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Ringo64

Report: UAW to vie for board seats at GM, Ford and Chrysler

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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.

I don't like this, never had a good impression of Unions and nows not even close to the time to start letting them on the Board. If employees were being abused then yes, I'd say they deserve a spot but if they're just going to hog room no way. Get someone in there that has good ideas and business sense.

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omfg this is bad really bad the unions r going to dry the automakers up with their greed...they are nothing but grass eaters (money takers for doing nothing) i dont see ford doing this imo since they have always been against the unions since the beginning so i think deep down they will not let it happen

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I agree, unions had their day, but in the US, they are for the most part, no longer needed. I don't have a union to watch my back at work and I do just fine and that goes for most of the people I know.

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Unions are bad. Back in the old days when they first started unions, they were pretty decent. But now, they ruin everything.

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Great, we bail them only to let the UAW ruin them again? Fuk that noise. Unions are 100% useless.

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I really hope it doesn't happen. The Big 3 need to find a way to widdle out the Unions.

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I really hope it doesn't happen. The Big 3 need to find a way to widdle out the Unions.

Hitmen.

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this would only get the american brands back in the shitter if they got seats. car gods please please dont let this be!!!

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There are very few unions that do anything worth while any more for its people or a company. My wife's union at her job has established that being a moronic, loudmouth idiot is acceptable in the work force instead of working with people (management) and trying to solve problems. On the bright side since all of her co-workers suck ass and call in sick she is racking up some serious overtime this year.

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I am sure you guys will jump all over me for this, but I do understand why the UAW wants this. I will agree that unions, in some sense, are passé. They still have a value in my mind. A represented workforce (visa a via a union) is a ‘check and balance’ against management-based abuses. So by allowing the union to have a voice on the board gives parity to what our European counterparts already enjoy. Is that so wrong an idea? Plus one seat does not constitute a whole board or paradigm shift in how the company is run. It does make the company listen to a different perspective besides management's own view.

Have unions shown greed and abuse over the years? Sure they have. Management has been doing it a whole lot longer still. Even so, unions helped to improve the safety and the standard of living for blue collar Americans (and Canadians) for half century or more. The unions helped build middle class Americana after WWII with better wages for its workers. So the idea of company paid health care, cost of living increases, and defined pensions all came about as a result of the UAW and other unions. In turn, white collar workers were given matching benefits and pay. So this helped everyone prosper. Was that a bad thing? It certainly improved everyone's standard of living since WWII.

Now you will say that these are things that companies can't afford anymore. My answer is "can't" or "won't"? Surely health care costs are just astoundingly out of control in my mind. So I understand why so much reform is needed there. This is not the unions fault. It is our entire fault - for living longer, using or requiring more healthcare, effects of inflation and population growh, and perhaps a greedy medical community too. So perhaps this is a "can't". Still one of the reasons you work for any given company is for retirement health care and benefits too.

Defined pensions (aka a guaranteed fixed amount from retirement to death) were the social promise companies made when I started working over 30 years ago. Today, if you are lucky if you have an annuity based pension. It is essentially an investment that the company contributes in your name for as long as you are working there. After you stop working for the company, the annuity only gains interest and you can not contribute to it. So it is possible to out live or out spend this form of pension. And in most cases, you have to pay at least part (if not all) of your health care premiums with your own pension money. So this is clearly a cost savings to big business. When I started working, over 90% of companies had defined pensions and full health care paid upon retirement. Today it is less than 5%. I say this is a “won’t”.

Today, more and more companies are suggesting that you be solely responsible for your retirement, via a 401(k) or similar program. They will match up so much money based on your own personal contributions. So it is possible that annuity pensions could disappear altogether in the future and you are completetly on your own for your retirement. This is essentially what American’s did prior to defined pensions. So I ask you – is this really progress? It looks like a 60 year step backwards to me.

Cost of living allowances are only given (that I am aware of) to represented workforces that have that in their contracts anymore. GM and other companies stopped CoLA increases to their salaried work force over 25 years ago. Pay for performance is now the mantra. So that means you pay could go up a lot if you are a top performer, or it may not increase at all if you are working at an average level. So I say this is also a “won’t”.

Management has been forced by the federal government, foreign competition, and Wall Street to make paradigm shifts in it’s business to stay in business. This has not really benefited the American worker very well. Everything that I mentioned above is being done in the name of staying profitable and in business. We all understand that on the surface - unless you are the one of the ones affected by constantly changing company promises or worse termination, loss of benefits, reduction in pensions, loss of health care coverage, etc. all in the name of staying in business.

So having some small measure of a union viewpoint and agenda on the board of directors is not necessarily a bad thing. It Iin theory) represents the worker’s viewpoint. A health discontent and dialogue may lead to mutual benefits. Don’t forget, one dissenting vote does not a board of directors make.

OK so to you guys who say unions are dinosaurs (and they maybe) but let me ask you these thought provoking questions. In the ‘60s, unions made up about 35-40% of the US work force, it is significantly less today, probably less than 10%.

1. Unions helped improve wages and benefits for their workers with each new contract. If unions go away, is there any reason to believe that companies will feel compelled to improve the average employee’s wages and benefits over time out of the goodness of their hearts? Again – pay for performance is now the mantra. An “average” person could conceivably never get a pay raise since they aren’t “exceptional” enough. And if you don’t get any pay increases over time, then you are loosing money to inflation.

2. Unions were created for a big reason. Management was totalitarian and rather ruthless from the 1800s to the 1930s. The term “sweat shop” is one example of this. That is why so many unions were formed, particulary the UAW. Today’s existing safety, employment, and wage laws are a result of past abuses. Do you think your state or local governments are going to be as quick to respond to potential new management abuses without the voice of one or more unions behind it? Unions tend to give a certain level of credibility to the grievance. Again, it makes management and government at least listen to the complaint. Who do you think they will listen to without unions? A group of ‘disgruntled’ employees? I rather doubt it.

Again, I don’t want you folks to think that the unions are the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, they do have their place in our society. If we loose them, we may not make similar improvements to society as a whole that the last 60 years has enjoyed. In fact, I might argue that our standard of living is actually deteorating as compared to our parents already. I would also argue that there are things outside of business that have equally contributed to that decline as well.

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I would also argue that there are things outside of business that have equally contributed to that decline as well.

Yeah like my generation. Most of them are dumb/ignorant drug-doing morons, that don't give a care about their futures/education.

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My thing with unions is someone shouldn't get a raise (or be paid a high salary) if they don't show improvements or any real cause in it. Like if I wasn't working my ass off at work like I do, I wouldn't expect my boss to throw a dime my way or give me the promotion I hope to get. Just because you're in a Union shouldn't mean you get automatically a salary of this and a raise every X days, you should have to earn it. The auto industry needs to be like every other job, if there is less demand for jobs to be filled and more qualified workers looking than salaries need to go down. If there are few qualified workers and more jobs than salaries need to go up.

In my experience Union guys are the ones who expect to get more without doing more or without giving any effort at all. This could be the select few I've seen but I think now a days everything is so set and government regulation is into EVERYTHING now that Unions are outdated and not needed. If we learn history to not have it repeated and why I don't think anything would fall apart.

Maybe it's just this generation that's come to be and everything is me , me, me. Everybody feels they're entitled to everything when they should feel they have to earn everything.

Just my thoughts, I have fought for everything in my life and went through school to be where I am and I hate people who feel they are entitled to everything.

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My thing with unions is someone shouldn't get a raise (or be paid a high salary) if they don't show improvements or any real cause in it. Like if I wasn't working my ass off at work like I do, I wouldn't expect my boss to throw a dime my way or give me the promotion I hope to get. Just because you're in a Union shouldn't mean you get automatically a salary of this and a raise every X days, you should have to earn it. The auto industry needs to be like every other job, if there is less demand for jobs to be filled and more qualified workers looking than salaries need to go down. If there are few qualified workers and more jobs than salaries need to go up.

In my experience Union guys are the ones who expect to get more without doing more or without giving any effort at all. This could be the select few I've seen but I think now a days everything is so set and government regulation is into EVERYTHING now that Unions are outdated and not needed. If we learn history to not have it repeated and why I don't think anything would fall apart.

Maybe it's just this generation that's come to be and everything is me , me, me. Everybody feels they're entitled to everything when they should feel they have to earn everything.

Just my thoughts, I have fought for everything in my life and went through school to be where I am and I hate people who feel they are entitled to everything.

I agree with this. I'm 17 and I know a good education and dedication are needed. People think I bought the Phoenix with "daddy's money" just because my dad gets well paid. I paid for the Phoenix with my own cash and it is a sentimental investment for me. I do my own work on my car and what I earn is a good looking, great running Pontiac and that is much more satisfying than having someone do it for you. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

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As someone that did not do college...or, not finished I should say, I've had to work a bit harder in life to get by. Now, our crappy ass economy certainly doesn't help at all. I've seen so many of my peers focus so much on their education (not necessarily a bad thing) but for some reason, these kids still have a hard time getting by. Myself working in the auto repair industry, I get to see their cluelessness firsthand, especially during my time at Sears. For kids that are supposed to be well educated, their common sense, and problem solving skills and new information absorption is astoundingly poor. Not just in the "DURRHURR I dunno," sense...but more ignorance towards learning and grasping new information outside of their bubble of information already attained prior.

Now this brings me to the issue of Unions now at hand. Society has no need for them, mainly because of how lazy society has become. Another reason...the Labor Department. I've called them on AutoZone and Sears quite a few times to protect my rights as an employee. And it's a lot more swift since it's a federal agency coming down on the company. The UAW has become a cancer on the big three, I'm sorry...a worker on the assembly line just putting together small interior pieces doesn't need to make +$50 an hour with full benefits, vacation time, paid holidays, etc etc, when I bust my ass in a repair shop, doing real work, out in the elements, $12 an hour, no vacation time or holiday pay. I'm doing skilled labor, the dope on the assembly line doing repetitive child's work is NOT skilled labor.

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