Home » America Isn’t The Only Country Experiencing An Auto Labor Showdown

America Isn’t The Only Country Experiencing An Auto Labor Showdown

Morning Dump Hyundai Labor
ADVERTISEMENT

The past few years have been an eye-opener for labor across the globe. From the Great Resignation to high costs of living to cheerleading essential workers, only to go back to prior treatment, people are fed up with wages not keeping up with the realities of everyday life. This autumn, several auto workers’ unions are geared up for contract renewal, and if automakers balk, we could see labor strikes around the world. Welcome back to The Morning Dump, where we round up bite-sized pieces of news for your perusal.

Labor Showdowns Aren’t Just Happening In America

Brampton 77184i0rasalcur1ps65opcmj9fc4t

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Heading into September, the UAW isn’t the only auto workers’ union that could go on strike. In Canada, Unifor members working for Detroit’s big three are in the midst of contract negotiations, and have voted to strike on Sept. 19 should an agreement fail to be reached. That might not sound huge compared to the potential of a UAW labor strike, but Canada assembles more than people might think. Canadian plants build the Chrysler 300, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Voyager, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Silverado HD, Ford Edge, and Lincoln Nautilus.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific, Reuters reports that unionized Hyundai auto workers in South Korea have also voted to strike should labor negotiations thoroughly break down. So what concessions is the union demanding? Well, let’s take a look.

The union is seeking a minimum basic monthly pay increase of 184,900 won ($139) and a performance pay equating to 30% of Hyundai’s 2022 net profit. It is also demanding an increase to the retirement age to 64 from 60.

Well, that seems doable. Raising the retirement age is reportedly meant to compensate for low pension replacement rates, and although multiplying an extra $139 per month in base pay by 44,000 union members results in a yearly figure of 73,392,000, it’s not outrageous in the grand scheme of things.

ADVERTISEMENT

Should these aforementioned unions fail to reach collective labor agreements with automakers, the shock to the new car supply chain could be impressive. If you’re seriously shopping for a new car built in a potentially affected factory, you might want to find something on the lot now. There’s a definite possibility that inventory could be scarce for a bit.

Extinction Imminent

2024 Ram 1500 Trx 6.2l Supercharged V8 Final Edition

We knew this would come eventually, right? With Hellcat-powered Mopar car production winding down, the end of the awe-inspiring 702-horsepower Ram TRX pickup truck has been announced. By the end of 2023, the last supercharged Ram will roll off the factory floor, marking the end of a gloriously ridiculous era. To commemorate this short but incredible burn-the-candle-at-both-ends four model year production run, Ram has announced a special 6.2L Supercharged V8 Final Edition model.

Limited to 4,000 units, the Final Edition throws everything and the kitchen sink at the Ram TRX just because it can. From beadlock-capable wheels to a Harman/Kardon stereo, pretty much everything you could want comes standard here. As a bonus, Ram is offering the TRX Final Edition in three new colors: Delmonico Red, Night Edge Blue, and Harvest Sunrise. At $119,620 including freight, it certainly isn’t a cheap truck, but it feels like the sort of vehicle we may never see from Stellantis again. Or could we? Ram CEO Tim Kuniskis stated in a press release, “This current chapter in Ram’s high-performance trucks is coming to a close, but it’s not the end of TRX’s story.” Perhaps some future TRX will come along with a very different powertrain. Stellantis has been investing heavily into electrification, and an electrically-assisted or wholly electric dune jumper doesn’t seem out of the question just yet.

An Unexpected Shutdown

2024 Toyota Gr Corolla Profile

ADVERTISEMENT

Earlier this week, Toyota was forced to pause production in all of its Japanese assembly plants due to a software issue with its ordering system. Production has since resumed, but the incident really makes you wonder what went wrong. Well, on the bright side, it doesn’t seem like a cyberattack. Reuters reports that the cause of the shutdown may be more relatable than you’d think.

A malfunction that shut down all of Toyota Motor Corp’s plants in Japan on Tuesday happened during an update of the automaker’s parts ordering system, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

I’m sure anyone who’s experienced an ill-timed Windows update can sympathize, although that typically doesn’t have the side effect of shutting down assembly plants at one of the world’s major automakers. If anything, this latest snag helps show further cracks in the armor of just-in-time parts delivery. If parts show up seamlessly on an as-needed basis, just-in-time is a lean, cost-effective way of making cars. However, if a supplier encounters a snag or if parts aren’t ordered, vehicles often cannot be made. A period of time without production is extremely costly, so perhaps some sort of balance between just-in-time and stockpiling parts is needed. A few days worth of parts on hand could be a sound insurance policy, should warehousing costs not prove prohibitive. Oh, and vertical integration is attracting more and more interest, with automakers like Volkswagen looking to build more components in-house. If the last half-century has been largely defined by the Toyota Production System, the next half-century could look radically different.

Not The Bees!

Morning Dump Bees

From tomatoes to beer, spilled loads of all sorts have wreaked havoc on roads, but that only scratches the surface of weird cargo upsets. How about millions of bees? That’s exactly what happened on Wednesday in Burlington, Ont., Canada, roughly 30 miles outside of Toronto. As CBC News reports:

“We’re not sure how or what exactly took place but at some point the boxes containing bees or beehives slid off the trailer and spilled all over the road,” Ryan Anderson, media relations officer with HRPS told CBC News.

The routine business of an estimated five million bees was rudely interrupted by the load spilling, which sounds overwhelming until you learn that roughly 80,000 bees inhabited each hive. Beekeepers were on the scene ASAP, managing to get the bulk of the bees back in their homes by mid-morning, although some pollinators remain at large. Needless to say, drivers in the area are being asked to keep their windows up.

ADVERTISEMENT

Your Turn

Labor contract negotiations are obviously affected by changes in living conditions, but what about the love of cars in general? Over the past few years, we’ve seen cars and parts are get more expensive, gas prices fluctuate wildly, and insurance in certain jurisdictions is get sticky. Not necessarily great things for automotive enthusiasm. My big question is: How are you doing? Have the past few years tempered your automotive goals, or do you still find the hobby just as fun as it always was?

(Photo credits: Dodge, Ram, Toyota, “bees” by kokogiak is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Relatedbar

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
113 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
ScottyB
ScottyB
9 months ago

Your Turn – I had the dumb luck to custom order my car which arrived at the dealer four years ago, in September 2019. The dealer offered X-Plan pricing without even asking/haggling and found a credit union rate with an interest rate so low (3.5% on 7 years) the car is already paid off.

I’ve never thought of myself as being a lucky person until this.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago

oprah_bees_42069px.gif

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

re: How am I doing?—well, it’d fall somewhere beneath “getting hit by a bus” if this were a Defector-style underexplained list.

I have no future, no hope of having a future, and buying the parts to fix the remaining issues on my existing cars is so far off the radar right now that, well, nothing matters. “Tempered expectations” is an understatement. I went from maybe (finally) saving up for a tow-Cayenne and aiming for the November Lemons race to doing none of those things after getting surprise-laid off nearly a year ago. I’ve had a grand total of one company that’s even interviewed me this year. That’s it. That’s the only shot I’ve got.

I still like the same cars, even the high-end stuff because the tech is interesting and things like ‘Ring records are exciting to watch. I’ve found myself hating looking at ads even more, though, to the point of asking people politely not to send them. Car shopping has always been my least favorite thing about cars, and I’m so depressed about my situation that I really don’t need to be reminded that I’ll probably never get the aircooled 911 that I want. I failed at life and just don’t need the reminder that most other people haven’t.

Last edited 9 months ago by Stef Schrader
Torque
Torque
9 months ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

Hang in there Steph, you’re a good writer. My sister had undergrad & masters in journalism & after working for the dying newspapers for a roughly 20 years, started as a writer & became an editor, she went back to school again, completed a JD & has been working as a lawyer for the past 15 years, certainly not an easy choice.
IMHO law requires a similar mindset & skills to journalism.
May not be your path, though a career change may be worth thinking about (if you haven’t already).

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago
Reply to  Torque

Yeah—I originally set out to go to law school, but between getting sick in the middle of college and watching everyone else graduate into a recession with boatloads of law school debt on top of boatloads of undergrad debt, I decided not to. 🙁

I don’t think I could afford to go back to school at this point, either. I graduated into that same damn recession and still haven’t caught up wage-wise. (Especially not after a nearly a year of mostly-unemployment.)

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
9 months ago

I still like cars. My interests have shifted from being interested in really fast cars to more Holy Grail cars. Those are more accessible IMO and more interesting to see what can be done with a common car than a high dollar exotic.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago

Come on car manufacturers had great revenue because demand stripped supply. Once supply catches up profit per car goes back to $500 a car. The manufacturers are best tossing out all the ICE staff and give EV Workers whatever they want. There is no way to reduce EV prices if you keep old white ICE Union members making 6 figures on cars they can’t build.

Myk El
Myk El
9 months ago

How am I doing? I suppose well. I really enjoy the car hobby as long as I don’t think too hard about certain aspects. This year I got a RWD V8 car with a manual transmission (’05 Pontiac GTO). First time in my life I’ve owned that configuration. I figured I’d get it now while it was still affordable for me. And I mean that in the running costs (insurance, maintenance and fuel) sense. It’s fun to drive it, it’s got a bit more of a cult following than I expected. Doesn’t seem to generate the dismissal and/or scorn I hear modern Challenger/Camaro/Mustang owners get out there. It’s been a joy even if every EV and lifted pickup driver feels the need to show me what their ride can do.*

But at most events, I’m reminded that the hobby isn’t as inclusive as I feel it should be. I’ll get to an event and I’ll see flags and signs that are a clear signal to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ they shouldn’t feel safe, let alone welcome. Sometimes it’s a vendor, but often just an attendee. I can walk among them without drawing attention as I am a white male with facial hair, but I don’t like seeing it. I don’t like gatekeeping behavior. I hear people complain the younger generations just aren’t into the hobby and lamenting it, but there are folks, usually older than my 50 year old ass, that seem to want the hobby exclusionary and it breaks my heart.

  • I maintain a “do not engage” approach to folks that want to stop-light drag race when in the GTO. I expect the bright, yellow car is going to be the one noticed. The V6 Accord I have as my DD, though? Yeah that can surprise some folks with its pace. I cut a good light when I want to.
Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
9 months ago
Reply to  Myk El

V6 Accord is a fantastic little rocket. Girl I dated around 2007 or so had a white coupe that was super fun at stoplights.

VanGuy
VanGuy
9 months ago

I haven’t been a car enthusiast for long, and truthfully I’ve never felt much of a “need for speed”, especially considering the whole “what good is a fast car if you’ve got speed limits to worry about” angle.

I’ve got a Prius v right now and it’s damn competent and all I need from a daily.

I’m hoping someday soonish to get a used conversion van as a second vehicle, and I do worry about how many opportunities I’ll have to have fun with it between rising gas prices and such. But It’s gonna be a lot longer before used EV conversion vans are in my hobby price range.

I honestly can’t say my goals have changed much. And I’ve still put some little work into my car–a subwoofer; an Android Auto head unit; fog lamps made to work like factory ones (despite the fact that the 2012 Prius v didn’t actually have them as an option, apparently); a 1.5″ lift; dashcams. If I can have that kind of fun with this car, so long as that kind of customization is feasible going forward, I think I’ll be fine.

Fawgcutter
Fawgcutter
9 months ago

Pfft. I crossed the BC-Washington border at Abbotsford on my way back from a motorcycle trip to Alaska and followed a pickup truck loaded with beehives to the next highway. I was fortunate my motorcycle was equipped with a windshield. I was still pelted with bees, just not to my face and neck.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 months ago

“some pollinators remain at large”

That’s a pretty good euphemism.

113
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x