On Thursday, German Automaker BMW AG announced that it had reached an agreement with the Teamsters union at one of its Ontario, California parts warehouses. The Teamsters union says the new contract extension prevented the layoff of about 100 workers. The layoffs were scheduled to take place later this month.
In an effort to cut costs, BMW had planned to hire an outside, non-union company to run the operations at the warehouse once the union contract expired on August 31. The company notified workers of its intent to terminate their contract on June 3. The company has hired non-union workers at some of its other U.S. parts warehouses in the past.
There is no word on whether the automaker will outsource management of the facilities. Four of the company’s six U.S. parts distribution warehouses are operated by non-union workers.
Union leaders and some California government officials have been highly critical of BMW’s plan to outsource jobs at the facility, and activists have picketed and boycotted a number of dealerships in the state.
In a statement, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said, “This agreement shows what Teamsters can do when we stand together and fight back.” He went on to say, “I am hopeful that the contract extension signals a new path for BMW and the Teamsters.”
According to the Teamsters union, it will use the extension period to work with BMW in hopes of reaching “a mutually acceptable solution that addresses long-term employment for workers.”
In a statement, the sectary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 495 said he is optimistic that the automaker “will honor its promises to find a solution to keep their longtime, dedicated work force and ensure that these jobs remain good, middle-class jobs.”
Teamsters Local 495 represents 68 union workers at the parts warehouse. Other workers at the facilities include non-union supervisors and clerical staff.
A spokesperson for BMW said the talks have been constructive but offered no details.
During the 2008-09 financial crisis, BMW received loans from the Federal Reserve totaling $3.6 billion.
In June, Hoffa blasted BMW over its plan to terminate its contract with workers at the Ontario warehouse. In a letter to the automaker, Hoffa said, “This is a mockery of America’s plant closing laws and an insult to the American taxpayers who bailed out your company. Taxpayers will be asked to pay for your greed a second time when they pick up the costs for more unemployment, health care, more foreclosures and more ruined working families.”
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