Jump to content

UAW chief reassures workers at GM, Delphi


Ghost Dog

Recommended Posts

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20061122/1042286.asp

DETROIT - United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger reassured General Motors Corp. and Delphi Corp. retirees and workers Tuesday about the safety of their pensions and said the union would try to preserve the jobs bank that guarantees pay for laid-off workers.

During a live lunch-hour Internet chat with union members and reporters on the UAW Web site, Gettelfinger was asked if the union is committed to preserving the jobs bank.

"Why would you think anything else?" he replied.

The number of workers in jobs banks is likely to fall next year, however, as more workers leave GM and Ford Motor Co. through buyout and early retirement offers.

Delphi - He said the battle with the bankrupt auto-parts maker over proposed wage cuts "is far from over."

Pensions - He said GM's pension plan is well-funded.

"You have no cause for concern," he told a recent retiree from Flint.

Gettelfinger also told a worker from Saginaw that benefit guarantees in the UAW contract with Delphi would prevent the company from defaulting on its pension plan, although he did not say what would happen when the contract expires.

Negotiations - The UAW master contract with Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler expires on Sept. 14, 2007, and Gettelfinger said contract talks would begin with GM in July.

"Our union will approach the '07 negotiations and fight for our membership as we have in the past. There is no use in publicly discussing the strategies we will employ," he said.

The union will hold a special convention in March to discuss strategy for contract bargaining with the automakers, he said.

Organizing - A member also asked if the union is still trying to organize workers at foreign auto plants in the U.S., and Gettelfinger said such drives are ongoing.

Although workers have not been organized, Gettelfinger said he was pleased with the support the UAW has received at the plants.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect Gettelfinger is simply a politician only interested in furthering his own job. As I've said before, 2007 will be a pivotal year.

It's telling the concept of "organizing" foreign auto plants in the U.S. was little more than a footnote in the article. Let's hope this issue is given more attention behind the scenes than the word count would imply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What he said. I think (hope?) that a lot of the news coming out of GM lately (cancelling the minivans, etc.) is just smoke and mirrors to beat the union with; otherwise, both Ford and GM will be bankrupt in a couple of years.

The gold plated pension/benefits packages of the '70s and '80s are over. When the unions had absolute power over the Big Three, and when the Big Three owned the market they could afford the contracts.

THOSE DAYS ARE OVER. If the UAW wants to organize the Toyota/Honda plants and level the playing field, fine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

how will organizing foreign owned plants help GM? im not saying it shouldnt be done, im all for any workers having some input on their safety and not having to worry about losing their job because they got hurt, but what kind of burden will it place on the employers?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It makes the foreign automakers provide the same benefits as GM, Ford and Chrysler are required to provide. This levels the playing field a bit. It doesn't address the legacy disadvantage the domestics have but it addresses present day. Right now the foreign manufacturers have a huge cost advantage and it's eating the domestics alive. This is the main reason so few are unionized. It's going to be an ugly 2007.

how will organizing foreign owned plants help GM? im not saying it shouldnt be done, im all for any workers having some input on their safety and not having to worry about losing their job because they got hurt, but what kind of burden will it place on the employers?

223672[/snapback]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you think these gold plated pensions, health benefits, etc. were granted because Roger Smith and others were idiots? No, they were given because GM was struck (or the union threatened to strike), and back in the days when GM and Ford were locked in a market share dance, one strike cost billions.

Or does everybody down there forget how the strike in '98 wiped out dealer lots in a couple weeks?

I would love to see the CAW/UAW strike Toyota and Honda, and demand benefit/wage packages commensurate with their profit levels. That is what the unions did to GM/Ford 20-30 years ago that has contributed to the mess they are in today.

Did Toyota spend $23 million on Viagra last year? I doubt it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It makes the foreign automakers provide the same benefits as GM, Ford and Chrysler are required to provide. This levels the playing field a bit. It doesn't address the legacy disadvantage the domestics have but it addresses present day. Right now the foreign manufacturers have a huge cost advantage and it's eating the domestics alive. This is the main reason so few are unionized. It's going to be an ugly 2007.

223775[/snapback]

right, but toyota and the rest wont have to pay those costs for close to 3 additional people for every worker. i dont know the exact numbers, but doesnt GM cover cose to a million people while employing less than 100K? and doesnt toyota employ about 1/4 of GM? i just dont see it making much of a dent in toyotas profits or doing anything to level the playing field.

the last and only figures i saw for average wages was 32 for GM/UAW and 27 for toyota. thats not a huge disparity and since i/we dont know how those figures were tallied, it may be closer. higher paid skilled trades workers are surely in the GM figure, but toyota may contract such work out at a lower wage or it may not even be a factor since they arent employed directly by toyota.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We all agree the legacy pension costs are yet another hurdle. As I've said before, I don't see much short of bankrupcy as a solution for this problem. I heard a story on NPR this morning about Delta Airlines handing over a good chunk of their pension obligations to the federal (U.S.) government which will be part of Delta's plan to emerge from bankrupcy. Of course GM is not an airline and the challenges of a bankrupt company trying to sell cars are daunting.

Nevertheless the union issue is a big one. If you assume the wage issues of 32 vs. 27 as you describe below, the number does not include benefits. This is where the real disparity likely appears. To me the bigger issue is the fact the UAW has a big stick called a strike which they will use against GM and Ford whenever they don't get what they want and the Toyotas and Hondas, et al don't have the same worry hanging over their head at every business turn.

The playing field needs to be leveled and it will happen in only a handful of potential ways: Unionizing the foreign manufacturers; busting the UAW; or bankrupcy. None of these are attractive so pick your poison.

right, but toyota and the rest wont have to pay those costs for close to 3 additional people for every worker. i dont know the exact numbers, but doesnt GM cover cose to a million people while employing less than 100K? and doesnt toyota employ about 1/4 of GM? i just dont see it making much of a dent in toyotas profits or doing anything to level the playing field.

the last and only figures i saw for average wages was 32 for GM/UAW and 27 for toyota. thats not a huge disparity and since i/we dont know how those figures were tallied, it may be closer. higher paid skilled trades workers are surely in the GM figure, but toyota may contract such work out at a lower wage or it may not even be a factor since they arent employed directly by toyota.

224101[/snapback]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The playing field needs to be leveled and it will happen in only a handful of potential ways: Unionizing the foreign manufacturers; busting the UAW; or bankrupcy. None of these are attractive so pick your poison.

224202[/snapback]

Agreed.

Declaring bankrupcy would be a very, very bad move for GM though. As for busting the UAW...I don't know. I believe the union is a necessary evil, and not wholly a bad thing, but they really need to back off on their demands, the companies can't pull through for them right now and they need to realize that.

Unionizing the foreign companies might be the easiest (and possibly best) way to level out the playing field.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It might level the playing field but not for quite a few years.

224540[/snapback]

True but you have to start somewhere. There *is* no silver bullet and clearly Toyota has huge momentum. It's depressing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unionizing the foreign companies is something that can be done now and provide results later, but what is the likelihood that it will happen?

Seeing the position that the UAW has GM in (read: BY THE BALLS), Toyota and friends can't be too excited about it.

Busting the UAW may seem impossible, but it's probably the best thing that could happen to GM, and it provides results NOW. I think there is a drive to produce winning cars within the company that didn't exist before. Unfortunately, now they have the drive but not the money.

If the UAW isn't going to go away, then GM better try its hardest to convince them to loosen its grip. It surprises me that these union workers, seeing a huge market share slide followed by thousands of job cuts, can think of nothing but sucking more life out of the company. I don't think they realize that for the first time in awhile, GM wants to (partly because it HAS to) build great cars, nor do they realize that this requires money that doesn't exist like it used to.

One thing they better start to realize is that if they don't give GM some money now, a time will come in the near future when GM isn't going to have any money to give them.

Edited by bcs296
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unionizing the foreign companies is something that can be done now and provide results later, but what is the likelihood that it will happen?

Seeing the position that the UAW has GM in (read: BY THE BALLS), Toyota and friends can't be too excited about it.

Busting the UAW may seem impossible, but it's probably the best thing that could happen to GM, and it provides results NOW. I think there is a drive to produce winning cars within the company that didn't exist before. Unfortunately, now they have the drive but not the money.

If the UAW isn't going to go away, then GM better try its hardest to convince them to loosen its grip. It surprises me that these union workers, seeing a huge market share slide followed by thousands of job cuts, can think of nothing but sucking more life out of the company. I don't think they realize that for the first time in awhile, GM wants to (partly because it HAS to) build great cars, nor do they realize that this requires money that doesn't exist like it used to.

One thing they better start to realize is that if they don't give GM some money now, a time will come in the near future when GM isn't going to have any money to give them.

226499[/snapback]

The union really is a necessary evil sometimes. And you're right, they need to back off and they need to back off now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×
×
  • Create New...