It seems that the Germans from BMW are having a hard time firing 65 employees at the parts distribution facility in Ontario, California. Senator Barbara Boxer, the chairwoman of the Ethics Committee wrote a letter to BMW North America CEO Jim O’Donnell telling him that replacing the loyal and experienced workers from the Ontario facility would be an unfair decision mainly considering that the Germans are looking forward for cheaper workforce, this being the main reason for this decision, according to the American Senator.
The 65 workers are part of the Teamsters Union Local 495, their contract with the German company expiring on August 31. To be more precise, we are not talking about firing but BMW said it will not renew the contract but will look forward to cheaper employees.
Teamsters Union Local 495 alongside Barbara Boxer showed very unsatisfied about this decision and claimed that the current workers at the Ontario facility are way more experienced than the new company which follows to be hired. Moreover, Senator Boxer added that BMW’s 2011 first quarter earnings raised to $1,78 billion comparing to the last year, which means that there is another reason behind the decision of firing Teamsters Union Local 495 than the financial issues.
“I need this job and the health insurance to take care of my family,” said Tim Kitchens, one of the Ontario workers. “Many of us have worked here for decades and have helped make BMW the most profitable luxury car company in America. We stood by them in the dark days of 2009 and now they’re throwing us out on the street so they can hire cheaper, inexperienced workers, and pocket the difference.”
Barbara Boxer claimed that this situation could not happen in Germany and also claimed that the American employees are not treated well comparing to the German workers. U.S. Congressman Joe Baca joined the discussions as well stating that this decision will surely affect the local economy which already faces the highest rates of unemployment in the region.
“When taxpayers gave billions of dollars in bailout money to auto companies, they expected to grow the economy and save American jobs, but just the opposite has happened,” said Randy Cammack, President of Teamsters Joint Council 42, “BMW got bailed out with nearly $4 billion in top-secret low-interest federal loans and in exchange, they mock America’s plant closing laws and try to destroy working families.”