Saturday, March 28, 2015

State of the Union March 28, 2015

From the Wall Street Journal: With a tug, Volker Mornhinweg pulled a covering off a life-size clay model of the pickup truck that Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz intends to enter the global market for midsize haulers. Before him stands a sporty double-cab vehicle with the tapered lines typical of Mercedes-Benz sedans and sport-utility vehicles. But this vehicle has a loading space big enough for any craftsmen’s tools or gear for an outdoorsy family’s weekend outing. “Years ago, SUVs used to be, well, rough,” Mr. Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said in an interview. “Then they became prettier. Now, we see the same trend in pickup trucks. We see opportunities to enter this market as the first premium brand.”

Daimler plans to build the truck in cooperation with Nissan Motor Co. using the basic framework of Nissan’s Navara and using Nissan factories to produce the vehicle, two people familiar with the situation said. The talks, which are at an advanced stage, involve using the basic architecture of Nissan’s Navara pickup truck for the new vehicle and producing it in Nissan factories, the people said. Nissan was not immediately available for comment. The Navara is called the Frontier in some markets. “The details are still being worked out,” one of the people said.

Mercedes-Benz would use the Navara framework, but would provide “everything with which the customer comes in contact,” the person added. That would include the powertrain, the interior, the design and other elements. Mercedes-Benz declined to disclose any details of production plans, a specific launch date or pricing, but said it is making preparations to produce the vehicle “in large numbers” in various regions of the world within the next five years. The truck will carry a payload of about one metric ton (2,200 pounds) and come with four- or six-cylinder engines. Mercedes-Benz is targeting Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe for its debut. It says there are no current plans for a U.S. launch.

Global sales of such midsize trucks were 2.34 million vehicles last year, according to IHS Automotive, a research group. The market is growing, but it isn’t booming. Sales are expected to rise to 2.83 million by 2020, says IHS. Mr. Mornhinweg dismissed speculation that Mercedes-Benz also is planning to launch a full-size truck in the U.S. market against such popular trucks as Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 and General Motors Co.’s Silverado and Chrysler’s Ram. “The full-size segment is too specific for the U.S. It’s not a global market,” he said. “And it’s dominated by the Big Three. It makes no sense to go there.”

Dennis Williams: UAW ready to fight to restore the middle class
In the dark days of the Great Recession, UAW members from all sectors accepted concessions as many companies were threatened with bankruptcy and profits evaporated.
Six years later, the outlook has improved, UAW President Dennis Williams told delegates on the final day of the 2015 UAW Special Bargaining Convention in Detroit.
Now, “It’s Our Time” to share in the prosperity that our sacrifices have brought.
“I truly believe that the companies we deal with know that we can be creative and thoughtful,” Williams said. “But they also know that sharing in bad times must be equally shared in good times.”

Despite the prosperity, rewards are not getting to the people who need them the most. A free market society cannot thrive unless working men and women have disposable incomes. It was true in 1958 when Walter Reuther said it, and it remains true today.

“A society built on low-wage jobs does not deliver purchasing power,” therefore slowing economic growth and shrinking the middle class. That puts more working people in jeopardy and more in poverty, Williams said.

The United States now has the highest percentage of low-wage jobs among developed nations. The purchasing power to buy consumer goods, such as the vehicles they build, a house, or to send a child to college doesn’t exist, even with a recovering economy.
“I say there is something wrong with this country,” Williams said.

To fix it, America needs a strong union movement. But we’re under attack on so many fronts that are designed to diminish workers’ rights and collective bargaining. Both are based on fundamental democratic principles our nation was founded on.

In one such despicable attack, anti-union extremist Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker compared union members to terrorists. President Williams asked all veterans, men and women who have honorably served our country in peacetime and in war, to stand and be recognized.

“Shame on Walker! Shame on the Republican Party and shame on anybody who has that kind of attitude about the working men and women of America,” Williams said to thunderous applause.

Despite the attacks, our bargaining committees know that the work they do will help lift people out of poverty.

“As an American citizen, we cannot be comfortable living in our country while children are going hungry,” Williams said. “We cannot accept that everyday people in the United States of America work 40 or 50 hours and more are living in poverty.”

Williams noted that this year there is a great deal at stake, not only in our bargaining, but in Washington where the fast track legislation is being negotiated. “No one can afford to get this wrong,” he said. “Our government cannot negotiate another bad trade agreement.”

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

State of the Union March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015 online at

• From the Women’s Committee: Thanks to everyone who helped to make this year’s Easter Egg Hunt another big success. A great time was had by everyone who attended. Also, the Women’s Committee is raffling off a Colorado jacket (donated by Pat Wyse) to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Tickets are $5 apiece or 3 for $10 and available from any committee member.

• There will be a Civil Rights Committee meeting on Monday, April 6 between shifts in the cafeteria. As always, anyone interested in attending and becoming a member of the committee is welcome.

• This week is the UAW Bargaining Convention, which is being held in Detroit. Here is a message from the UAW about the Power of Collective Bargaining:

The theme of the UAW’s 2015 Special Convention on Collective Bargaining is “The Power of Collective Bargaining Lifts Us All.” This reminds us that the historic gains members make at the bargaining table are victories that lift families into the middle class and benefit entire communities. It also reminds us that no gain we have achieved has been freely given but has come only from the power of collective bargaining, and the solidarity it creates when we come together at the negotiating table. Your activism as a member and the solidarity you create within the UAW secure working people’s gains in every contract we ratify. When we face challenges, we know we still stand together to fight another day. That bond of solidarity that creates victories for working people is never broken. We will forge ahead to create contracts that generate prosperity for our national economy, high standards in our workplaces, and a rewarding retirement for all.

More than ever, the power of collective bargaining is needed to lift working women and men and sustain this great nation’s working families who are the bedrock of our economy.

With each step forward, we carry with us the knowledge that the power of collective bargaining lifts us all.

Today at the Bargaining Convention, UAW President Dennis Williams gave a speech to the delegates. This article from the Detroit Free Press captures some of President Williams comments:
UAW President Dennis Williams, wearing a dark suit and red shirt, raised his fist and led union members through several fiery chants Wednesday as he laid out his vision for the union and its negotiating priorities with the Detroit Three and other employers.
"When I raise my fist, I am talking about unity, I am talking about solidarity," Williams told delegates gathered in Detroit for the union's bargaining convention today.
Williams said the UAW understands the pressures of globalization that employers face, but railed about an economic recovery from the worst recession in decades that has failed to deliver pay increases for many in the middle class. Williams said it has led to an America where people work more than 40 hours per week and still live in near poverty.
"I believe in a $15 an hour minimum wage," Williams said. "It makes sense for the United States of America."

When it comes to upcoming contract talks with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, Williams made it clear he would like to eliminate an entry level wage that was approved by UAW members in 2007 when the automakers were losing money and market share. The UAW's four-year contract with the Detroit Three expires in September.
"I truly believe that our companies know that we can be both creative and thoughtful," Williams said. "But make no doubt about it, they also know, that as we share in the bad times, we must equally share in the good times."
One of the prevailing themes at the UAW's two-day bargaining convention has been the idea of "bridging the gap" -- a reference to seeking a raise for the lower paid autoworkers who earn a maximum of $19.28 per hour to bring them closer to the $28 per hour, on average, that workers hired before 2008 make.
"The UAW will never abandon the principles on which we were founded," Williams said. "We believe in a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, and we believe in equal pay for equal work."
For Williams, the challenge will be not only to negotiate a contract that appeases autoworkers, but also to negotiate new contracts with workers at John Deere, the State of Michigan and a number of other employers.
"This year, we have a great responsibility, full of challenges," Williams said. "Throughout the country, we have a lot of contracts (to negotiate), and you know there is a great deal at stake. Our challenge is real."

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

State of the Union March 17, 2015

March 17, 2015 online at

• Union Meeting is tomorrow at 7:15 am for 3rd shift, 3:15 pm for 1st shift and 11:15 pm for 2nd shift.

• Volunteers are needed to help stuff Easter eggs at the Union Hall between shifts starting on Wednesday. Our annual Easter Egg Hunt will be this Saturday, March 21 from 12 – 3 pm.

• From Community Services: There will be a canned food drive to help stock area food pantries. It will run through Friday, March 20. You can drop off your canned goods in the barrels located at each entrance.

• The Women’s Committee is raffling off a Colorado jacket (donated by Pat Wyse) to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Tickets are $5 apiece or 3 for $10 and available from any committee member.

• Time to take a look back at February sales for both the van and the pickup.

  2015 2014 Change Share
Ford Transit 6750 --- --- 32.4%
GM 5221 6970 -25.1% 25.0%
Ford Econoline 4396 8489 -48.2% 21.1%
Mercedes Sprinter 1675 1421 +17.9% 8.0%
Ram ProMaster 1627 597 +172% 7.8%
Nissan NV 1188 995 +19.4% 5.7%
Toyota Tacoma 12.372 10,942 +13.1% 44.9%
Chev. Colorado 6563 --- --- 23.8%
Nissan Frontier 6106 5791 +5.4% 22.2%
GMC Canyon 2513 --- --- 9.1%

Field supplies for the van were largely unchanged and stood at 50 days for February. That said, passenger van supplies continue to fall and are now roughly half of what they were at this time last year, with Chevy at 16 days supply. Cargo van supplies dipped while cutaways rose. For pickups, the Colorado stood at 12 days supply, the lowest of any GM product. Canyon supplies stood at 28 days as we continue to fill the pipeline on both products. It is also apparent that the midsize pickup category as a whole is growing because of the addition of our products, just as many analysts had predicted.

• As right-to-work claims more states, and we in Missouri try to keep it at bay, there is an interesting op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal that sheds some light on just how right-to-work came to pass. The following is edited from that piece: Last week Wisconsin became the 25th right-to-work state. Under the bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, workers cannot be forced to join a union or pay dues as a condition of keeping their jobs.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Great Society, the wave of liberal legislation enacted by the 89th Congress under the legendary browbeating of President Lyndon B. Johnson. There is no small irony here, because organized labor, the most powerful interest group in the mid-20th century Democratic Party—was the wallflower at the Great Society party. Unions hoped to make it impossible for states to adopt right-to-work laws yet failed. Unions were simply left behind amid other liberal priorities, and their failure helped put unions on the defensive—where they still are, at least in the private economy.
The cornerstone of American labor law is the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, called the “Wagner Act” after its Senate sponsor, progressive Democrat Robert F. Wagner of New York. The legislation was deliberately one sided, subjecting employers to a series of obligations, including the duty to bargain with whatever organization the majority of employees chose. The legislation outlawed certain employer labor practices and established the National Labor Relations Board to interpret the law, particularly to define and police “unfair labor practices.”
Unions of the old American Federation of Labor and the newer Congress of Industrial Organizations took advantage of the law and organized millions of workers, especially those in the mass-production industries of autos, steel and meatpacking. By 1945 the two had taken in one-third of the private workforce, helped along by government-contracting provisions passed during World War II. The AFL and CIO were determined to lock down the gains they made during the war. They engaged in a “strike wave” in 1945-46 that threatened to cripple the already difficult postwar reconversion to a peacetime economy. Even liberal President Harry Truman went to court for an injunction to break the coal strike, and he was about to ask Congress for extraordinary power to break the railroad strike when the railroad brotherhoods gave in.
The public sense that unions had become too powerful led to the election of Republican majorities in 1946, the first GOP Congress since 1928. “Had Enough?” was their campaign slogan. They enacted the Labor-Management Relations Act in 1947, known as the Taft-Hartley Act. It outlawed the closed shop, for example, where an employer could only hire union members; strikes between rival unions; and certain kinds of secondary boycotts such as sympathy strikes.
After Taft-Hartley, workers could not be required to maintain membership in a union (after being hired), although if they quit the union they could still be required to pay an agency fee—that portion of the union dues used only for collective bargaining. But Taft-Hartley included a provision called section 14(b) that allowed states to abolish any requirement that workers join a union or pay any dues. This “right-to-work” provision was adopted by many states, mostly in the South and West. Unions complained that 14(b) allowed nonunion workers a free ride, enjoying the benefits of unionization without paying for them.
The AFL-CIO—the two federations merged in 1955—constantly called for the repeal of Taft-Hartley, especially 14(b), though a coalition of Midwestern Republicans and Southern Democrats prevented it. Unions finally had an opening to get rid of 14(b) when the Democratic Party won an overwhelming majority in Congress in 1964. But in October 1965 Senate conservatives filibustered the (house passed) repeal. And that is how what in 1965 would have been considered unimaginable—that Michigan and Wisconsin could be open-shop states—came about.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Friday, March 13, 2015

State of the Union March 11, 2015

March 11, 2015 online at
• From the Benefits Department: Everyone should have received a letter from Blue Cross about the security breach at Anthem. This does not mean that your personal information was compromised and no action is required on your part. You are automatically enrolled in a credit monitoring service free of charge for 2 years. You can go to for more information or call 877-263-7995 from 9 am to 9 pm Eastern time Monday through Saturday. • Anyone interested in playing men’s softball on Sunday nights at Ozzies in O’Fallon should contact Kevin Dandois at 636-578-3683. Tryouts will be the first warm weekend at Ozzies. • Reminder: Tomorrow, March 12, is Irish Heritage day in the cafeteria. There will be displays, information and popcorn. Come on up to learn more.

• From Community Services: There will be a canned food drive to help stock area food pantrys. It will begin this Saturday, March 14 and run through Friday, March 20. You can drop off your canned goods in the barrels located at each entrance.

• There will be a bake sale Monday, March 16 at the Suggestions office to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Sale will begin at approximately 6 am so you third shifters can grab some baked goods before heading home.

• Activist investor and hedge fund lackey Harry Wilson managed to get GM to agree to a $5 billion stock buyback by the end of next year in exchange for him dropping his demand for an $8 billion buyback and a seat on the board of directors. “Mary’s highly thoughtful approach is a sea change from the old GM, and it’s why we were able to come to a win-win conclusion so quickly”, Wilson said, referring to GM CEO Mary Barra. It certainly is a win for Mr. Wilson, who will be compensated by the 4 hedge funds he represents by some 2-4% of their profits from any increase in GM share prices. With 34 million shares, this translates to between $680,000 and $1.36 million for every $1 increase in GM's price. We’re not sure what the other win represents, or who benefits. Wilson had said his rationale for a board seat was "to help General Motors build for the long-term strengths that it needs to become a world-class company and to thrive for many years to come." Apparently that requires jettisoning 20% of your cash cushion. Memo to Harry: If your idea of creating long term growth is reducing a company’s ability to ward off the next inevitible ecomomic downturn by enriching hedge funds, Apple is sitting on $178 billion in cash. Why don’t you round up your hedge fund masters and mount a charge up that cash mountain?

• From the Detroit News: Mercedes-Benz said Friday it plans to spend $500 million to build a new plant in Charleston, S.C., so it can assemble its next-generation Sprinter commercial van there, providing more evidence that the commercial van segment in the U.S. is continuing to get more competitive. The investment will create 1,300 new jobs. "This plant is key to our future growth in the very dynamic North American van market," Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz vans, said in a statement. Mercedes-Benz said construction of the 8.6-million-square-foot plant is expected to begin in 2016. The plant will include a new body shop, a paint shop and an assembly line. Daimler was the first automaker to sell a European-styled commercial van in the U.S. in 2001. But over the past three years, the commercial van segment has become vastly more competitive as Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Nissan have all introduced new or completely redesigned commercial vans in the U.S. In recent years, Nissan has launched its NV commercial and cargo vans, Ram has launched its the ProMaster and ProMaster City and Ford has launched the Transit Connect and replaced its Econoline with the Transit commercial van. Last year, Daimler AG sold 26,000 Sprinter vans to U.S. customers under the Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner brand names. The new plant will continue to produce Sprinter vans for both brands. Until now, the automaker has been shipping the van in kit-form from Germany and reassembling in Charleston, S.C. This has allowed Daimler to avoid the 20% “chicken tax” levied on foreign trucks.

• One persistent rumor regarding the midsize pickup category is the Jeep will be building a pickup in the not too distant future. Going back to 2005 and the Jeep Gladiator concept – essentially a Wrangler with a bed – rumors have swirled about the possibility of such a vehicle. As recently as 2012 Jeep ran a “J-12” pickup in the annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari off-roading event. "I remain a big fan of a Jeep pickup," Jeep CEO and President Mike Manley said earlier this year. "I think we have history that says it belongs in our portfolio." But just because a Jeep pickup seems like a great idea on paper, Manley stresses it doesn't mean it will come to fruition anytime soon. "At this moment and time, I have higher priorities. That doesn't mean to say that we don't work on it, we're not looking at it," said Manley, adding he had "nothing further to add than that." Analysts remain udeterred in their belief that one will be built. "How many SUVs can you make? They're running out of space within their own lineup to generate sales with new product," said IHS Automotive analyst Stephanie Brinley. "The only one that makes sense is a small/compact pickup truck."

• The UAW, and everyone else who opposes the free trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, got an important ally. According to MarketWatch, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman came out against the Pacific Rim trade deal, calling it “fundamentally trivial“ for the U.S. trade sector. “Pushing this [trade deal] has nothing to do with the interest of a vast majority of Americans,” Krugman, the Princeton University economist and New York Times columnist, said Tuesday in a speech to a conference sponsored by the National Association for Business Economics. The U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations are now trying to agree to the final terms of the trade partnership. Krugman said special interests, especially “Hollywood and pharmaceuticals” are pushing hard for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Specifically, they favor intellectual property protections included in the measure, he added. These copyright and patent protections simply create monopolies, are “anti-growth,” and hurt vulnerable poor people looking for medicine, he said. Krugman said the Pacific deal would only boost GDP by a fraction of one percent per year. “The claims that this is going to be an enormous engine of growth just doesn’t hold water,” Krugman said. “There can no longer be ground-breaking, world-transforming deals on international trade because we’ve already done those,” Krugman added.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

State of the Union March 3, 2015

March 3, 2015 online at

• The Civil Rights Committee is asking for donations of display items for the Irish Heritage day to be held Thursday, March 12. These items will be displayed for one day and then returned. You can donate items at the benefits office or the EAP office of Ron Moore.

• From Automotive News: General Motors' full-size vans have been in short supply for months as GM scrambles to boost production at a St. Louis-area assembly plant, frustrating some fleet customers and dealers.

The trouble began last fall, when GM started production of the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups at its plant in Wentzville, Mo. That's where GM has made its full-size vans -- the Chevy Express and GMC Savana -- for two decades. With GM in full launch mode on the pickups, van production has dropped by as much as two-thirds. GM cut off dealer orders for 2015 Express and Savana models in October, more than six months earlier than usual. It's expected to resume van orders this summer, for 2016 models.

Dealers have been left to soothe their fleet customers. Even on vans that dealers requested before GM closed the order bank, delivery has been pushed back by months in some cases, dealers say.
"Customers are canceling van orders because they don't want to wait until July or August for delivery," said a fleet-sales manager at a Chevy dealership who asked not to be named. GM plans to add a third shift of 750 workers at Wentzville this month. Even then, it likely will take many months to clear the backlog of van demand. GM is considering running the plant 24/7 -- three shifts on Saturdays and Sundays -- once the third shift begins, according to a person familiar with the proposal.
GM spokesman Bob Wheeler said the company has been surprised by the initial demand for the Colorado and Canyon, as well as the strong van sales in 2014. Combined Express and Savana sales rose 11 percent to 105,993 last year. Meanwhile, the pickups are spending a scant 16 days on dealership lots, on average, before they're sold, according to J.D. Power data cited by GM. "With both products experiencing extremely high demand, we're doing everything we can to produce more of each to satisfy the market," Wheeler said.
Ken Thompson, fleet manager for Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas, said he has been working closely with fleet customers to nurse their current vans a few more months until new ones can be delivered. Most have been understanding. "We have had some orders delayed because of the uncertainty of when we could get them delivered," Thompson said. "Whether we've lost them or not, we can't really know."

• General Motors Co. dealers in the United States delivered 231,378 vehicles last month. Total sales were up 4 percent compared to a year ago. Retail sales were up 1 percent. Commercial and fleet deliveries were up 12 percent. Sales of trucks, including SUVs, vans and pickups, were up 36 percent year over year. “Our new SUVs and crossovers, combined with the three-pickup strategy we outlined more than a year ago, are dovetailing perfectly with the growing U.S. economy and a stronger job market,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations.
“Six months into its launch, the Chevrolet Colorado is the industry’s fastest-selling pickup, regardless of brand or model year,” he added. “The Silverado had another great month, with sales, market share and average transaction prices up sharply. And when you add the GMC Sierra and Canyon to the mix, GM’s year-over-year pickup deliveries increased 37 percent. That follows January’s 42 percent increase and December’s 43 percent increase.”
According to J.D. Power PIN data, the average Chevrolet Colorado – Motor Trend magazine’s unanimous choice for 2015 Truck of the Year – spends just 15 days in dealer stock from the day it arrives on the showroom floor. PIN also estimates that the Chevrolet Silverado’s retail market share in the full-size pickup segment was 27.2 percent in February, up 1.5 percentage points from a year ago, at the expense of Ford’s F-Series and FCA’s Ram. Average transaction prices rose by almost $1,700 per unit from a year ago. In addition, strong truck and crossover sales drove the GMC brand to its best February since 2002.
Highlights (vs. 2014 except as noted)
  • Chevrolet had its best February since 2008.
  • The new Trax small crossover, which began arriving in showrooms in December 2014, saw deliveries of 3,821 units.
  • The Camaro, Corvette and Spark were up 3 percent, 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
  • Tahoe sales were up 49 percent, Suburban sales more than doubled and the Traverse was up 28 percent for its best-ever February. The Equinox also had its best-ever February sales, with deliveries up 1 percent.
  • The Silverado was up 24 percent for its best February since 2007. GMC:
  • The Yukon and Yukon XL were up 43 percent and 85 percent, respectively.
  • The Sierra, which has the highest average transaction prices of any pickup line in the industry, was up 6 percent.
  • GMC dealers delivered more than 2,500 Canyons, AutoWeek magazine’s “Best of the Best/Truck” for 2015. It was the vehicle’s best-ever February sales.
  • The Acadia was up 4 percent and Terrain was up 17 percent for its best-ever February.
  • The Denali series vehicles are now 21 percent of all GMC vehicles, up from 18%.

  • Encore deliveries rose 60 percent for its best February ever. It remains the best-selling vehicle in the small crossover segment.

  • Demand for the new Escalade continues to grow. Sales were up 86 percent for the vehicle’s best February since 2008.

Average Transaction Prices (ATPs): ATPs were $34,700, according to PIN estimates through Feb. 22, up $2,700 per unit compared to a year ago.
Incentives: Incentive spending as a percentage of ATPs was 9.7 percent in February, down 0.9 percentage points month over month, according to PIN estimates. while industry average spending was 9.9 percent of ATPs, up 0.1 points.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Thursday, February 26, 2015

State of the Union February 27, 2015

February 26, 2015 online at

• From Chairman Mike Bullock: Congratulations to the 750 temporaries who will be converted to permanent! The conversion will happen on the following dates:

Your group leader will inform you of the time and place for the meeting to sign your paperwork and to learn of your benefits.
Orders for our trucks and vans have been coming in steadily. We have already reached #2 status in sales of mid-size trucks. Only Toyota stands in our way. Sales have way exceeded projections. With that said, the corporation approached the International Union to try and find an innovative, creative way to produce more trucks and vans here at Wentzville Assembly Center. A presentation to the union by the corporation was given on Tuesday of a unique “flex” schedule. This schedule has not been done at any other GM plant. Again Wentzville is being asked to be the leaders in the corporation.
The details are still being negotiated. The earliest we could launch a flex schedule would be July. We will remain on plan “A” overtime until a flex schedule would be launched.
The good news is, we are building two products that our customers cannot get enough of. I want to do everything possible to keep Wentzville Assembly Center as the sole builder of our products. With everyone’s help we can do this. I will share more information as it becomes available.
• Here are the shift schedules for next week, beginning March 2:
First shift: 6:30 am – 3:00 pm
1st break – 8:30 am
Lunch – 11:00 am
2nd break – 1:00 pm
Second shift: 2:30 pm – 11:00 pm
1st break – 4:30 pm
Lunch – 7:00 pm
2nd break – 9:00 pm
Third shift: 10:30 pm – 7:00 am
1st break – 12:30 am
Lunch – 3:00 am
2nd break – 5:00 am

• The 23rd Annual African-American Heritage Celebration will be held this Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Union Hall. Doors open at 6:30 pm and dinner will be at 7 pm. Beer, set-ups and snacks will be provided along with dancing and music from DJ “T Gutta”. Come on out and help make this a memorable celebration!

• The Civil Rights Committee is asking for donations of display items for the Irish Heritage day to be held Thursday, March 12. These items will be displayed for one day and then returned. You can donate items at the benefits office or the EAP office of Ron Moore.

• Reminder: ticket sales for the Colorado coat will run through Friday, Feb. 27 and the drawing will be at 1st shift lunch time in the cafeteria. Tickets are $5 apiece or 3 for $10 and are available from Women’s Committee members. You can also buy them in the cafeteria at 1st shift lunch time.

• You have to give Toyota management an A+ for audacity. Fresh off of a fiscal third quarter that generated $5.1 billion in profit, and projections of record full year profits of $24.5 billion, you would think Toyota workers would be in line to share some of that windfall. Well you would be wrong. The Toyota Motor Workers’ Union earlier this month proposed a 6,000 yen ($50) monthly wage increase for the fiscal year beginning in April, a raise of about 1.7 percent. That timid proposal was met with this response: “It is impossible to accept this as it is,” Managing Officer Tatsuro Ueda told reporters in Toyota City, Japan. “It is a higher-level proposal than we expected.” For the record, this raise would increase labor costs $168 million, or .7 percent of annual profits. How could they ever stay in business giving out raises like that?

• From Automotive News: General Motors is trimming production at two of its car plants amid mounting dealer inventories, an effort to reduce stocks of the Chevrolet Sonic and Camaro, Buick Regal and other models. This week, GM scheduled downtime for March 9-13 at its Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit, where the Sonic and Buick Verano small cars are made, to adjust supply to demand, according to a plant worker and another person with knowledge of the schedule. The Orion plant also was idle last week and previously had scheduled a down week for April 6-10, also to trim excess inventory. Meanwhile, the “Flex” line at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario, plant will be idled April 13-17, cutting production of the Camaro sports car, Regal sedan, Cadillac XTS sedan and Chevy Impala, one of the sources said. On Feb. 1, there was a 216-day supply of Sonics. The Regal had a 213-day supply, up from 96 days on Jan. 1. Camaro inventory was 131 days, up from a month earlier but lower than at the same time last year.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Monday, February 23, 2015

State of the Union February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015 online at

• Attention: GM has been working closely with Anthem and Blue Cross Blue Shield to address the recent Anthem cyber-attack. Anthem is a service provider to Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan (BCBSM). GM was notified this week by BCBSM that some GM participants’ data has been compromised in this incident.
Impacted GM participants will be notified directly by Anthem via U.S. Mail. Anthem is offering two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft repair through AllClear ID to BCBSM or Blue Care Network members whose personal information could be affected. This includes members who live – or traveled to and received health services – in one of the 14 states where Anthem operates: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. You do not need to wait for your notification letter from Anthem to participate in the credit monitoring/identity theft repair enrollment process. Simply go to www.AnthemFacts.com for instructions. Anthem’s enrollment process will ask you a few questions to determine if you may have been affected by the cyber-attack. In addition, both current and former Anthem members can call this dedicated, toll-free number if they have questions related to this incident: 1-877-263-7995. You can also learn more by reviewing attached the Frequently Asked Questions provided by BCBSM.

• FYI – Alliance Credit Union will be in the cafeteria all week signing up members with a special rate on new Savings account for GM employees.

• Due to high demand, ticket sales for the Colorado coat will run through Friday, Feb. 27 and the drawing will be at 1st shift lunch time in the cafeteria. Tickets are $5 apiece or 3 for $10 and are available from Women’s Committee members. You can also buy them in the cafeteria at 1st shift lunch time.

• The 23rd Annual African-American Heritage Celebration will be held this Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Union Hall. Doors open at 6:30 pm and dinner will be at 7 pm. Beer, set-ups and snacks will be provided along with dancing and music from DJ “T Gutta”. Come on out and help make this a memorable celebration!

• The Civil Rights Committee is asking for donations of display items for the Irish Heritage day to be held Thursday, March 12. These items will be displayed for one day and then returned. You can donate items at the benefits office or the EAP office of Ron Moore.

• Right-to-work legislation is making its way through the Missouri Legislature. While Governor Jay Nixon has promised a veto should it reach his desk, we can’t assume that his veto would not be overridden. That’s why it is important to contact your legislator and tell them you are opposed to right-to-work for Missouri. Call 1-855-626-6011 to contact your legislator to tell them they need to focus on creating jobs, not scoring political points at the expense of the middle class.

• From Reuters: United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams told Reuters it would be an "injustice" if workers at the Detroit Three automakers don’t get a raise in contracts this year, but he said the union must also ensure the companies remain competitive. Williams, in an interview with the Reuters editorial board in New York, gave a glimpse of the union’s approach to this summer’s contract talks with General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The UAW has not conducted a substantial strike against any of the Detroit automakers since the 1990s, and was prohibited from striking GM and Chrysler under the terms of the 2009 federal bailout. This time around, Williams said the union is prepared to call for walkouts, if necessary.
“We’re ... mature organizations that have been through a hell of a lot together to survive,” Williams said. “None of us want to blow it.” Williams serves on the board of commercial truck maker Navistar International Corp, an appointment he says he took reluctantly, reflecting traditional union concerns about getting too close to management. Williams says his views have changed, and he now supports UAW representation on boards. The union has a representative on GM’s board (former VP Joe Ashton). “We’ve got to be creative,” Williams said, referring to any overhaul of the two-tier wage system. “Wages are not the only way to stay competitive. It’s about productivity. It’s about engineering, it’s about a lot of things.”
Williams also told Reuters an investor group’s proposal that GM buy back $8 billion of its stock is premature, and the amount too high for the company’s long-term health. An investment firm controlled by Harry Wilson, a former member of the U.S. government task force that restructured GM through bankruptcy in 2009, together with four other hedge funds, is urging it to return part of its roughly $25 billion cash trove to shareholders. Williams, who said he met Tuesday with Harry Wilson to discuss the proposal, left open the possibility that he could endorse a smaller share repurchase. “I personally don’t have a problem with Harry, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily agreed with his total analysis of the company,” Williams said. He described his meeting with Wilson as “informative and frank.” . Williams said he is concerned that GM will need to make substantial investments in new models and technology to stay competitive, and to meet stricter fuel economy and emissions requirements. GM has outlined plans to boost capital spending in 2015 by 20 percent to $9 billion. Some of that investment will flow to U.S. factories that employ some of GM's 49,900 UAW members.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly