Tuesday, December 16, 2014

State of the Union December 16, 2014

State of the Union December 16, 2014 online at www.uawlocal2250.com

• If you were feeling sorry for the Canyon as the Colorado garners all the attention, weep no more. Autoweek has named the GMC Canyon Best of the Best Truck for 2015. Said Autoweek:
Yes, the Porsche Macan is fast and handles like a sports car. The Lincoln MKC is a beautiful piece—smooth, comfortable and refined—and it bodes well for the future of the brand. We loved them both, enough to choose them as finalists for our 2015 Best of the Best/Truck award.
But trucks speak to a different part of the brain than cars, where the desire for power and road chops meets the need for utility and good ol’-fashioned dirt-under-the-fingernails grunt. That’s part of the reason we’re giddy to give the 2015 GMC Canyon the award. It’s truly a truck in the most honest sense of the word—with a roughly 1,500-pound payload in all trims and up to 7,000 pounds of towing ability—but refuses to forego the requirements a modern buyer has in a vehicle: refinement, modern conveniences and amenities, high-quality build, practicality and style.
Perhaps more importantly, GMC puts all that trucky goodness into a palatably sized package. We hesitate calling it small; as one editor pointed out, the Canyon sports a longer wheelbase than a first-gen GMT800 Sierra. Nevertheless, it’s a far cry from the gargantuan half-ton trucks running around these days like mini-Macks. “To me, the Canyon is the right size for a truck,” said one tester. “Modern full-sizers often feel too big to be really useful both as commuters and as trucks.” Every staffer echoed the sentiment: The Canyon is the perfect size.
It also helps the Canyon’s cause that it’s one handsome truck, stylish yet still sturdy looking. Where the Chevy offers perhaps a bit more value, the GMC is brimming with a near-luxury experience. It’s startlingly quiet inside, with a lush feel about the cabin and rich appointments throughout. For General Motors and for the wider buying public, the Canyon is as important an entry as we’ve seen in a long time. It marks the exciting return to the American compact-truck market, and we couldn’t be more pleased to call it a winner. “It’s truly a truck in the most honest sense…but refuses to forego the requirements a modern buyer has in a vehicle: refinement, modern conveniences and amenities, high-quality build, practicality and style,” said Autoweek’s editors, who also noted the Canyon is “brimming with a near-luxury experience.”
Autoweek’s annual Best of the Best awards are based on the evaluations of eight vehicle finalists selected for their performance, design, build quality, value and significance. A three-day test session at Michigan International Speedway by the editors determined the awards, which include one car and one truck.
“Of the hundreds of vehicles Autoweek tests each year, only a relative few truly stand out from the rest,” said Autoweek editor Wes Raynal. “The GMC Canyon is not only one of the best new vehicles on the market, it’s one of the most important, signaling an exciting return to the mid-sized truck segment.”

• FYI – We have been informed by management that team meeting this Friday, Dec. 19, will be taken 20 minutes prior to lunch at 10:10 to provide extra time for team dinners.

• The annual Chassis Christmas Party will be Friday, Dec. 19 at Maggie Malones after first shift. There will be free food, drink specials, prizes and live music as well as a visit from Santa! All are welcome so come and join us for an evening of fun and holiday cheer. For more info contact Susan Daniel (Picou) at column F-43 of the engine line.

• There is still one item left to cover from November sales results: field supplies. Van supplies overall dropped by nearly 1000 despite the tepid sales rate. Because of that rate the supply as measured in days rose to 62 from 56 days supply at the end of October. If you look at units in net field stock at the end of last November, supplies have dropped by about 6500 units, or 33%. Passenger vans are down 50% from then. And while it’s still very early on, the supply of the Colorado stand at 21 days, while the Canyon is at 34 days. Total stock for the two models is around 3000 units. Expect these numbers to fluctuate until the product pipeline gets filled.

• UAW President Dennis Williams held a press conference at Solidarity House Monday. Here are some of his remarks:
o On raises for traditional, or legacy workers: “In the Big Three, what we consider legacy employees have not had a general wage increase for many years and we will be addressing that.” And “If they want to go ahead and want to talk about wages, I am more than happy to sit down and talk about their salaries.”
o On bridging the gap between those workers and tier 2 workers: “We are very aware that the need to balance the wages is very important to our membership. None of it is going to be easy, but I have committed that we are going to start bridging that gap.” And "We want to keep the companies competitive at the same time we want our members to have a lifestyle that gives them a family life.”
o On maintaining competitiveness: “I often listen to companies about being competitive, and the only thing they ever talk about in the public is being competitive based on the backs of workers. That’s not the only way to do it.” And "It is about how we keep the companies competitive, and we are conscious of that. But general wage increases are important to our members, and it is important to us as a nation, to bring our standard of living up." But the union will “not repeat the sins of the past.”
o On the possibility of a strike: “Striking is a failure on both parties’ part. We don’t plan on failing, but we’re going to be prepared.” And "I never go into negotiations with the idea that we are preparing for a strike. That is the last thing we want to do as an organization."
o On organizing in the south: "We believe every time we organize in the South it is going to get more difficult, not easier. But I think that we have the right strategy."
o On right-to-work: "I don't think challenging right to work is going to be a priority right now. We are focused on the needs of the membership."

• GM was contacted after the press conference. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM said it is confident it will be able to reach a new agreement with the UAW next year, despite Williams' comments today. "We have a strong track record of creative problem-solving and are committed to working with our union partners to enable long-term success for the business and our employees," GM said in a statement.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

State of the Union December 10, 2014

December 10, 2014 online at www.uawlocal2250.com

• Reminder: Friday, Dec. 12 is also the deadline for turning in resolutions for the upcoming National Negotiations in 2015. Forms are available from your committee person or at the Union Hall and you can return them to same. All resolutions (except duplicates) will be submitted for negotiations.

• The Body Shop bake sale netted $1007 for Adopt-A-Child! This money will be used to level gifts. Thanks to everyone once again for your generosity. We have a revised number for number of children adopted – 190! This is easily the highest total ever. To those who have adopted a child, please return your gifts (unwrapped) to the communications office no later than this Friday, Dec. 12. Gift distribution begins Monday, Dec. 15.

• FYI – employees cannot attend Apprentice Orientation sessions on company time.

• The annual Chassis Christmas Party will be Friday, Dec. 19 at Maggie Malones after first shift. There will be free food, drink specials, prizes and live music as well as a visit from Santa! All are welcome so come and join us for an evening of fun and holiday cheer. For more info contact Susan Daniel (Picou) at column F-43 of the engine line.

• The UAW has been certified as the representative of more than 45% of Volkswagen's workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., a major victory for the union, which has been trying to gain a foothold in the South and in foreign auto plants. The results of the independent audit of union membership clear the way for the union to meet regularly with management on workplace issues.
Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, who heads the International Union’s Transnational Department, released the following statement regarding Volkswagen's verification of the membership of UAW Local 42: "We appreciate Volkswagen's timely response in verifying UAW Local 42’s substantial membership level, which exceeds a majority of workers at the plant. As anticipated, we surpassed the highest level under Volkswagen's new Community Organization Engagement policy, and the local leadership is ready to move forward with additional conversations with the company. In the initial conversations, the local union will remind Human Resources and the Chattanooga Executive Committee of the mutually agreed-upon commitments that were made by Volkswagen and the UAW last spring in Germany. Among those commitments: Volkswagen will recognize the UAW as the representative of our members. We believe Volkswagen made this commitment in good faith and we believe the company will honor this commitment. Additionally, the local union will present the Chattanooga plant management with the September letter of intent in which the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council expressed its desire for the Chattanooga plant to be a ‘UAW-represented facility.' With this in mind, we will be working toward the process of collective bargaining with the company.”

• From the Wall Street Journal: Workers at U.S. assembly plants for General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. are likely to get 2014 bonuses exceeding $6,000 each, capping a four-year labor contract under which profit-sharing checks have gone to factory employees in record amounts. But the United Auto Workers union, gearing up for negotiations with Detroit’s Big Three next summer, is prepared to argue that isn’t good enough.
After 10 years without hourly wage increases as well as an agreement by the union to accept lower pay for new hires, compensation is increasingly tied to the auto makers’ performance, which has been in a boom-or-bust cycle for decades. “Workers at GM, Ford and Chrysler have made painful sacrifices,” UAW Vice President Cindy
Estrada said in an interview. “Now it’s time for workers to share in the success, too.”
Ms. Estrada, entering her first contract talks as the lead GM negotiator, said it is too early to discuss specifics. “I don’t want to talk about bargaining now, because we’re not bargaining,” she added. Ms. Estrada also oversees UAW activities tied to auto-parts suppliers. She said “this bargaining is important for all,” noting that some auto jobs at U.S. parts makers pay less than $10 an hour, forcing workers to go on food stamps or work elsewhere.
In discussions with UAW officials in October, Ms. Estrada and UAW President Dennis Williams said two-tier wages must be addressed. Mr. Williams, who was elected in 2014, has consistently said he aims to “close the gap” between what legacy UAW workers—hired before the U.S. economic crisis—are paid and what new hires earn. One of the UAW’s rallying cries in months to come is expected to be “no more tiers.”
Officials working for Detroit auto makers anticipate coming to a solution on two-tier wages that will make the UAW more comfortable, people familiar with the strategy say. Pay increases are not off the table. But the companies plan to continue pursuing pay structures that are heavy on variable compensation so they can avoid the troubles they had when the economy skidded in 2007, according to people familiar with the negotiating strategy.
Citing hourly-pay flexibility as a big factor, GM, Ford and Chrysler have invested billions of dollars in U.S. plants and hired tens of thousands of workers in recent years. Ford, for instance, will have hired 14,000 by the end of 2015, 2,000 more than it initially committed to. Chrysler has pledged $5.3 billion in U.S. factory investments over the term, $800 million more than its initial commitment. To keep the money flowing, the UAW is seen as needing to continue to protect the Big Three from the consequences of a downturn by providing another contract laden with incentives that doesn’t drive up fixed costs.
Ms. Estrada said Detroit shouldn’t perceive labor as the source of its problems. “These companies didn’t go bankrupt because of their workers,” she said, adding that what “UAW workers did [to help bail out Detroit] was smart” and a template for how the union would respond in the face of crisis. “We have shown over and over that we will come to the table,” she said.

• Ford is no doubt still licking their wounds from the 3rd place finish for the F150 pickup in this year’s Motor Trend truck of the year contest. But a Car and Driver review of that pickup seems to validate the decision. Among other things, they point out that the truck they tested was 519 pounds lighter than its predecessor, not 700 (which makes the Ford only 150 to 200 pounds lighter than a comparable Silverado). They also say the cabin is “almost as quiet as the Silverado” and the brakes have a “touchy pedal that delivers no feedback.” Going inside the cab, they say, “the primary dash plastics are still relatively low-rent, and the fit and finish fall well behind what Chevrolet and Ram have achieved.” Focusing on price, “We drove a low spec, 4-dr XLT model with the 2.7 V6, cloth seats, rear wheel drive and few creature comforts that stickered at $42,875. Affordability is a problem…”.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Monday, December 8, 2014

State of the Union December 6, 2014

December 6, 2014 online at www.uawlocal2250.com

• The Body Shop Bake Sale will be Monday, Dec. 8 and held at column S-21. All proceeds will go to leveling gifts for Adopt-A-Child. Thanks in advance for your support of this great program. And speaking of that, please return your child’s gifts to the communications office no later than next Friday, Dec. 12. And remember to put the child information sheet with the gifts so we know who gets what (as always, do not wrap the gifts). This year over 160 children were adopted, an all-time high. Because of your generosity, many children will now have a great Christmas that otherwise would not. Thanks again!
• Friday, Dec. 12 is also the deadline for turning in resolutions for the upcoming National Negotiations in 2015. Forms are available from your committee person or at the Union Hall and you can return them to same. All resolutions (except duplicates) will be submitted for negotiations.
• FYI – to whom it may concern; the apprentice orientation letters have been mailed.
• The annual Chassis Christmas Party will be Friday, Dec. 19 at Maggie Malones after first shift. There will be free food, drink specials, prizes and live music as well as a visit from Santa! All are welcome so come and join us for an evening of fun and holiday cheer. For more info contact Susan Daniel (Picou) at column F-43 of the engine line.
• As you may remember, our van sales dipped again last month, but this is certainly not a function of a lack of orders. Here are the segment results for full-sized vans:
2014 2013 Change Share GM 5194 7311 - 29% 24.5% Ford Transit 4851 --- --- 22.9% Ford Econoline 4151 10,145 - 59.1% 19.6% Ram Promaster 3290 828 +297% 15.5% Mercedes Sprinter 2532 2010 +26% 12.0% Nissan NV 1141 990 +15.3% 5.4% And here’s a look at midsize truck sales for November: 2014 2013 Change Share Toyota Tacoma 13,018 12,601 + 3.3% 56.4% Nissan Frontier 6,332 6,003 + 5.5% 27.4% Chevy Colorado 2,336 --- --- 10.1% GMC Canyon 854 --- --- 3.7% Honda Ridgeline 535 1,353 - 60.5% 2.3%

• We’re still basking in the glow of Motor Trend’s unanimous decision to recognize the Colorado as the 2015 Truck of the Year. Editor-in-chief Ed Loh has stood defiant in the face of criticism that the Ford F150 should’ve gotten the award instead (it finished 3rd behind the Transit van). Scott Burgess, Motor Trend’s Detroit editor and one of the judges, weighed in with this:
It’s rare for any vehicle to get unanimous approval from Motor Trend editors. But the Chevrolet Colorado did just that winning the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year in a landslide. For me, it wasn’t the nicely loaded Colorado Crew Cab Z71 that convinced me to vote for the Colorado. That’s a great pickup, riding high on those bouncy Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires with a promise of off-road hoopties. It was the least assuming truck out of the 10 vehicles we drove, tested, loaded and unloaded for nearly a week in Arizona. A very basic, extended cab Chevy work truck with a price tag of $23,300.
First, that’s something you rarely hear anymore: A pickup costing less than an addition to your house. This little truck is downright affordable. But it never felt cheap. Many editors noted the interior comfort, the quiet ride and how it seemed the right size for the right price at the right time.
In the Motor Trend story, I note the Texasification of pickups. It’s been an ongoing issue as fullsize pickups continue to grow larger– often out performing heavy-duty pickups from two decades ago. They are truly testaments to engineering capability. (Full disclosure, at one point, we drove the Colorado next to a ‘90s Chevy S-10 and were blown away at how big the Colorado looked.) But the world is not just one giant construction site or open country where someone needs to wrap chains around a rock and pull it somewhere. There are city streets to traverse, suburban neighborhoods to cruise down, Home Depot parking lots to squeeze into and fullsize pickups can be challenging in tight spaces. Fitting one in your garage can be a hassle if not a physical impossibility. Every time I got out of a fullsize truck and jumped into the Colorado, it was much easier to drive. In fact, it is downright fun with sharp steering feel, nice acceleration and a nimbleness that big rigs inherently don’t possess.
Of course, Truck of the Year testing is not a direct head-to-head comparison. The Colorado did not beat the Ford F-150 or the GMC HD 2500 in a showdown. In fact, if you’re looking to buy a fullsize pickup, the choices are nearly limitless with fantastic pickups from Ram, Ford and GM. But the Colorado did outperform everyone against the testing regiment Motor Trend has in place. Really, the Colorado is a big test for Chevrolet and consumers. The midsize pickup segment has been shrinking for decades. American pickup makers, Ford, GM and Ram have all said in the past that little trucks never made sense because their price point is too low, they steal business from the more profitable fullsize trucks and why would a person buy a midsize truck when they could get a fullsize truck for the same price.
My answer has always been: Because some people want a smaller truck. And make no mistake, the Colorado is the best midsize pickup in its class. Furthermore, the Colorado doesn’t pretend to be a midsize Silverado. It doesn’t tow as much, carry as much or weigh as much. It’s not supposed to. True pickup guys may grumble, but this pickup wasn’t made for them.
Designers took a lot of care to make sure they weren’t creating a baby Silverado. Instead, they designed an aggressive looking pickup and gave it all of those cool Silverado features such as the bumper step, cargo management system and plush interior. A smaller pickup means it will have a lot more versatility than its bigger counterparts. This is truly a lifestyle vehicle that could handle daily commutes without emptying the tank; weekend camping trips and the occasional run to the hardware store. You may not want to build a new house with this truck, but you can certainly fix the one you live in with it. Sure, a bigger rig can do many of those things, but downsizing one’s life can certainly include the vehicle you choose to keep in your driveway. Particularly this one, as it takes up a little less space, uses a little less gas and leaves a few more dollars in your wallet than its bigger counterparts.
So congratulations to the Chevrolet Colorado for winning Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year honors for 2015. To the engineers, designers, factory workers and executives who brought new life to a midsize pickup, it’s a well-deserved award for your tireless dedication and work. Every judge agrees, and that doesn’t happen often.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

State of the Union December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014 online at www.uawlocal2250.com

• Reminder: You can order jackets now through Dec. 5 at the Union Hall. These are heavier weight, lined jackets and will come with logos on the front and the UAW wheel logo on the back (all embroidered). Cost is $85 ($90 if you want your name on the front). When placing your order a $45 deposit will be required with the balance due upon receipt. Expect 4+ weeks for delivery of the jackets.

• General Motors Co. dealers in the United States delivered 225,818 vehicles last month for the company’s best November sales in seven years. Total sales were up 6 percent compared to a year ago, retail sales were up 5 percent and fleet deliveries were up 11 percent. The Buick brand had its best November since 2003. GMC had its best November since 2001, and the GMC Sierra had its best November sales ever. At Chevrolet, the Spark, Cruze and Equinox also had their best November sales ever, Silverado had its best November since 2006 and Traverse had its best November since 2010. “The buzz around Black Friday helped drive strong showroom traffic but there was a lot more at work in the market,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. “More people have jobs and job security, their wages are starting to increase, household wealth is growing and low pump prices look like they’re here to stay through 2015. All of this helped deliver an exceptional month and it will help keep auto sales at very healthy levels going forward.”

Additional November Highlights (vs. 2013 except as noted)

Chevrolet: The Cruze was up 26 percent, Spark was up 64 percent, Sonic was up 3 percent. Silverado was up 24 percent, Tahoe was up 10 percent and Traverse was up 14 percent. Dealers delivered 2,366 all-new Colorados, ahead of plan, with a low retail days supply of 21 days. GMC: GMC was up 23 percent. The Sierra was up 57 percent and the Yukon was up 14 percent. The Terrain was up 13 percent and 854 all-new Canyons were delivered, which is ahead of plan. Buick: Buick was up 27 percent. Encore had a 72 percent sales increase, LaCrosse was up 71 percent and Verano was up 22 percent.

Cadillac: Cadillac Escalade deliveries were up 75 percent, with the retail days supply very tight at 16 days. Sales of the CTS sedan increased 18 percent. Average Transaction Prices (ATPs): GM has now posted 26 consecutive months of year-over-year average transaction price (ATP) increases on the strength of new pickup trucks, SUVs and Cadillacs. ATPs were a record $35,600, according to J.D. Power PIN mid-month estimates, up $790 per unit compared to October and up $3,100 versus a year ago. GM’s November incentive spending as a percentage of ATPs was 10.4 percent, down 1.2 points month over month, while industry average spending was 9.6 percent of ATP, down 0.1 points.

Fleet and Commercial: Fleet sales were up 11 percent. Van sales totaled 5194, down 29% vs. last November.

• Now that most every automotive media outlet has done a review of the Colorado/Canyon (which have been overwhelmingly positive) it’s time for the inevitable comparisons to our competitors to begin. First out of the gate is Motor Trend, who did a 3-truck comparison with the Colorado Z71, the Tacoma TRD and the Frontier Pro 4X, all with V6 engines. The magazine article quickly dispatched the Frontier, choosing not to waste valuable print space, saying, “for more on the 3rd place finishing Nissan, visit motortrend.com”.

Going head to head with the long-time segment leading Tacoma, the first evaluation dealt with the powertrains and issues like acceleration, fuel economy and overall refinement. Doing the testing were three editors: Benson Kong, Kim Reynolds and Jason Udy. About the Toyota, “The engine note sounds as if it has half the cylinders it actually has," Reynolds observed of the Tacoma's powertrain, whereas Udy declared: "Great low-end torque. Loud exhaust, didn't like to rev, and sounded slightly strained." Turning to the Colorado, Udy again: "Initially I didn't like the sound and feel of the powertrain. It felt sluggish and didn't sound like it wanted to rev. Not as much low-end torque as the competitors' larger engines. By the end of the second day, the powertrain felt livelier. Smoothest revving engine and shifted smoothly." Acceleration times proved the superiority of the Colorado, which was quicker 0-60 mph (7.4 vs. 7.7) and in the ¼ mile. And Motor Trend’s “real fuel economy” measurement showed the Chevy topping the Toyota by 2 mpg combined. Round 1 to the Colorado.

Next up was ride and handling. Tests were done with loaded (880 lbs) and unloaded versions. Able to measure vertical movement, tests showed the Colorado registered the smallest difference between loaded and unloaded beds. Udy asserted the Bowtie truck has the "best handling feel" with its cab-isolating ride. Reynolds on the Colorado: "Its ride is more car-like than truck-like. Its smaller-than-full size results in a dramatic improvement in nimbleness. Full-size trucks can be quite ponderous." About the Tacoma, Kong wrote: “the hydraulically assisted power steering weighting would suddenly become heavy as the steering wheel passed true center.” To top it off the Chevy was quicker through the figure-eight and needed 12 less feet to stop from 60-0. Round 2 to the Colorado.

Interior features, quality and design was the final phase. Kong wrote, “There wasn't much of a contest with the interior accommodations either, with everyone preferring the Chevrolet's vastly more modern cabin as a place to spend time in.” After fiddling with each trucks' sound systems, Udy said: "Inside, the Colorado had the most comfortable seats. The materials and power lumbar helped. Best rear seat space and visibility. Nicest infotainment system, though no real nav. Best storage cubbies." The Tacoma drew scorn from Kong: “At initial inspection, some of the Tacoma's switches and the surfaces on the dashboard, panels, and headliner look like they're shared with a mid-1990s Camry.” Udy jotted down for the Toyota: "Harder to see over front headrests from back seat. Infotainment system and dash layout seemed old." Cabin noise as measured in sones was also lower in the Colorado (24.7 to 27.1). Round 3 to the Colorado.

At the end of the day, the Colorado was the unanimous winner. "Its power is smoothly delivered (almost car-like), and its steering points into a corner quite well for a truck," Reynolds determined of the matchup-winning truck. "What's not to like? If I absolutely had to have one this would be it."

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

State of the Union November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014 online at www.uawlocal2250.com

• From Chairman Mike Bullock: Management announced last week the operating hours for Wentzville Assembly Center when we go to three shifts. A start date of 3rd shift has not yet been finalized, but will be late in 1st quarter of 2015.

A ‘Special Application” for Shift Preference/63b transfers will tentatively be distributed November 12 to all employees. A 63b transfer is a transfer to a different classification in the plant than what you currently have, it could be in the same department or in a different department. There will be 19 different classifications available to choose from. Keep in mind if choosing a different classification it may not be available on the shift you chose. Special applications for 63b transfers and shift preferences were distributed in Paint and Body last week. We started with Paint and Body because of the long lead time necessary to train on some operations in Paint and Body.

All employees who will have seniority by December 23, 2014 are eligible to apply for a Shift Preference and Par. 63b transfer. Almost all classifications in the plant will be open for bid. The repair openings in Final Process were bid 30 days ago and filled, but there are additional openings for Utility Roll Test and Utility Drivers. The number of openings in each classification is on the back of the application next to the classification. When bidding on a classification keep in mind a shift cannot be guaranteed. Indicate on the application in priority order (1,2,3) which classification you want to transfer to, however the shift cannot be guaranteed. If your seniority will get you to the shift you prefer, it will be granted, otherwise you will go to your next priority preference. All 63b openings will be filled by those applicants wanting to change classification in seniority order.

Shift preferences are also on this application. If you wish to stay in your current department and classification you can request a change in shift on this application. If you want to go to a different classification and shift, indicate that on the special application. Those wishing to go to 3rd shift in the same department and classification will be offered those openings in seniority order before the 63b’s are offered. Again a shift cannot be guaranteed, only if your seniority will get you to an opening, and can hold the shift with your seniority date.

On both 63b transfers and shift preferences, indicate your choice by priority, i.e. 1, 2, 3. An employee’s shift choice will take priority over a classification change. For example, an employee puts in for Material and Quality. Their shift priority is 1st shift first, 3rd shift second, 2nd shift third. His/Her seniority will hold 1st shift in Material but not Quality, he/she will have their transfer to Material honored.

    • The following rules have been established for this special application per Document 70 of the National Agreement:
  • Shift preferences honored will be locked in until August 10, 2015
  • Par. 63b transfers honored will be locked in until August 10, 2015
  • Shift preference applications will be frozen from November 19th until April 1, 2015.
  • If you have shift referenced since May 19th, you are ineligible to shift preference until after April 1, 2015
  • If you have moved per Par. 63b since May 19th you are ineligible to apply for a Par. 63b transfer until after November 19th.
  • Job selection on 3rd shift is by seniority, you cannot follow your job from 1st shift or 2nd shift to 3rd shift., unless seniority permits.
  • Time limits on Par. 63b transfers, Primary bids, secondary bids, and shift preferences have been suspended
  • When an employee’s shift preference application is honored under these provisions it is ounderstood that it will be to the shift of the employee’s choice, without refusal, provided the employee would otherwise be eligible for such shift in the new classification and/or department under the terms of the Local Shift Preference Agreement.
  • Some manpower moves may be made out of line of seniority, all attempts will be made so as no employee is disadvantaged.

• Happy Veterans Day to all of our veterans here! Nearly 1000 past and current employees here are veterans. They all deserve our respect and gratitude for their service to our country. Our Veterans Day observance will be Friday, Nov. 14. Thursday Nov. 13 is a holiday pay qualifying day and a VR blackout day. Monday Nov. 17 is a VR blackout day.

• Reminder: The deadline for non-seniority employees and non-GM people to submit requests for information and qualify for the random drawing for the Apprentice Program is this Friday, Nov. 14. All requests must be postmarked by then.

• There will be a Civil Rights Committee meeting Wednesday, Nov. 12 between shifts in the cafeteria. There will be a Community Services Committee meeting Thursday, Nov. 13 between shifts in the cafeteria. There will also be a Veterans Committee meeting Thursday, Nov. 13 between shifts at the Union Hall. Anyone wishing to attend any of these meetings is welcome.

• The “Poppy Drive” to support Veteran’s activities is off to a great start - $2335 was collected at the first shift gate drive! Thanks to everyone who gave so generously

• From the Women’s Committee: Thanks to everyone who donated or purchased items at the bake sale yesterday. We collected over $1000 for Habitat for Humanity – the largest sum ever for a bake sale! We still need donations of baskets or items for a basket. You can bring them to the Suggestions office. Thanks for all your support.

• From UAW President Dennis Williams: I want to thank all the members of the UAW who took the time to go vote last week. Our union has faced many challenges over the past several years and we will face many more in the future and voting is the surest way to change the environment in our states and nation. The stark fact that so many others stayed home and did not vote is a reflection that too many Americans are being left out of an economy that promotes the success of a few, while leaving the rest of us behind. While the Republicans now have gained control of the U.S. Senate and House they also have gained responsibility for representing all Americans, not just the wealthiest among us, but also those who spoke through their silence last Tuesday. If not, they misread the Election returns and will pay a price in 2016 as the loudest voice this election was the silence of many frustrated voters who stayed home. For those of you who volunteered, did GOTV (get out the vote), knocked on doors, dropped leaflets and did tireless work a special thank you and please don't be discouraged. For every valley there is a mountaintop. See you there in 2016!

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

State of the Union November 5, 2014

October is typically one of the slowest months of the year for van sales and this year was no different. Here's how the segment fared, minus the smaller entries like the Transit connect:

  2014 2013 Change Share
GM 6601 7552 -12.6% 35.4%
Ford Econoline 4712 9508 -50.4% 25.3%
Ford Transit 2257 --- --- 12.1%
Mercedes Sprinter 2140 2038 +5% 11.5%
Ram ProMaster 1723 570 +202% 9.2%
Nissan NV 1220 1006 +21.3% 6.6%

Field supplies as measured in units was largely unchanged, but measured in days supply went up due to the lower daily sales rate, going from 44 days at the end of September to 56 days at the end of October. Here's a look at the midsize pickup segment as October was our first full month of sales, albeit with very limited supply:

  2014 2013 Change Share
Toyota Tacoma 13,010   12,351 +5.3%
Nissan Frontier 6,568   5,242 +25.3%
Chevy Colorado 1,491      
GMC Canyon 667      
Honda Ridgeline 802   1,239 -35.3%

In a couple of months we will start to include market share calculations and field supplies. We will also be including sales from the Honda Ridgeline, which is more or less a competitor for the same buyers.
Below are the average new vehicle transaction prices for October.

•From the Women’s Committee: The annual Habitat for Humanity of St Charles County’s Celebration of the Trees Gala is Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at the Ameristar Casino Resort and Spa. In order to ensure the success of this very important fundraiser, we are seeking donations to our Silent Auction held that night. For the last 14 years General Motors Wentzville employees have supported this event. We are asking you to help make this year the best ever. Generous donors like you are the key to our success and make it possible for Habitat for Humanity to provide families in need of housing the opportunity to have a home. We are counting on you for your support to help us and Habitat. Your donation will be listed in the event program.
There are several options: you can make a monetary donation to Habitat; build a basket yourself to be auctioned off on Sat. Nov., 22; make a monetary donation and have us build a basket on your behalf. We have to have our list complete and forwarded to Habitat by Nov. 13. Please help up support the good work of Habitat for Humanity, they help the deserving families in our community by helping them build a home. You can also attend the event if you wish. Tickets are $80 and includes an elegant dinner, live and silent auctions as well as a viewing of their beautiful professionally decorated Christmas trees. For more information go to habitatstcharles.org and click on events and celebration of trees. To purchase a ticket, reserve a table, or get sponsorship information, contact Lauren Grotegeers at lauren@habitatstcharles.org. If you have any questions please contact Becky Schieffer, Pat Wyse, Marsha Steele, Marybeth Natoli, Angela Harper or Tammy Lockhart. Thanks in advance for your support! Becky Schieffer, Pat Wyse, Marsha Steele

• Another way to support the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser is to donate and/or consume baked goods at the Bake Sale, which will be Monday, Nov. 10 at the Suggestions office. You can drop off your donations there.

• Here is another Colorado/Canyon review, this time from Karl Brauer, Kelly Blue Book analyst and editor: Bold ad campaigns and creative positioning are all well and good, but if a vehicle doesn’t offer real advantages in today’s competitive environment it’s destined to fail. To GM’s credit, the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have a wide array of segment-first features and advanced technology. After driving both trucks I can confirm their advantages in the areas of performance, design, build quality, refinement and innovative features. For example, the base engine for either truck is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that offers 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. Those horsepower and torque numbers beat the competition from Nissan and Toyota by sizable margins while still matching them in overall fuel efficiency. Interior design, as reflected in the Colorado and Canyon’s functionality, material quality and space, is another area where GM’s trucks have it all over the competition. Advanced features, including up to 4 USB ports, optional 4G LTE connectivity, a standard rear camera, optional lane departing warning and forward collision alert, plus an available 8-inch touchscreen, set a new technology standard in the midsize truck category. The Colorado and Canyon also proved quieter than their competitors at highway speeds due to the triple-sealed, inlaid door design and the use of wheelhouse liners and under floor sound insulation. After spending quality time in the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon (as well as their competition) it was obvious GM has set a new benchmark in the midsize truck category. Nissan’s Frontier and Toyota’s Tacoma will both receive updates in the next two years, but until then GM’s offerings have a clear advantage. Nissan’s Frontier and Toyota’s Tacoma will both receive updates in the next two years, but until then GM’s offerings have a clear advantage.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

State of the Union October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014 online at www.uawlocal2250.com

• The Bargaining Committee is accepting resolutions for upcoming national negotiations now through December 12. Forms are available from your committee person or at the Union Hall and can be turned back into same. All resolutions (except redundant ones) will be submitted to the International Union.

• The Community Services Committee is holding a raffle to level the gifts for the annual Adopt-A-Child Program. Prizes are a $200 Ameristar Gift Card, a $100 Bear Creek golf club gift card and a $50 gas card. Tickets are $5 apiece or 3 for $10 and can be purchased from any committee member. Drawing will be Oct. 29 at 8 pm in the cafeteria.

• The Civil Rights Committee is having a meeting Wednesday, Oct. 22 between shifts in the cafeteria.

• The November production schedule is out and it features daily overtime (9.6 hours off the K-line) as well as two Saturdays – Nov. 8 and 22. Remember, all production schedules are subject to change. Tuesday, Nov. 4 is a holiday (election day) and Friday, Nov. 14 is the Veterans Day observance day. The Thanksgiving holiday is Thursday, Nov. 27 and Friday, Nov. 28.

• GM will be reporting 3rd quarter earnings this Thursday, Oct. 23, beginning at 7:30 am. To date we have accumulated $1750 in profit share. The concensus among analysts for GM’s 3rd quarter earnings is for slightly better earnings than last year’s 3rd quarter, which was $2.2 billion in North America. If the analysts are correct, then we could get another $2000 in profit share. While these analysts are often wrong (though never in doubt) GM did report their highest 3rd quarter sales since 1980 and had the highest average transaction prices in the US ever, lending credence to projections of improved financial performance.

• Our pickups are now showing up in dealer inventory, and are available for purchase with your employee discount. And how much is that discount? Here’s an example: A Colorado 2-wheel drive LT crew cab with the V6, 17” aluminum wheels, backup camera, 8” touchscreen, OnStar with 4GLTE, leather tilt/telescoping steering wheel, towing package and positrack that stickers for $30,805 is employee priced at $28,283.

• From President Van Simpson: We will be conducting phone banks at the UAW Local 2250 Union Hall and Region 5 for the upcoming elections. The phone banks will be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3:00-7:00 PM and on Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM this week and next week. We would greatly appreciate your participation! Please call the hall at (636) 327-5796 to let us know when you will be available to work to help get our Labor Friendly Candidates elected on November 4, 2014! We look forward to hearing from you!

• From Edmunds.com: Special-edition models, distinctive accessories and the possibility of performance parts are part of the business plan to woo buyers to the redesigned 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck. Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet's truck marketing director, told Edmunds that special-edition models, a successful formula for the Camaro over the past years, will be applied once or twice a year during the Colorado's lifecycle to keep a buzz on the truck. "A lot of the folks on my [truck] team were working on the Camaro special-edition models and that certainly applies to trucks," Piszar said during a recent interview. "We have an enthusiastic owner base, you have a lot of competitive activity going on, and special-edition models are a great way to keep what we call 'new news' going in the showroom."

Piszar said a good example is the successful Rally Edition package available on the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado pickup. The package adds a body-color grille with a black bowtie, black mirror caps and door handles, two wide black rally stripes on the hood and other equipment. Silverado pickups equipped with that package are hot commodities, selling within 20 days of arrival at a dealership. "There is a lot of excitement around it," Piszar said. "The dealers get excited. We are going to do the exact same thing with Colorado."

Duncan Aldred, Buick-GMC sales and marketing vice president, told Edmunds the 2015 GMC Canyon will follow a similar path. "We believe that is an important part of the lifecycle management for a truck in this space," Aldred said. "We will be doing that."

Piszar said Chevrolet is considering a wide range of performance parts for the Colorado, including intake and exhaust systems, brake kits and suspension systems. "These are all things that a lot of consumers consider or add when they buy a truck so we think there is an opportunity there for us to help them with that customization, right from the showroom floor," he said. No timetable was given as to when the performance parts might be offered.

However, both the Colorado and Canyon at launch are available with about 50 accessories that are specially designed for the pickups. For example, there are four different styles of assist steps, two separate tonneau covers, plus ladder racks, fender flares, and other equipment. "This is really the first truck that we have aligned our accessory offerings right at launch," Piszar said.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly