According to Reuters, South Korea's labor unions may have reached a tentative deal with Hyundai following a compromise between the two sides on wages. Workers have staged a number of stoppages since August 20, which have cost the South Korean giant 1.02 trillion won – around $1.1B US. It also represents just over 50,000 units of production. That vehicle total sounds like a lot, but it's a small enough figure that Hyundai can apparently catch up with weekend and overtime shifts. We'd wager that this is why US inventories haven't been hit quite so hard aside from the battering already taking place. The proposal will now go before the union's rank and file.

If ratified, the new agreement will see workers getting a 5.14-percent raise in base salaries, along with 8.5-million-won (roughly $7,800) bonuses. Those concessions are a far cry compared to what the union was initially demanding, though. Early proposals included a 56.25-gram gold medal for each employee (worth about $2,400) and a 10-million won bonus (about $9,100) for employees whose children chose not to attend college. The union also sought a bonus worth two months' salary for workers that have been with the company for over 40 years, but this was negotiated down to a flat rate of six-million won ($5,464).

Based on Reuters' report, the work stoppages must have taken a real toll on Hyundai - its domestic sales dropped 20 percent last month, while exports were down nine percent. Those startling figures must have put some fire under the Hyundai bargaining team.


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  • 25 Comments
      Joe Schmoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm glad to see some people who get it. What I don't understand is the overwhelming web hatred towards unions? I can't imagine such a large percentage of "real" people having been negatively impacted by a union's drawbacks. I am truly beginning to think that people with the means (read: cash) have hired firms to spread anti-union hatred on the web. We're in serious need of corporate reform to replace profiteering with profit sharing. There's no shame in rewarding hard working people AND making money while you're at it. Where do they breed the psychopaths running corporations nowadays?
        rboote
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joe Schmoe
        It's two things: People who aren't in Unions who are jealous and easily misled by business interests, and a few unions who've let a few bad apples spoil it for the rest of them.
        Neez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joe Schmoe
        You are biting that hand that feeds you. Unions are the downfall of Detroit. The big 3 had all of their eggs into one basket in detroit and after the first strike, when they needed more production instead of expanding facilities in detroit. They decided to build plants in other states. That way if another strike did occur, they could shift production and add more shifts to the other location. Then due to taxation and money grubbing schemes by local politicians, they continued to shift more and more production out of the city into their other facilities in which the local cities offer better tax incentives and breaks. Unions had their place when fighting for better working conditions and fair pay and benefits. But now you can barely graduate high school, make $25-$35 an hour plus overtime on the assembly line or driving a forklift around all day, get a redicuoulous pention plan, and get better health benefits than most average professionals get. There is obviously something wrong about that. The problem with constantly bullying your own company into more pay, is that they will only look at the bottom line. Bottom line is if they can invest in a new facility elsewhere with lower paid wages and better overall profit margins (selling price of each vehicle - cost of production), then they'll simply say "cya, we out". You are just giving them more reason to shift production to cheaper facilities, and they have no obligation to keep you employed.
      Alfonso T. Alvarez
      • 1 Year Ago
      But, but, it's only the UAW in the US that does this kind of thing - clearly the UAW is the anti-Christ in the world!! Because as we all know, the automotive unions in the US are evil and in the rest of the world are just Unicorns who want to provide love farts to their company masters, right? Right you lame butt morons who only want to destroy our own country's middle class, and allow the rest of the world to grow their middle class while ours withers away!!
      Hazdaz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good for them. They are smart enough to realize that collectively, they are strong enough to move even one of the most powerful companies in that country. In the US too, people used to be smart enough in realizing that a group has more negotiating power than the individual, but over the years people in this country have been bamboozled into thinking that workers should have no say in how they are treated... and with that reduced Union membership, our standard of living has been on the decline, while corporate profits and income inequality have been skyrocketing.
        Jefe Grande
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hazdaz
        "our standard of living has been on the decline" Curious, what metric(s) are you using to determine this? Numbers rather than opinions, please.
          Hazdaz
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jefe Grande
          Take your pick: Affordability of goods. Access to higher education. Cost for healthcare. Average worker salaries (taking out the exorbitant pay of the top 1%'ers which has skyrocketed). Use whatever metric you want, average workers in this country have been getting hosed for decades now.
          Jefe Grande
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jefe Grande
          Those are your opinions. You haven't provided any data. Last I checked it takes fewer man hours of labor to purchase equivalent items as compared to decades past. More nowadays receive college degrees or graduate degrees that at any other point in history. Medical care costs are higher because treatments now exist where before you'd have simply been told there's nothing that could be done and would have died without receiving anything whatsoever. Average worker salaries have increased markedly compared to the late 20th century. Quit whining if you aren't willing to check data.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      I dont know the whole story and I hate unions, but in Korea they don't treat the workers as fairly as the US. With Hyundai/Kia making boat loads of money selling cheaply made cars to the US consumers this past couple of years, I doubt their company is ethical enough to give the line workers any kind of benefit or raise...
        Awhattup
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        You sound like you know a lot about Korea.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        You have absolutely no clue of what you are talking about. Let's see your sources, or is this just another case of confirmation bias?
        tor
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        "I dont know the whole story and I hate unions" Ok.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        I know- they should just emulate those workers in Bangladesh and work for peanuts locked up in their sweat shops while waiting for the roof to collapse on them any minute. Because that is a surefire way to lead to economic triumph- just look at the capitalist dream that is Bangladesh.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good for them. It sucks that the workers who work for Hyundai in America have zero rights.
        Jefe Grande
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Zero rights? They don't even have to work there!
        billfrombuckhead
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Wonder if American Hyundai/Kia workers will get these increases? Chinese autoworkers also have a union. http://www.labornotes.org/2010/12/auto-worker-strikes-china-what-did-they-win
      Awhattup
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm visiting Korea at this moment. I hear this news all the time.. it's nothing new, it's like the union's doing power check with the company. They have better work condition and much better pays than most others yet complain all damn time. It's really ugly to look at. Should be glad US unions don't go get that far ridiculous... or maybe too drunk on booze to do such.
      William
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fire them all and start over. It's cheaper with less headaches.
        Ducman69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @William
        Its not that easy. Businesses can't afford the logistics of replacing that many workers simultaneously, because it would cause massive work stoppage and time is money. Furthermore, the unions often create blockades outside the business and can harass or even physically attack people that try to take their jobs, calling them "scabs". Then again, the upper echelons of the companies are screwed up too, where people on the board make hundreds and hundreds of times more than the average worker of the company, which is BS too. They should make more of course, that incentive is necessary in a capitalist system to keep people reaching for the top and giving 110%, but clearly something is screwed up when their quarterly bonuses alone are $2million.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      They look more like they are singing a tavern tune than fighting the power.
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