAW representation on the board.
          Carlos Cruz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mike K
          UAW is a Union, its the U in UAW! You sir make no sense. Here.. go educate yourself http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Auto_Workers the German version of the UAW is called "Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund"
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