Thursday, 11 August 2011 15:44

Teamsters Escalate BMW Protests Across America

Hundreds of Teamster members and their families protested BMW's greed outside 50 BMW dealerships in 11 states -- California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New York and Virginia -- this past weekend. The protesters distributed leaflets and held banners that read "BMW: The Ultimate Misery." They informed BMW customers about BMW's plan to lay off nearly 100 Ontario, Calif. employees on August 31, 2011 and immediately re-open the parts distribution center with a cheaper, inexperienced work force.

Local 495, located in Covina, Calif., represents 68 workers at the Ontario parts distribution facility.

"BMW got bailed out with nearly $4 billion in low-interest federal loans and in exchange, they are mocking America's plant closing laws and destroying working families," said Randy Cammack, President of Teamsters Joint Council 42. "They've also hired Jackson Lewis, the top union-hostile law firm in the U.S., to help them outsource these good, middle-class jobs."

"BMW would never be allowed to get away with this in Germany," said Teamsters Local 495 Secretary-Treasurer Bob Lennox. "Many of these employees have worked there for 10, 20, 30 years. They think they can take an American taxpayer bailout and then treat their American workers in a way they would never dare to treat their German employees."

U.S. Congressional leaders have criticized BMW for this move against its American workers. The Los Angeles Times recently blasted BMW's decision, accusing it of "eviscerating the middle class."

On July 21, thousands of BMW employees in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the United Kingdom held an international solidarity day to protest BMW's plans. The workers -- members of the United Auto Workers (UAW), the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), the Teamsters, and U.K.'s Unite the Union -- wore stickers printed with the message, "Solidarity Saves Jobs at BMW - www.BMWUltimateMisery.com." They also distributed leaflets in the break rooms at the plants and distribution centers.

The German automobile giant BMW, America's most popular automaker for luxury-class autos, saw the highest earnings ever in its 95-year history last quarter. BMW had global sales of almost $81 billion in 2010, or about $848,000 per employee, ranking it number 82 on Fortune's Global 500 Companies. BMW also received more than $3.6 billion in secret, low-interest loans during the 2008-2009 U.S. taxpayer bailout.

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