Home » UAW Boss Throws Latest Stellantis Offer Into The Literal Trash

UAW Boss Throws Latest Stellantis Offer Into The Literal Trash

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We’ve been telling you that the United Auto Workers’ contract negotiations are worth keeping an eye on this time because this union’s leadership has a different vibe than previous generations, which were kept “fat, dumb and happy” by their own ineffectiveness and outright corruption. Now, that showdown is finally heating up, and the UAW’s current president didn’t hide his feelings about Stellantis’ latest offer.

We have that story for today’s morning roundup, plus some good news for Honda, (additional) good news for Rivian and a fascinating scoop about how Volvo’s new EX30 dodges stiff tariffs on cars from China. Let’s hit it.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Into The Trash

Jeep Grand Wagoneer L 2023 1600 01
Photo: Jeep

UAW President Shawn Fain is proving to be a labor leader much more in the vein of Sara Nelson or, someone more militant than Detroit’s seen in decades. Under his leadership the UAW is arguing for a lot—retiree health care benefits, big pay increases, cost-of-living adjustments and the elimination of the hated two-tier wage system are just some of them.

Throw It In The Trash

The UAW is still early in contract negotiations, starting with Stellantis. And after seeing its early proposal, Fain got himself on Facebook Live and shot a video throwing the proposal into a trash can. Yeah, this is a very different approach than the $37,500 pen guys from years past. Here’s a recap from Reuters:

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During the chat Fain tossed a copy of the Stellantis proposal in a waste basket. “That’s where it belongs – in the trash – because that’s what it is,” he said.

The July 27 company document seen by Reuters makes many proposals aimed at reducing absenteeism, which the automaker said cost it more than 16,000 vehicles of lost production, or $217 million in lost revenue.

Stellantis also seeks to cut pension, health-care and other costs, saying that amid government electric vehicle rules, it “is imperative we find ways to reduce the overall fixed cost structure of our business.”

The UAW is asking a lot from the automakers this time, arguing that their record profits haven’t been reflected in U.S. manufacturing jobs or wages that have risen with the drastic inflation we’ve seen in recent years. They’re also trying to fight for a future where an EV-centric auto industry could mean fewer jobs, period, as those cars don’t use as many parts or components as internal-combustion ones do. Furthermore, they’re mad that these new joint-venture battery plants may not be unionized.

The automakers, on the other hand, argue they need to conserve cash for the big (and initially likely unprofitable) investments into EVs. And the executives say overall, it’s a “bad time” to be asking for things given the precarious state of the auto industry post-pandemic and all the drastic changes coming soon.

Either way, these kinds of displays are increasingly common amid a summer of labor fights in Hollywood, Detroit and beyond. Stellantis and the UAW are still early in talks and they have many more rounds to go.

Meanwhile, Reuters also reports that President Biden’s top labor advisor is stepping down. Interesting timing for that given everything else going on lately, no?

How Volvo Beats The China Tariffs

Ex30 Selects
EX30 Selects

Everybody loves that electric Volvo EX30, huh? Even I’ll admit I’ve considered throwing down a deposit for such a good-looking EV that starts at around just $35,000. That price is especially aggressive considering the EX30 is built in China and exported here, which means it faces a 27.5% tariff. I recently asked Volvo how it pulled off that price and their people just insisted the tariffs are baked into the price tag. That’s impressive, even with the EX30’s other cost-cutting moves.

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Now we know a lot more thanks to a great scoop from Automotive News‘ Urvaksh Karkaria: it turns out Volvo’s using a rare and obscure rule (loophole?) to offset the tariff. From that story:

By using the U.S. Duty Drawback program, the Geely-affiliated automakers can recoup import duties and the 25 percent U.S. tariff assessed on the Chinese-made Volvo EX30 crossover and Polestar 2 sedan against exports of the U.S.-made Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3 crossovers, sources familiar with the matter told Automotive News.

The Duty Drawback program allows businesses to claim a refund on duties and U.S. tariffs on imports from China when offset by certain exports in the same tariff classification, said Jedd Lancaster, sales manager with customs broker Alliance Drawback Services.

“Drawback is a little-known tariff mitigation strategy,” Lancaster said. “It’s very niche within trade compliance.”

Automakers with U.S. manufacturing that create export opportunities can recoup import duties paid on vehicles in the past five years, Lancaster said.

“That can result in tens of millions of dollars returning to the company’s bottom line,” he said.

I had never heard of this program before and I don’t think a lot of other folks have. But it seems that if you export a certain amount of goods (and Volvo builds a ton of cars in South Carolina) you can use that to offset your import tariffs. Automotive News reports General Motors does this too for its China-built Buick Envision; the Polestar 2 and upcoming Polestar 3 will make use of it as well.

It turns out Duty Drawback is pretty old-school; it dates back to 1789 (!!!) but was revised and modernized in 2016. As that story notes, the Japanese and German automakers have never had to use it because our tariffs on their exports are comparatively lower.

The story says Volvo and Polestar need to step up U.S. production of the EX90 and Polestar 3, respectively, to keep this scheme going. More than that, I wonder if the U.S. will clamp down on this eventually because it flies in the face of efforts to localize our battery and EV supply chain:

Bill Russo, CEO of advisory firm Automobility Limited, which is based in Shanghai, said the Duty Drawback program offers a way for Chinese-affiliated automakers to “bridge the moat” of U.S. import tariffs.

“Geely owns Volvo, and Geely is trying to find a way across the moat,” Russo said. “China finds a way.”

Industry analyst Michael Dunne said the drawback program threatens to “throw the doors open” to imported Chinese-made vehicles by creating an end run around the tariff.

Both the Trump and Biden administrations “have been crystal clear that Chinese imports are non-grata here in the U.S.,” said Dunne, CEO of ZoZo Go, a consultancy specializing in Asian car markets. “It’s a complete setback for everything the United States is trying to do to build up its own EV industry and battery supply chain.”

Either way, very clever, Volvo. Very clever indeed.

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Honda: Doing Better, Thanks For Asking

01 2023 Honda Accord
Photo: Honda

Matt has a story coming soon about how the pandemic and chip shortage impacted car prices and trim levels over the last few years. Of all the major automakers, Honda was one of the worst-hit by the supply chain disruptions and it took a beating on profits as a result.

Now, Honda’s finally reporting Q1 profits (weird, I know) and they were up 78% year-over-year, thanks especially to the North American market and a weaker yen—which always benefits Japanese companies with big global operations. One more via Reuters:

Japan’s second-biggest automaker by sales said its operating profit totalled 394.4 billion yen ($2.76 billion) in the three months through June, handily beating the average 324.74 billion yen estimate in a poll of 10 analysts by Refinitiv.

That compared with a 222.2 billion yen profit in the same period last year.

Like other automakers, Honda said it benefited from strong sales to retail customers in the key U.S. market, posting a 44.7% year-on-year jump to 347,000 units, as the impact of post-pandemic disruptions in the supply of parts and chips eases.

The bad news? A 5% sales drop in China unlikely to abate soon as that market turns more to EVs and homegrown brands. Can’t be up all the time, I guess.

Rivian: Also Doin’ Better, Won’t Get Into A Price War

2022 Rivian R1t 14
Photo credit: Rivian

It’s always tough out there for the EV startups, but I choose to be optimistic about Rivian, because they’re nice folks who have thus far stayed away from insane Muskian antics while making a very compelling and attractive product.

And Rivian’s Q2 report showed some impressive signs of improvement, according to InsideEVs: it narrowed its net loss compared to Q2 2022, delivered more trucks than analysts thoughts, tripled revenue overall and raised its production projections by 2,000 vehicles by the end of the year. Nicely done, folks.

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What Rivian won’t do, CEO RJ Scaringe said, is get into a Tesla- or Ford-esque price-cut war:

“We take a very methodical and thoughtful approach to how we look at our vehicle pricing. As we think about the positioning of the product, the capabilities of the product – on-road, off-road, dynamically – and the feature set that’s in the vehicles, we feel quite comfortable with the positioning of what we’ve done.”

Lucid, arguably the other major startup at Rivian’s level, is cutting prices, however. It’ll be interesting to see if Rivian reverses course here as production gets built up over time.

Your Turn

How do you see this summer’s UAW negotiations shaking out? I doubt the end result will be as apocalyptic as either side likes to say, but I think these workers do stand to win some major gains they may not get again anytime soon.

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Scott
Scott
9 months ago

As always, I enjoy and appreciate your heavy lifting re: automotive/etc… news Patrick, as always. 🙂

I too toyed with the idea of putting down a deposit on a Volvo EX30, knowing full well that even if a dealer verbally agreed to sell me the car at MSRP when it arrived, they’d be under no obligation whatsoever to actually do so, as many Maverick and Bronco buyers have learned.

I thought maybe I’d call Galpin Volvo (given that Beau was kind enough to provide pizza and diet coke and a venue for that Autopian GTG) and just ASK a salesguy if Galpin had a policy re: MSRP or dealer markups re: the EX30, but after a bit of consideration I decided against it.

Even at an MSRP of $35K, that’s close to $40K w/tax, title, and reg, and while I could write that check, I know myself well enough that I’d angst about spending that much money on a car for ages. The green and blue interiors are tempting though.

So, no EX30 for me (probably).

I’m sure everyone know that the Volvo EX30 is sold as the Zeeker Zero (I think) by Geely for the Chinese domestic market.

Toobs-N-Stuff
Toobs-N-Stuff
9 months ago

it is never a good time to pay the workers. always a good time for share buybacks, dividends and executive bonuses though. funny how that works.

Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
9 months ago

I’m glad to see unions become more feisty in representing their workers. If you ask a company, it’s NEVER a good time to ask for more. There’s ALWAYS something coming tomorrow that they have to save for. Cut the executive pay to save for EVs then

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
9 months ago

I have an odd question. Does anyone think that Stellantis might sell Jeep and just send Dodge and Chrysler out to a farm in the country? I want to be wrong.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Dodsworth

Honestly Stellantis should send every one of their brands to pasture

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
9 months ago
Reply to  Dodsworth

Jeep is the division that prints money and always has been, so I’m not sure why they’d do that.

Gary Lynch
Gary Lynch
9 months ago

I sense that a strike or two might not be opposed to by our auto manufacturers. Short inventories kept prices high during covid. A return to those sales practices will be familiar territory.

will also be interesting to see the public perception for both sides. Don’t expect big corporate management to win many fans. But not sure union hot air bullying works well either. And US politicians have other things on their mind with the elections a year + away.

Cuzn Ed
Cuzn Ed
9 months ago

Am i the only one who reads Shawn Fain and thinks of Sinn Fein?
No? Of course not!

Of that group, though, am i the only one that thinks that’s a bit… i dunno, on the nose? That’s not the right way to put it, but – y’know, supposed-little-guy fighting against The Man, and with a vaguely, sort-of, similar…ish-sounding name? Come on!

Finally… Of that group that had both dumb thoughts…
Am i the first one to bother typing them out (instead of pshawing them away)?
I suspect so.

Trailblazer status unlocked!

Last edited 9 months ago by Cuzn Ed
Jb996
Jb996
9 months ago
Reply to  Cuzn Ed

Yes, the first time I encountered his name, I did a double-take on that.

Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago

“The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”

“…if you are a little different, a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.”

Someone has been reading the The Art of the Deal.

Gubbin
Gubbin
9 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

The book was ghost-written by a reasonably sharp guy.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
9 months ago
Reply to  Gubbin

I listened to an interview with him on npr sometime back—interesting and a bit scary. I can’t even remember his name, but I came away from it with some respect for him

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
9 months ago

Consulting the crystal ball: On November 9th, Shawn Fain will enter the corporate office of French Chrysler accompanied by a small group of Grandiers. He will then demand the resignations of all board members. Thus starting the First French Chrysler Empire. After he invades the Volkswagen Auto Group.

RataTejas
RataTejas
9 months ago

Just remember to never take on a Niva in winter.

Zeppelopod
Zeppelopod
9 months ago
Reply to  RataTejas

Or go in against the Italians when death is on the line!

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
9 months ago

Fain knows his audience and who most of them probably voted for in the last election. For those people’s sake, I hope he acts differently when he’s actually sitting at a negotiating table.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
9 months ago

So there will either be a strike, or they will come to terms somehow.
Either way the consumer will feel the pain.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
9 months ago

Past experience is that people that blow the most hot air get the least done. These sort of antics usually come from a position of weakness.

I would be concerned if this guy was leading my union.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
9 months ago

It kinda seems to me like Fain is relishing the coverage he’s getting. He’s going out of his way to signal to everyone what a badass he is.

I know very little about unions and labor negotiations. But it would seem to me that if you’re publicly calling out the very people you’re going to be working with, as the worst people on earth, maybe that’s not going to lead to the most pleasant agreement process and working environment afterward.

People don’t like to be pushed, but they can be led. One can be firm but fair. Catching flies with honey and all that.

Cable jockey
Cable jockey
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

Should he have hugged the contract instead?

Seeing as how prior leadership used (and accepted) copious amounts of honey during negotiations (hugs, handshakes, golf outings, pre scripted negotiations behind closed doors, etc), and the UAW got dick for it, I think his tone is appropriate.

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
9 months ago
Reply to  Cable jockey

I agree, I think he’s trying to publicly distance himself from the six figure gun guys

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
9 months ago
Reply to  Cable jockey

I don’t think so, nor do I think they should go back to the way things were. There’s a lot of ground in between the two extremes. I’d say he didn’t need to do a public video at all. He’s grandstanding here, it seems to me. I assume he has a private forum to address the union members.

Go into your boss’ office and say, “Hey Dickweed, this is the raise I want and that’s how it’s gonna be” and let me know how that works out. That’s all I’m saying. I get they’re asking for a lot at first so they can end up at a pretty good place, but I’ve found if you push people they just push back. It’s possible to be firm and also be reasonable about it.

Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

Why not? Do you have a better way of communicating out to 400K active employees and 580K retirees? You can’t just send them an email and expect it to be as far reaching. Contract negotiations change at an instant and mail just isn’t fast enough.

You can’t go into your bosses office say “Hey Dickweed..” BECAUSE of the fact you don’t have a union of 400K people that are on the same page due to their leaders modern day mass communication.

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

I enjoy that you have acknowledged you don’t know much about the contract process but you do have strong opinions on how it should be done.

My last pay increase when not represented by a union was negotiated exactly that way but with more professional language and clear communication that I would leave if I didn’t get it. I got the largest raise in the company and became the highest-paid tech in this region.

People need to stop thinking they can’t make demands of employers.

86-GL
86-GL
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

Yeah I’ve done that. Worked great.

No need to kiss your boss’s boots- You aren’t going to hurt their feelings. Keep making them money and you can treat them how you like.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

Sometimes the boss is a dickweed and only responds to threats. To wit, Detroit or Hollywood. Yeah, the Union is hostile to corporate, but corporate is hostile to its labor force.

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

This sort of stuff is pretty standard for contract negotiations; a big part of it is firing up the base so they don’t take a crap deal.
It’s also a lot of making sure the company you are bargaining with understands that they are not in charge at the table and things work on an even footing. I have been at the table for contract talks and it is SHOCKING the degree to which execs think they get to just dictate how things go and workers get zero say in anything.

Marteau
Marteau
9 months ago

Tavares in an immense piece of shit, an overpaid shark worse than marchione or goshn.. he will be hard to move, but if they let him win, It’s game over.

90sBuicksAreUnderrated
90sBuicksAreUnderrated
9 months ago

What I’m hoping and think in all likelihood is true is that the UAW is playing up theatrics and putting out an absurd opening bid in order to both get a better contract and re-establish credibility with its members after the corruption scandal. To be completely fair, it’s not 2009 anymore and the companies keep pleading poverty. Starting wages are only $15/hour and the top of the payscale ($32/hour) hasn’t moved since the bankruptcy. The companies have been consistently profitable since then and we’ve had quite a bit of inflation in the past 14 years. They should negotiate in good faith for a fair contract and give these guys and gals a fair raise.

I say this with the caveat that the Union also needs to negotiate in good faith and be reasonable. I understand both sides coming in with an outlandishly generous (Union) or insultingly cheap (Management) opening bid. That’s part of the game. However, if the UAW actually sticks to some of their more ridiculous demands including:

-Return of the jobs bank (paying laid off workers full salary/benefits indefinitely)
-Return of “cradle to grave” defined benefit pensions and retiree healthcare
-Getting paid full-time for 32 hours of work
-40% raise in base pay over five years

They’re going have a bad time. News flash guys, it’s not the post-WWII era anymore where our factories were the only ones left standing and the Big 2.5 had virtually no domestic competition. You don’t have as much leverage as you once did (as evidenced by the dismal failure to Unionize U.S. production workers working for Asian and European OEMs). There are trade-offs, if you start wanting more guaranteed money in good times and bad, then you can kiss those record-breaking profit-sharing checks goodbye. Otherwise, prepare to be increasingly starved of product and witness the companies shift more work to Mexico and Korea.

I’m not trying to blindly take the side of the OEMs here and the Union needs to put pressure on them to get the best deal possible. However, they also need to acknowledge that the business has fundamentally changed and become brutally competitive since their heyday, and those days are likely never coming back. Pretending otherwise is dishonest.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
9 months ago

Executives get guaranteed riches in good times and bad. It’s not so wild to think we should provide some protections to labor as well.

V10omous
V10omous
9 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Executive pay is generally heavily bonus and incentive based, not guaranteed.

Cray Cray Supercomputer
Cray Cray Supercomputer
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

It pretty much is guaranteed. If the company has a good year the executives get huge bonuses for “leading us to a profitable year.” If the company has a bad year the same execs get huge bonuses to “retain our top talent in this difficult time.”

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

If an exec does so badly that the stockholders or board wants them gone, they still get the ‘ol golden parachute. If that’s not a guarantee, I don’t know what is. Anyone else would be in line, trying to meet unemployment requirements to get benefits. Meanwhile, those C-suite screwups get to make a sideways or downward shuffle to some obscure tech or financial management company.

Fuck ’em.

Cable jockey
Cable jockey
9 months ago

Exactly, C-Suite executives don’t get called into a sudden all hands to inform them that there will be “restructuring”, they negotiate their contracts before signing on to become CEO/CFO/whatever. They ensure that, regardless of how their tenure actually goes, they won’t need to be worried about paying their mortgage or sitting in the unemployment line.

Usernametaken
Usernametaken
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Executive ‘Bonuses’ are not bonuses as any layperson would understand them. They are legally entitled contracted compensation which has retained the moniker of the word ‘bonus’ even though is bears no relation to the definition of the word, or any average persons understanding of that word.

That executive bonuses are contractually guaranteed (with conditions present in the contract, sometime, mileage on your Executive may vary) has been defined and upheld court repeated. Probably look to Delaware for easier to find rulings.

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Source please.

Because when they talk about the massive rise in exec pay vs. labor pay over the last 10 years they are referencing base compensation not the bonus structure.

I do not understand anyone who does not think it is fair that labor should receive the same percentage of increase in compensation as the management does.

Marteau
Marteau
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Fuck off

V10omous
V10omous
9 months ago
Reply to  Marteau

Convincing argument!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

When was the last time a big exec was let go without a buttload of money for their troubles?

90sBuicksAreUnderrated
90sBuicksAreUnderrated
9 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Sure, it can be argued that executives are overpaid. This has been an issue with American companies in the modern era because of the favorable tax treatment stock-based comp receives and other federal policies that have benefited the wealthy. In the meantime, a company has to play the game if they want stable and competent leadership and offer what’s competitive. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. I’ll also point out that Mary Barra earned $29M last year and GM has around 46,000 unionized factory workers. You could pay her zero and award all of her compensation evenly and it would only equate to about $630 per worker. I won’t be arguing that CEO-to-worker pay rates are equitable, but gutting the compensation packages of the C-Suite isn’t going to pay for 40% raises for everyone on the factory floor either.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago

“Otherwise, prepare to be increasingly starved of product and witness the companies shift more work to Mexico and Korea.”

Which opens the door even more for Chinese imports.

Cable jockey
Cable jockey
9 months ago

Generally, that’s how negotiations work. Start with a strong position and allow the other side to whittle you down to the terms you’re actually willing to accept.

Everyone knows that the top two concerns are wages and job retention as the industry moves to EVs, but if you come out and say those are your only concerns, then you’re setting a very low ceiling.

Also, regarding Mexican manufacturing and foreign companies setting up shop in non-union plants, I think there’s a decent argument to be made that weak union leadership let that happen. If the new leadership demonstrates a more militant attitude, it may signal to non-unionized workers that it might be a good idea to join up.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
9 months ago
Reply to  Cable jockey

You are correct about how negotiations work. However, it is possible to start with a strong position without being a dick. And being a dick is not a productive way to negotiate.

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
9 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

I don’t understand you’re so concerned for the c-suite of Chrysler. The new union guy is being theatrical to prove he’s not gonna get fleeced. Companies are being backhanded too, saying they can’t provide a raise while profits boom.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

And the OEMs aren’t being dicks?

How did America get so brainwashed that coddling the rich owners and hating the joes trying to make a living became the default attitude?

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
9 months ago

If corporations were not spending billions of dollars on stock buybacks and exec comp, their products could be priced lower and would still be profitable. So maybe we should not be so quick to shout “this will drive inflation!” when we talk of a pay increase for the rank-and-file.
What we need in America is to reverse the notion – put in place in the Reagan years – that the gains in this economy should be funneled to the Exec level and shareholders, while simultaneously paying workers the least amount possible. Trickle down is not the natural order of things; it’s an economic philosophy which was promoted in order to further enrich those who are already wealthy.

Last edited 9 months ago by Widgetsltd
Marteau
Marteau
9 months ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

Amen

John Patson
John Patson
9 months ago

Not sure Stellantis really cares for Jeep, and Paris might just play the take my toy away game.
They are already getting flack in Europe about the company’s combined litres per 100 km rating (you take all the cars a company sells and average the litres per 100 km for each one) which went the wrong direction when thirsty jeeps were added.
And the little ugly one (compass?) designed by Fiat for Europe is hardly seen on the roads.
Stellantis is multinational, I know, but the dominant culture is still Peugeot, family firm based where it looks after you from the cradle to the grave in return for loyal service.
Traditionally it has always had the lowest worker turnover of any car maker.
Which is why when people are rude, they might just say, tant pis and walk away.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
9 months ago
Reply to  John Patson

I didn’t know Europe had a version of CAFE

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
9 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

The French in particular are famous for their cafes.

Strangek
Strangek
9 months ago

That Volvo looks nice, and the price is right, but I want something built on this side of the pond now more than ever.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
9 months ago

When the companies and their C suites are reaping in record profits laborers deserve the rewards as well. Without them none of it would be possible, and there’s no way in hell the Mary Barras of the world deserve to take home 500 times the amount of money that their average factory worker does. It’s completely unacceptable and despite the fact that we’ve proven unequivocally that trickle down economics don’t work we’re still trying assorted versions of that shit today.

I’m going to share a fairly warm take that may surprise some folks: at my core I am not a full anti-capitalist. I think it’s been demonstrated globally that it’s an economic system that can be very effective when it’s closely monitored and kept on the rails. The issue is that in the US we do neither of those things and we have some of the worst economic conditions (for everyone other than the ultra wealthy) in the first world as a result…in addition to some of the worst healthcare, education, social safety nets, the list is long.

At the end of the day labor needs to continue to wield its power in ways like this to ensure that regular people aren’t left behind. The middle class is disappearing in front of our eyes and conditions for the lower class are becoming more dire by the day. The day the bottom 95% of Americans realize we have way more in common with each other than we do with the Elon Musks of the world and are exponentially closer to being on the street than being invited into the C suite will be a powerful day…but politicians on both sides just keep fanning the culture war flames to distract us from this fact.

I hope the UAW gets everything they want and more and I personally will gladly pay more for American products if means the people making them get to live decent lives that aren’t paycheck to paycheck.

Last edited 9 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Col Lingus
Col Lingus
9 months ago

Yes. Not to be “that guy”, but am getting tired of sending my dollars overseas to some despot country/leader. Would gladly pay extra to see “Made in the USA” on almost anything at this point.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
9 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Well, there is always Tesla. Then you would be sending your dollars locally to a despot leader.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
9 months ago

I see car prices going up even more after the strike and formal contracts are signed. Auto makers have to answer to the fund managers and if the fund managers aren’t making money, auto makers will need to make more profits some how.

Last edited 9 months ago by Icouldntfindaclevername
Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
9 months ago

With Volvo: I think this option is great and actually benefits US manufacturing, as we would be trading high margin US made vehicles for low margin Chinese made. This only opens the door for other Chinese manufacturers is they produce cars here to ship to china, which would be a win for US manufacturing.

Robert L
Robert L
9 months ago

Yeah it seems like only a tiny handful of Chinese manufacturers could make any use out of this. If BYD wants to buy a legacy brand and setup shop in the US, is that worth getting in a bother about?

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
9 months ago
Reply to  Robert L

I doubt regulators would allow BYD to actually purchase a legacy brand, but even if allowed it would be a piece for piece, or dollar for dollar trade where US manufacturing is still happening. in almost any case we would be sending higher priced cars for cheaper cars that the US auto industry cannot support building with the labor costs: see union negotiations.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago

Is that a problem? The domestic makers are doing just fine selling more and more expensive cars. Cheaper cars aren’t profitable. They’re eliminating them. There’s a world where the cheaper market is served by China/Vietnam and Detroit muddles on with the higher end.

Detroit being successful and staying in business doesn’t require making gazillions in profit. It just requires making some profit. They can afford to pay their workers fairly. Stock buybacks offer zero value to anyone other than the rich folks at the top. Spend that money making better cars, paying your labor honestly, and subsidizing affordable cars people can afford.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
9 months ago

This was also my take on the rule Volvo is using. For one thing, we don’t know what the “exchange rate” is US production to Foreign production. Thats a key piece of info before anyone gets worked up. Is it 1:1 per vehicle, 1:1 per dollar value, or is it still US Manufacturing friendly at 2 or 3:1 US production to Foreign production to recoup the tariff?

Even so, if it forces BYD to build cars and batteries here in order to also sell here, how is that not a win for US manufacturing? If its 1:1 import/export, that still means in order to sell 1M cars in the US competitively, they have to BUILD 1M cars in the US, even if half of those are exported.

Droid
Droid
9 months ago

“Now, Honda’s finally reporting Q1 profits (weird, I know)…”.
honda’s fiscal calendar is april 1 thru march 31, so their q1 ended in june, so maybe not so weird.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

Stupid SOB should have used the recycling bin.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
9 months ago

Any takers on how long before Shawn Fain disappears like Jimmy Hoffa?

Sbzr
Sbzr
9 months ago

does that kind of theatricality really helps solving the issue in America, it always felt counter-productive and against diplomacy like what ended up happening in politics

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
9 months ago
Reply to  Sbzr

I am a union member (though not UAW), and I would be incredibly frustrated if my representatives were to pull the sort of public shenanigans this guy is doing — making a big show out of refusing to shake hands with his company counterpart and dramatically tossing a copy of the initial offer in the trash. It’s silly and emotion-driven rather than data-driven. He’s going in making the negotiations contentious and adversarial right from the start rather than attempting to collaborate. Maybe that’s what his members want, but I would be very skeptical that it would lead to a positive outcome.

Gubbin
Gubbin
9 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

I’m guessing it’s play-acting for the members to reinforce his image, and the execs know it. It seems patronizing to me but I don’t know the UAW membership like he does. If most of them are the kind who would vote for a showy outsider who’s supposed to be a deal-maker, he’s playing the part.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

The leadership is making those negotiations just as contentious and adversarial. Come on.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Sbzr

The C levels aren’t being “diplomatic.”

V10omous
V10omous
9 months ago

I think the overall good economic conditions will mean that labor wins more concessions than they might have otherwise. Unemployment is low, wages are up, and automakers need to compete for workers like anyone else. When you can make $15+/hr at Mcdonalds, the entry level track at an auto plant might not be as attractive.

I do find the theatrical and very public posturing by the union head to be distasteful and dare I say a bit Trumpian. It’s probably effective with his membership though.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Unfortunately I think it’s a product of the cursed timeline we inhabit. Once Trump showed up in the first place (you could argue earlier as well, I’m not here to deliver an ORANGE MAN BAD rant, although as you all know I tend lean left on most issues) the archetype of “influencer politician” really took off across the board. Only 10 or so years ago it would be considered untoward for major figures to act like this, but then social media spread across our society like crabs at a brothel and politicians have more or less been able to build their entire schtick around being Very Mad and Very Online.

It’s also led to a very sports-like following of politics, which is asinine. Simplifying things to YOUR TEAM BAD MY TEAM GOOD YEE HAW minimizes the very real consequences of elections. Anyway, both sides are guilty of it…I mean some Dems were talking about Oprah as a potential candidate for 2020 for fuck’s sake and look at how all of the big city liberal mayors have been treating their jobs lately.

But I do think the GOP letting Trumpism loose was more or less the catalyst for a lot of this nonsense. I’m hardly someone who’s tradition obsessed and my social views are progressive across the board but even I think that powerful public figures should be expected to uphold a certain amount of professionalism. When they act like they’re at a frat party in the public eye it normalizes behavior that just shouldn’t be acceptable.

Last edited 9 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
9 months ago

We are in the darkest time line, but union representation has had “influencer politicians” for decades. I could name more famous union leaders (felons) than there have been presidents in my lifetime.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
9 months ago

Fair enough! I’m still a bit of a youngin so there’s some recency bias in my analysis.

JTilla
JTilla
9 months ago

Yeah but that does not mean that unions are bad overall.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
9 months ago
Reply to  JTilla

Did not mean to imply that, only that union leaders generally have been larger than life figures that are usually caught up in something illegal. Unions are great for labor, but the leadership in the past have not been the most upstanding people. This new UAW president seems like he’s not destined for a jail cell from what I have seen.

John Galt
John Galt
9 months ago

It is a shame that labor is so full of thieves while corporate leadership is so upstanding. The lower classes should learn from their betters.

Cal67
Cal67
9 months ago

Actually if you look into US history, the politicians today are not really the most “mad” or negative or insulting of their opponents. See some examples at https://www.merriam-webster.com/wordplay/are-presidential-campaigns-getting-nastier-not-really

Gubbin
Gubbin
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Heh, I was just trying to say the same thing as your second paragraph without using the name.

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