Update 2:00 p.m. EST, March 18: Following a number of wildcat strikes bubbling up in auto plants with confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Big Three automakers announced they will begin temporarily suspending production until at least March 30. Honda, a non-union company with several plants in North America, had already announced they were suspending production for a week at full pay.
Officials in the Auto Workers (UAW) have been working arm in arm with the Big Three automakers since the 1980s to increase productivity. So perhaps it was inevitable that union officials’ hands would find their way into the employers’ deep pockets.
Now some UAW officials and corporate executives are behind bars. A federal investigation has revealed that Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) funneled millions of dollars into the UAW.
University of California President Janet Napolitano proudly touted her opposition to Trump’s racist immigration policies before he even moved into the Oval Office. Now she’s following in Trump’s footsteps, threatening international students with actions that could lead to their deportation in an attempt to smash a wildcat strike at the university’s Santa Cruz campus.
As voting on the Auto Workers’ agreement with Ford came to a close last week, a union official publicly expressed his contempt for locals that had voted against the pact.
Management should move production to locals that voted yes, wrote Michael Robison, an assistant director in the union’s National Ford Department.
“Everyone of them Locals should lose there product now and in the future. $1 Billion dollar investment in KTP [Kentucky Truck Plant] really. Ship Lima Engine to Dearborn Engine. Ship Chicago Assy’s work to Flat Rock,” Robison wrote Friday on Facebook.
After six weeks on the picket line, General Motors workers ratified an agreement that left many major areas unchanged, but one provision stood out as a true gain: the time it took to “grow in” to the top wage would be cut from eight years down to four.
Somehow it was left out of the contract highlights the United Auto Workers prepared for members: the tentative new agreement with Ford will allow the company to use new technologies to take time-and-motion studies to a whole new level.
The new language falls under the heading of “production standards” and states that the union and company will choose “pilot locations” to use new technology tools such as “digital video recording and walk path mapping devices” as well as “motion tracking systems and additional productivity implementing tools.”
Today the United Auto Workers announced that it has dropped its legal effort to save three General Motors plants from closure. It’s sad evidence that even a union contract doesn’t guarantee job security for auto workers.
After a large number of plant closings in the 1980s, the UAW bargained contract language that prohibited automakers from closing plants during the life of the agreement.
So the companies began to “idle” plants instead.