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Auto industry: All eyes on Chattanooga

  • Employee voting ends today at a Volkswagen (VLKAY) plant in Tennessee on the issue of joining the UAW.
  • The stakes are very high with the UAW still searching for its first representation at a plant of a foreign automaker.
  • The Big Three (GM, F, FIATY) are quiet on the issue, but wouldn't mind a more level playing field.
  • What to watch: There are close to 20 automobile plants in the South at risk of unionization if Chattanooga falls. A Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) factory in Alabama and Nissan (NSANY) location in Mississippi could be the first two on the list.
Comments (35)
  • Wise Timmy
    , contributor
    Comments (246) | Send Message
     
    This is what happens when you let them Yankees move into the south--the whole attitude toward employee-employer relationships changes. I would guess this will go down otherwise we would be seeing a lot of pre-hype vote polling and hype coming from the press.
    14 Feb, 11:50 AM Reply Like
  • Snoopy1
    , contributor
    Comments (1031) | Send Message
     
    German companies have used the Works Council Concept very successfully for years, so union representation is actually pretty consistent with German business practices.
    14 Feb, 12:45 PM Reply Like
  • 2old2fool
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    Because the Corporation encouraged this, I will never look at another VW product in their showrooms no matter what the outcome.
    14 Feb, 12:09 PM Reply Like
  • jdl51
    , contributor
    Comments (228) | Send Message
     
    Every major car company on the planet has union membership produced cars, Europe, Japan, NA, Korea.
    14 Feb, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • bd4uandu
    , contributor
    Comments (1771) | Send Message
     
    If the union gets in then the company is eligible for a bailout.
    14 Feb, 12:41 PM Reply Like
  • joeo6334
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    A truer name would be: "No fool like an old fool".
    14 Feb, 02:18 PM Reply Like
  • joeo6334
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    Ford workers are represented by the UAW was Ford bailed out? BAC, JPM Chase, Citicorp, AIG were bailed out no unions in those companies.
    14 Feb, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • bd4uandu
    , contributor
    Comments (1771) | Send Message
     
    http://onforb.es/POf2oi
    14 Feb, 02:40 PM Reply Like
  • jdl51
    , contributor
    Comments (228) | Send Message
     
    All those incompetent CEOs belonged to the mulit millionaires union.
    14 Feb, 02:56 PM Reply Like
  • fuzzymc
    , contributor
    Comments (99) | Send Message
     
    They paid the money back unlike GM!!
    14 Feb, 03:01 PM Reply Like
  • crowbarr
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    During the "world wide meltdown" , VW predicted they will become the dominate carmaker in America. Maybe this is the first step. Gotta think long term.
    14 Feb, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    Fuzz - if you are referring to Ford's Fuel Efficiency Initiative loans from the Department of Energy, they still owe $5.3B of the $6B they borrowed. That said, they have paid some $700M plus interest back to the Taxpayers.

     

    By comparison, GM was given $50B in bailout "loans" in bankruptcy, but Treasury only recovered about $40B of that in the end. So GM was essentially "granted" some $10B as a government/taxpayer sponsored war chest against the evil Ford, which did the right thing by their shareholders and managed to avoid bankruptcy, by maxing out their commercial debt with a $25B line of credit as a "home improvement loan" while such credit was still available.

     

    In one of the rarely told stories, GM's top executives and lawyers showed up hat in hand at Ford's World Headquarters one spring day in early 2009 and begged to "merge" with Ford. Even Chrysler had expressed interest in joining in on the deal. Bill and Alan and Ford's lawyers listened carefully to the proposal, and asked the simple question: "Who would be in charge of the combined Grand Automotive Company?" The answer was: "Why, GM would be of course, because we are bigger than you!"

     

    It was a rather cynical attempt to take over the combined operations as the larger of the two, just to gain access to Ford's leveraged cash, credit, and other assets. Of course GM would have then liquidated Ford's operations in favor of its own, flush with Ford's cash and whatever they could get in the fire sale of Ford's other assets. Fortunately Mr Ford and Mr Mulally saw through the scam and showed them the door with kind wishes.

     

    This was one of the amazing stories in the book "American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company".
    14 Feb, 09:01 PM Reply Like
  • joeo6334
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    How about letting VW and its' workers decied if they want UAw representation? Senator Corker violated labor and contract law while threatening VW. He belongs in prison in a cell next to Bernie Maydoff.
    14 Feb, 02:16 PM Reply Like
  • Bstephen
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    FYI- fact chek
    The UAW has represented Mitsubishi workers in normal IL for many years!
    14 Feb, 02:49 PM Reply Like
  • alkmaar
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    No wander Mitsubishi's market share has been shrinking steadily.
    15 Feb, 01:13 PM Reply Like
  • TeachEnglish
    , contributor
    Comments (120) | Send Message
     
    Why wouldn't the southern states want their workers to earn more money, thereby boosting GDP in the state and lifting all boats? I'll never understand why these "taker" states attempt to preserve low wages instead of growing economies. Nonsensical behavior IMO.
    14 Feb, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • Snoopy1
    , contributor
    Comments (1031) | Send Message
     
    Because they are driven by right wing ideology? :-)
    14 Feb, 06:21 PM Reply Like
  • david.garfield
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    It will level the playing field for American brands and American workers, if the republicans had their way, we would all be picking cotton.
    14 Feb, 03:36 PM Reply Like
  • PMEISEL
    , contributor
    Comments (13) | Send Message
     
    UAW has had a couple runs at Nissan in Mississippi with no luck. However they have had luck at a couple suppliers with management problems.

     

    Sometimes in larger plants a reasonable union contract actually helps management manage. Precludes a lot of "ad hoc policy making" by lower level line management.
    14 Feb, 03:44 PM Reply Like
  • bd4uandu
    , contributor
    Comments (1771) | Send Message
     
    The latest from Reuters ... http://reut.rs/1gHfy2i
    "The German automaker invested $1 billion in the Chattanooga plant, which began building Passat mid-size sedans in April 2011, after being awarded more than $577 million in state and local incentives." for 1550 jobs

     

    "The vote is due to end at 8:30 p.m. ET and the results could be announced soon after that."
    14 Feb, 08:14 PM Reply Like
  • bd4uandu
    , contributor
    Comments (1771) | Send Message
     
    UAW loses vote
    14 Feb, 10:14 PM Reply Like
  • lemm
    , contributor
    Comments (229) | Send Message
     
    Tdot tell the rest of the story.Ford was in such bad shape before the melt down of the economy that they had to mortgage the whole company to survive before the melt down.By the time GM new they were going to have to do the same there was no bank that would lend a dime to anyone.Mulally was for the bail out he said that if GM went down they would all go down.I think Ford was very lucky .
    15 Feb, 09:37 AM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    Yes Lemm - Even Alan Mulally admits there was no small amount of luck in the timing of the commercial loans they took out in mortgaging the Blue Oval itself. in order to pay for the restructuring that started BEFORE GM and Chrysler went bust.

     

    The point is, Ford saw their own problems, and the challenges of the US auto market, and the storm clouds of Recession looming, and stepped up and fixed its financial condition ahead of time. They didn't need any government support, in spite of accepting $6B in fuel efficiency improvement loans that will be paid back on time with interest. GM and Chrysler ignored the warning signs, and went down into insolvency and bankruptcy, and went begging to the government for help.

     

    What Ford wanted was a level playing field. They were OK with GM and Chrysler getting temporary loans from the government to weather the storm, and to protect the supply base. If the suppliers entered bankruptcy, then they could have cut off Ford's supplies and demanded higher prices for those parts in court. Certainly that would have likely driven Ford into bankruptcy are well. But these were supposed to be LOANS, not to be written off or forgiven. Ford fully expected GM and Chrysler to pay back THEIR government loans in full in due time, and with interest as well. Instead, GM and Chrysler got away with essentially robbing the taxpayers, getting away with some $15B in loans that will never be paid back, because they gave worthless shares to Treasury (taxpayers) instead, along with tens of billions more in future tax write-offs and credits.
    15 Feb, 12:01 PM Reply Like
  • 421347
    , contributor
    Comments (9) | Send Message
     
    Luck had nothing to do with the Ford turn around. Mulally had experience in this area with Boeing Airplane and the great fortune for Ford was because this man knew how to run a company unlike the inept Roger And Rick at GM and Nardella at Chrysler. WOW, what a trio these dudes were not to mention the unions and their circus acts. Mulally had the vision to borrow all he could before the banks slammed the doors shut. The bozos running the auto companies and the unions gave away a very large portion of our auto industry to the rest of the world and the unions given enough time will do it again.
    15 Feb, 12:50 PM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    Alan himself said the timing of the $23.5B "home improvement loan" was lucky. Certainly Ford saw the credit markets tightening due to the mortgage swaps, and that auto sales in the US were slipping as folks tried to protect their savings under threat of layoffs, and Ford literally bet the farm at the end of 2006 on their restructuring bid, financed by those commercial loans and lines of credit. Everything down to the pencils in the office supply cabinets, and all of Ford's patents and trademarks, were placed in lien. Fortunately the timing was "perfect", and Ford survived and returned to profitability in the 2nd quarter of 2009, even as GM and Chrysler went through their "quick rinse" bankruptcies, where all old debts and obligations were cancelled, and they were richly rewarded with $80B in taxpayer cash for failing.
    15 Feb, 01:27 PM Reply Like
  • JoseV
    , contributor
    Comments (397) | Send Message
     
    So the vote is in and once more a significant portion of Blue Collar workers in "Red" America vote against their own interest being bamboozled into believing they are well off as the least educated, least paid and highest in poverty by Right Wing politicians!! You definitely can fool some of the people all of the time!
    15 Feb, 12:25 PM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    ... yes. What a shame that The Regime and The Union cannot help these ignorant Southern folks to see the light, and over-rule all this silly voting and just impose their Union Ideals and Ideologies on The Working People of The South.
    15 Feb, 01:41 PM Reply Like
  • eddy s
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Congrats. to Tennessee VW workers. Quality product produced by employees with an excellent attitude--what a concept. UAW has failed in the south & the too slow demise continues. Sen. Corker has seen the future for his state. We can only hope Nissan & Mercedes continue to follow their current positions in the U.S.
    16 Feb, 11:14 AM Reply Like
  • hondamadman
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Best of luck to the people of that plant.I work at Honda @ Greensburg Indiana they treat us like #$%@*. Its not the money or the benefits its everything else.Its like being in grade school and the army..I wish the UAW would come to Greensburg.
    16 Feb, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    Well then Hondaman, by all means you should contact them. They would almost certainly be delighted to hear from you. All they need is an invitation. Perhaps they will make you the Local President if you successfully organize your co-workers. Contact info: http://bit.ly/MpZFnT
    16 Feb, 02:56 PM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    What? I just provided Hondaman with useful information on getting his plant organized with the UAW. Stop being paranoid and judgmental, and deal in facts.
    16 Feb, 04:40 PM Reply Like
  • JoseV
    , contributor
    Comments (397) | Send Message
     
    Tdot, talking about facts, VW got $350,000 per job created from the State politicians and probably was laughing all the way to the Bank. So the Workers through taxes are paying their own salaries, talk about "ideals and ideologies"!
    17 Feb, 11:25 AM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    Well hopefully that cash got "trickled down" generously to the workers and the businesses in the area, and not just sent to Germany to fund another invasion of Poland in time for Pączki day. $350,000 per worker is about 3-4 years worth of wages, benefits, and overhead.

     

    By the way - I am not pro or con anything - not buying or selling anything with regards to unionization. Just stating the facts.
    17 Feb, 11:43 AM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    Lemm - it would be much better for you to avoid telling other SA users when they may or may not speak with your permission, and stop being dismissive of other users' viewpoints. If you do not like something another user says, and are not in possession of facts to express your view of the "truth", then please feel free to ignore it, or contact the moderator if you believe it to be abusive or harmful to the discussion.
    17 Feb, 11:56 AM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (3287) | Send Message
     
    Lemm - I was being sensitive and genuinely sincere in providing Hondaman the information he needed to privately contact the UAW and perhaps organize the workforce. Frankly I hope he succeeds - apparently there are some serious issues with management and their Japanese overlords. Read it again in that context.

     

    Why do you feel compelled to assume bad faith and continue to make personal attacks on other users? It might do you well to lighten up a little and assume good faith mixed in with the humor.
    18 Feb, 06:35 PM Reply Like
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