UAW And Why Honda And Toyota Workers Are Not Interested

By Automotive Staff | March 27, 2007
To the Japanese automobile manufacturers, unions are the plague. And the United Auto Workers (UAW) admit to having a tough time getting new union members when they visit Japanese manufacturers' plants (called 'transplants') in the U.S. "People just aren’t interested," said one union organizer.The Japanese auto makers in the U.S. seem to be winning their battle with the UAW because the people they employ seem convinced that the benefits are good and that the union couldn't do any better. Moreover, these auto makers tend to build plants in the U.S. in areas that have a low average wage for laborers. Worse, conditions are better in transplants in some areas. An example of a happy plant of workers is in the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. The workers are now being paid more and getting better bonuses than UAW workers average at domestic plants. Yet the UAW continues to try. It attempted to organize the workers at the Subaru plant in Lafayette at least three times. The result? Nada, nothing. The plant will be producing Camrys (pictured) in a joint venture with Toyota in April. Our take? The strength of the UAW has ebbed substantially. In 1979 the union had a membership of 1.5 million. By 2005 it had plunged to 600,000. Unless the transplants do something real stupid like slashing wages in half or eliminating medical benefits, we see union membership continue to dwindle. Via baynews9
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75 comments
Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull

No more traditional pension. $14 dollar starting wage. No healthcare benefit after retirement. American manufactured products not allowed into Japan. Debt to Japan now at 1.4 trillion dollars with interest. BLAME THE UNIONS. IDIOTS!!

car009
car009

I feel that while unions were very vital at correcting poor working conditions at one time, if workers are happy with their environment now and in this case making more than UAW memebers then leave them be. Why would they want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars a year to an union that cannot negotiate contracts that are even as good as what they have now.

I happen to be an union member, SEIU 1000, the only thing they have done was elect a governer to "protect us" then bent over backwards to met his budget but increasing our retirement contributions and furloughing us again. In many cases today, it seems like the union leaders are screwing over the members more than the employer is.

John Holmes
John Holmes

What degraded the unions was the corruption of the union officials. They gave themselves huge salaries, accepted bribes from contractors and the companies, did coke and hookers with company execs literally getting into bed with them, got expense accounts and corporate credit cards, traveled business-class, acquired vacation homes, and generally forgot and ignored their blue-collar roots. As a consequence, they failed to negotiate properly both with the companies as well as the membership. They should have been hard on members who stole, gambled, drank, and otherwise abused their jobs, and in return extracted commitments from the employers for improvements in work conditions and job stability. Instead, real wages and benefits have declined in the past 30 years in sync with growing corruption in union leadership, and retention of problem workers has resulted in negative publicity for union-made products. Now the UAW, for example, is likely to fritter away VEBA assets, leaving a huge hole in medical coverage for the millions of current and retired auto workers which will have to be covered by public spending. Remember that the thousands of recently hired auto workers make less than $14 an hour, and will not be able to afford their own health insurance. But by then, the UAW leadership will no doubt have sufficient personal asset investments to cover themselves for the next 3 generations.

Danangme
Danangme

All of the foreign auto makers set up shop in right to work states which makes it almost impossible to organize a union.That being said, from what I've been reading lately KIA and Hyundai would be  great places to try, considering their wage and hour law abuses.

Mikemo
Mikemo

@Ron How about you do a little research before spewing your stupidity onto the internet, we already have enough of it flowing around.

Ron
Ron

I'll bet those brainiacs that used to be employed at Hostess are really proud of their union. I just have to laugh every time I hear that story again. Remember the union figured it was better to let 18000 workers be layed off than accept 50% of something Much better to have 100% of nothing. You guys are idiots

Terik Ororke
Terik Ororke

I am beginning to thnk that the members of the UAW are idiots or worse. Copnsider this --especially those at Lordstown--GM gets massive bailouts. Workers lose benefits and cringe under UAW orders. Gm is now set to open new plants in Russia and China---and who is the UAW backing politically---those who bailed out GM with billions so that they could move jobs to Russia nd China--so much for the UAW.

Dave Sutton
Dave Sutton

Japanese companies like to prey on the uneducated. Look at the states they generally choose to place their plants: low test scores, low IQ. Plus , the American people are funding these plants. Free land from states, tax abatements, and states that have to purchase so many of their vehicles are just some of the provisions the Japanese have put into the agreements. Add to that Wal-Mart type management that runs negative propaganda at every turn anytime a union vote is mentioned. And what you have is a hostile work enviorment. They are just too stupid to know that it could be better with representation. But hey, next time you are sued, don't get a lawyer when you go to court.

Jerry
Jerry

Some people are willing to listen to what the union has to say/offer. Most of us that have been in UAW-Steel Workers-or other unions have no interest, won't support the union, and won't be striking should it ever come to that. If you don't like the current working conditions, you are more than free to find another job out there. 8+% unemployment isn't bad is it?

Hey Stupid Stanley
Hey Stupid Stanley

Hey Stupid Stanely, enough propoganda already, we get your point and it's the same drivel that's been breaking the bank for decades!

Bob
Bob

This isn't the 60s any more. Grow up.

Richard
Richard

Oh another well-reasoned and thoughtful comment. You guys establish a standard I could only wish my children would follow... fantastic role examples!

Richard
Richard

oh there is a thoughtful and well-worded reply. I like the word 'scab' it has such a high-class feel to it...

Pete Van Sickle
Pete Van Sickle

I have always owned GM. Since the unions put Obama in office with their $42 million donation, I will never buy UAW built cars ever again...Hello HONDA!

alexc
alexc

It's funny how we scream at the top of our lungs when we think Ma-Bell is attempting to monopolize something that's as trivial as phone service. And yet not a single person has said a single word about the unions who are designed solely to monopolize the American worker - FOR PROFIT. The people of this country are both it's greatest asset and it's only true purpose. And yet legalized monopolization of that asset goes mostly unchallenged.

LloydToo
LloydToo

WRONG. People willing to take a chance and the market rewarding them for it succeeding is what built America. I'm sorry but labor can simply be purchased, always could and always will.

LloydToo
LloydToo

A well- reasoned response never ceases to amaze the public.

John
John

Spent 25 years in a UAW plant in Chicago. The workers were wonderful and would have been so without the union. The union was all about the perks and priviledges of the Union leaders and did not give a damn about the workers other than currying favor to get re-elected. Used to hold their meetings Sunday mornings when most of the workers could nbot even be there so only the die hard union supporters were there to vote. Buncha self serving manipulators. Oh damn, sort of like congress. They used to be valuable and do a good job but not in recent history. Both unions and congress.

alex
alex

I have a couple of friends that left GM to work for Honda even taking pay cuts and love working there. They feel the work environment and the products they produce make the job feel much more worthwhile to them. One of them was a GM 11 year vet and he told me he just got tired of poor quality control and lazy miserable co-workers.

Phelecia L. Harris
Phelecia L. Harris

As a former UAW worker all I have to say is I wish we had the same UAW as Phillip Stanley. The UAW here in Oklahoma City were not all that great.

WuzYoungOnceToo
WuzYoungOnceToo

Exactly the sort of window-licking mentality I've come to expect from union members.

Linda Gifford
Linda Gifford

Amen to you Wade ! The short sighted Jap loving individuals who post hatred of unions aren't smart enough to understand that unions fought for years to get the pay and benefits enjoyed by autoworkers everywhere, union and nonunion. Believe me when I tell you that if domestic plants began paying minimum wage , so would the transplants. And as for all that "quality" the Toyota lovers speak of, care to talk to the families of the 84+ dead folks due to the acceleration issues? I would wal befor I drive a TOYota or any other POS forein car.

Richard
Richard

Transplant workers-SCABS jap lovers

Dumbfounded
Dumbfounded

The new VW Plant in TN is not taking a stance against unions. They fear to jeopardize their relationship with the Europe unions. The door is left wide-open for the workers to decide without any influence or propaganda from internal Human Resources. It will be interesting to see what transpires.

Kailua Kona Auto Repair
Kailua Kona Auto Repair

The world is a changing place. The UAW was good. Then bad. Now getting better. Nothing like a little reality slapping you in the face to get your attention. When your membership has dropped by about 50%, then it's time to start looking in the mirror.

alex
alex

so let me get it straight - Japanese give their workers better working conditions than a union factory , they clearly produce better cars, AND they produce their cars in the US and all you people can think about is how to screw it up ( "UAW must think about how to get to the workers"). It is freaking unbelievable - unions ran all the local companies off now they are after anybody who stupidly tries to do the production in the US. As for union made - not a big threat , not only there is not much "union made" to buy, there are not so many moro"union only" buyer to screw it up.

BIG B
BIG B

I see a whole lot of U.A.W. cry babies out there. Time for you lazy , had it to good for to long, at the people. Face it you all suck.

douglas
douglas

I myself will never again buy a union make or built product. i worked for G.M. when the owners still had a say so in there company. Worker over time became lazy and demands turned into threats and unions became corupt.To big to fail -I think not ,bullies are more like it . goverment motors lost me along with anyone else who was bail out by our union President and our tax dollars.it should be called L.U.A.W. --- LAZY ..... I love my new Nissan where proud workers take real pride in there work, unlike americans U.A.W.- there slogan is --- PROUD TO BE UNION .... Whats that all about.Nissan works hand in hand with there owners, makes a better car all the way around. ( proud to be non union) it works even when unions will not.

Robert Kortsch
Robert Kortsch

I would like to add that all union members should unite and only buy union made products and support the labor movement of this once great land, it is labor that made us great and it will be only great once again if the union members unite and buy American and union made!

Walter
Walter

It seems like the issue has nothing to do with unions. Wake up America. We kept building gas hogs.

Walter
Walter

My father never missed one single day at Ford in 40 years,

Ex Chrysler Worker
Ex Chrysler Worker

The old unions have a place in this country. The ones that back the hard working people who came to work everyday, didn't have any issues except the issues that were relevant to the job and weren't using the union people they knew to avoid going to work. The unions are not what they used to be. Now you can get arrested, go to jail and still have your job and seniority when you come back. Unions are in bed with the companies. As seen from the past this does not work.

unions, huh
unions, huh

Unions have no place in this county but the politicians continue to support them for election purposes. Unions drive quality, morale and work ethic in the dirt, it is time to wake up america. The government loves and has its own unions, and they get paid not to work and rally against the moral agenda's like what happened in Wisconsin. Old article but relavent to today!

Edmonton Toyota
Edmonton Toyota

It's all smooth sailing at Toyota in terms of management and benefits. Unions like UAW are necessary to protect and strengthen the workers benefits but when administration is so responsive when it comes to employee's wages and benefits, then there's nothing much to do from the union front except encourage its members to really provide quality work.

Rhody Guy
Rhody Guy

Well Mr "phillipstanley", shill much for the unions? What's that, two dozen or so consecutive posts ragging on the evil, non-union supporting companies. Could you be more transparent?

Wally
Wally

I too don't understand why this article is even being passed off as new except to stir the pot when we should be trying to come together and get America back on the road to economic recovery.

Sean
Sean

Umm, you do realize that this article was written in 2007? Is it even relevant anymore?

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull

Japanese vehical market share of USA market 45 % and growing. Ford, GM and Chrysler share of Japan market 0.006 %, Japan exports 1.5 million vehicals made in Japan into the US each and every year. American shipments too Japan 2000 per year. Japanese unions are strong in Japan and are well respected and valued. There is no way in hell that the Japanese government would allow a forign manufacture on to Japanese soil and never will. Futrue generations of our children will be owned by Japanese and Chinese children. Who cares?

Petethebruno
Petethebruno

The name say's it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Petethebruno
Petethebruno

@Linda Gifford ,I think I Love this woman,I have said for many years that when a nissan, toyota & all other asian auto products are purchased in America, most of the monies are gathered & KEPT  in Asia,Not the U.S.this practice has allowed Asia to flourish abundantly,& the only reason why they do not want/allow the U.A.W.'s representation is due to the threatening surroundings of that particular auto co.Also I wouldn't be caught in any oriental/asian automobile,& am proud to say I am a U.A.W. Member in good standing for over 30 years ,of Excellence !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull

Japanese, South Korean anf European auto manufactures can under cut American auto manufactures because of large legacy costs that American manufacture have.. The numbers are just not there yet. GM leading cause of bankruptcy was heahcare cost to 740,000 retirees doubleling in 8 years. Forign manufactures have the benefit of government sponcered healthcare which gives forign manufactures a great cost advantage.  As much as 4,000 dollars per vehical.

Mike753
Mike753

@Petethebruno "I have said for many years that when a nissan, toyota & all other asian auto products are purchased in America, most of the monies are gathered & KEPT  in Asia" 


Sorry but as a guy who is very fond and loving towards the subject of economics. I find your theory hardly sustainable as standing on a pinky toe. When you put into consideration who those other "asain" companies work with it's easy to see how DEAD WRONG YOU ARE. Honda for instance not only has a gigantic manufacturing plant in marrysville ohio. but also contracts with many domestic parts suppliers. some of them might being even from detroit actually. But also has a BIG R&D team in southern California that builds most of the race engines for the indianapolis 500. If employees feel they are being treated good and not pressured into saying that. Then there really isn't any need to organize. In harsh unfair conditions then YES.  But that's not the case with automotive manufacturing anymore. It's not blood and guts like it used to be. alot of these asain automakers in the past have done really well with the idea of lean production. The big three actually took notice and implemented that to their assembly lines as well. Modern manufacturing in the states has become far more dynamic and safe than it has ever been. I can thank alot of past accomplishments to the U.A.W when things where actually rough. But now Machines are doing alot more of the heavy lifting and more of the repetitious carpool tunneling work people once had to. not only that but People are rotated to different areas so it also reduces the repetitive stresses and strains. Though of course there are alot of U.A.W head honchos today that bitch about robots doing most of the work and not actual workers. My only reply to that argument is. You don't want to have workers breaking their backs lifting that heavy shit. Why break your back when it isn't nessesary when robotic arms will do it instead. You can replace a robotic arm but not someones vertebrae. 



Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull

Did anyone catch on to when this artical was written? 2007

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull

Did anyone catch on to when this artical was written? 2007

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull

We should be celebrating. We have won the race to the bottom.

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