UAW Sells Out American Workers for 800 Jobs

The White House appears to be calculating that by getting the UAW to support the NAFTA-style trade agreement with South Korea (KORUS), it can avoid any discussion of the jobs that will be outsourced as a result of the agreement. Their big accomplishment, then, has been changing the original 2007 agreement enough to get the UAW–and Ford–to buy in.

The price for their buy-in?

55,500 additional cars.

800 jobs.

As this Congressional Research Service report on the original deal explains, one of the biggest reasons why a free trade agreement with South Korea sucks for the auto industry is that South Korea puts odd safety requirements on their cars. Because the market is relatively small, it is cost prohibitive to adapt existing models to meet those requirements.

For years, unique South Korean automotive safety and environmental standards have been a major concern for U.S. and European carmakers. Some of the flagged technical import barriers include front tow hooks, headlamp standards, tinted rear-windows, and vehicle emissions changes. Safety and environmental standards have the potential to add costs associated with compliance, thus both the KORUS and KOREU FTAs include provisions to address those standards viewed as unfair by some U.S. and EU automakers.


A country like South Korea can decide to require compliance with its own standards, making it expensive for foreign-based manufacturers to export cars to the relatively smaller South Korean market, or in some cases effectively shutting foreign producers out of the market altogether. Some in the United States government and industry claim South Korean auto standards are “unique, non-transparent and out of sync with international standards.”71


KORUS FTA permits “low-volume seller exemptions,” which allow each U.S. automaker to sell up to 6,500 vehicles per year in South Korea built to U.S. safety standards without any additional modification.72 The low-volume seller exemption nearly equals the number of cars sold by all three U.S. automakers combined in South Korea in 2009 (see Table 3). Some worry the exemption could act as a ceiling and effectively become a disincentive for U.S. carmakers to export more cars to South Korea.

In other words, the KORUS agreement signed in 2007 basically didn’t address the “non-transparent” safety issues that effectively exclude non-Korean cars; it just made an exemption that would cover the small number of cars already being imported in Korea.

Here’s how the White House hails their big improvement over that:

Safety standards have effectively operated as a non-tariff barrier to U.S. auto exports. The 2010 supplemental agreement announced today allows for 25,000 cars per U.S. automaker – or almost four times the number allowed in the 2007 agreement — to be imported into Korea provided they meet U.S. federal safety standards, which are among the most stringent in the world.

So one of the big concessions (it’s not the only one) in the renegotiated deal is the allowance for 55,500 additional cars a year into Korea.

It takes about 30 hours of labor to build a car. So the UAW got bought off for an extra 1,665,000 hours of work a year, not all of which will go to union employees. 41,625 weeks of work. Or work for 800 workers a year. In exchange for a trade agreement that the Economic Policy Institute estimates could cost 159,000 jobs in the next five years. (And in 10 years, after the duty on trucks expires, it would remove the biggest incentive for Hyundai to keep its SUV factories in Alabama, which account for 16,900 jobs, though those aren’t union jobs.)

800 jobs in exchange for losing 159,000 jobs–that’s the math the UAW has done.

98 replies
  1. Petrocelli says:

    The Battle for America is between the Right and Far Right.

    We need to throw more support behind Leo Gerard and those who fight for real American values.

  2. Gitcheegumee says:

    I seem to recall that during WWII, auto plants were converted to arms manufacturing.

    Now, I don’t know if history will repeat itself…

  3. JTMinIA says:

    This hurts, but you know what annoyed me even more (because I’m shallow and don’t live in a manufacturing state)? Seeing Natalie Dawn and her partner from Pomplamoose in an ad for Hyundai. That hurt.

  4. TobyWollin says:

    OK, Marcy — I’m a real bonehead on this sort of stuff, but for someone who seemingly depends on Labor support in order to save his ass in 2012, what could possibly have been the foundation for basically stabbing American workers in the back in a big way?

    • PJEvans says:

      He seems to figure that non-Rs will have nowhere else to take their votes.

      He’s wrong.

      I’m not going to support him in the primary. Too many occasions already of saying he supports something, then, when his support is critical, when it’s voting time, he caves.

    • tremoluxman says:

      So he could fucking lie and crow about this wonderful deal for Amurrika. Ain’t he acting all Presidential on the world stage? Watch, this will be touted as a Great Achievement during the 2012 campaign. The Republicans like this deal because it further weakens unions, something they abhor on a cellular basis.

  5. Linnaeus says:

    My guess is that the UAW leadership calculated that this deal was happening with or without them and figured it would try to get something out of it while it still could. Not to mention that they probably owe something for the auto bailout back in 08-09.

    Not saying it’s right, but that would be my guess.

    • Fractal says:

      I can’t find any UAW statement actually supporting the deal announced last night. Maybe it’s on the WH website but I don’t go there. There’s virtually nothing in the news coverage about UAW: one line in a Detroit News story, without quote, said UAW president Bob King “signaled” support for the deal. The UAW’s website front page plays up UAW support for a strike at Hyundai starting Monday. There’s nothing on the AFL-CIO website at a quick glance except links about free trade deals in the Middle East and Central America, and with Colombia.. I’m not sure where else to look.

    • biglake says:

      With or without them?

      How about WITHOUT them and WITH GRIEVANCE? Policies for the American people! Make a stink-rally-call a strike for a change-have a sit-in at a public space (remember- even the student left used to exercise citizen rights in the 60’s.) Selling out working people is too easy for the union leaders. Unions are paid to STAND for something.

      Same thing is happening with teacher’s unions. Obama policies for the factory model are wrecking public education for the benefit of the billionaire privatizers by requiring narrowed curriculum for testing. Very WEAK representation. Members need to throw leaders out of those jobs if they don’t do the job.

  6. JohnLopresti says:

    I think the post addresses a vital issue the Democratic party needs to address. I support **free** trade agreements as a dynamic for advancing the wellbeing of global economies and bringing reasoned development to countries interested in the give and take of these forms of commerce. My union experiences have been varied, mostly in the realm of accretions which gain workers relatively nothing while lining more bureaucracy aparatchik pockets, yet, unions have their place, as well. In a way, they are in an international bind as the tugs of trade and disparities of wages tend to numb what acumen unions can muster. Viewed, for example, from the perspective of what currently is occurring in Cancun at the meeting trying to re-state Kyoto, I think there is a select market of trade partners who might opt for FTAs with stronger guarantees their populace could advance and their environment controls improve, rather than having a new FTA couched in cronyist terms guaranteed to trash more developing nation peoples* resources with the veneer of first world graft. I have read that in one Asian country 2 of each 5 hardwood trees turned into lumber is done by pirates who have bribed the government security apparatus. There are tissue surveys in some Asian fish markets which show the DNA of whale products being sold proves 2 in 5 such fish are harvested deliberately from internationally treaty preserved zones which governments and fishers ignore. Check out this linked 2010 study from the University of Adelaide, by Bradshaw et al., about the world*s greatest polluters per capita and per sq km; South Korea is near the top of the worst. Yet, it is a geopolitical unit which has done wonders for its people in many respects in the past 60 years. The key to quality negotiations resides with the policymakers. I view it as similar to the meaningful engagement mode of working with PRC China, with respect to obtaining some value for citizenry other than cronies of oligarchs or business moguls. It takes more than Baaack Bolton storming to brook the difficulties, even with South Korea.

    One obstacle for UAW is its ponderousness; unions have that problem. A central lesson of the dotcom 90s experience was nimbleness often may win. That is the question I would pose in reply to the loss of manufacturing jobs stateside. There are structural issues and global tides at work. I think it is up to us to innovate instead of viewing international shifts in workforce in a way that favors more barriers. The issues involve genius rather than opposition.

  7. jackie says:

    OK.. can we stop going ‘Its all the Whitehouses fault’ and actually put Names to the ‘people’ actually drafting this crap. We need to be going after them…

      • DWBartoo says:

        How many people still deeply need to believe that Barack Obama is really, after all, a nice guy who has either;

        A. Gotten verra bad advice.

        B. Been personally threatened with the “disclosure” of “something” or had his family threatened with bodily harm.

        or simply

        C. Been misunderstood?

        It’s them neurons, bmaz … all ‘leventy ‘leven levels of ’em.

        Must be.


        • TobyWollin says:

          The only thing positive about this that I (in my weirdness) can see is that FOR ONCE, Shelby and other Southern congressionals will have to make common cause with folks from states like Michigan and Indiana – because their auto industry jobs will get wiped out too.

          • DWBartoo says:

            Toby, at this point I think it’s all for show. So you are more hopeeful than I.

            The political class calculates that the people will put up with whatever money and power want to do.

            America chose comfort over conscience long ago.

            And Americans have been taught to NOT trust each other because … any other perspective is “socialistic” and destroys “incentive”.

            It’s the myths, Toby, people would rather “believe” absolute rubbish than acknowledge common humanity, common plight, or common solution.

            For America is not “common” it is exceptional.

            It does not matter what the elites do, everything they do is to their benefit, what matters is what the people, when ENOUGH are suffering, will do.

            The elites will provide demagogues to “lead” them.

            If the people follow such a “lead” they will enslave themselves.

            We face a heartless “neo-feudalism”, make no mistake.

            The kabuki will not end until it no longer works.

            Then … things will become either very interesting or people will find their humanity.

            (That’s if we’re “lucky”)

            However, it shouldn’t have to come down to happenstance “luck”, for there are many more good people than than those who lust for wealth and power.

            It’s a question of neurons … as well as one of “connection” in the heart.


  8. DWBartoo says:

    Somehow, in millions, if not billions, of human brains, several little neurons that should be able to exchange information … just can’t seem to get connected, seem unable to function … together.

    Oddly enough, the same thing appears to be happening to the people wearing those brains.

    Fortunately, many of the people wearing those brains regard themselves as intelligent, homo sapiens sapien, the “intelligent man” … most others regard themselves as the end-product, the culmination, of either evolution or “intelligent design” …

    What could, possibly, be lacking?


    The understanding that we, all of us … are in this … together?

    The realiazation that people are more alike than different?

    Perhaps too many people “believe” in myths which are killing them?


  9. substanti8 says:

    I think this society is way overdue for questioning the wisdom of building millions of additional motor vehicles every year.  People act as if the enormous environmental and social costs of the car culture didn’t exist.

    Instead of more cars, we should be building bicycles, trolleys and passenger railroads.

      • substanti8 says:

        rural area

        According to this 2006 report by the Casey Institute (PDF), only one-sixth of the American populace lives in nonmetropolitan areas.  So it’s clear that an overwhelming majority of the motor vehicles produced in this country are used by people who live in cities and suburbs — places where personal motor transit could be reasonably replaced with bicycles and mass transit.

        I think we owe at least that much to future generations.

        • DWBartoo says:

          When you get right down to it, substanti8, what we need is more sidewalks.

          With the death of the rule of law, and the behaviors of the rulimg classes unchecked if not uncheckable … we need to talk about something concrete.

          I know, Marcy said not to get her started on sidewalks.

          Someday, I’ll wager we’ll ALL be wishing we had more.

          I’m for more sidewalks, and hope that Marcy is as well.

          With everything evermore rapidly going down the crazy endless-war and corporate money hole, it would be good thing if this community were on the same side of the street when it comes to sidewalks.

          Its safer than walking in the ditch, especially when the ruling classes seem prepared to spend so much time looking for ditches to drive into and cliffs to drive over.

          Sidewalks, anyone?


          • Fractal says:

            yes. In DC we have a citywide project installing new sidewalks whenever a street is repaved or curbs are repaired. Lots of folks have been amazed how many neighborhoods had zero sidewalks. Weird. One of the hooks for the project: give kids safe way to get to school. But, after some grumbling from rich clowns who didn’t want their (city-owned) median strips disturbed, sidewalks have been going in all over the place to great joy & jubilation….. (Well, at least without any more crankiness.)

        • PJEvans says:

          You might want to reconsider that statement, unless you want to try growing all your food in your apartment.

          Clearly you haven’t spent much time outside any urban area.

          • substanti8 says:

            You might want to reconsider that statement.

            PJ – If you think I wrote something incorrect, then it would help if you actually identified it for readers.  You have a problem with responsibility to future generations?  I’m not sure.

            And then, once you establish the source of your bile, the onus would be on you to pony up some evidence that supports your alternate conclusion.  That’s the way logical reasoning works.

              • Theater403 says:

                I’m at a loss for this vitriol. Perhaps it is simply a recurring event–cars bad, bikes good–that has prompted this.

                However, the point is valid and I don’t think anyone is saying–there should be NO MORE CARS…rather that our world is changing drastically and that the status quo in our manufacturing and our thinking will not hold.

                Bicycles are fantastic but no, not everyone can make use of them. Very good public transportation that is supported by our communities and business would make some sense (and this would create a further impetus to refurbish the necessary infrastructure to support it).

                Deal with it…the automobile has hurt us all. Technology is “know-how” without knowledge–without understanding. We are still making the same mistakes in what we choose to produce and use.

                • bmaz says:

                  However, the point is valid and I don’t think anyone is saying–there should be NO MORE CARS…

                  Actually, that is pretty much exactly what this mope has argued in the past. I live in Phoenix and am a lawyer who travels to courts all over the greater Phoenix area, which is incredibly spread out – like sometimes there can be 30-40 miles in between courthouses I go to in one day. This guy told me I should use a bike combined with a bus. It is fucking 110 degrees here and I wear a suit. Oh, and I am on tight time schedules and have clients. That ain’t gonna cut it. And he scolded others with the same cock and bull when they tried to explain how a bicycle wouldn’t tow a horse trailer or carry construction supplies etc. So, you are only at a loss because you do not know the history.

                  • Theater403 says:

                    ah, well apologies for stepping into the murk. I grew up on a farm and certainly understand the necessities you speak of regarding combustion and I have relatives in Phoenix and you’d have to be insane to ride a bike there (on the asphalt at least) most of the year!

                    I would simply point out that our world and our locomotion will soon be shrinking out of necessity if we stay this course. Best to be looking out for it in as many ways as possible.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Heh, no worries. It probably all did look a little harsh if you didn’t have the history. And it is certainly not that I, or anybody else responding then or now, doesn’t agree more bicycle use wouldn’t be good – it would cut down on fuel use and environmental footprint, not to mention provide some much needed exercise to an ever more sedentary public; this guy literally has argued just about everybody in the country can get by with a bicycle and public transit. That just is not the case, and it never will be.

                    • substanti8 says:

                      fucking bicycles

                      Wow … I guess it sure is easy to yank your chain.  If someone has the temerity to use the word “bicycle,” you reach for the rhetorical nuclear weapons.  Geeter done … and keep taking those blue pills to stay in the motorhead matrix.

            • bmaz says:

              Well, I certainly identified what I take issue with, it is your condescending head up your ass granola bicycle scold bullshit. There, if you did not catch on to to what I deem “incorrect”, now you know. And, no, the “onus” is not on those that don’t think the entire nation should shift to riding fucking bicycles. As to logic, I don’t think you could find it with a map and a compass in hand. It is not that smarter, more efficient and more environmentally neutral modalities of transportation are not desperately needed and critical to the future health of this country and the planet, they are. But scolding people who exist in the world and societal infrastructure we have to convert to bicycles is ludicrous and detached from reality.

              • PJEvans says:

                Okay, let me put this in really simple terms, so you have a chance at actually understanding the real world:

                Food is not created in factories and supermarkets. It comes from farms.
                Farms are in the country.
                This means farms are in rural areas.
                This means that if you want to eat, you have to live with cars and trucks. And tractors, and combines.

                If you want to travel primarily with bikes and buses and trolleys (and on foot), you can live in an urban area (as you obviously do already), but then you don’t get to tell other people how to live.
                And especially, you do not get to assume that what works in urban areas will work anywhere else.

                Personally, I’d recommend that you spend a couple of years living twenty miles out in the country.

              • substanti8 says:

                It is not that smarter, more efficient and more environmentally neutral modalities of transportation are not desperately needed and critical to the future health of this country and the planet, they are.

                It’s just that they shouldn’t apply to YOU, because you’re a … lawyer.  And there can be no compromising your hyper-mobile lifestyle in an unsustainable city in the middle of a desert.  I see.

                • newtonusr says:

                  Posting the rest of the quote would be fairer.

                  But scolding people who exist in the world and societal infrastructure we have to convert to bicycles is ludicrous and detached from reality.

                  I don’t know where you live, but I live in an area mass transit stinks, and all the money in the world delivered TODAY isn’t going to change that any time soon.
                  My clients, who I must visit personally, are located in a 70 mile long corridor.

                  I suppose I could chuck that profession and get a job as a barrista a couple of miles from home. Is that the kind of thing you have in mind?

                  Dreams of fusion-powered bullet trains or jet-packs are just that for the time being.

    • bmaz says:

      Back with the bicycle crap again I see. Not every person is able to get to work and do what they need to do on a fucking bicycle, nor do they want to brainlessly restrict their experienced world to a bicycling radius. Do you have some kind of Google alert set that notifies you of our auto posts so you can miraculously show up with this same old tripe?

    • speakingupnow says:

      And…our crumbling infrastructure with deteriorating bridges can’t support endless increases in automobile usage. We need investments in truly high speed rail systems but a lack of foresight seems to prevent much of what is necessary.

      Has anyone determined yet whether it is solely the UAW President Bob King who supports this trade agreement…


      do both the UAW President AND the UAW membership support the agreement?

      As many must understand by now, that could be a huge difference.

      • substanti8 says:

        Good point.  Not only can the environment not withstand more pollution – especially carbon dioxide.  Not only can the social infrastructure not withstand more speed, noise and hegemony.  Even the physical infrastructure cannot withstand more motor vehicles.

        a lack of foresight

        Quite so.  That seems endemic to our current economic system.

  10. Larue says:

    Clearly the union movement has fallen to the same oligarchs who own our elected offals, the executive, judiciary, congressional and every other facet of oiur lives.

    Le Sigh, ma’am.

    Thanks for all ya do . . .

  11. Bruce H. Vail says:

    Sorry Marcy but this is just juvenile.

    UAW has been quite clear for years that its support for a Korea deal was contingent on new language on market access that was acceptable to GM/Ford/Chrysler. Obama’s trade negotiators got that for them.

    Like you, I detect an awfully bad smell coming from this agreement. Unlike you, I don’t think childish UAW bashing will do anything to help stop it.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, you see, it does indeed stink, the union buy in for the overall stink is/was a critical and necessary prerequisite to render the stink; therefore pressure and criticism of the union for doing so is not only appropriate, but tactically a smart attack point. It is a bad deal on the whole, it is a bad deal for the American auto industry, and it is in the long run a bad deal for the union rank and file which, last I checked, was the master the union was supposed to be serving as opposed to co-opted power player union leadership. Your “childish” arrow is aimed 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

  12. Cbbb says:

    I don’t understand the logic behind this supposed mass exodus of jobs to South Korea. Korea is NOT A LOW COST COUNTRY!!!!

    Why would Ford or GM decide it’s in their best financial interest to move jobs over to South Korea? The wages aren’t significantly lower and the cost of building a factory in SK is probably higher then in the United States due to the severe lack of usable land. The labor force there isn’t more docile – in fact I’d argue South Korea has a much more activist labor union movement then the United States. What’s the upside for a company moving jobs from the US to SK?
    Allowing a wider range of goods into the United States is good for consumers and if Ford or GM can’t compete with Hyundai in the US market then that’s a sad commentary on the decline of manufacturing ability and management in the United States.

    • Cujo359 says:

      Nevertheless, the benefits will be asymmetrical. Korea is a small market, and ours is a large one. Koreans have more spare cash, I’d guess, than the average Chinese or Indian does right now, but they’re not going to buy that much stuff of ours – not enough to save many jobs here. That EPI study Marcy cited puts the potential US job loss at roughly 160k. It seems unlikely that we’ll gain that many new jobs from this agreement, unless Korea becomes fabulously wealthy.

      • Cbbb says:

        I wouldn’t compare Koreans to Indians or Chinese they’re FAR wealthier. It makes more sense to compare Korea to one of the smaller European nations. Now I completely agree, the trade agreement isn’t going to produce a lot of jobs for Americans. American companies aren’t going to sell a whole lot in Korea unless its some kind of product or service that Korea doesn’t produce well itself.
        But I think the flip side of that, the idea that the US is going to lose a lot of jobs because of this is also false. Like I said, it’ll be a wash. The only way I could see big job losses from this is if Samsung, Hyundai, and LG are able to make big in-roads into the American market and if that’s the case then this is just legitimate competition. There’s absolutely no reason American companies can’t compete with Samsung and Hyundai in the US market.

        • Cujo359 says:

          I think the key to understanding why it won’t be a wash is in this paragraph from the FPI report:

          South Korea’s trade regime appears to have overall goals and structure that are similar to China’s. If U.S. exports to Korea were to rise following implementation of the Korea-U.S. FTA, it is likely that the largest increases will be in intermediate products such as scrap, plastic, chemical feed stocks, and electronic components (as was the case with China). These products will be assembled into final goods and re-exported to the United States, resulting in a growing U.S. trade deficit with Korea. The United States has had a trade deficit with Korea in every year since 1997 (including the first half of 2009).

          That’s from page 5, BTW. The problem is that the “technical barriers” will still be in place, which means that we ship raw materials and recycled goods there, and they ship finished products here. Finished products require skilled labor, and are thus more financially beneficial to the country that gets to do it. That trend will be exacerbated by the new agreement.

          That’s the other reason it will not be in our interests. Relative market size alone is an explanation for why the benefit would mostly be theirs, even if there were no such barriers left in place. With those barriers, I can see why they’re predicting 160k job loss.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, for starters, it’ll mean that there’s a back door to ASEAN nations, which has a trade agreement w/Korea and all of which ARE very cheap.

      But the costs ARE cheaper in Korea–otherwise, Hyundai would source their low margin cars–teh cheap ones–here in the US. The only cars they source here are the trucks, which are currently subject to a 25% duty.

  13. Dameocrat says:

    This is the weakness of trade unions vs industrial unions. They look after their members rather than the class as a whole. Next time Obummer will use another union to screw the uaw.

  14. Cbbb says:

    No, no – I usually like Fire Dog Lake but in all these posts about a trade agreement I see no real reason to believe this is going to be catastrophic for American jobs.
    I feel this blog is severely misrepresenting South Korea as if it’s some kind of petty South-East Asian country; a Vietnam or Laos.

      • BayStateLibrul says:


        Jeter stays a Yank and Sox will get Adrian Gonzalez for prospects.
        Jet v Pats only 48 hours away…
        The stove is heating up.
        Where is trash-talking?
        Politics is too depressing…

  15. Cbbb says:

    I’m afraid this blog is the one guilty of unsupported statements. The hysteria about America jobs moving en-mass to South Korea makes absolutely no sense unless you live in some world where you pretend Korea is a kind of China-style low wage, authoritarian country.
    The reality is not a whole lot is going to change job wise due to this agreement, I can’t see how American companies are going to see moving to Korea as such a great deal, and likewise I also doubt American companies will sell as many goods in Korea as they think they will.
    It’ll largely be a wash, certainly nothing to warrant these kinds of reactions.

    • PJEvans says:

      Go read the post again, slowly. You missed the part about it not actually doing anything for anyone in the US who isn’t already wealthy.

      • Cbbb says:

        Obama doesn’t really care about people who aren’t wealthy, I think that’s been pretty clear for a while. But this agreement isn’t going to actually cause pain either.
        A company outsourcing to Korea isn’t going to be saving much money on wages. If a company really wants to outsource they’d just go to China or India any way, the agreement isn’t going to change anything in that regard.

  16. Bruce H. Vail says:

    I don’t necessarily disagree.

    UAW President King had no obligation to continue his predecessor’s policies re: Korea trade. But he chose to do so anyway. He will have to explain the whys and wherefores of that decision to the membership, and — if we are lucky– he will explain it to the rest of the American electorate as well.

    In the meantime, berating the UAW under the entirely fabricated construction of 800 union jobs is like a child throwing a tantrum when he/she doesn’t get what they want.

    • Cujo359 says:

      Marcy’s “construction” is entirely plausible to anyone who’s priced an engineering or production project. The problem with this agreement is that it doesn’t remove the barriers that the White House release refers to, it just says we can send them 55k cars anyway. That’s the problem – it’s not really free trade if one country uses unreasonable technical justifications to block imports.

      • Bruce H. Vail says:

        My guess is that UAW’s King has an easily understandable reason for doing what he did — and that it had nothing whatever to do with Marcy’s 800 job.

        Don’t forget that the UAW had a near death experience 20 months ago, and that they feel that they owe the WH something for saving 200,000 to 300,000 jobs.

        • speakingupnow says:

          I am trying to look at this issue from a number of different perspectives. However, IF the UAW membership truly believes they “owe the White House” something and are willing to sell-out other unions and the citizens as a whole in this country in order to “pay back” the White House,…THEN, the membership is doing a complete disservice to unions everywhere. Which is why I still want to determine whether the actual UAW membership is going along with this agreement.

        • Cujo359 says:

          Then Mr. King doesn’t deserve much respect. Things like that “rescue”, which in the end seems to have resulted in a number of jobs lost and a two-tiered labor system anyway, should be repaid with campaign support or endorsements. Agreeing to something else that isn’t in your own membership’s best interests, let alone the interests of similar workers in related fields, is a foolish bargain. It’s the sort that labor leaders have been making for some time now, and it’s at least part of the reason they have no power with the Democratic Party these days.

        • emptywheel says:

          Oh, I’m sure the bailout is one of the reasons the White House was successful in pressuring them to buy off.

          Btw, not sure if you saw in my book salon on Rattner’s book, the quotes showing that Obama specifically told Rattner not to ask anything of the banksters even though they had just been bailed out on much larger scale?

          If the banksters didn’t “owe” anything to the govt, the UAW didn’t either, not least because unlike the banksters they paid their price.

          That said, I’m writing about what the UAW did, not why they did it. Their motives for taking chump change–800 jobs–is an entirely different question, but take it they did.

          • arcadesproject says:

            looks to me as if the middle and working classes are being abandoned by every institution that once advocated for and protected us and in so doing, provided a modest counter-weight to the brute force of the plutocracy. i think you can just about stick a fork in us. i am optimistic by nature and habit but i just don’t see no way out of here.

    • spanishinquisition says:

      “In the meantime, berating the UAW under the entirely fabricated construction of 800 union jobs is like a child throwing a tantrum when he/she doesn’t get what they want.”

      Then provide the math for the number you believe it is. Marcy precisely explained where the 800 figure came from and until you provide evidence to the contrary, it is you who is fabricating.

      • emptywheel says:

        One of the things that amused me is that it’s such a round number. I screwed up the math, badly, at first. But after Masaccio set me straight it was like finding the magic pony, coming up with such a round number.

        And yes, these negotiations do get made at such a level: 800 jobs and we’ll do X.

        Of course, the math is actually very conservative bc it assumes the Big 2.5 will be able to sell that many cars. I think they WILL better be able to compete in Korea (once they throw some marketing at the problem, for example). But we’ll see how quickly they’ll get to the 25,000. (And if they do, they’ll open a factory in Korea, and those jobs will then disappear again–it’s a smarter number, bc it’s enough market share to support production overseas, unlike 6500, but it’s still not really going to happen that way.)

  17. Cbbb says:

    The wages are lower in Korea then the US but it’s not a massive difference. It just seems to me that if a company wanted to outsource they’d go to China and wouldn’t bother with Korea, I still can’t see this trade agreement causing any big changes. Does it really make outsourcing to the poorer nations of Asia much easier and cheaper then it already was?

  18. speakingupnow says:

    Another question…since South Korea has many HIGHER safety standards on material goods such as cars and beef than that of the United States, what is the cultural attitude in South Korea towards goods manufactured in the United States? Will the CITIZENS of South Korea actually want to purchase our products over that of other countries?

  19. beowulf says:

    Can’t beat something with nothing…

    Import Certificates are a proposed mechanism to implement balanced trade, and eliminate a country’s trade deficit. The idea was proposed by Warren Buffett in 2003 to address the U.S. trade deficit. In the United States, the idea was first introduced legislatively in the Balanced Trade Restoration Act of 2006. The proposed legislation was sponsored by Senators Byron Dorgan (ND) and Russell Feingold (WI), two Democrats in the United States senate. Since then there has been no action on the bill.

  20. Bluetoe2 says:

    The unions in the U.S. are as “powerful” and progressive as the government controlled unions of the former Soviet Union. They’re “show” unions.

  21. Bruce H. Vail says:

    Agreed. Mr. King will only deserve respect when he gives a clear and convincing explanation for his decision. And even if he is willing and able to do that (which is questionable), that doesn’t mean that the rest of us should support this malodorous trade agreement.

  22. defogger says:

    There seems to be some delusional notion about us having one speck of control over our corporate owned future of debt peonage.Free trade ,by definition,meant sacrificing our national autonomy,our democracy and our prosperity.They were harmonized into transnational governanceThat’s what the battle in Seattle was resisting.Now we our entering the end-stage phase of structural adjustment,which means the same debt-induced rationales for imposing IMF strictures on impoverished nations are now being used to colonize developed nations. National strengths don’t matter,this is a war between the shrewd and the sheep.

  23. substanti8 says:

    I don’t know where you live …

    I live on a planet with finite space, finite material resources, and finite energy sources.  Yet I live in a delusional society in which raising such issues – even tangentially (as I did in my original comment) – is greeted by some with bizarre accusations that I am the one “detached from reality.”

    get a job as a barrista

    Or as a straw man.

    • newtonusr says:

      I know it’s tempting when your argument falls flat (whether on factual or practical grounds), to assign the perp a strawman hat. Fine.

      Feel free to deny that other realities exist. Poof. They’re all gone.

      But not really.

  24. Gitcheegumee says:

    “If you don’t stand for somethin’ you’ll fall for anything.”

    And speaking of wrecking teachers’ unions…pretty interesting background on Dennis Bakke and those Imagine charter schools,too.

  25. mzchief says:

    Tangential– So I noticed that at the G20 the US-based corporations positioning to make even greater in-roads to use Indians in substitution for US labor:

    “G20 members commit half a billion dollars to the winners of the SME Finance Challenge” (from “Ashoka at the G20 Seoul Summit” by Laura Zax, Nov. 12, 2010, link: ).

    Check out that the partners that include Lieberman-linked Hill & Knowlton, Inc.:

    “Ashoka’s global strategic partners are McKinsey & Company, Hill & Knowlton and Latham and Watkins. Ashoka also has relationships with the International Senior Lawyers Project (ILSP) and Ernst & Young.” (link: )

    I’ve also made prior comments essentially about the now perfected asset-stripping model implemented in the US is rapidly being put in place in India and China (really took off in the 1990s in parallel with the US’ and other key countries’ hard asset theft via IT systems manipulations). I think that tel-sat-co infrastructure changes and computerization of work-flow are key indicators. It’s in our enlightened self interest to continue to look beyond our borders and expose these predatory multi-national corporate activities even under threat of Internet black outs.

  26. klynn says:

    Just some info…

    South Korea has one of the largest growing economies (15th GDP, 12th Purchasing Power). In 2009 it was the 8th largest exporter and 10th largest importer.

    Amway is quite pleased with this trade agreement because their toiletry products are the #2 best selling of such products in the country. This trade deal will keep Amway on the path to their projected growth.

    As for the rest of our nation? Not-so-much…

  27. rosalind says:

    ot: Harry Shearer is devoting his whole show today to the mortgage meltdown with Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism as his guest. LeShow is on at 10am in L.A., and other times throughout the country.

  28. substanti8 says:

    when your argument falls flat … on practical grounds

    Yeah, I get that kind of response all the time from people who haven’t ridden a bicycle since they were 13 years old.  When pressed to defend their perception of bicycling, they ultimately reveal little understanding beyond the stereotypes of the car culture.

    And in case you missed it, this was my original argument:

    Instead of more cars, we should be building bicycles, trolleys and passenger railroads.

    Feel free to deny that other realities exist.

    I think you’re the one denying such realities.  If there were true cost pricing for private motor vehicles, changing jobs to reduce driving would seem much more reasonable.

    And choosing a “barrista” to represent all such alternative jobs is still a straw man.

  29. substanti8 says:

    The Apollo Alliance doesn’t go far enough, because they’re not interested in changing the systemic problem of the capitalist growth paradigm.  But this commentary from their executive director is part of what I meant in my original comment.  Here’s an excerpt:

    America’s existing public transit investments already support more than 1.9 million jobs throughout the economy and generate more than $100 billion of economic activity.  These investments also generate environmental benefits, saving the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline and reducing carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons each year.

    And here is their Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan.

  30. YYSyd says:

    The issue of American made cars in Korea or for that matter any country other than Canada is an unfortunate abstract concept that has nothing to do with reality. It is not for non-tariff and tariff barriers that American cars do not sell internationally. One can say with absolute certainly that the only markets available are for motor-heads who may want old pony cars, which is not what those who think in the abstract about the car industry would even notice. Because of local and autonomous (relatively) subsidiary operations that have been successful in international trade, the head office operations of GM, Ford, and Chrysler are institutionally clueless about designing, modifying, marketing for overseas markets, what products they have which are basically unsuited for foreign markets anyway. Besides they are not motivated.

    The real danger of free trade agreements is in the unintended consequences and the stuff that propels the process that is not publicly known. Whatever they are in this case they are not cars. To the extent that it is sincerely believed to be cars, it would be the extent of delusion. The combination of delusional thinking and particular hidden narrow industrial interests, result in trade agreements which back-fire for the general national interests of the parties.

    Industry groups nominally representing copy right holders, pharma, taser-folks, other security/penal interests, finance, and industrial food/poison would be more likely to have their fingers in the pie. In the meantime the Koreans seem to have succeeded in keeping their diets safe from unsafe US meat industry.

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