Wednesday, September 10, 2014

State of the Union September 10, 2014

September 10, 2014 online at

• This Saturday, Sept. 13, is the annual Union Picnic, to be held at the Union Hall. It will run from 1 pm to 5 pm and feature snack stations and a food buffet. Entertainment and activities will include a DJ, obstacle course, rock wall, giant slide, little bit zone and arts and crafts displays. Bring a lawn chair and your badge or Union card to get into the picnic.

• August was another big month for van sales as our vans outsold the Ford Econoline/Transit combined by over 4000 units. Here’s how the rest of the segment shook out:

2014 2013 Change Share GM 12,069 9346 +29.1% 49.0%
Ford Econoline 6,702 8631 -22.3% 27.2%
Mercedes Sprinter 1,880 1390 +35.3% 7.6%
Nissan NV 1,227 1027 +19.5% 5.0%
Ram Promaster 1,658 --- --- 6.7%
Ford Transit 1,099 --- --- 4.4%
Ford Transit connect 3,923 3925 even ---
Nissan NV200 1,223 514 +138% ---

Combined, the rest of the entire full-size van offerings only outsold GM by 497 units. In addition, we sold around 1700 passenger vans compared to Ford’s 460. Regarding field supplies, overall they were essentially flat compared with last month, staying at 31 days supply. Looking at midsize trucks, Toyota sold 14,338 Tacomas, down 5.8%. Tacoma sales are down 6.9% for the year. Nissan sold 6770 Frontiers, up 2.8%. Frontier sales are up 16.8% this year.

• Speaking of the new full-size Transit van, Ford was crowing about landing their biggest fleet order for the eurovan. According to TruckTrend, “Ford just landed its first large-volume fleet purchase of Transit vans with 800 units by Connecticut-based Charter Communications, a cable, phone, and internet provider servicing customers in 29 states across the country.” To quote Church Lady, “Well isn’t that special!” Charter’s order consists of low-roof, short-wheelbase cargo vans, meaning they’ll most likely be gas models with the 3.7L V-6 Duratec. In other words, keep your overpriced, raised-roof, ecoboost van. Kinda pales in comparison to our 10,500 unit U-Haul order….

• From Automotive News: Chevrolet dealer Mike Maheras can't wait for a dozen Colorado midsize pickups to arrive at his two stores next month, although he's disappointed he couldn't get more. "I'd have taken as many as they could give me," says Maheras, dealer principal at Phillips Chevrolet of Lansing, Ill., and general manager at the group's Frankfort store south of Chicago. "This is a market that we've been missing since the Colorado went away" in 2012. Maheras' order is one among a surge of requests from dealers for the redesigned 2015 Colorado and its sibling, the GMC Canyon, which return to showrooms in October after a two-year absence. GM says dealers ordered 28,000 Colorados and another 14,000 Canyons during the first 30 days after it began taking orders, more than five times its forecast. Dealers commonly go big on initial orders of newly launched models, when eager buyers are lined up. Still, GM views the reception as a sign that dealers believe in the market for smaller pickups, even as many skeptics question the company's strategy. The launch of the Colorado and Canyon is among the most closely watched in years for GM, and may serve as a bellwether of consumers' pickup preferences. GM is counting on the smaller trucks to give Chevy and GMC lineups that no rival can match: a midsize pickup, plus full-size offerings in the both light- and heavy-duty segments. GM last week announced EPA fuel economy ratings of 18 mpg city/26 highway/21 combined for models with the 3.6 liter V-6 engine, which should be the volume model. That should easily lead the segment, ahead of the 17 city/21 highway/19 combined rating of the Toyota Tacoma's V-6. Maheras is happy that his salespeople will be able to boast segment-leading fuel economy. He's not worried about comparisons to full-size trucks. "There are plenty of other factors the midsize buyer looks at," he says. "They'll like the smaller package and the design."

• From Coordinators of an employee-created union called American Council of Employees at Volkswagen are accelerating their organizing efforts. Last week, Volkswagen worker Mike Burton, who led anti-United Auto Worker efforts during February's election, announced he was starting the new union at the local plant. The move is an effort to oppose Local 42, which is a local UAW chapter. Establishing Local 42 is another route for the UAW to be recognized by Volkswagen. On the topic of Burton's new efforts, UAW leaders told Reuters that American Council of Employees didn't have much chance at succeeding. According to the article:
Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, told Reuters on Tuesday he does not see how Burton's union stands much of a chance because VW and the UAW "have a consensus" that the company will recognize Local 42. Casteel said it is up to VW whether it will recognize the new union if Burton is successful in creating one at the VW plant, which has about 1,500 hourly workers.
But American Council of Employees said via the new organization's website that UAW leaders continue to use the word "consensus," but the site notes that VW leaders haven't said anything about that. "Not once has VW acknowledged ANY relationship with the UAW," according to the site. "Curious how some twist misrepresentation until it looks like the truth." Burton said he has about 150 signatures now in support of American Council of Employees, and he needs to get 415. "We hope to announce in the next week or so that we are moving ahead with the blessing from over 30 percent of the hourly and the salaried employees," he said via the site. "That’s 30 percent each." After they do that, American Council of Employees leaders will petition the National Labor Relations Board to be recognized as an employee union, then they will ask Volkswagen officials to be "recognized and voted on by Chattanooga VW employees," according to the site.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

State of the Union September 3, 2014

September 3, 2014 online at

• Teams still needed: The Annual Women’s Committee benefit golf tournament will be held this Saturday, Sept. 6 at Country Lake golf course in Warrenton. It is a 3-person scramble with a 1:30 pm shotgun start. Cost is $210 per team/$70 per person and includes prize money for the first 3 places in 3 flights, longest drive and closest to the pin contests as well as Food and beer that will be served after the tournament. Entry forms are available at the entrances. Proceeds will benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery which serves children and families of St. Charles, Warren, Lincoln, Pike, Franklin and Jefferson Counties as well as St. Louis City and County and East St. Louis.

• September is going to be a busy month for Local 2250 activities. In addition to this weekend’s golf tournament, next Saturday (9/13) is the annual Union Picnic at the Union Hall. The following Saturday (9/20) is the second work day for the Habitat for Humanity home in St. Peters. And Saturday, the 27th, is the SOS ride. More details for all the activities will be forthcoming.

• From the Benefits Department: If you are 60 or older, you can receive free shingles shots. We recommend that you get this from your doctor, but if you can’t there is reimbursement for shots from a pharmacy. See your benefits representative if you have any questions.

• From Automotive News: Chevrolet dealers requested nearly 30,000 Colorado pickups in the month since General Motors began taking orders for the all-new midsize truck -- about five times more than the company had forecast. "The dealers' enthusiasm for the Colorado is off the charts," Chevrolet U.S. chief Brian Sweeney told Automotive News on Monday. GM began taking orders for the 2015 Colorado in early August. The pickup, which is being built at GM's assembly plant in Wentzville, Mo., is expected to reach showrooms in October or early November. The launch of the Colorado and its sibling, the GMC Canyon, is among the most closely watched in years for GM. Skeptics question whether the demand is there to warrant a new generation of the pickups, which were phased out in 2012. GM is counting on the smaller trucks to give Chevy and GMC truck lineups that no rival can match: Offerings in the heavy-duty and light-duty segments with the Silverado and Sierra, and the midsize Colorado and Canyon. Ford dropped its Ranger small pickup in the U.S. in 2011, while Ram discontinued the Dakota that same year. The surge in early orders is "a sign that the dealers really believe in this product," said Sweeney, who oversees sales and marketing for Chevy in the U.S. Forecasts for combined sales of the Colorado and Canyon next year, by IHS Automotive, AutoPacific and LMC Automotive, range from 73,000 to 91,400 trucks. In comparison, GM sold 664,803 Silverados and GMC Sierras last year.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) dealers delivered 272,423 vehicles in the United States in August, led by an 18 percent increase in truck sales compared to a year ago, a 10 percent increase in GMC deliveries and a 30 percent increase in commercial sales.
Total deliveries were down 1 percent compared with last August, which was GM’s best sales month of 2013. Retail deliveries, which are sales to individual consumers, declined 4 percent. Fleet deliveries were up 9 percent compared with a year ago.
On a selling day adjusted basis, GM’s total sales were up 2 percent, with retail sales essentially equal to a year ago and fleet up 13 percent.
Incentive spending as a percentage of average transaction prices (ATPs) was 10.4 percent, the lowest of all domestic automakers by a significant margin, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates. GM spending was down a full percentage point compared with both August 2013 and July 2014. “Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac had an outstanding month with trucks. Cars and crossovers like the Buick Encore and GMC Acadia, and the Chevrolet Sonic, Cruze and Traverse, were also strong,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations.
“We see a strong fall selling season ahead for GM and the industry, which sets the stage for the launches of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Car-buying fundamentals like employment and energy prices are in good shape, consumer confidence has reached a post-recession high and business investment is increasing.”
Nearly 28,000 dealer orders have been placed for the Chevrolet Colorado, along with 14,000 orders for the GMC Canyon, which both began production this week and arrive in showrooms this fall. Chevrolet and GMC will soon be the only brands offering mid-size pickups, as well as light- and heavy-duty full-size pickups.
Light vehicle sales for the year are now expected to be near the high-end of GM’s full-year outlook set in January, which was for 16.0 million – 16.5 million units.
August Sales Highlights (vs. 2013 except as noted)
  • Sales of Chevrolet and GMC large SUVs were up 38 percent.
  • Cadillac Escalade deliveries increased 64 percent, for the vehicle line’s best August since 2007.
  • Chevrolet Silverado deliveries were up 13 percent and GMC Sierra sales were up 10 percent, and ATPs improved from July, according to PIN. This was the best August for GM pickups since 2008.
  • The Chevrolet Express van had its best August sales since 2007, with deliveries up 23 percent. The GMC Savana saw a 70 percent increase. Total van sales were 12,069.
  • Chevrolet Sonic deliveries were up 13 percent for the vehicle’s best August ever.
  • Sales of the Buick Encore small crossover were up 13 percent and Regal deliveries were up 29 percent.
  • In the medium crossover segment, sales of the Chevrolet Traverse were up 11 percent and GMC Acadia deliveries were up 5 percent.
  • Retail deliveries of the Chevrolet Cruze increased 23 percent and Camaro retail deliveries were up 2 percent.

• GM’s ATPs in August were the highest in company history at about $33,750, according to PIN. ATPs were up $500 per unit compared with July, and they were up about $2,900 from a year ago. GM’s gains in the commercial segment were driven by pickup and van sales, which were up 23 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Sales to rental customers were up about 3 percent. Sales to government customers were up about 14 percent. GM’s fleet mix in August was 22 percent. Calendar year to date, GM’s fleet mix is 25 percent

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

State of the Union August 12, 2014

August 12, 2014 online at

• There will be an Education Committee meeting Wednesday, August 13 between shifts in the cafeteria. As always, anyone interested in attending and becoming a member is welcome.

• The Annual Women’s Committee benefit golf tournament will be held Saturday, Sept. 6 at Country Lake golf course in Warrenton. It is a 3-person scramble with a 1:30 pm shotgun start. Cost is $210 per team/$70 per person and includes prize money for the first 3 places in 3 flights, longest drive and closest to the pin contests as well as Food and beer that will be served after the tournament. Entry forms are available at the entrances. Proceeds will benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery which serves children and families of St. Charles, Warren, Lincoln, Pike, Franklin and Jefferson Counties as well as St. Louis City and County and East St. Louis.

• From the Detroit News: General Motors Co.’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant will halt production for three weeks starting Aug. 18 due to lower than anticipated market demand for the luxury cars built there, according to two people familiar with GM’s plans. Production is set to resume Sept. 8, according to one person with knowledge of the company’s plans. The plant builds the Cadillac ATS and CTS sedans. Cadillac ATS sales are down nearly 21 percent through July this year, while CTS sales are flat year-to-date. But sales of the CTS — redesigned for the 2014 model year — in July fell more than 29 percent from July 2013. The compact ATS was all new as a 2013 model and won North American Car of the Year that year. The CTS took home Motor Trend Car of the Year honors for 2014. “We don’t share our production schedules with outside parties,” GM spokesman Bill Grotz said. “We build to market demand.” Lansing Grand River employs about 1,600 workers, including about 1,400 hourly employees who are represented by UAW Local 652. The plant, which runs two shifts, is set to begin building Cadillac’s new 2015 ATS Coupe this fall.

• Consumer Reports, who gave the Tesla Model S the highest test score ever awarded, is now reporting on how the ($89,650) car has held up during continued testing. The short answer - not very well. Here is a brief recitation of things gone wrong or replaced/repaired in the first 15,743 miles: center screen (which controls virtually every function) went blank and needed a “hard” reset; broken 3rd row seat buckle; front bumper carrier hardware; 12 volt battery; HVAC filter housing; powertrain battery coolant pump; decklid release inop; charger adapter came apart; passenger side roof pillar “creak”; malfunctioning retracting door handles. CR said they “might” have to lower the car’s reliability ratings.

• From Automotive News: Skeptics of General Motors' decision to revive its smaller pickups say GM is headed down a dead-end road: Buyers simply prefer to pay a bit more and get a bigger truck, the thinking goes. But an Automotive News review of more than a decade of pricing, inventory and sales data shows that market dynamics have shifted in the years since compact pickups (now commonly called mid-sized) fell out of favor. The pricing delta between the smaller trucks and their bigger showroom siblings has widened considerably in recent years, creating more breathing room for mid-sized offerings priced from $20,000 to the low $30,000s.
The data suggest that GM's contrarian move to re-enter the segment this fall with the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon comes at an opportune time. The move is still a gamble -- one that GM's main truck rivals see no reason to take for now -- given the epic collapse of the smaller-pickup market during the past 15 years. Smaller trucks such as the Ford Ranger and Chevy S-10 were the rage in the 1990s, outselling full-sized pickups in some years. Then, steep discounts on the bigger trucks, lubricated by overproduction, shortened the pricing ladder between the two segments. Encouraged by cheap gasoline prices, buyers opted for more truck. As a result, U.S. sales of compact pickups shriveled to just 227,111 trucks last year, from more than 1 million in 2000, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
But in recent years, restrained production and insatiable demand for content and features on full-sized pickups have tamed discounts and pushed prices to gaudy highs. Net prices -- average transaction prices that factor in incentives such as lease subsidies and cheap financing -- hit a record $37,568 in the first half of the year, Edmunds data prepared for Automotive News show. From 2011 through the first half of 2014, net prices on full-sized pickups were 43 percent higher on average than on mid-sized trucks. That's a sizable jump from the nine-year period from 2002 to 2010, when they were 34 percent higher on average. The gap could grow in coming years as Ford leads what is likely a broader transition to more-expensive aluminum bodies to improve fuel economy. Ford is raising prices for its 2015 aluminum F-150 pickup by as much as $3,615. "We've seen [full-sized] truck prices rise so much in recent years, it does leave a void in the market for smaller trucks with decent content and amenities," Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell says. "The timing is as good as it's been in at least a decade."
It was a different story when GM launched the first-generation Colorado and Canyon in 2004, as successors to the popular S-10 and GMC Sonoma. Back then, a top-trim 2005 Colorado Z71 crew cab was $28,550, about $6,200 cheaper than a Silverado Z71 crew cab. For 2015, the gap between those models is more than $11,000. Rick Cantalini, general manager at Vandergriff Chevrolet in Arlington, Texas, was on a dealer advisory committee for the first Colorado. He says it was a decent truck but never sold well because "the way Silverado was priced, they were stepping all over each other." Today, GM has "stayed restrained on Silverado rebates" for the redesigned truck, Cantalini says. "They've preserved that space for Colorado."
GM must maintain that discipline to avoid the price blurring of the past, says AutoPacific Inc. product analyst Dave Sullivan. He believes having an adequate price spread is crucial to GM's strategy of being the only automaker to offer all three flavors of pickups: mid-sized, and full-sized trucks in both light- and heavy-duty versions. For now, forecasters are taking a cautious view of GM's mid-sized truck gambit.
Forecasts for combined sales of the Colorado and Canyon next year, by IHS Automotive, AutoPacific and LMC Automotive, range from 73,000 to 91,400 trucks. That is well below the historical volume of the Toyota Tacoma, which has accounted for about two-thirds of mid-sized sales in recent years, and a fraction of the combined 664,803 Silverados and Sierras sold last year. GM officials won't provide a sales target.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Thursday, July 17, 2014

State of the Union July 17, 2014

July 17, 2014 online at

• From the Veteran’s Committee: There are sign-up sheets posted at all three entrances for those interested in helping out with the SOS Ride on September 27, 2014. We will need people to work at the Hall and at each check-point along the ride. Anyone interested in joining the UAW 2250 Motorcycle Riders Club see Steve Melson.

• The CAP Committee would like to thank everyone who bought raffle tickets to support V-CAP. The winners are: 1st prize (Microsoft Surface tablet) – George Ferguson; 2nd prize (wireless sound cube) – Zach Luechtefeld; 3rd prize ($50 gas card) – Mike Bridgins.

• As you would expect following another big sales month, van field supplies fell again. Net field stock as measured in days dropped to 27 from 32 at the end of May. At just under 14,000 units, this is the lowest number of vans in the field since we’ve been reporting this metric. Cargo vans in particular are in short supply with only 26 days of Chevy cargos and 18 days of GMC cargos (for comparison sake, last June there were 10,239 Chevy cargo vans in the field – this year there are 5,170). Passenger vans have fallen below 700 total while cutaways are roughly the same as May.

• Spy photographs have surfaced of what appears to be a midsize pickup that is believed to be a Fiat Chrysler product for the Ram truck division. Speculation, based on the photographs taken, is that it is a version of the Fiat Strada pickup built in Brazil and sold overseas. If that is the case it would follow a familiar playbook where a Fiat truck product is modified to be sold in the U.S. (think Ram ProMaster full size van, based on the Fiat Ducato). The Strada is decidedly smaller than our pickup and is a unibody vehicle. The current powertrains for the Strada are all 4 cylinder engines ranging from the 1.3 liter turbodiesel to the 1.8 liter gas engine. A recent test drive of a Strada with the diesel by the website Autoblog gave the specifications for engine as 94 horsepower and 148 pound feet of torque. This propels the truck from 0-60 mph in a leisurely 13 seconds and produces a top speed of 99 mph. No word from Fiat Chrysler on if, or when, they may make this trucklet available in the U.S.

The UAW announced the formation of UAW Local 42, a new local union providing representation for employees at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
Organized by Volkswagen employees, Local 42 offers workers the opportunity for a voice in the workplace through the German automaker’s “works council” approach to employee engagement. Volkswagen’s business model is premised on employee representation, and Local 42 will represent any interested employees who join the local as members. No employees will be required to join.
“Earlier this year, the UAW was gratified to earn the confidence and support of many Volkswagen team members,” said Dennis Williams, president of the UAW. “At that time, we said we would not give up on these committed and hard-working employees. We’re keeping our promise.”
Gary Casteel, the UAW’s secretary-treasurer, who previously served as director of UAW Region 8 covering the South, emphasized: “Local 42 will be run by, and for, the employees at Volkswagen.”
“We’ve had ongoing discussions with Volkswagen and have arrived at a consensus with the company,” Casteel said. “Upon Local 42 signing up a meaningful portion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga workforce, we’re confident the company will recognize Local 42 by dealing with it as a members’ union that represents those employees who join the local. As part of this consensus, the UAW is committed to continuing its joint efforts with Volkswagen to ensure the company’s expansion and growth in Chattanooga.”
UAW officials reiterated the reasoning for recently withdrawing objections to the February election at the plant, which was tainted by outside interference. “As Volkswagen’s works council partner, the UAW’s role is to encourage job creation and promote job security so that Volkswagen employees can achieve the American dream and Chattanooga’s economy can prosper,” Casteel said. “We withdrew objections to end the controversy and put the focus where it belongs: obtaining the economic incentives necessary to ensure the growth of Volkswagen in Chattanooga and the addition of a new product line.”
Volkswagen employees formally announced Local 42 at an afternoon news conference, and immediately began communicating with fellow team members and with the plant’s management about next steps in advancing the works council partnership.
“Being part of the creation of an American-style works council is a chance to do something new and different,” said Michael Cantrell, a Volkswagen paint technician. “This is about securing good jobs for the future of the plant and Chattanooga, and building lasting partnerships between management and team members.”
Additionally, Local 42 members pledged to get involved in the community — as UAW members have done in other communities across the country — to support charitable causes, youth programs and other local needs. “I see Local 42 as an opportunity to give back to Chattanooga and southeast Tennessee,” said Myra Montgomery, a quality inspector in the Volkswagen plant. “As our membership grows, people are going to see us very active in this community.”
Local 42 members declared workforce development to be a top priority, and said they would work with Volkswagen and the UAW to organize job-training opportunities so that employees can continually expand their skills as new technologies emerge and manufacturing processes change.
“Having access to the UAW’s expertise and support will keep the plant competitive and will keep our workforce on the cutting edge of productivity and quality,” said Jonathan Walden, who works in the Volkswagen plant’s paint department. “The members of Local 42 are ready to roll up our sleeves and focus on the future.”

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

State of the Union June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014 online at

• From the Women’s Committee: This Saturday is our workday for Habitat for Humanity. You can still fill out a form to participate and we will even take walkups Saturday. There will be two shifts that you can choose to work, 8am to noon or noon to 4pm. Please indicate on the form which time frame you would like to work and a contact number. Give your completed form to a Women’s Committee member of drop it in the Suggestion box. The address for the build is 112 Clinton Court at the Enclaves Subdivision. Take Hwy 70 to Hwy 79 and head south toward Salt Lick Rd/Birdie Hills. You will cross over Mexico Rd. About ½ mile past Church on the Rock, turn right on Eisenhower Dr. Clinton Court will be the first left. Hope to see you there.

• Recently there have been a number of audits regarding the use of the Employee Vehicle Purchase program. These are done on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with the rules of the program, typically to verify that people receiving the employee discount are actually eligible. The responsibility always rests with the employee/retiree that purchases made with their discount are valid. However, there have been some cases where personal information is conveyed at the dealership to obtain an authorization number that is apparently used again, without the employee/retiree’s consent, to complete deals with buyers that are not eligible for the discount. When these issues are uncovered in an audit, the employee/retiree will be contacted and requested to make up the monetary difference the employee discount provides – usually thousands of dollars. In addition, these people are suspended from the program for a period of 3 to 5 years. So the message is: never give your personal information to a salesman at a dealership to obtain an authorization number. You should have this with you before you go to purchase a vehicle. The numbers are good for 6 months so there is no need to wait until the last minute. Also, any communication from GM should always be reviewed, be it an email or a letter. Every time an authorization number is generated with your information, a letter is sent to your address of record indicating that. If you do not look at this letter you will have no idea your information is being used improperly. Yet you will be held liable for the difference if you cannot prove the dealer was using your information without your consent. That is the purpose of the notification letter.

• From Automotive News: Ford Motor Co. faces new challenges to its ambitious effort to become the industry's fuel economy leader after revising mpg numbers downward on six models this week. Affected models are the 2014 Ford Fiesta; the 2013 and 2014 hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Fusion and C-Max (2nd downgrade); and the 2013 and 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Jim Seavitt, owner of Village Ford in Dearborn, Mich., said he cleared out most of his C-Max inventory in the last couple of weeks with the help of a Ford incentive. Seavitt said he doubts he will be stocking any more anytime soon with this latest news. O.C. Welch, a Ford-Lincoln dealer in Hardeeville, S.C., said: "That's the No. 1 thing hybrid and Energi customers are complaining about. They ask: 'How do you get it to get the mileage on the window stickers?'" Welch said last summer's C-Max restatement virtually stopped sales of the vehicle on his lot. "I've got 24 C-Maxs in stock," he said. "We took half of them and made service loaners out of them. Those things have been grazing on the grass 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for eight, nine, 10 months." Ford said this week it had identified an error in its testing procedures and notified the EPA and worked with the agency to revise the ratings. Ford announced it will make payments to about 200,000 affected customers ranging from $125 to $1,050, depending on the model and whether a customer leased or purchased the vehicle. The company would not estimate the total cost of the reimbursement program.

• From the N.Y. Times: Federal regulators disclosed on Wednesday that they were conducting a review of all the major automakers for ignition-switch problems similar to the safety defect that G.M. has linked to at least 13 deaths. The review, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has turned up potential problems in at least one company so far. The agency announced that it had opened investigations into about 1.2 million Chrysler vehicles over concern that jostling the ignition key could accidentally cut power in a moving car and disable the air bags — a flaw strikingly similar to the one that has thrown G.M. into turmoil and forced it to recall millions of small cars. A review of complaints filed to the N.H.T.S.A. by drivers of cars made in the last 10 years showed that reports of stalls of moving cars related to ignition-switch problems were not limited to vehicles made by G.M. and Chrysler; such complaints existed for a variety of vehicles. One filed in June 2005 about a 2004 Toyota Solara indicated that the car repeatedly shut off “while driving 25 mph, 55 mph, 65 mph, and other speeds.” The driver brought the car to several dealers near Deforest, Wis., according to the complaint. None could duplicate or fix the problem. Another driver of a 2004 Honda Accord wrote in July 2004, alarmed that the car had shut off on an expressway in Yardley, Pa., while going 65 miles an hour. After coasting to the side of the road, “I was able to start the car up and then realized that the ignition key had slipped forward into the off position while I was driving,” the driver wrote.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

State of the Union June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014 online at

• From the Women’s Committee: Our Habitat for Humanity work day is June 21. There are volunteer forms that have to be filled out to work. Forms are at the doors. There will be two shifts that you can choose to work, 8am to noon or noon to 4pm. Please indicate on the form which time frame you would like to work and a contact number. Give you completed form to a Women’s Committee member of drop it in the Suggestion box. The address for the build is 112 Clinton Court at the Enclaves Subdivision. Take Hwy 70 to Hwy 79 and head south toward Salt Lick Rd/Birdie Hills. You will cross over Mexico Rd. About ½ mile past Church on the Rock, turn right on Eisenhower Dr. Contact a member of the Women’s Committee for more information.

Also, there will be a Women’s Committee meeting Thursday, June 12 after first shift and at 5 pm for 2nd shift at the Union Hall.

• There will be an Education Committee meeting Wednesday, June 11 in the cafeteria between shifts. There will be a Veterans Committee meeting Thursday, June 12 between shifts at the Union Hall. • May was a big month for our van sales. With nearly 14,000 sold, it was the biggest sales month since August 2007. Every competitor in the segment saw increases year over year. Here are the results:

  2014 2013 Change Share
Ford Econoline 14,269 12571 +13.5% 43.3%
GM 13,946 10,259 +35.9% 42.3%
Mercedes Sprinter 2,264 1828 +23.9% 6.9%
Nissan NV 1,475 971 +51.9% 4.5%
Ram ProMaster 1,033 ---- ---- 3.1%
Ford Transit Connect 4,222 3709 +13.8%  
Nissan NV 200 1203 341 +253%  

Looking at midsize pickups, Toyota sold 13,876 Tacomas, down 5.8% while Nissan sold 6,662 Frontiers, up 1.4%. For the calendar year Tacoma sales are down 6.2% while Frontier sales are up 26.4%.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

State of the Union May 28 2014

May 28, 2014 online at • From Chairman Mike Bullock: Good news – after many discussions with management it was finally agreed that the employee referral process will be open now through Tuesday, June 10. While the current need is for temporary positions, as you know those jobs can become permanent. If you don't intend to refer someone talk to your coworkers as they may have more than one person wanting a referral. There will be a handout explaining the process, which must be done online at mySocrates ( Also, the mandatory Plant Vacation Shutdown week of June 2-6 WILL counts towards an employee’s 90 days to attain seniority. It will also count towards the 52 weeks for a wage increase. • From the Women’s Committee: The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will be held June 14, in St. Louis. Our team name is UAW Local 2250. You can sign up on line or there are registration forms at the doors. We are going to have a T shirt that can be purchased with or without signing up for the race. If signed up with the race it will be $10, or just the UAW shirt will be $20. Last day to sign up on team online is May 28. You can fill out paper form and it has to be turned in to a Women’s Committee Member by May 29 along with money for shirts. The committee will pick up shirts to distribute to walkers, runners. Forms can be dropped in the Suggestions boxes. Also, our Habitat for Humanity work day is June 21. There are volunteer forms that have to be filled out to work. Forms are at the doors. There will be two shifts that you can choose to work, 8am to noon or noon to 4pm. Please indicate on the form which time frame you would like to work and a contact number. Give you completed form to a Women’s Committee member of drop it in the Suggestion box. The address for the build is 112 Clinton Court at the Enclaves Subdivision. Contact a member of the Women’s Committee for more information. • From the Benefits Department: All new hire permanent employees will receive health care on their 91st day. However, you must call Fidelity at 1-800-489-4646 within 30 days of receiving health care so there is no lapse in coverage and your Bank of America card is up to date. If you have questions see your benefits rep. • From the Wall Street Journal: The all-new Ford Transit makes its North American debut with more durable paint, thanks to an industry-first paint technology now in use at Kansas City Assembly Plant. The Transit vehicles built in Kansas City are the first to use the new two-wet monocoat paint process developed by Ford and its paint suppliers. The technology results in more durable paint, uses less energy and water, and reduces carbon dioxide and particulate emissions compared with conventional paint processes. (continued on back) • Cont’d: The two-wet monocoat process uses a primer coat that requires only a few minutes of open-air drying time before the color coat is applied. The color coat is formulated with the same appearance and protection properties of the clear coat, which eliminates the need for a separate clear coat. The painted body is fully cured in an enamel oven after the color coat is applied. The total process removes one paint application step and one oven drying step when compared to conventional paint processes. The new paint procedure is being used for white-colored vehicles, which account for 80 percent of Ford Transit production at Kansas City Assembly Plant. As each color must be developed uniquely for the two-wet monocoat process, other colors will be considered based on demand. A conventional three-wet process -- primer, base coat, clear coat -- remains in use for metallic-colored vehicles. • From the Detroit News: Some automakers may look to shuffle where they build small cars to narrow the difference in manufacturing cost between subcompacts and compacts. Most compact cars for the U.S. market are built on American soil. Most of the smaller, subcompact cars are built in countries like Mexico where costs are cheaper. Eric Ibara, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, has a prediction about U.S.-built compacts: “I think there will be increasing price pressures which may cause manufacturers to move production elsewhere. It’s a problem that the subcompacts can undercut price of the compacts, so the manufacturers need to be careful with the pricing.” The difference in size between a subcompact and a compact is less significant than the difference between and a compact and a mid-size. So is the price difference, which is then magnified because of the higher incentives automakers can offer on the subcompacts. In Mexico, hourly manufacturing costs total about $6.50, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the U.S, the rate is more than five times higher, at about $35.50. “Compacts will continue to move up in price out of necessity,” Ibara said. “The migration upwards is just never-ending, but the manufacturers have to be careful with pricing and contenting to avoid cannibalization.”