Monday, November 16, 2015

State of the Union November 16, 2015

• From Chairman Mike Bullock: The UAW and GM have agreed to extend the current 2011 national agreement until Friday, November 20, 2015 which is the new deadline for ratification of the tentative national agreement. The national bargaining team continues to meet to resolve the issues and concerns that were raised by the skilled trades. Once the contract is ratified, the process for payment of the signing bonus and retroactive wage increases will begin. As more information is released, announcements will be made. The shop committee continues to meet on the local contract.
Thirty new temporaries were hired today. This is the first group of an additional 75 temporaries that are being hired to facilitate the request for Saturday time off. The approval rate for Saturday time off has not been acceptable to the union and we were able to secure additional temporary employees to allow more members time off.
There are additional flu shots available to all employees, first come, first serve (dispensed at medical, 2-4 am, 9-11 am and 6-8 pm).
As announced earlier, 250 employees will be converted starting December 7. All employees hired prior to and including May 9 will be converted to permanent. Those employees that will be converted will be notified of time and location of their conversion in the next two weeks.
Union meeting is 15 minutes after the shifts this Wednesday November 18th.

• October was another strong sales month for the industry overall as well as GM. It seems more likely than not that a new yearly sales record will be established in 2015. Here’s a look at the van and midsize pickup segments for the month:

  2015 2014 Change Share
Ford Transit 9361 --- --- 34.3%
GM 7822 6601 +18.5% 28.6%
Ford Econoline 4034 4624 -12.8% 14.8%
Mercedes Sprinter 2649 2140 +23.8% 9.7%
Ram ProMaster 2055 1723 +19.3% 7.5%
Nissan NV 1391 1220 +14.0% 5.1%
Toyota Tacoma 150233 13,010 +17.1% 51.7%
Chevy Colorado 7,059 --- --- 24.0%
Nissan Frontier 4764 6268 -27.5% 16.2%
GMC Canyon 2415 --- --- 8.2%

• Field supplies for the van crept up 600 units and as measured in days supply, now stand at 46, compared to 42 last month. We are still struggling to catch up on passenger vans, while cargo vans accounted for all of the increase in units. Looking at pickups, Canyon supplies rose 1250 units and are now at a healthy 80 day supply (optimal pickup supplies are generally higher than cars due to the number of different models). Colorado supplies rose 2000 units as the pipeline continues to fill up. Days supply is now 44, compared to 30 last month. The Colorado is still the fastest selling vehicle in the industry, staying on dealer lots only 24 days on average.

• Calling all Bakers: The annual pre-trim Bake Sale to raise money for Adopt-A-Child will be held Monday, Nov. 23. Location is the team center at column N-31,32. You can drop off your baked goods there or at the Suggestions office.

• There have been some fixes and upgrades implemented on the Hourly Communications Channel (HCC). Your rings should now be accurately recorded. A warning message will appear on the web page if you are not signed up for notifications and a link will guide you to the subscription signup. A warning message to the hourly employee has been added if they uncheck a box that was submitted prior, which would ‘cancel’ their original requested day off. A ‘confirm selections’ box to further clarify requests and cancellations has also been added.

• Reminder: The announcement for Motor Trend Truck of the Year will be tonight at 9:30 our time. Tune in to the Motor Trend You Tube channel for live coverage.

• The diesel Colorado/Canyon has finally received EPA certification. Along with a clean emissions bill of health comes the fuel economy ratings – and they set the new standard for any pickup. The 2-wheel drive version is rated at 31 mpg highway, 22 mpg city for a combined rating of 25 mpg. Four-wheel drive versions came in at 29 mpg highway, 20 mpg city and 23 mpg combined. For comparison purposes, the redesigned Toyota Tacoma 4-cylinder gets 23 mpg highway, 19 mpg city and 21 mpg combined. The Tacoma V6 actually does slightly better than the 4 cylinder at 24 mpg highway, 19 mpg city and 21 mpg combined (Tacoma numbers are for 2-wheel drive). And speaking of comparisons, the Motor Trend Truck of the Year will be announced tonight. Both the diesel Colorado and Canyon are contenders, along with the Tacoma, the Chevy Silverado, the GMC Sierra and the Nissan Titan XD. With nothing but praise being heaped onto our diesel pickups by the media, a repeat win is a definite possibility.

• As you know, the UAW and Ford have reached a tentative agreement. Part of the agreement is a commitment from Ford to invest up to $9 billion in U.S. plants. It has been rumored that the Michigan Assembly plant, which currently builds the Ford Focus and C-Max cars, will lose those 2 vehicles to a plant in Mexico and receive a product, or 2, in return. This is confirmed in the agreement, but the 2 replacement vehicles were not identified. Nearly everyone believes it will be the Ford Ranger pickup and later the Ford Bronco SUV. The 2 cars will depart in 2018. The contract says that both replacement vehicles will be in place no later than 2020. The oft-quoted “person with knowledge of the agreement not authorized to speak” is saying it will indeed by the Ranger and Bronco. The same holds true for Chrysler and their unconfirmed plans to build a Jeep Wrangler pickup. (Remember, the redesigned Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier will be hitting the street in the next 12 months or so) Is it us or is it getting a little crowded in the midsize pickup sandbox?

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

State of the Union October 27, 2015

Local 2250 State of the Union

October 27, 2015 online at

• From Chairman Mike Bullock: A tentative National agreement has been reached between the International UAW and GM. Van Simpson and myself will be going to Detroit for a roll out of the tentative agreement on Wednesday October 28th at 3pm Eastern. The shop committee continues to meet daily in an attempt to reach a Local Contract. An extension of the Local Agreement is still in effect.

• Here is the statement from the UAW on the Tentative Agreement: The UAW-GM Bargaining committee announced at 11:43 p.m. Sunday that they have secured significant gains and job security protections in a proposed Tentative Agreement with General Motors. The bargaining committee unanimously voted to send the proposed Tentative Agreement to local union leaders who make up the union’s UAW National GM Council. The Council will meet in Detroit on Wednesday to discuss and vote on the agreement.
“We believe that this agreement will present stable long-term significant wage gains and job security commitments to UAW members now and in the future,” said UAW President Dennis Williams. “We look forward to presenting the details of these gains to local union leaders and the membership.”
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada called the agreement transformative as it gives our members a clear path. “The significant gains in this agreement are structured in a way that will provide certainty to our members and create a clear path for all GM employees now and in the future. The agreement not only rewards UAW-GM members for their accomplishments, but it protects them with significant job security commitments.”
Until the UAW National GM Council votes to approve the deal, it is classified as a Proposed Tentative Agreement. The contract language becomes a Tentative Agreement once the Council votes and they have requested details to be held until they review and vote on the proposal. Following Council approval, the UAW will release details of the Tentative Agreement to its membership and the ratification process will begin. A vote of the UAW-GM membership will decide whether or not the deal is finalized. The union plans to make the details of the agreement available immediately after the UAW National GM Council votes on the tentative agreement Wednesday and will have no comment until that time.

• Here is General Motors’ statement on the tentative agreement: "The new UAW-GM national agreement is good for employees and the business,” said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations vice president. “Working with our UAW partners, we developed constructive solutions that benefit employees and provide flexibility for the company to respond to the needs of the marketplace.” Terms of the four-year agreement are not being shared publicly to allow the International UAW to inform their membership about the agreement and conduct a ratification vote. If ratified, the agreement would cover about 52,600 GM employees in the United States who are represented by the UAW. GM won’t comment further until the contract is ratified.

• The Community Services Committee is holding a raffle to raise money to level gifts for the annual Adopt-A-Child program. The prizes are an ION Block Rocker speaker, a $100 QT gas card and a pair of Blues hockey tickets. Raffle tickets are on sale now through Friday, October 30. Prices are $5 each, 3 for $10 and something new for this year, 22 tickets for $20 (this was determined by how many tickets it took to reach from the front wheel to the back wheel of a Colorado). Tickets can be purchased from Tina Hays (2nd shift stamping), Mike Fleschert (1st shift body shop) and Wanda Richard (1st shift suggestions) or any other committee member.

• Tryouts for the 2nd Annual UAW Men’s Basketball tournament will be held Friday, November 6th, 2015 from 12 noon to 2pm and again from 3 to 5pm @ Progress Park, 968 Meyer Rd., Wentzville 63385, with a $4.00 gym fee. The Thanksgiving Tournament will be held in Kansas City and all proceeds will be donated to UAW Local 31 Adopt-A-Family project. (Must provide your own transportation to Kansas City) Please contact Coach Owen Jackson (314) 650-6328 or Fred Jamison (314) 497-3067 (Trustee/Recreation liaison)

• From the Detroit Free Press: General Motors will suspend a second production shift in January at its Orion assembly plant, affecting about 500 people. They make the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano subcompacts, which are not selling well as Americans migrate toward large pickups, SUVs and crossover models. Verano sales fell 27% through the first nine months of 2015 from a year earlier. Sonic sales have fallen 35% in the same period. Last June, the company said it would invest $245 million and hire 300 people at Orion Assembly to build the new Chevrolet Bolt electric car beginning next year, and an unnamed future model.

• From Automotive News: Ford posted third-quarter net income of $1.9 billion, up from $833 million in the same period of 2014. It earned a pretax profit of $2.7 billion in North America, 89 percent more than a year ago and the most ever for any quarter. North American operating margins jumped to 11.3 percent, from 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2014. Ford CFO Shanks said the fourth quarter will be weaker than the third due to cost increases that typically occur toward the end of a calendar year. Among the costs it expects to incur are signing bonuses as part of an expected, new four-year contract with the UAW. The union already has reached a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and a tentative agreement with General Motors. Union members undoubtedly will see Ford’s record North American profit as evidence that the company can afford to offer a richer package than FCA workers received. Shanks said Ford is looking for a “competitive and fair agreement” but declined to discuss what impact it’s likely to have on Ford’s costs in future quarters. He said Ford expects a full-year North American operating margin of between 9 percent and 9.5 percent. It posted a 9.9 percent margin in the first three quarters.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Thursday, October 22, 2015

State of the Union October 22, 2015

October 22, 2015 online at

• There have been a lot of questions about when Veterans Day observance would be this year. It has now been confirmed that this will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 25.

• Yesterday, GM announced 3rd quarter financial results, and in case you hadn’t heard, it was a record quarter for North American profits. GM reported EBIT (earnings before income taxes, which is what our profit sharing is based on) of $3.3 billion. That brings the year-to-date total for North American EBIT to $8.33 billion, which equates to $8250 in profit sharing under the current formula with one quarter to go. GM’s guidance is that 4th quarter profitability should exceed last year’s, which was $2.2 billion. Based on that, and using the current formula, profit sharing payouts should exceed $10,000 and could be as much as $11,000.

• The Community Services Committee is holding a raffle to raise money to level gifts for the annual Adopt-A-Child program. The prizes are an ION Block Rocker speaker, a $100 QT gas card and a pair of Blues hockey tickets. Raffle tickets are on sale now through Friday, October 30. Prices are $5 each, 3 for $10 and something new for this year, 22 tickets for $20 (this was determined by how many tickets it took to reach from the front wheel to the back wheel of a Colorado). Tickets can be purchased from Tina Hays (2nd shift stamping), Mike Fleschert (1st shift body shop) and Wanda Richard (1st shift suggestions) or any other committee member.

• Tryouts for the 2nd Annual UAW Men’s Basketball tournament will be held Friday, November 6th, 2015 from 12 noon to 2pm and again from 3 to 5pm @ Progress Park, 968 Meyer Rd., Wentzville 63385, with a $4.00 gym fee. The Thanksgiving Tournament will be held in Kansas City and all proceeds will be donated to UAW Local 31 Adopt-A-Family project. (Must provide your own transportation to Kansas City) Please contact Coach Owen Jackson (314) 650-6328 or Fred Jamison (314) 497-3067 (Trustee/Recreation liaison)

• From the Detroit News: An overwhelming majority of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ 40,000 United Auto Workers members voted in favor of a new four-year labor contract that includes raises for all workers and a $5.3 billion investment in North American plants. The 77 percent “yes” ratification vote, confirmed by the union Thursday, comes three weeks after union membership resoundingly rejected the first tentative agreement between the two sides by a two-to-one margin. At several plants, more than 70 percent of ballots were cast in support of the pact. Production workers at all major assembly plants in Metro Detroit supported the deal by at least 70 percent.

• UAW President Dennis Williams stated, “The recent bargaining process that took place on behalf of our members at FCA is a testament to the UAW’s democratic values and commitment to our members. The resolve of our membership and the dedication of our negotiating team has produced an agreement that affords UAW members a strong wage package and job security while still allowing the company to competitively produce high quality vehicles for our customers.” UAW FCA US Vice President Norwood Jewell said, “UAW members at FCA have obtained a strong agreement that provides substantial wage gains, fairness in the workplace, and job security. Because of the strength and support from our membership, our bargaining team was able to negotiate a contract which promises a secure future for our members, their families and their communities.” (No word yet on whether GM of Ford, or both, will be the focus next)

• Memo to Tesla: Consumer Reports giveth and Consumer Reports taketh away. Earlier this week CR came out with their annual predicted reliability rankings. Even though CR scored Tesla’s Model S 103 on a scale of 100 (did any of you ever get 103% on a test? Didn’t think so), the car lost the coveted “Recommended” buy rating. What went wrong? "We're seeing all types of issues [with the Model S]," said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. "Some are annoying issues like squeaks in the hatch or rattles and squeaks in the sun roof, but we're also seeing major issues in terms of the charging systems. We're even seeing people who have to have the entire electric motor replaced." Buick was the only domestic brand to finish in the top 10 (7th).

• From Automotive News: General Motors is adding a second shift -- about 1,200 workers -- at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant to meet future demand for the five vehicles made there, including the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid that rolls out in coming weeks. The plant also is scheduled to begin production in early 2016 of the Cadillac CT6, a large, lightweight sedan that will be the first vehicle made by GM using a special technique that spot welds aluminum to steel. Detroit-Hamtramck also serves as a secondary production site for the Chevy Malibu and Impala sedans, and it assembles the low-volume Cadillac ELR plug-in, a sibling of the Volt. GM said hiring already has begun and that it would put on the second shift in early 2016. The facility will employ about 2,800 hourly and salaried workers once the hiring is done, the company said. GM retooled Detroit-Hamtramck earlier this year for the next-generation Volt. Some industry forecasters predict that production of the redesigned Buick LaCrosse sedan could move to the plant, from GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas, when it goes on sale in the second half of 2016. The 30-year-old, 4.1 million-square-foot facility is one of GM’s most flexible assembly plants (GM CEO Mary Barra was the plant manager there in 2003 and 2004). The company has invested about $1 billion into the factory over the last five years, installing equipment that enables workers to produce five cars built on three separate platforms. Malibu and Impala production at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant is relatively limited. Only about 10,700 Malibus were made there this year through September, vs. nearly 120,000 at Fairfax, the data center estimates. About 27,000 Impalas were assembled there, vs. about 76,000 at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario, plant.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Friday, October 16, 2015

State of the Union October 16, 2015

October 16, 2015 online at

A Message from UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada:
To my sisters and brothers at General Motors, as we continue to negotiate with General Motors on your behalf, I want to thank you for your patience and solid support. As you know, there is a lot at stake with these negotiations and the ratification process; job security, product allocation and income security. As you wait, please remember that during the last round of auto contract talks, UAW members at Ford and FCA waited for us to conclude our ratification before they began theirs. Right now, we are focusing on the issues that are unique to each operation.
I want to especially thank you for remaining level headed and not allowing outsiders like RTW to hijack this negotiation process and divide us. Facebook and social media are amazing for groups like ours to communicate, we’re grateful to have them, and we encourage the robust debate and discussion they provide. I, by no means, intend to discourage healthy discussion that, in the end, will only make our union stronger. In fact, I am hopeful that we can turn this discussion into even more activism as we face upcoming elections and those forces which seek to harm our rights as union members and the rights of all working families. Yesterday one of those forces, the National RTW Legal Defense Foundation, aired an anti-union radio ad in Michigan. I have complete faith that our membership is mindful of those on the internet who are looking to use public member discussions to divide us. It is important that we stand together in solidarity against these anti-union forces posing as friends of working men and women.
As UAW-FCA brothers and sisters proceed with their ratification process, it’s critical that your support continue. They are expected to conclude their voting on Oct. 21, 2015. If you have any questions, please feel free to send them to our Facebook page, UAW GM Talks.
In Solidarity, Cindy Estrada

• There will be signups for the Red Cross Blood Drive Wednesday, October 21 in the cafeteria on all shifts. The Blood Drive will be Wednesday, October 28.

• There will be Civil Rights Committee meetings Monday, October 19 at the Union Hall at the following times: 6:45 am for 3rd shift; 1:30 pm for 2nd shift and 2:45 pm for 1st shift. All are welcome to attend.

• GM will report 3rd quarter earnings next Wednesday, Oct. 21.

• From the Detroit News: In a brief Detroit News interview on the sidelines of a conference here, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said she didn't know if GM or Ford would be up next after workers at Fiat Chrysler complete voting on a proposed new deal. "We'll work through it," said Barra, noting that UAW President Dennis Williams has said "the companies are different" and in "different situations." Barra noted GM hasn't started contract talks but wouldn't say if the Fiat Chrysler contract could set the pattern at GM.
"We haven't started our negotiations at this level yet, and when we get there, we're going to work and do the same creative problem solving that we've done day in and day out, and work to have an agreement that's good for the company and maintains our competitiveness — and does the right things for the institution and for our workers," Barra said.
Barra also said GM is still reviewing the proposed 12 nation Trans Pacific Partnership and hasn't made a decision on whether to support or oppose the deal. Barra said GM officials are currently reviewing the proposal. Ford Motor Co. has already said it opposes the free-trade agreement as currently written. "It is early days, and we have to start by first understanding it. The details are important, so we're still in an evaluation mode," Barra told the News.

• From TruckTrend: There has been tremendous anticipation surrounding the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon diesel. Not only do the two trucks have an exclusive in the midsize market with a diesel engine, they’re also highly capable with towing capacities up to 7,700 pounds and a lot of fun to drive, as we found out in our recent first drive of the Colorado diesel.
Now, with testing done by Emissions Analytics, one of the world’s most respected third-party emissions testing company and provider of Motor Trend’s Real MPG figures, we have some indication of how efficient these trucks will be. In a controlled mixed test loop performed by Emissions Analytics, a 4WD Colorado Trail Boss returned 23.2 mpg city and 31.4 mpg highway, for a combined figure of 26.3 mpg. If those figures are close to official EPA figures, that would make the diesel model 3 mpg more efficient in the city, and 4 mpg more efficient on the highway, in addition to having a towing capacity more than double the base gas I-4’s 3,500 pounds. Official EPA figures have not yet been released on these trucks, but if the figures are close to these scientific, but not official, results, General Motors’ preliminary claim of the trucks being the “most efficient” in the U.S. should prove to be true. For comparison, Emissions Analytics got 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway on a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, spot-on with the official EPA results. The $3,700 option price on the engine pushes a well-equipped Colorado or Canyon easily over the $40,000 mark, but with this unique combination of efficiency and capability, it’s arguably worth the premium.

• Here are some impressions from Auotweek of the Colorado diesel: “At low rpm, it’s difficult to discern this is a diesel. It’s quiet, smooth and snappy off the line… On a short 40-mile fuel economy run in a 2WD Colorado, we saw 36 mpg from gentle throttle application, a great number for a 4,500-pound pickup…we were able to test the truck towing a 3,865-pound horse trailer. The Duramax had no trouble moving that load. In fact, we were able to chirp the tires from a hard launch…Do I want it? Yes. The new diesel is a torque monster; it makes the Colorado feel more, well, trucky. We dig that. For those needing a fuel- and space-efficient truck that can handle a fairly serious trailer, the Colorado diesel seems like the perfect fit.”

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

State of the Union October 13, 2015

State of the Union October 13, 2015

• From Chairman Mike Bullock: Wanda Richard was presented with the Beverly Krause Memorial Bluebird Award from Bridgeway Women’s Center as their Volunteer of the Year. Wanda volunteers countless hours helping Bridgeway Women’s Center and our community. Bridgeway Women’s Center is a local organization that assists women who are confronted with domestic violence situations, in addition to addiction and trauma services. Thank You Wanda for representing all of us here at Wentzville Assembly Center and the UAW.

• There will be signups for the Red Cross Blood Drive Wednesday, October 14 and 21 in the cafeteria on all shifts. The Blood Drive will be Wednesday, October 28.

• There will be Civil Rights Committee meetings Monday, October 19 at the Union Hall at the following times: 6:45 am for 3rd shift; 1:30 pm for 2nd shift and 2:45 pm for 1st shift. All are welcome to attend.

• Voting on the FCA/UAW tentative agreement will be October 20 and 21. No word on which company will be up next in national bargaining.

• This week marks the beginning of the new parking lot policy. Just to clarify: Lot 3 is the only lot that is GM vehicles only. If employees drive Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth or Jeep vehicles they can park in every other lot except Lot 3. All foreign branded vehicles must park in either Lot 1 or Lot 7. Which lot is which? Starting at the ballfields and moving west, you have Lot 1; the entrance at gate 2; Lot 2; the rock berm; Lot 3; the main security entrance at gate 3; Lot 4; Lot 5 (also the visitors lot) in front of the arch entrance; Lot 6; the chassis entrance at gate 4; Lot 7. It should also be noted that any brand of motorcycle can park in any designated motorcycle parking spot.

• Reminder: Temporary and flex employees are eligible for the GM employee discount on new vehicles. To get started go to and either log in or create an account. The employee discount is a percentage off of the sticker price and if there are any consumer rebates on the vehicle you can get those as well. Here is a pricing example: A 2015 Chevy Malibu LT with a sticker price of $24,560 has an employee discount price of $22,785. There is also a $1500 rebate, giving you a final price of $21,285.

• You may have heard about the consternation among U.S. government officials about the rampant procurement and use of Toyota vehicles by the Islamic State (ISIS) – so much so that a U.S. Counterterrorism unit is interrogating Toyota officials how this can be. We’ve all seen pictures and video of black-cloaked terrorists with weapons raised high riding in the back of Toyota pickups. These are not beat up trucks captured from vanquished foes. They appear to be new or nearly so. John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” took on the automaker with tongue somewhat in cheek, but critical nonetheless. Regarding a statement to ABC news from Toyota that said it was not aware of any of its dealerships violating the company policy not to sell to terrorist groups Oliver said, “Hold on—you actually felt the need to make ‘not selling to terrorists’ official company policy? Is that in the handbook under, ‘Things that should go without saying?” He continued, “In light of the news this week, you would think Toyota would at least change the name of one of their cars.” You guessed it: Toyota sells a make of car called the “Isis”—a seven-seat minivan with a panoramic door and four-wheel drive. “Oh, come on, Toyota! You’re giving ISIS built-in vanity plates!” joked Oliver. “It seems Toyota might have a genuine problem here, because ISIS seems to really like their cars.” Indeed, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN told ABC News that, “Toyota has almost become part of the ISIS brand.” Said Oliver, “At this rate, we are almost a few months away from ISIS-owned dealerships, complete with fully-armed windsock guy. Come on down to ISIS Toyota, our salesmen are terrorists you can negotiate with!’”

• From the Detroit News: General Motors Co. will begin taking applications Wednesday for its Spring Hill Assembly Plant in Tennessee, which is adding production of the new 2017 Cadillac XT5 (SRX). The carmaker said it will begin to accept applications at 8 a.m. central time Wednesday to grow its hourly hiring pool for the facility, according to a posting Tuesday on the UAW-GM Facebook page. Jobs are expected to start in early 2016, the posting said. Hiring is expected in the hundreds, but GM officials could not immediately be reached for comment. UAW Local 1853 shop chairman Mike Herron’s website also confirms the hiring pool opens Wednesday for new manufacturing jobs at the plant. In August 2014, GM announced the plant would land the Cadillac crossover, now built in Mexico. The carmaker previously announced $350 million in investment at Spring Hill for two midsize vehicles, which were expected to create or retain about 1,800 jobs. The Cadillac is one of the vehicles. The carmaker has not publicly named the other vehicle that is coming to Spring Hill, but analysts believe it is a smaller version of the current GMC Acadia, which would move from the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant.

• VW lately has been hit with so many right crosses they’re begging for a left hook – and here it is. U.S. movie studio Paramount Pictures and actor Leonardo DiCaprio's production company have acquired movie rights to a book proposal by New York Times journalist Jack Ewing about the clean diesel scandal, the biggest crisis in Volkswagen's 78-year history, Paramount and New York literary agency Marly Rusoff and Associates said on Monday. Nothing like airing dirty laundry long before it’s dry.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

State of the Union October 6, 2015

State of the Union October 6, 2015

• From Chairman Mike Bullock: “Health Care Co-op” language was included in the tentative agreement between the UAW and FCA. The language in the FCA highlights said that a health care co-op would be established to focus on improving health care benefits in a manner that increases quality, lowers cost, produces less waste, and provides better patient care and outcomes. UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada further explained that a health care co-op would not be a VEBA or VEBA- like plan. It will not be a Taft-Hartley plan or a pool of money or any other type of multi-employer health plan. Vice President Estrada said that all active members remain and will remain insured by the Company sponsored health plan.
The purpose of the Co-op is to address the health care crisis that continues to be a huge problem and is a big part of the economic pie when it comes to negotiations. The co-op is an attempt to be pro-active regarding health care costs so we can help minimize its impact on future negotiations. Currently health care cost the company $8.00 per hour per employee, with the expectation that it will rise to $13 per hour per employee over the next 4 years.
The Health Care Co-op is a mechanism to study innovative ways to improve health care. The company will continue to sponsor the current health care plans for active UAW membership.
We are still awaiting word on the next step at UAW/FCA negotiations. We continue to meet locally on our issues. I have told management that I expect to vote on a local contract at the same time as the National contract. If this were not to happen, I would have to consider what our next step would be.

• There will be Education Committee meetings Thursday, October 8 at the following times: 6:45 am for 3rd shift; 1:00 pm for 2nd shift; 2:45 pm for 1st shift. All meetings will be held at the Union Hall and all are welcome to attend.

• Unfortunately, negotiators have put the finishing touches on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and it is set to go to Congress for a straight up or down vote. Due to the passing of fast track authority, no amendments will be allowed to this agreement. Here is a statement from UAW President Dennis Williams regarding this agreement:
“TPP is a sweeping agreement that touches nearly every aspect of your daily life. It impacts the food you eat, the air you breathe, the medicines you take, and the cars you drive. It will impact demand for the world-class farming equipment tens of thousands of UAW members build. If factories close revenue shortfalls and budget cuts will ensue and UAW members whose jobs serve the public would suffer.
“The more than 100,000 UAW members who work for auto suppliers might be faced with a flood of subsidized imports. In fact, auto suppliers produce hundreds of billions of goods and support more than three and a half million U.S. jobs directly and indirectly.
Fair rules are needed for all countries to truly compete. Countries from around the world sell cars in America without unfair trade barriers. Yet, while domestic auto companies sell less than half of all vehicles in the U.S, the same cannot be said for many countries in the TPP. Some Asian-Pacific countries have closed auto markets importing less than 7% while undervaluing their currency, making their exports cheaper. Time and time again companies who game the system shift more and more work to low wage countries. Non-TPP countries like China, Philippines or Thailand must not unjustly receive benefits under this agreement.
We as a country have an opportunity to craft an agreement that is good for American families and creates economic stability. The administration should return to the table to ensure we have an agreement that strengthens American families and creates economic stability.” The fight is not over yet. While we can’t amend the agreement, we can weigh in with our representatives in Washington and urge them to vote against this agreement, which will probably not see a vote until next spring. We will keep you informed as the vote draws nearer.

• As expected, the year over year comparisons for van sales are coming into line. Going forward, this should be the rule rather than the exception. Here’s a look at how the van and pickup segments fared in September: (click on image for larger picture)
For the first time since our pickups started selling in numbers, Tacoma sales actually fell, while the Frontier continues to plummet. Our combined sales now trail the Tacoma in market share by only 7.5 points. Looking at field supplies, as measured in days, the van dropped from 51 at the end of August to 42 days at the end of September. The delay in 2016 passenger vans has created an acute shortage as Chevy supplies are at 547 units total (for some 3500 Chevrolet dealers). Colorado supplies continue to creep up as we work to fill the product pipeline. At 30 days supply, it is the lowest of any GM retail product. Canyon supplies stand at 61 days, getting closer to normal, which for pickups is between 70 and 90 days due to the numerous configurations. And the number one customer complaint about the Colorado? CAN’T FIND ONE!

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

State of the Union for September 9, 2015

September 9, 2015 online at

Your National Bargaining Committee sincerely appreciates the overwhelming support you have given us during our current negotiations. The results of the strike authorization votes that were announced last week are indicative of that support. Receiving 97 percent of votes authorizing a strike if necessary was a powerful showing of unity. Make no mistake, the message is clear: UAW-GM members are committed to stand together and win the justice we deserve.

This is OUR TIME! For the past two bargaining sessions our members have faced the most ominous of circumstances. We stood up to the terrifying challenge of bankruptcy and made tremendous sacrifices. We put the long-term future ahead of short-term pain. Faced with decisions that were not good, we bet on ourselves to turn around our industry and WE became the solution that resurrected the industry and saved GM. And for that we can be proud! Now it is OUR TIME. We have made it crystal clear that the proposed contract we bring back to you must address current wage inequities, ensure that all UAW-GM members get a share of the wealth we are creating, and provide for the greatest measure of job security.

To achieve our just demands, your continued solidarity will be needed in the days that lie ahead. Unfortunately, the rumor mill will test that solidarity. As the deadline approaches, we expect the conversations on the shop floor to pick up, and public media reporting to intensify. Don’t believe everything you hear or read! The fact is, even though we are making progress in the negotiations, nothing is settled until the entire agreement is settled. These are important issues, and we are taking great care to ensure that all possible options are explored. For that reason, it is impossible for your negotiating team to accurately report to you the specifics of our daily conversations, or any tentative agreements that we have reached. However, you can be assured that each day we are meeting and striving to find the best possible outcomes. The solutions we may be discussing can be complex and have implications beyond what is most apparent, and as our discussions continue, the proposed solutions may change. In short, negotiating a contract covering tens of thousands of workers employed at diverse locations across the country is a very complex and fluid process. What is most important is that as strong, committed union members we “keep our eye on the prize” and stay focused on winning a fair contract. And to accomplish that, we need to ignore the rumors and distractions and keep faith in the leadership you have selected.

We do, however, recognize the need to share as much information as possible and provide updates as needed. To get this important information and our updates, we have created a website for your use. You may go to, then click on the GM icon. You may also receive updates by text message. To receive text messaging updates, simply text big 3 to the number 99795 on your cell phone. The website and texting service offers timely information on negotiations and was created to better serve you. We strongly encourage you and your membership to utilize these communication channels. As the deadline approaches, you can be assured that we are focused on bargaining the best possible contract for you and your family. Together we are “going all the way to a better day with the UAW”!
In solidarity,
Cindy Estrada, UAW Vice President and Director, and the 2015 National Bargaining Team

• Vice President Estrada also gave us two more ways to check for updates on negotiations: the Facebook pages of “UAWGMTalks” and “UAWGMCHR”.

• Teams Needed: The annual Women’s Committee Benefit Golf Tournament will be Sunday, September 20. It will be held at Country Lake golf course in Warrenton. It is a three person scramble with a 12 noon shotgun start. Cost is $210 per team/$70 per person. The first 3 places in 3 flights will be paid and there will be longest drive and closest to the pin contests along with a skin game. Food and beer will be served after the tournament. Proceeds will go to St. Joachim & Anne Care Services of St. Charles. Entry forms are available at the entrances.

• From the Veterans Committee: The 10th Annual SOS (Support Our Soldiers) Poker Run will be Sunday, October 4. Registration will be at the Union Hall from 10:00 am to 12 noon. Last bike in at 4:00 pm. First poker hand/person is $10 and $5 for each additional hand/person. There will be cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place as well as a 50/50 drawing, door prizes and raffle items. All bikes and cages (cars) are welcome. Proceeds benefit the St. Louis Fisher House. Make checks payable to UAW-2250. Volunteers will be needed. For more information contact Steve Melson at 636-262-1234. You can also attend the Veterans Committee meetings Thursday, Sept. 10 at one of the following times: 1:30 pm for 2nd shift at the Union Hall; 2:45 pm for 1st shift at the Union Hall and 9:30 pm for 3rd shift in the plant cafeteria.

• From Automotive News: Fiat Chrysler has decided to keep making the Jeep Wrangler in Toledo, Ohio, move production of the Jeep Cherokee to a nearby state and build a Jeep pickup. The news comes after 11 months of uncertainty about the fate of Wrangler production in its historic home. Details about the Wrangler and Cherokee were shared with Toledo plant management in response to inquiries from Automotive News, based on an exclusive interview with CEO Sergio Marchionne on Aug. 21. Automotive News has learned independently that Jeep will make a Wrangler-based pickup in Toledo, a move that will soften the blow of a transferred Cherokee -- Jeep’s best-selling vehicle.
Details of the plan will be announced after FCA’s contract talks with the UAW conclude; the contract expires Sept. 14. Separately, Automotive News has confirmed that the plan includes building a long-sought Wrangler-based pickup, likely in 2017 or 2018. That vehicle is under development. Production of the redesigned Wrangler and pickup is planned to reach 350,000 per year, according to suppliers briefed on the plan. A Wrangler-based pickup has been on Jeep enthusiasts’ wish list since the brand showed the Jeep Gladiator concept in 2005. The Gladiator was built on a Ram 1500 frame and shared Wrangler styling. It is unknown whether the Wrangler-based pickup would be Gladiator-sized or smaller, to compete with the redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, as well as a potential Ford Ranger pickup. Either way, the Jeep badge and underpinnings should allow it to sell at a premium above those offerings.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly