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I am posting this because we have had some good discussions on unions in this forum, pro and con. A lot of the members on this site are union. In case anyone missed this from today's paper or is out of the area here it is.

Quoted from the article in today's Detroit Free Press:

"NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For eight years, Pat Saltkill has struggled to do what has never been done before -- start a union at a foreign-owned auto factory in the South.

Now, he's so burned out and so discouraged that he's retiring as president of the Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, a coalition of 47 unions.

And as he gets ready to move on, Saltkill says he is convinced there is nothing the labor movement can do to persuade thousands of workers at auto plants from Nissan Motor Co.'s new factory in Canton, Miss., to Toyota Motor Corp.'s 15-year-old plant in Georgetown, Ky., to join the UAW.

"It's just not our time," Saltkill, 46, says with anguish in his voice.

Across the South, workers at the German and Japanese auto plants say they've heard labor's pitch for the past two decades -- and most say they are just not interested in risking their jobs to support a union from Detroit.

These 24,000 workers make good money, and many of them live large on their paychecks from Honda Motor Co., Toyota, Nissan, BMW and DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz plant.

The best-paid Southern autoworkers can make as much as $60,000 or $70,000 a year, with overtime and bonuses. Compare that to the median household income of $44,223 ina place like the Nashville metropolitan area -- where Nissan has a plantin Smyrna.

Autoworkers in the South are buying custom-built or lakefront homes, farmland and horses. Some of the most fortunate can be found enjoying remarkable amenities like in-ground swimming pools, four cars in the driveway or three tractors in the barn. Others are raising miniature horses, Black Angus cattle, even zebras in the hills and hollows of northern Kentucky.

They see nothing to gain by joining a union, or even talking about why the UAW is not attractive. Some call the UAW -- which fought throughout much of the 20th Century to lift assembly workers at the car plants into the middle class -- a dinosaur of the 21st Century.

"The mentality here is laid-back and scared to take chances," Saltkill says in an interview at a scuffed desk in his windowless union-hall Nashville office. A half-hour away is the Nissan plant in Smyrna, where workers voted twice to reject the UAW, the second time in 2001 it was a stinging 2-to-1 defeat. "

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MORE STORIES IN THIS SERIES
WEDNESDAY: Southern plants threaten UAW

FRIDAY: Toyota's bold strategy to build and sell pickups aims deep in the heart of truck-loving Texas.

The link to the rest of the story(ies) for anyone interested.
http://www.freep.com/money/autonews/org28_20030828.htm

In my mind, and I might be wrong, I see the union as partially responsible for the decline of the U.S. domestic auto industry. There are many factors, of course, but by the late 70's labor relations were in terrible shape and directly affected product quality. Correct me if I am wrong. I have an open mind.
 

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i cant agree with you more. i was raised in a union family and i am now a union member. i hear the stories from years past and see what it meant to be part of the union and i see what people think a union should mean to them in the present and they are two different things. we have lost our edge and it shows. i just hope my union looks out for my best interests this contract and in the future.
 

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These southern auto workers might be making money now, but one day the company might want to cut there wage in half and then what are they going to
do??????

I heard on the news yesterday they said in ten years one of the big three will be out of business.. This was from a new york times economist.. Well lets hope for a good upcoming contract.. Cya Slck
 

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Here we go again!!!. I have to agree being retired from Chrysler 4 years now when you say the unions aren,t what they use to be. You have a new breed of worker in the plant mostly all young and they rest ready to retire. The new workers came there to work because they could,t afford to go to collage and didn,t have the education to go anywhere else or mom and dad got them in there before they retire. They hate paying union dues but the first time they get into trouble they ask for a union rep.
As far as down south in there foreign plants, I guess $60.000 to $70.000 a year with overtime @ bonuses would be big money to states that there average wage has been $6.50 an hour if you could find a job. My dad was from Alabama, and his brothers and sisters never had work down there and that why they came up here. I will say i would be happy with that to if the only jobs down there are working in stores. But I am happy for them. I really don,t care if they are union or not.
As far as the article and what it stated, people having 4 cars, horses, cattle, big farms on $60.000 to $70.000 a year. Could you or I own all this on thoes wages a year?? I wonder how much they are in debt?? These companies aren,t stupid, they put plants in these rural areas where now one has worked for years, put them where they are the best paying companyies around , and start them out at a good wage, at least more then what they could get anywhere else.
They intimidate there workers by saying if they support a union they will get fired, every day meetings showing there workers movies from the 50s and 60s when management use to come out and try to force workers back in to work. I remember my gradfather and uncles showing me movies where the companies of there coal mines would take there houses away from them because they were owned by the coal company and wouldn,t give them food to eat. I personally wouldn,t want to work for a company where they try to brain wash you every day forcing you to watch anti- union movies. I bet alot of thoes workers would support a union if they didn,t have the fear of loosing there jobs.
I also wonder how much money they start off earning, what kind of insurance they have, and most off all, what kind of pension they have when they can retire. Can they retire with 30 and out?? Do they have to put into a 401K for there pension and loose it all like alot of people did . If there company goes broke do they have a pension backuped by the goverment like the U.A.W. If things get slow and they lay you off, do they have recall rights, and do they just get unemployment??? U.A.W get unemployment plus S.U.B pay from there union which amounts to 95% of there pay. If a boss just don,t like you can he just fire you ?? There are alot of questions not answered I would like to see answered.
Especially the pension question. Hell I am retired 4 years now and sit on my butt and get $34,000 in retirement every year and still get raises every year there is a contract. Wonder what they will get when they retire. They aren,t thinking about that or anyother thing right now but wait till the time comes.
To me that isn,t big money when you think of all the overtime they have to put in. A union worker here with all that overtime would be making $120.000 a year in a blint of an eye. I made over $100.000 a year 4 years in a row before I retired without all the overtime they have to put in. But if they are happy I am happy for them and if they don,t want to be union so be it.
Mike
 

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Hey there the flyfisher well said, I just dont like typing as much as you did LOL.. Hey what plant did you work at? I work for Chrysler and my father retired from there a year ago with 35 years..

Well this 3 day weekend looks like a cold front is coming thru tonight I hope it wont slow my walleye fishing down like it normally does.. I am going to try to fill my limit..Cya Slick
 

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Thanks fellas reading all these posts and replys; Helps me understand
why all these companies are closing the doors and moving. RB1
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Originally posted by rb1
Thanks fellas reading all these posts and replys; Helps me understand why all these companies are closing the doors and moving. RB1
I think you asked that question in another similar thread awhile back. This thread is about the difficulty the unions are having organizing southern autoworkers in the Nissan, Honda, Toyota, BMW and Mercedes auto plants, all of whom chose to built their plants down south. This is not about plants closing in Michigan and moving elsewhere. A better question might be, 'Why did these companies choose the south to build their new plants?' Cheaper land, tax breaks, and possibly lower utility costs might be part of the reasons.

The Flyfisher A union worker here with all that overtime would be making $120.000 a year in a blint of an eye. I made over $100.000 a year 4 years in a row before I retired without all the overtime they have to put in.

Hell I am retired 4 years now and sit on my butt and get $34,000 in retirement every year and still get raises every year there is a contract.
Labor costs might also be part of the reason. The Big Three all have huge pension fund obligations, (part of the reason for the credit downgrade on Ford and GM's debt securities). Another reason, ever rising health care costs on their retired and aging pensioners, who resist having to contribute more money to their health care costs while having benefits reduced. You can't blame them and the UAW negotiates hard on their behalf to keep the staus quo.

Another hard negotiating point has been job security, so if increased efficiency through automation is possible, then you can't just eliminate that job and lay the person off. You have to retrain them or transfer them to another position. Couple that with higher hourly labor costs. To keep a competitive edge the Big Three are forced to pressure suppliers to reduce their costs, all of which leads to jobs moving to lower labor cost markets, (offshore and south of the border). The Big Three can't build a plant in the south without it being a UAW shop. So there is no labor cost advantage there for them, only whatever advantage they can negotiate through tax incentives and modern plant efficiencies, (read that less labor through automation).

The UAW did a better job than most unions in getting their members more pay. I would question why an assembly worker in the auto industry is worth more per hour than an organized assembly worker in any other industry. At some point the economics won't work anymore and that is what you see happening now. Socialistic economics eventually crush the treasury, whether a company or a government.

rb1, there is lots of good reading available at your local library on U.S. labor history and the role of unions. I'm not trying sway you or anyone else reading this thread. Just pointing out some of what I see. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

On a side note, regarding Flyfisher's question:

"As far as the article and what it stated, people having 4 cars, horses, cattle, big farms on $60.000 to $70.000 a year. Could you or I own all this on thoes wages a year?? I wonder how much they are in debt??

I wondered the same thing. I know costs are cheaper in some rural areas in the south but if they're living this way on payments, it will be a rude awakening if the gravy train ends and they find out they were only renting their lifestyle. Like Flyfisher says in his example, he was making 100k+ per year and then when he retired he went to 34k. I would bet he tucked a bunch away during his working years. The lesson there is don't be a slave to a lender.
 

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Recurve: You are right in everything you said. And I agree with you about the wages that all the U.A.W workers get. Everytime there was a contract for the last ten years I told the workers to forget about the money and worry about there benifits. But you do have to understand, I and the other workers weren,t the ones negotiateing the contracts, the higher ups in the U.A.W and management were. All we did was say if we approved or disapproved what they brought forth to us. And in 32 years most of the time we got our 3% raise for a three year contract. Most of the strikes came over local plant contracts. Like job safety, and outsourcing.
You also got to remember when I started there in 68, I made $2.25 an hour. I think after 32 years we were wearth more than $15.00 to $18.00 an hour. And I was in skilled trades so i made a bit more than assembly people. I blame both sides the union and management for agreeing to all the raises. They both put the auto plants in a bad fix. With the union, they always got upset when they seen the C.E.Os getting hundreds and thousands or millions in boneses so they would ask for raises for there workers.
I thought when we got $10.000 to $15.000 profit sharing checks per year it was stupid but I blame management for agreeing to pay us that but then again supervisors got there big boneses also.
And Recurve you are right, I did put alot of money away so I wouldn,t have to worry about retiring. I maxed out my 401K every year for 15 years plus made wize investments. My wife also worked for the big three and retired. But I was in there 12 to 16 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week many a year. But I always said I will retire young and did at 49 years old.
I wish we could here from all the workers who work in thoes plants. But management have them so brain washed and scared they not dare even to talk to anyone about it because of the fear of getting fired. That is sad when you can,t even voice your own opinion. And they have no job security. you do one wrong thing or talk back to your boss and your gone. They have no retirement except for a 401k plan they put into. And they can,t negotiate a dam thing from money to job safety to vacations to the hours they work.
Slick Fishing: I worked at the Mound Road Engine plant which they closed this year and everyone who was working there got placed to the Mack1 and Mack 2 plants. My sister works at Jefferson Assy. And I got most of my wifes brothers in at Chrysler also. Can,t call it Daimler Chrysler for some reason.
Mike
 

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Outstanding posts, Flyfisher!

Once upon a time, people had a choice: Either work 60-80 hours per week with low pay, little benefits, and no vacation......

or lose their job.

There was also an enormous disparity between wages for different people doing the same job at the same place and under the same conditons. It all boiled down to if the boss 'liked you' or not.

Unions are a godsend for those of us who go to work to do an assigned job. We don't wanna get paid on a scale based upon how many of the bosses jokes we've laughed at.
 

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But you do have to understand, I and the other workers weren,t the ones negotiateing the contracts, the higher ups in the U.A.W and management were.
you got that right. about the only say we have any more is our vote as to wether or not we strike.
 

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And if they wanted to give me that kind of wages I would take
it to. My wife belongs to the same union as a matter of fact I do to. her dues are based upon 2 hrs. of wages if your local does the same; no wonder the union wants you to make more per hr. I have a niece that works for Daimler Chrysler that pays more in income tax than my wife makes. my niece is retiring this year at 51; Her husband is an LPN he did work for the state retired at 54 He told me once that my wife and I worked in the proverty leval I'am begining to believe him.
But what really got me was that when I was in business I would have some body that worked for one of the big three or a related field; call me to come over to their 2nd home on the lake; that they come up to three or four times a year. And want me to do some work for them. When I would give them a price they would groan and moan about how I was robbing them. this didn't happen just once. it happen quite a few times. they wanted to make them big wages and have them new cars setting in the drive way of their second home on the lake. But they begudged me making a living. enought venting. RB1
 

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When talking about the plants down south go, just give it some time. The fight isn,t over especially at the Mercedes- Benz plant in Vance Ala. Thoes were just a few U.A.W people that went down there to see what kind of opposition they have. You will see that plant a U.A.W plant in the very near future. You may think that thoes people are happy but we heard from very few people. And I don,t believe what I read from the Detroit news or Free Press especially for when they brought in trained union busting security people to stop the strike at the news a few year back. Sterling Heights paid millions to the people who got hurt in that one.
And just don,t think unions can,t get in down in the south. As of Augest. 13th the U.A.W reached a partnership agreement with Dana Corp. It is the largest and most profitable automotive plant in " Elizabethtown Ky. 1000 workers work there which manufacture frames for Ford. Another in July 31 U.S Manufacturing a company that supplies parts for American Axle, Dana, and the big three voted to join the U.A.W. 950 workers. Bay City Nurses joined the union July 1. U.P F will join local 599 in Flint.
Lets put it this way. Demlier Chrysler has 75,000 U.A.W members alone not counting union-salary workers which total 20,000. I here alot about the U.A.W getting smaller. Not true. Plants have down sized all over and workers have been lost. Workers are doing 2 jobs instead of 1 now. But more and more workers are joining the unions and alot of workers are finally realizing why. Especially the ones that lost there jobs in these non- union shops in the last few years. And I have just named a few companies that joined the U.A.W.
That is one thing I will always fight for is human rights in the work place, weather if it is union or non- union, job safety in the work place, fair treatment of the employees, and equitable international trade agreements. Thats what makes the world a safer and healthier place for everyone.
Mike
 

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Just one other thing before I shut up and go have another beer.
All we here is that we are loosing jobs because of unions and everyone asking for more money. Maby workers are just plain dam tired for tha fat cats lining there pockets and they aren,t getting crap.
The truth is: " It,s not that the company is going under or anything. Lets tell the real truth. They are just moving production to get away from labor cost and cheapen there material cost. They are moving to Mexico, and China. There are companies that moved to Mexico 4 years ago. As of today 12 companies are moving from Mexico because material cost and wages are to high. Where are they going to China where labor and materials are cheaper yet. Remember these companies are from the Good old U.S.A . And people try to tell me that these companies C.E.Os aren,t greedy. Give me a break.
If you want to do some good vote against what our goverment is trying to pass with Bushes help. The F.T.A.A which would extend NAFTA to all the countries in North, Central, and South American and the Caribbean except for Cuba thank god. In Essance the FTAA represents a dangerous elevation of corporate right s over human rights, increased social insecurity, inequality and ecological destruction. And the last is CAFTA the Central American Free Trade Agreement being pushed for 2004 which would do the same thing in the five countries in Central America.
And what really has NAFTA really done and I don,t care who did it weather it was the stupid democrats or the stupid republicians. What it has done is "Failed" to improve workers rights and living standards, failed to improve environmental conditions and protections, failed to protect public health and safety and other public services, failed to stimulate sustainable,equitable economic growth and development , and most of all "Failed to protect the rights of citizens against corporate corruption ". The U.S. has less job and income security, less control over econonic and social policies, and less equitable income distribution because of NAFTA.
I don,t care if Bush was Dem. or Rep. I would feel the same way because I don,t think either side cares what the hell happens to us. But some may feel he done a good job on the war and thats debateable but he is doing one p--- poor job trying to safe your jobs and trying to create jobs for the ones he has lost for you.
I,ll shut up now and go have my beer!!!
Mike
 
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