Annoying union bumper sticker of the day.

I’ve said before I’m not a huge fan of unions despite having grown up in south eastern Michigan where unions are plentiful and ever present. One of the big ones, of course, is the UAW and it’s impossible to work for any of the Big Three and not be exposed to tons of pro-union bumper stickers. Some of them are more annoying than others, but the sort of slogan that tends to get my dander up most often is the faux patriotism type that equates supporting union with being a True American™. One common sticker you’ll see often among UAW members is “Real Americans Buy American”. Today I saw one on the back of truck that annoyed the shit out of me. It read “Please keep my flag off your foreign car.” and had a little American flag on the left side of it.

I was irked by it. I own a Pontiac Grand Prix, which is technically an American car despite the fact that major chunks of it are manufactured in plants outside of the U.S., so my immediate impulse was both silly and impractical. I wanted to go out and buy that Honda Civic I’ve been looking at lately and then pay someone to do a custom paint job that would wrap the whole thing in one giant image of the U.S. flag and then I’d drive it right in front of that asshat and do the speed limit just to piss him off.

For the record, the Grand Prix I own is a Sixth Generation model (ended in 2003, mine is a 2000) and was assembled in Kansas City, Kansas, but the Seventh Generation, which is the current and last production run (2008 is rumored to be the GP’s final year on the market), is assembled in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada making it a foreign car as far as I’m concerned. I believe the engine in my model was built in Brazil and various other chunks came from all over the world. Meanwhile the Eighth Generation Honda Civic is assembled in a number of countries not the least significant of which is the United States in East Liberty, Ohio.

29 thoughts on “Annoying union bumper sticker of the day.

  1. I once saw a two-page ad on the inside front cover of Newsweek magazine (that’s prime advertising real estate, the inside front cover) for the Chevy Malibu.  The tag line of the ad was something close to “Chevy: The Best Car Made In America”.

    In the teeeeeny, teeeeeny fine print at the bottom of the ad it said this and that, and this: “Assembled in Mexico from parts made in the United States and other countries.”

    It could well be that, say, the left door handle is the only part of “the best car made in America” that’s actually made in America.  But it’s only a slogan; it doesn’t actually have to be true.

    [Me, I have a Japanese car, a Toyota — which is, actually made (at least assembled) in America.  Mine was born in Kentucky.]

  2. P.S.  Am I the only one who’s so much of a geek that when he sees the phrase “unionized workers”, it takes him a while to realize that they’re not talking about workers who’ve had their ions neutralized?

  3. Well, my Trek bicycle (the frame anyway) was made in Whitewater, Wisconsin, but many of the components were made in China (Shimano derailleurs, for instance).  There is a little American flag on it, from the factory, but so far no one in Austria has given me any grief about it.

    Yes, Barry, you probably are the only one who saw “unionized” as “un-ionized”.  Do you also think of ions that have sold their charge when you see “corruption”? LOL

  4. I think I would miss unions more than I hate them, if only because behind their irrational zero-sum-gamesmanship and pathological hatred of anything non-union, there’s still enough of a core of truth as to what they stand for (united labor in the face of managerial exploitation) that they remain of some value.

    But, man, I do want to slap some of them silly sometimes.

    (Spoken as a former teacher’s union member, back in the day, as well as someone whose wife ends up in a lot of meetings with both Union and Management)

  5. LOL Barry…

    If companies didn’t treat their workers as an expendable commodity, and if we had tougher labor laws, there would be no need for unions. And I wouldn’t really mis them. UAW deserves some blame for how badly American car companies perform.

  6. I think I’ve said before that I’m not entirely anti-union in that I see in history where there was a need for them and they provided a very valuable service at the time, but more often than not these days it seems they cause as many problems as they solve. I’m not ready to say they’ve outlived their purpose, but I’m not entirely convinced they’re as necessary as they once were.

  7. My only direct involvement with a union was when I worked for the Renaissance Faire in California.  The Faire was originally conceived as a fundraiser for the listener-sponsored radio station KPFK, but after the first year (1963) Ron and Phyllis Patterson, the inventors, ran it as a business for profit.  It became wildly popular, and deservedly so: there was nothing else like it in those heady first years- a whole world of freaks and adventures, a parallel universe unlike anything else in shopping-mall America.

    In any case, the Pattersons made the most of it financially: more than half the workers were young starry-eyed volunteers, the only relatively well-paid workers being the real stars (actors portraying Queen Elizabeth and Co.) and the bouncers who patrolled the borders to keep people from sneaking in.  We peons- dancers and musicians and jugglers- were paid little and often late, and our contracts were informal and nonbinding.

    When we decided to unionize, the Pattersons fought tooth and nail and fired people left and right.  But finally we got contracts and pay raises.  What has happened since then I don’t know- I played my last Faire in 1974.

    I agree with ***Dave about the value of unions: united labor in the face of managerial exploitation.  But unions are not immune to the corruption power brings, as we can see.

  8. When we decided to unionize, the Pattersons fought tooth and nail and fired people left and right.

    I wonder if that’s the real-world inspiration for the episode of King Of The Hill where Peggy winds up unionizing the “wenches” at the renaissance fair?

  9. It must be pretty nice to sit where you are and not have to worry about being injured or killed on the job.  I have the best job I have ever had and I owe it to my Union.  The things that bother you about Unions bother me too but if they were outlawed my job would be less safe the very next day.  They have not outlived thier usefullness.  They fight to keep what we have gained in the face of coporations who think of you and me as a number and an expense.

  10. The thing that annoys me most about unions is the thing that annoys me most about politics- the dogma of left and right.  While I would probably be most identified as on the left, the habit the Left has of defending the indefensible seems to me to be part of the reason the Right has done so well over the last 20 years, dragging politics to the right because it seems so successful.  During some national negotiations to which we were getting updates, I opined I was surprised that the Official Side were still arguing, as they could easily appear to give in, the circumvent later. I was roundly slapped down by the Branch President for being so negative and suggesting we shouldn’t protect the Health and Safety of our members.  I never actually said that, but merely being seen to suggest a possibility of defeat seemed to be the crime.

    A Week later O/S did exactly as I predicted- we can’t/won’t force you to ‘X’, but people who wish to work in that particular area will be required accept it as the T&C;.

    And this is the UK Civil Service.

  11. Unions are monopolies. Labor as far as I am concerned is a commodity even though our government does not recognize it as such. They keep the supply of workers where they want it in order to keep their wages where they want them. I worked with some people in the UK mail system (royal mail) and they would strike on a Friday back up the mail system then come in on sat or sun for overtime….so who loses there?…the public Unions only benefit Unions at societies expense…I hate them. I would get a “checkbox: free markets Yes “ bumper sticker if I didn’t think some dumbass would kill me.

  12. People are only commodities.

    It’s thinking like that that means we need unions.  Look at all those commodities in the far east scrapping together a living, who are effectively serfs.

  13. I saw that same dumb bumper sticker on an Impala when I was Christmas shopping (driving my Infiniti) I laughed and told my wife that Impalas are built in Canada and our SUV was built in Kentucky. Who’s car is foreign again? I always base it on who’s table had bread on it? Nameplate means nothing as they are all GLOBAL companies nowdays…

  14. I hate that bumper sticker too! I saw it TWICE in the last week.  Once on a big Ford F250, and once on a Chevy (I think it was an S10).  Meanwhile I was behind those idiots in my awesome Toyota Corolla LE (which I believe was manufactured in California).  It’s funny, many foreign car companies have operations right here in the US, employing people right here in the US (Toyota has close to 40,000 American employees). Something about the utter stupidity of those “Keep my flag off…” bumper stickers really annoy the crap out of me…

  15. Many Americans consider Daimler Chrysler to be an American company, Chrysler cars and trucks are as American as Toyota.  The irony is that Jeep is now owned by a German company that built cars, trucks, and aircraft during WW2.

  16. I’m a Union apprentice here in Atlanta,Ga. Our Union (Local 72 Plumbers,Pipefitters,& Service Techs) has a “no strike” clause and we can remove/be removed/terminated for many different reasons. I think people equate all unions with the UAW and that’s simply not correct. We provide a highly trained,skilled, & drug free employee and police ourselves. We’ve had to forego annual raises in recent times and we work with the contractors to agree on the wage/benefit package. I fully agree with the fallacy of the “Made in America” argument whereas auto’s are concerned. I can’t imagine arguing that my “Assembled in Mexico” Chevy is better for my fellow American than the “Assembled in the US Toyota”. 2 of my friends have joined the Union and they both enjoy a better life as a result ie: more family time, better benefits, retirement, etc. Sure, there are great, hard working skilled people working outside the Union and I respect their right to do as they please. I also tell them every chance I have that they would be a great asset to my Union and should at least consider it.

  17. If you like a 40 hour work week and overtime paid accodingly, and lunch breaks, and unemployment benefits, and workmans comp, and minimum wage…..BE SURE TO THANK A UNION WORKER!


  18. You assclowns who don’t like “keep my flag off your foriegn cars” WAKE UP! The money you spend on the foriegn pieces of crap go right back to japan, china, korea, etc. You assclowns have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Go buy your honda you idiot and when you get laid will think damn “BUY AMERICAN” really would help my job. Your an idiot along with the other foriegn car buyers. 80 percent of the toyota employees are only temp. workers, No benefits and can be let go anytime. Keep buying those pieces of crap and you will be next to go. UAW for LIFE

  19. I bought my Honda. It’s a certified used 2004 Civic. It’s in stunning shape for being so old. Runs great, excellent gas mileage, almost hard to believe it’s a used car.

    BTW my contract with Ford was terminated back in 2005. Then they brought me back in 2007, for a whole two and a half months before terminating it again. You couldn’t get me to buy a Ford now if they were the only car producer on the planet. I didn’t buy the Honda until this year.

    So what of most of Toyota’s employees are temporary? It’s not like being a full-time Ford worker saved any of the thousands of people they’ve laid off. I saw a lot of people let go before they got around to me. Seen a lot more since. Not that I can’t see why Ford did it, but that doesn’t help the folks who got axed.

  20. Here’s a complete list of everything that’s wrong with my ‘89 Honda Civic:

    1. The air conditioning doesn’t work.

    It still gets 32mpg city, 38mpg highway.  What a piece of crap.

  21. I’m always amazed at the nationalistic chest-thumping that some people will display in order to sell cars, or whatever. It’s sad that some choose to devalue patriotism to merely what brand of car you buy. That hollow argument has been around since the 1970s, and it is still just a slogan.

    Keep in mind that the Toyotas or Hondas you see on the streets were likely built in the U.S. They (and the ones that are built overseas) are taxed in the U.S., serviced in the U.S., insured in the U.S., accessorized in the U.S., and so forth. To fixate on the autoworkers alone is myopic.

  22. I love these Union Haters who don’t know what it’s like to see non-English speaking, illegal immigrants doing their jobs for a fraction of the wages. I’m a Union Ironworker in New York City, and I certainly don’t agree with all of the rhetoric that comes out of the mouths of my so-called union brothers. Many of them are just as ignorant as you when it comes to rationalizing their predjudices. But the truth is, they are a necessary evil. We need the unions to protect our wages and our safety, otherwise there would be 2 classes in this country; the super wealthy upper class, and the lower class medicaide dependant poor people.
    Don’t think for one second that it would be any other way. Your government doesn’t give a shit. If they did, they would not allow our jobs to be outsourced to Mexico, Phillippines and China. I see private contractors picking up illegal immigrants everyday on the corners of Woodside and Jackson Heights, Queens, NY, in order to pay them $80 to $100 per day – cash. Don’t get me wrong, those guys work their asses off because they want to get hired again the next day. But they have no benefits, and God forbid they get hurt – You and me the tax payers, picks up the charges for emergency room service because their boss dumped them off at the hospital, or worse, out on the street.
    It’s ironic that the first post here is almost exactly 2 years old, which I didn’t notice until after I decided to jump in on this post. You don’t like union rhetoric? Ignore the dumb bumper stickers or news reports or whatever. Don’t waist your precious energy getting angry about something over which you have no power.

    But then that’s just my jerkoff opinion

  23. Never said I got angry, I said they were annoying. And while I agree that unions are sometimes a necessary evil, too often they’re as much a part of the problem as they are a solution to it. I’ve been in four jobs that require union membership and not once did they do a damn thing for me other than collect dues every paycheck. The one time they could’ve done something they opted not to. Color me less than impressed.

  24. I like how someone said the profits go back! That’s a load of BS. For having plants and locations in the U.S many of these companies pay property and income taxes in the United States! Also, many are publicly owned and investors receive a lot of the profits. Just like our “American companies” you know how many foreign investors hold stock (ownership) in the Big 3?? I know a lot of people here in America who own stock in foreign companies that are traded on our markets in New York and etc. One last thing, many of these foreign companies attribute to our Gross Domestic Product, because it is the number of goods and service PRODUCED in an economy. Assembly is included in that because more foreign cars are produced in our economy and added into our GDP every year than domestic vehicles. For all you union workers, I know you hate facts!!

    MS Finance
    Phd. Economics

  25. Technically speaking, I love the bumper sticker and I’m from Canada. If you want to vote anti-global, buy from the Big 3 and do some research to make sure that the car is manufactured here. My 2010 Hemi Charger is built in Brampton, Ontario. The only issue is that the motor is built in Mexico. That sucks, but I try. Never any foreign brands. If you want the recession to go away, buy Big 3.

  26. I can tell from your simplistic solution to the recession that you’re clueless, Lou. I’m willing to be that more than your motor was made in another country. I work for an automotive supplier that used to be an American company, but is now owned by a Chinese parent company. We supply parts for a number of automotive companies including two of the big three. Our parts are designed  in the U.S., China and Japan and manufactured in Mexico, India, and Poland. Some of the work is domestic, sure, but all of the actual manufacturing of the parts is done on foreign soil.

    But given your high standards for locally produced things I can only assume you make certain none of your clothes are made in China and surely you don’t own a television set as they hasn’t been a domestically produced set for decades. In fact, I’m curious how you even read this as pretty much all computer and smart phone parts are produced in China or Taiwan. Same goes for just about anything electronic you might own including the computer parts that run your car.

    There’s certainly nothing wrong with sticking with the Big Three if their cars make you happy, but the suggestion that it’s the solution to the recession just shows how much of an idiot you are.

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