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UAW’s King Announces 2011 Goals: Target Foreign-Owned Auto Plants

[See footnote below with regard to the GM/Toyota NUMMI plant in Fremont, California.]

Because they’ve done so well with General Motors, Chrysler and Ford, the union known as United Auto Workers (or Union of Ailing Workplaces) wants to help spread some union love to its competitors working in foreign-owned U.S. factories.

According to reports, the UAW’s President Bob King has determined that the UAW will begin its assault on the workers of BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota and VW in January, but is keeping his first target a secret.

American International Automobile Dealers via Christian Science Monitor"]

Source: American International Automobile Dealers via Christian Science Monitor

As the UAW’s membership has fallen from 1.5 million members in 1979 to around 350,000 members today, the UAW’s King has little alternative but to attempt somethinganything to rebuild the union’s membership and its finances.

Via Autonews:

UAW President Bob King said the union intends to launch a campaign in January to organize the U.S. manufacturing plants of Asian and German automakers.

In an exclusive interview, King said the UAW has sent letters to the global CEOs of the automakers with U.S. transplant operations, saying the union wants to organize their plants and cooperate to improve operations.

[snip]

The union is asking target automakers to sign principles pledging that they will not interfere with free and fair union elections at their factories.

The principles, which King first announced this summer, were approved by the UAW’s board of directors within the past week, King said.

If the UAW is allowed to hold a fair election and workers at transplant operations vote against unionization, the UAW will respect the decision and quietly leave, King said.

Once the campaign is announced, the UAW expects to begin actively organizing workers at the plant level, King said. Given a chance, workers want to participate in a cooperative way with management to decide how to improve their jobs, he said. [Emphasis added.]

In essence, the UAW is asking the foreign-owned car companies to agree to remain neutral and skip secret-ballot elections (using card check) and, in return, they’ll play “work with” management (commonly referred to as a “sweetheart” arrangement). This appears to be the same approach that the NLRB approved of in its recent Dana decision—which, somehow, the UAW considers denying the right to a secret ballot ‘free and fair.’

Who knows, though? If the UAW runs its organizing meetings like its membership meetings, the autoworkers at the foreign-owned plants will likely just ignore the UAW.  On the other hand, though, if the UAW does succeed at unionizes the foreign-owned plants and ‘improves’ their jobs like they did at the Big Three, America might also want to consider going back to the horse and buggy now.

[* Footnote - The (somewhat dated) map above indicates that the GM/Toyota plant in Fremont, CA is an existing plant. In fact, the NUMMI plant has been closed as a result of the auto bailouts and GM's abandonment of the Toyota/GM joint venture.]

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”  Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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