BMW opened a brand new distribution facility near the old one where Teamsters Local 495 fought to save 70 members’ jobs a couple of years ago — and won.
For a while it looked as if BMW was going to fire its loyal and hardworking workers from its Ontario, Calif., warehouse, then reopen a new facility with a cheaper less-experienced work force. The Teamsters helped the company realize what a bad idea that was.
Unite was also proud to have helped when reps from the BMW plant at Cowley campaigned through the EWC and with EU management to stop the local US management closing the site and re-opening it with employees being required to apply for jobs as agency workers.
Teamsters pointed out that BMW, a German company, had accepted a low-interest loan of $3.6 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States.
Bob Lennox, secretary-treasurer of the local, said: “They think they can take an American taxpayer bailout and then treat their American workers in a way they would never treat their German employees.
Teamsters also took to the streets. Hundreds of Teamsters members and their families distributed leaflets protesting the layoffs in 11 states. California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New York and Virginia.
BMW saw the error of its ways. Last week, Brother Lennox joined BMW officials in a friendly ribbon-cutting at the new facility in Redmonds, California.
Now Teamsters are hard at work in their new surroundings. And that’s a Teamster banner hanging inside the new facility .
The Press-Enterprise reported on the ribbon cutting: “Top officials with BMW of North America were on hand Friday for the opening of a new regional parts distribution center north of I-10. The ceremony capped a two-year project of moving BMW’s warehouse operation east from Ontario.
The move was short but the new location, combined with its modern design and equipment, will help speed up service to dealerships, the company said.
“We really went from overnight delivery to same-day, and in some cases twice a day. It’s geographically a very good location,” said Craig Westbrook, vice president of aftersales, in an interview after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.