Is Gibson a "union buster?"

Discussion in 'Epiphone Les Pauls' started by Dolebludger, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Last night on the HBO TV series "Real Time With Bill Maher" the lead guitarist with "Rage Against the Machine" was one of the guests. He said that Gibson, Fender, and Ibanez had moved their factories out of Korea to China because the Korean workers were forming unions.

    Do any of you know anything about this?
     
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  2. jimmbo

    jimmbo Junior Member

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    would not surprise me. After all, Management and only management are who make a company sucessfull. Workers, especially those who might unionize are just a "Human Resourse", and must be kept in an unorganized state so as to maximize profits enabling dividends for shareholders and ridiculous bonuses for managers and executives.
     
  3. SJM

    SJM Premium V.I.P. Member Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    In all my life I have never worked for a business that was a union shop where upper management WASN'T trying to figure out a way to get rid of the union.
     
  4. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Apparently Cort's operations have had union strife. Whether or not that is what pushed manufacturing to China and Indonesia seems debateable. I imagine lower production costs would have more influence on that decision (although it could be argued that that too is an indirect response to unionization).

    However, Morello is so biased that anything he says ought to be double-checked for veracity.
     
  5. budg

    budg Senior Member

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    Well , if I am not mistaken , Gibson moved to Nashville to get rid of the union in the first place.. Fender on the other hand is an employee owned company as far as I know.
     
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  6. marvar

    marvar Senior Member

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    Tennessee is a 'right to work" state. (and most unions here are a joke anyway, almost powerless, unless you get into the big unions) afaik, Gibson isn't unionized now, why would they move over seas? (but from the horror stories I've heard about the way Gibson treats their employees, maybe they should unionize)
    I didn't think Gibson had any plants in Korea, anyway-
    I could care less about Fender and Ibanez.
     
  7. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    marvar:

    As far as I know, all Gibson BRANDED guitars are made in the USA. But Gibson Epiphone branded guitars are made overseas (mostly MIC now), and that is the matter to which I referred.

    And just because a state has "right to work" does not make it totally immune from unionization. If enough employees sign up for union representation (say, 75%) to essentially shut down production by a strike, the union still has some power, don't you think. All"right to work" means is that an employee can't be required to join a union to get a job at a plant in that state. Federal agencies have always been "right to work". But yet enough Federal employes have chosen to join that the unions do have some clout.
     
  8. Duane24

    Duane24 Senior Member

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    **Post Edited** --Mod
     
  9. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Maybe so, but I don't watch Fox news. That raid was about allegations that Gibson imported some wood species in violation of the laws of India (?) WTF? When did we start enforcing laws of other countries?
     
  10. drpietrzak

    drpietrzak Senior Member

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    It was about wood called veneer that was not veneer. This appears (per feds) to be to circumvent having the such was not properly properly ("finished product") within India. Why and who, of course, is the issue.
     
  11. budg

    budg Senior Member

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    True enough .I lived in Nc for 5 years which was a right to work state.Most of the Unions there have no clout and many companies will terminate employees if there is any suspicions of unionizing.But this thread is about overseas anyway.Its no secret that To move overseas means to take advantage of cheap labor.
     
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  12. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    drp:
    You are right, and I am right. The basic US law involves specified protected wood species that cannot be imported to the US for environmental reasons. And this law also specifies certain wood species that can be imported ONLY if done so in accord with the laws of the country of origin. Gibson was raided for importing ebony from India which allegedly didn't meet India's legal requirement that the wood be processed in India before being exported to the US.

    This is an environmental protection law meant to protect certain species of trees. But the part of it about compliance with the laws of the country of origin is just foul. The ebony tree is cut down and dead, whether it is processed in India or the US. And then there is a jurisdictional issue. What authority does the US have to enforce the laws of India?
     
  13. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    budg:

    FWIW, I am actually anti "right to work" as it has had the effects you mention in many states where it has been adopted. And it always makes unions weaker than they would otherwise be.
     
  14. marvar

    marvar Senior Member

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    I know that just because a state is right to work doesn't mean unionization can't happen, but as said in another post, it really weakens them.
    ie: I worked at a place, since gone under,( the main distribution center for Goodys Family Clothing) that was unionized. It was a joke, in the bylaws, it specifically stated that we could not go out on strike- for ANY reason! And if we did, we would be immediately terminated!The only thing they did was 'bargain' for us, and we always came out on the losing end at that. Besides, what union would represent Gibson employees? I don't know of any luthier unions. I have heard of luthier guilds-

    I'm calling BS on the statement of lead player of Rage against the machine (is it Tom Morello?)

    As for Epiphone, they've been overseas for a long long time, first Korea, or Viet Nam, or wherever, they are already in China, so I don't see the corrilation, also, in my mind, I only see EPI as a division of Gibson, not Gibson proper. Ibanez has always been made in Asia haven't they? Isn't that where they were made in the first place? Fender SQUIRE has always been made in Asia also, haven't they?
     
  15. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    The unionization drive at the Cort factory started in 1997 or 98. Epi opened up its first Chinese factory in 2005, no? It may have been a factor in the decision, but as pointed out elsewhere, Gibson (and all companies) are going to minimize their costs as much as possible within their desired market placement and corporate mission -- and they have every right to do so.

    If Morello is this concerned about their well-being, why doesn't he hire some of them for his guitar company?

    Oh, wait.
     
  16. Phildog

    Phildog Senior Member

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    I totally agree with SJM. There's gonna be attempts by management to break EVERY union out there. Gibson, if it's true, is no different. But if it isn't true, that just means it hasn't happened yet.
     
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  17. Gooner

    Gooner Senior Member

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    China is a communist country, I would be surprised if there were any workers not in a union! They are produced in China because the cost of living is comparatively low, so the pay bill and everything else is a fraction of what they would be elsewhere.
     
  18. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    China is nominally a Communist country, but in reality has a mercantile economy run by those who are, in essence, corporatists. As such, I doubt unions there have any significance other than that of a shop-piece in the window.
     
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  19. budg

    budg Senior Member

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    I agree, I was in a international HVAC company which had pipefitters thru the Union, but since it was a right to work state , even the non union employees had their benefits thru the fitters union.I dont know if it was company policy or required by law , but if you arent a union member , why should you have union benefits?This was in NC.Maybe things have changed.
     
  20. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Naw, that is one of the flaws in "right to work". If a union can get it together despite the hurdles of "right to work", non-dues paying workers get the same benefits as the union workers.

    And the nature of the government in China is a big mystery to me. I remember being told that the value of my US stocks was down because our stock market was down -- because the Chinese stock market had crashed. I thought WTF, how can China have a stock market -- it's a communist country. But China does have a stock market. And a stock market is one of the most capitalistic things a country can have. Go figure.
     

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