Dock Workers Protest BMW's Destruction of Good Jobs
ONTARIO, Calif., Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dock workers at 10 ports in nine countries have organized informational pickets over the past several days to show their solidarity with the BMW workers in Ontario, Calif., who will be laid off later this month.
The workers – all members of unions that belong to the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) – held banners and signs at ports in Bremen, Germany; Antwerp and Zeebrugge, Belgium; Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Southampton, United Kingdom; Yarraville, Australia; Laem Chabang, Thailand; Durban, South Africa; Veracruz, Mexico; and Jersey City, N.J. Also participating were workers at the BMW MINI plant in Oxford, United Kingdom. The banners read "Dockers Solidarity with BMW Workers."
BMW has announced it plans to fire nearly 100 Ontario employees at the end of August and immediately reopen the facility the very same day with an outsourced, inexperienced work force. The Teamsters are asking BMW to postpone these moves for three months and give them an opportunity to work with BMW to develop a win-win alternative to this devastating decision. Teamsters Local 495 represents 68 workers at the Ontario parts distribution facility.
"This is what international solidarity is all about: Crossing state lines, seas and borders to help workers whose jobs are threatened," said ITF President Paddy Crumlin.
"BMW is planning to outsource good, middle-class jobs," said Bob Lennox, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 495. "Many of these employees have worked there for decades – some as long as 30 years. BMW told these workers they were a family, and then proceeded to hire union-hostile lawyers to help it exploit America's plant-closing laws. BMW and its lawyers at Jackson Lewis are condemning 68 American families to poverty and misery.
"We are outraged that BMW is treating their American workers in a way they would never dare to treat their German employees."
Each weekend, Teamster members and their families have been protesting BMW's greed outside BMW dealerships across the United States. The protesters are distributing leaflets and holding banners that read "BMW: The Ultimate Misery" to inform BMW customers about the company's treatment of its American workers and communities.
The German automobile giant, Bavarian Motor Works AG is America's most popular automaker for luxury-class autos. BMW had the highest earnings ever in its 95-year history last quarter. It 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 over $3.6 billion in secret low-interest loans during the 2008-2009 U.S. taxpayer bailout.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hard working men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Go to www.teamster.org for more information.
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters