Gerken draws fire for lease of foreign-nameplate car

Article published December 30, 2009
Gerken draws fire for lease of foreign-nameplate car
After years of membership and political support from the United Auto Workers, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken is in the dog house with his union pals after giving a foreign-nameplate car to his wife for Christmas.
The Gerkens' new Acura TL, a midsized luxury car manufactured at the Japanese-owned and nonunionized Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio, shares space in the family garage with Mr. Gerken's own Jeep Grand Cherokee.

No votes yet

Hey, it's not like he stood in the street with a picket sign protesting Wal Mart bringing new jobs to Toledoans.

Most that worked at the Jeep plant spent their days working on the fast paced assembly line and if they make it health wise are able to retire after 30 years of hard labor. Pete Gerken spent most of his Jeep working life as a union official/appointee enjoying a physically less demanding but stimulating job. He can count his paid college education as a benefit negotiated by the UAW. He knows this for he was the director of National Training Center that was located on Trust Dr. So if any one UAW member should know the importance of buying/leasing from a union represented company he should.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.
Temperance, MI
This is how the blade was notified about this l****r.
Copied from a jeep forum.
so a couple months ago one of my buddies a few doors down recieved a letter from his neighbor who had moved in five weeks prior. My buddies family has lived in the neighborhood for thirty plus years and they have always stored their floating docks by tying them to the island behind their house, because it is sheltered when the ice breaks up. So the new neighbor (whois a politician, didn't like looking at them and sent up a letter saying that they were encroaching on city property, or something to that nature,(island is owned by the city). Now i wouldn't like looking at them but they have been doing this for 30 years and now this dude just moves in and thinks he has the right to complain.

So here comes payback. My buddy was walking his dogs and what does he see in gerken's (the neighbor) garage a brand new 45k acura. The kicker is that this guy is a politician who has made his career off of the unions, namely the Chrysler plant workers. When I say Chrysler what i really mean is jeep. For those of you who don't wranglers are made here in Toledo. I think that an acura is just as much an American car as anything but still it looks bad. So Yesterday my buddy calls up the local newspaper and lets them now about this and look what appeared on the front page of second news. I call that payback...oh yeah and they never moved the docks anyways.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

If I could afford an Acura I would buy it too. Far better quality than the junk put out here in Toledo. Look at consumer reports.

Maybe the next time he needs the voter and their support he can get his wifes voter base. Cause Lord knows he just blew off all of his supporters. I get tired of reading about all these public / elected "officials" that buy/ lease foreign cars. And if you notice past practice of those at the public trough they get high end foreign cars. HUMMERS, VOLVOS, ACURAS etc. It wouldn't be so obnoxius if they cruised around in a CADILLAC or CHRYSLER 300, or high end FORD or BUICK I believe in term limits for all elected officials That way they don't get to comfortable at the tax trough..

are all high end. Most mid size models are between $30-40k, which is, in my opinion, not high end.

About the only car in this post that I would consider high end is the Cadillac. All the others, not so much...

I would rather have the Acura. The quality is much better as is the resale value.

He's sure got the money for it, he's been double dipping for years.
When he was "directing" the NTC, he was also getting paid as a city councilman. Now he's getting his pension, (wonder how much bigger than mine it is?) and being paid as a county commissioner.

When I was still working, I got a little, "peek" at a list of employees and which department they were paid out of. I was amazed at the number of former committeemen who hadn't been around the plant in years that were still being paid.
Plus, they were still being paid at the rate they made when they were committeemen.

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

I don't see how it is double dipping. By definition, double dipping is deriving two incomes from the same source. When he was directing the NTC and on city council, he was being paid by two separate entities. Same as now, he is receiving his pension and being paid by the County. Two separate sources.

While I realize leasing an Acura will not sit well with his union support, he can purchase/lease any vehicle he wants. And I do agree with him, a great deal of Hondas are built in Ohio, employing Ohio workers, paying U.S. and State income taxes.

I can't believe I am standing up for Pete Gerken. What is the world coming to...

I don't begrudge him getting his pension and working, although he had a hell of a lot easier time getting his time in.

It did bother me that he could have the cushy NTC job, while he was working as a city councilman. IMHO he was acting as a mouthpiece for the union. Besides that, at that time city councilman was considered a full time job. That meant, his NTC job would have to have been on second shift. AFAIK the NTC never had a second shift. From what I was told, he was rarely there.

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

I'm assuming by your moniker that you used to help assemble Jeeps, installing seats or bolting bumpers, or whatever you did. I'm assuming that you took your union-contracted smoke time out, no matter how efficiently the line needed to run. I'm assuming that you, JeepMaker, didn't give a care about the quality of product that came out of the factory door. JeepMakers such as yourself were interested only in getting the weekly paycheck and going for the (now publicly paid) pension. Since you are union, share with us how much time on the shift you spent goofing off or sleeping on the job, or ignoring the steward. Tell us how you and co-workers didn't give a nnn about your quality of work. Tell us about the poorly built Jeeps that you sorry as..s drove out of the factory, then said f.... it and drove to the corner bar for a few before going home. Tell us, JeepMaker, why Jeeps are always at the bottom in measurement of quality by automotive magazines.

Patience is a great virtue.

While you and I were slaving in the plant the elite unionist was living a life of OReilly. Some thought he gave for that purchase! What was he thinking? Least he wasn't caught with his pants down like some other UAW officials we know.

Honda is a nonunion plant the has been UAW represented by default. Without the living wage jobs that the UAW has negotiated the non union plants would NOT have paid their employees comparable wages out of fear of being organized. But we have seen the erosion of middle class wages in this sector by the influx of the imports whether assembled here or not. The public seems confused by the phrase "Buy American" but it really means support living wage jobs for Americans which the Big Three had set the standard. Now that our standard of living has for the most part been exported the local foreign car drivers can't figure out what happened to the Toledo economy. Go firgure?

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Poor baby. Let me give you a big kiss, put the hurt away. You worked in a factory, making only three times the wages of other workers who had, at least, the same mental capacity of you. But you, poor baby, had to drive bolts onto wheels all day. It was rough work, wasn't it? The drill was so heavy. "My elbow hurts." W.Comp is so cool, isn't it? Listen, Wolfwoman, if you were lucky enough to get a job in a plant when the going was good, and Americans paid exceedingly high prices for stuff made here, stop bitching about the turn of events. It really is a global economy, woman. "Slaving in the plant." I'm so sorry you were a slave. When will master set you free? Watcha gonna do widat in-ground pool, Wolfman?

Patience is a great virtue.

Gerken did what every American has the right to do. He bought a car he wanted, a car he or his wife chose to buy. I'm sure the men and women at the Marysville plant are happy he chose an Acura. It means they keep thier jobs and continue to put tax dollars into a state government that wastes more than it needs to on a yearly basis. The supported Marysville businesses and schools with thier taxes, and paid sales tax on goods and services in Marysville. At least the money earned was spent in Ohio, which is more than you can say for Konop's Missouri built car.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

It's amazing how some people think they have a right to control the decisions someone makes in their personal life.

That being said if my wife wanted a 1992 Geo and THAT'S WHAT SHE WANTED and it would be her car I'd get it for her. Any husband who didn't for the reasons suggested I'd question their abilities as a husband as what husband wouldn't first want to make their wife happy above their viewpoints on brand of cars. Maybe it just seems crazy to me because I love my wife more than I love any brand of car because at the end of the day my wife will still be there for me.


Polly wants a Honda!
Gerken’s wife Polly a retired Toledo Public Schools psychologist should realize that as a union retiree her pension is the result of unionism. The argument of foreign or domestic is mute. The real argument is union VS nonunion. If not for the union contracts of TPS she would not be enjoying the retirement package she has. Now Polly leases a non union Honda that supports its workers with a 401K retirement and a lower wage. The UAW workers of Northwest Ohio support the TPS with living wage jobs that pay the taxes that afford Polly her wage & benefit scale. To undercut fellow union brothers and sisters that support her union is a slap in the face!

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

I am very upset that Pete Gerken would lease a mid-size Acura when there are many models of exquisitely built Lexus and BMW cars, of many capacities in engine power, torque, transmission ability, and, most importantly, chassis control. I think Pete made a big mistake here. It should be about his wife's control on turn-in, the twisties. A few more thousand bucks would have delivered the loving couple a better car. And he didn't have to go to Mercedes-Benz level to enjoy that. Lexus certainly exceeded Acura on that front from the time they took off at the green light at the drag strip. I'm still wondering where Infiniti is. Other than that, the Acura is not a bad selection by Pete. It's not that bad a car, comparatively speaking. Pete's been in the UAW all of his life, so he knows what it takes for a car to be tested and determined to be well-built, finely finished, durable and, most importantly, have an excellent engine, drivetrain and suspension system. This was a lovely Christmas gift from Pete to Polly. What? You thought he'd buy her a Liberty or a Cherokee? What an insult that would be. I hope Polly's TL is silver and has extra-custom alloys. I hope she enjoys her Ohio-built machine. I hope she forgives her UAW husband for not buying a Lexus or BMW. She should, for UAW guys most often don't appreciate what quality is. Pete came close with choosing Acura.

Patience is a great virtue.

Well donny boy, you can ass ume all you want. I doubt someone of your obvious limited mental capacity can grasp reality but I'll try and keep it simple for you.

Like any segment of society, we had a small percentage of jerks that didn't care about the quality of their work. Luckily, there was usually a quality minded individual there to repair their work. The majority of the folks I worked with in my 32 years did their jobs to the best of their ability.
Some of the most frustrating problems were related to management cutting corners. The "bean counters" always trying t save a few pennies per car.

BTW, I worked jobs at the old plant I'd bet the farm you couldn't handle.

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

Donny boy I made a mistake. I opened up to the world of Jeep. A sneak look at the world of which I made a respectable living. Worked hard did my time and enjoy a retirement that most workers use to be able to enjoy before the Reagan revolution. But alas just as JeepMaker points out so eloquently the world is filled with a small percentage of jerks that YOU are so well acquainted with. Well I handicap myself by not knowing my accusers line of work but if I could guess I would think Donny Boy is a foreign car salesman.

Donnyboy has been reading too many dime novels about the UAW worker. His unhealthy hatred blames all the ills at the feet of the powerless line worker. If only they had the power he thinks they have. Well let me inform the hater Don that the Toledo Jeep plant has been awarded the most productive north American plant (Harbour Report) I would guess Don if you worked there in the first week you would lose about 10 lbs from the pace of the work (if you lasted that long). Also Don remember we were owned by Diamler who gutted the engineering department at Chrysler. As workers we have no control over most quality decisions in general when speaking to vendor issues and the engineering of the vehicle per say. Before I retired the Germans had gutted the quality department to meet efficiency numbers, I think JeepMaker can agree. Since leaving the new management has remade the inspection department as it seen the weakness here. Donny Boy if you think that all Jeep workers fit your stereo type then why would they, the owners, think we are the best workforce to invest in. As you see Donny the Jeep plant has come out on top within the bankruptcy with new product and new investment. So now the tax paying Jeep worker will rescue the WSPD business community that seems to hate the workers at Jeep that support (with their wages) their small businesses. Its people like you that give the UAW worker a undeserving bad reputation just because we make a respectable living.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Also Don remember we were owned by Diamler who gutted the engineering department at Chrysler

Ah, yes, thank you for reminding me that Daimler-Benz and BMW and Audi don't give a sh*t about engineering. How in the world they continue to build the world's most respected automobiles escapes me. I am sure that "Diamler" had every intention of degrading engineering when it bought Chrysler. That's the German way, isn't it? And I'm sure the former owner had every intention of further diminishing the quality of assembly at the Toledo plant that was already recognized, world-wide, for poor workmanship.

Patience is a great virtue.

No need to bring the "bean counters" into this!

LOL, sorry Dan, but it's the truth.
Quick example. The first couple of years the Liberty was built, it had a removable hatch in the middle of the rear floor pan.
This was to access the electric fuel pump if needed. Well some "bean counter" decided that they could save a few cents per vehicle if they did away with that.
Now, if you should have a problem with your fuel pump, it means dropping the whole gas tank to get at it.

Another example, Durango's and Dakota's from several years ago. Bean counters wanted to save more pennies so they went to a cheaper vendor for front end parts. End result, an expensive recall to replace ball joints that were falling apart.
Not to mention the loss of consumer confidence the recall creates.

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

Accept it, JeepMaker, Jeeps are crap. The factory was given an award for how fast they pumped the vehicles out the door. Fit, finish and mechanical precision were not in the equation. An entitlement-minded workforce has been "assembling" Jeeps for decades, turning out crap that has been embarrassing in every annual survey of vehicle quality by Consumer Reports. It's a wonder anybody buys these poorly built vehicles. But Jeep employees think the rest of us are somehow obligated to buy their crap. When are Jeep workers going to stop shopping at Wal-Mart? I know several who say they'll continue shopping there because it's the best deal. That's the mindset most of us have when it comes to buying a vehicle. No, I'm not a salesman for a foreign car dealership, but I have bought Japanese for many years. Two of them, Civics for my wife and me, were built in -- guess where -- Marysville, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada. I drive a Mazda now and it has been as dependable as the sun coming up in the morning. And I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart, because of the lack of worker representation, even though thousands of union members in the Toledo area stream to its stores every day. Local union workers are hypocrites. Jeep workers can turn out their crap, go shopping at Wal-Mart, and I'll happily drive about Toledo in a well-built vehicle, floated here on a ship departing from Japan. Happy New Year.

Patience is a great virtue.

DonnyBoy your beloved Daimler ran the Toledo Jeep Plant. I feel flattered that you think the workforce has that much control over the plant. But facts are facts and the krauts ran the company into the ground. So goes your Merger of Equals! The quality problems were the results of the hard nosed dealings with vendors exacting every penny possible out of the product, be damned of the quality issues. After all quality was only for the upscale Mercedes Benz end of the business not to be mixed/shared with Chrysler. This was widely reported Donny I can't believe you missed this in the media reports. But as JeepMaker said you do not have the right to make up your own facts. For instants the Liberty ball joint fiasco where the vendor was so beaten up on costs that they produced an inferior product. At the time I remember the talk within the plant of workers installing the defective ball joints because they had no others to install. The WORKERS argued with management about this issue to no avail later finding a massive recall costing the Krauts more than any pennies they saved. You see DonnyBoy between dumb engineering and corner cutting vendors this could account for 90% of the quality issues. This was but one example of many that leadership dropped the ball on. JeepMaker can confirm what I say and add to it I'm sure. Most in leadership were concerned with quarterly profits as are most American managers. Many a time at the end of a quarter when the Krauts had thousands of cars parked all over Northwest Ohio and SouthEast Michigan paying 5 dollars a day storage on each one they would have us work overtime on Saturday so the management could meet their quota to get the $$bonus$$. Be damned what was best for the company! So DonnyBoy don't blame the workers with your half-baked notions based on your prodigious imagination void of fact. I think Fiat realizes the great workforce here in Toledo and is changing the management to produce a competitive product that the former Daimler couldn't.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

alot of the decisions that are made are not the accounts decisions at all. In most public companies, the underriding logic for decisions such as these come from the shareholder. The shareholder is expecting to see some sort of increase in shareprice, as well as dividend payment. These concerns are relayed to the Board of Directors, who relay to the CEO or President, who relays to the CFO, who then relays to the accounting staff, remainder of management, and engineers, who then decide where cuts can be made.

A simple solution to this would be to limit investor lawsuits. The fear of a class action suit from investors due to the company not reaching their forecasted numbers for the quarter (even thought the company may have had absolutely no control over) is a real problem . If these suits can be controlled, then possibly cuts could be avoided.

Well Don don, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you're not however entitled to your own facts.

As for Wal Mart, I wouldn't shop there if they had $10 dollar bills on sale for $5.

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

Tell your friend [neighbor] that Pete Gerken is an ASSHAT. He might come after him with something else, behind this caper.

I thought that the statement by Lloyd MaHaffey [ retired regional director UAW] was interesting, He supported him in his elections as city councilman with the region [2B UAW] backing him also.

I don't care if he drives a buggy straight too ----.LOL

My opinion is as follows: This really isn't about someone's right to purchase whatever they chose. Mr Gerken is an elected official within Toledo City Government and a Toledo Jeep Retiree. Being in City Government makes about everything he does PUBLIC! I mean ask anyone that has been in a Government position!

Mr. Gerken and his family should be purchasing locally to promote the economy in Toledo and Job Growth.(That would be vehicles produced in the Toledo Jeep Plant, in Toledo, Ohio) Why? He is an elected official within Toledo City Government.

With that... Toledo Jeep provided his and his families livelihood, pension and was a huge tool used for his election as Toledo City Commissioner .

Mr. Gerken will NOT be remembered for anything other than having a double standard! Toledo City Government will be in a better place without him.

Gerkin is a liberal...what did you all expect?

“Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.”

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.