The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has launched a protest campaign against BMW’s plans to outsources jobs from a Southern California warehouse.
Hundreds of Teamsters showed up this past weekend outside BMW dealerships in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Arizona with leaflets and banners, reading “BMW: The Ultimate Misery” to inform its customers about the German automaker’s plans to fire almost all its Ontario, California employees later this summer.
BMW plans to re-open the facility the very next day using temporary employees.
Despite making record profits and receiving bailout loans, the German automobile giant plans to outsource jobs and layoff nearly 100 American employees.
“Taxpayers gave billions of dollars in bailout money to auto companies in order to grow the economy and save American jobs, but BMW is doing just the opposite,” said Randy Cammack, International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 42 in Southern California.
“BMW got bailed out with nearly $4 billion in top-secret low-interest federal loans and in exchange, they are mocking America’s plant closing laws and destroying working families,” he said.
The bailout comment refers to the use of a Federal Reserve Board program that bolstered automotive finance companies during the recession – not just to money used for General Motors and Chrysler.
BMW workers and their families also set up picket lines outside the L.A. Dodgers-Anaheim Angels baseball games earlier this month, distributing leaflets to fans that read “BMW Wants L.A. to Lose Good Jobs .” An aerial banner flown over the stadium also read “BMW Wants L.A. to Lose.”
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“BMW would never be allowed to get away with this in Germany,” said Bob Lennox, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 495. “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.”
The Teamster campaign has picked up support in California. California Senator Barbara Boxer has criticized BMW and The Los Angeles Times recently hit BMW’s move, accusing it of “eviscerating the middle class.”
BMW is America’s most popular automaker for luxury-class autos and 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 over $3.6 billion in secret low-interest loans during the 2008-2009 U.S. taxpayer bailout.