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Teamsters fire up website to protest BMW, prepare to picket dealers

Ontario, California’s Local 495 chapter of the Teamsters union has taken aim at BMW to protest the company’s outsourcing of 100 distribution center jobs. Like every large company, BMW is looking for ways to save money in lean times, and laying off unionized workers is an easy way to do that.

Still, it leaves 100 guys, all of whom have been on the job at least 10 years, without a source of income and up against stacks of bills. To protest, Local 495 set up, depicting an evil, flesh-eating 6 Series threatening a family of workers. On the site, the Teamsters have aggregated headlines and videos relating to their plight.

To augment the website, they’ve started picketing BMW dealerships and posting videos to Vimeo saying why they’re angry and what they want done about it. We’ll leave that for you to figure out by watching the video after the jump. While this is certainly a well-organized protest, we’re going to go out on a limb and guess that BMW’s mind remains made up. Video and press release are after the break.

Teamsters Launch Website About BMW’s Mass Layoffs will educate the public about BMW’s plans to outsource jobs after taking bailout loans and making record profits

ONTARIO, Calif., July 14, 2011 – Today Teamsters Local 495 launched the website to provide information about BMW’s plan to fire nearly 100 American employees next month. Workers at BMW’s parts distribution facility in Ontario, Calif., received notice that their jobs are being outsourced to a third-party company in August, despite having loyally served BMW for decades. Many of the workers have been at BMW for 20 to 30 years.

Despite making record profits and receiving over $3.6 billion in taxpayer bailout loans, the German automobile giant will layoff almost all its union and non-union employees in Ontario later this summer and immediately re-open the facility the very next day with a cheaper, inexperienced work force.

Teamsters Local 495 represents 65 workers at the Ontario parts distribution facility. The workers and their families have been protesting outside BMW dealerships in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Arizona on the weekends.

“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. 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. They are treating their American workers in a way they would never dare to treat their German employees.”

In the U.S., BMW has hired the anti-union law firm Jackson Lewis to execute the layoffs. More information about Jackson Lewis is available on the website.

In Germany the website can be accessed at

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.

somewhat related article:

Chrysler has had its fair share of troubles with transport companies of late, but a reported plan to switch to non-union delivery could make for even more labor headaches down the road. Bloomberg reports that United Auto Workers boss Bob King will stand behind the Teamsters in the event Chrysler attempts to eliminate one of the country’s longest-standing unions from its car delivery business. King spoke to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters at their Las Vegas convention last month, telling the crowd that Chrysler was planning to buy $5 million worth of transport trucks to give to a non-union company. King then went on to assure the Teamsters that the UAW was behind them, adding “We’re going to fight together to make that 100 percent union, 100 percent Teamster.”

While automakers rarely (if ever) look for union troubles, this potential rift could have especially bad timing. Chrysler and other domestic automakers enter talks with the UAW on a new labor contract later this month. The new contracts will be the first since General Motors and Chrysler exited bankruptcy and the UAW is expected to try to win back some concessions made over the past few years.