David Barkholz
David Barkholz
Information Technology and Labor Reporter

Buy American – but bank German?

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As the son of a Detroit autoworker (electrical trades), I knew what awaited me if I dared to drive up to my dad's house in a vehicle not built by the UAW.

That was fine with me. The Detroit 3 have always built great trucks.

And the one car my family bought, a Mazda6 sedan, was built by UAW workers in 2009, before Mazda and Ford Motor Co. ended a production joint venture at Ford's Flat Rock [Mich.] plant last year.

So am I the only person puzzled about the recent decision by the UAW's Chrysler retiree health care trust to select non-American Deutsche Bank for advice on how best to dispose of its Chrysler holdings. I get that the UAW VEBA -- the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association that wants to cash out of Chrysler stock -- is a corporate entity separate from the union. A UAW spokeswoman passed my question to a VEBA spokeswoman, who declined comment.

And I know Deutsche Bank has deep roots with German automakers, including Volkswagen, that operate assembly plants in the United States that UAW President Bob King would like to organize (read Chattanooga).

But what about all those UAW "Buy American" bumper stickers I still see adorning vehicles in my neighborhood south of Detroit?

Ironically, the union today announced the UAW's 2014 Union-Built Vehicles List, the cars and trucks appropriate for real red-blooded Americans to buy.

Maybe UAW VEBA officials should seek out a comparable list of investment banks.

You can reach David Barkholz at dbarkholz@crain.com. -- Follow David on Twitter and

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