Jump to content
Guest Josh

Thoughts From A UAW Family Member

Recommended Posts

Guest Josh

This year is going to be an incredibly life changing year for everybody related to the auto world. From employees being offered in excess of $100k that have over 30 years of service to a company to retire to the overall down sizing work force of manufacturing jobs.

Looking at things, it's really kinda sad, yet sobering.

What many people fail to realize is that people often tend to not retire because they have given their entire lives to General Motors, Delphi, or any other automotive manufacturer that they know no better. These workers have a family away from a family, and often times many can't leave their brothers or sisters in their UAW local.

When people say that UAW members have it easy, I set back and I cringe. Coming from a family of second generation UAW workers, it's extremly painful to read the responses many have given regarding the current situation. To say that workers are paid too much, that they are "stupid" uneducated, or are downright morons is simply arrogant and ignorant.

Furthermore, many can't afford to retire, even with a full salary. The exorbant amount of healthcare costs that MediCare refuses to pick up makes it nearly impossible to retire and increasingly hard to find work with restrictions in the Big Three plants. It's no longer to keep the "food on the table" but it is now becoming more "keeping the perscriptions rolling in" that can't be done without the benefits Big Three employees have worked so hard for over their 30+ years of service.

So, I ask the next time you read a news story that the UAW is bad, or they don't understand GM's current situation, they do understand what General Motors is going through, but they also do realize the many hurdles that face them with "life after GM" that simply can't go ignored and can only be cured by lucrutive healthcare benefits.

Had my father not had the benefits the UAW and General Motors provided for him, it's safe to say he may have passed away from kidney cancer shortly after my 21st birthday. Emergency surgery had to be administered which was successful on the day before my birthday to remove one kidney. Losing nearly 20lbs. in nearly 3 weeks is a tell tale sign, there was nowhere to go but down.

I ask that you do not consider the UAW as "savages that do not understand" instead, look at things from their point of view when looking as issues such as this. The problems of the workers of 30+ years that have diseases and sicknesses from working on assembly lines that can't afford to retire or take dramatic cuts these major corporations ask of them overnight.

Thanks for reading.

Josh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My heart goes out to your father. As a Canadian, I had thought UAW workers received full medical and dental, just like their Canadian brothers and sisters. Why is there such a gap with American coverage? Wouldn't the point of medical benefits have been to provide for people like your father even in retirement?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good read Josh. As a UAW member, it is hard to read the things that are said. But, I can see why people have a negative view of us. It is the way we are portrayed, "dumb", "demanding", "over paid", ... etc. Hey, there are some real idiots in here (UAW), but there are idiots in every work place. But the majority of UAW people are good, honest, and hard working.

Sometimes I let it get to me and I give some of my C&G's brothers an ear full. I've apologized for some of the things I've said, but not for all. I know everyone has their opinion ... I just want them to know more facts, so I'll toss something in a conversation to correct or show another view of whatever is being talked about.

Some of the things written about the UAW is true, some is not.

As for this year and the next, I know things are going to change. I just wonder how much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"... many can't afford to retire, even with a full salary. The exorbant amount of healthcare costs that MediCare refuses to pick up makes it nearly impossible to retire... It's no longer to keep the "food on the table" but it is now becoming more "keeping the perscriptions rolling in" that can't be done without the benefits ..."

This is one of the many issues contributing to GM's problems. Yes, health care costs have skyrocketed, but when it is dumped on GM, it has an effect on the bottom line. When the company no longer makes enough money to actually stay in business, and goes out of business, ALL BENEFITS STOP. So which is better: fewer benefits for the forseable future [which can be negotiated upward if/when GM's profits are better, just as has happened in the past] or no benefits at all when the company goes belly up? :scratchchin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for this year and the next, I know things are going to change. I just wonder how much.

Unfortunately I think the changes will be more than anyone one wants and in the end will be bad news for everyone in the automotive sector, except stock holders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ultimately, if Ford and GM are to continue producing vehicles in the United States, they are going to have to be able to pay wages and provide benefits comparable to what the transplants offer. I think I read (and I could very well be wrong) that Hyundai pays its workers in Alabama about $40,000 per year, with health insurance, a 401(k), but no pension.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am pro union and a proud member of a union. I just think it is a matter of time before the cycle of the American people shifts back to union involvement. As history will tell.... when unions go away the rich get richer and the poor get poorer until the inbalance causes major problems. Unions are what keep people employed and satisfied with their standard of living.

Most people don't realize that even if they are not part of a union, that it's because of unions as to why they make what they make.

Health care is going to increasingly become a huge problem as the baby boomers age and require more medical attention and hopefully somebody can do something about it and make it better for all.

I just think its funny how America now looks down upon GM and Ford and any other company that has heavy union involvement as being bad business people. With the help of the unions, these companies have done the right thing as much as they could to help create a true middle and upper-middle class in this country.

Who is going to buy all this stuff when everybody is working at Wal-Mart for min wage and no health care? For a country thats tied to productivity and consumerism... we sure are not giving our population the tools (money) to keep the cycle going.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Health care is going to increasingly become a huge problem as the baby boomers age and require more medical attention and hopefully somebody can do something about it and make it better for all.

Yes... The Boomers will elect a President who will bring Socialized Heathcare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is the UAW part of the problem? All they want is what is best for their membership. Maybe the problem is that they haven't been able to organize the other plants that are being built because right now our country is in dire straits when it comes to employment for the people that do not hold a College Degree or higher.

I care about people first and foremost. If you dont have people then who cares how cool the new Tahoe or GTO is. Who is going to buy that stuff if nobody has a job or enough money to spend on things besides food and medicine?

Bottom line is that there are two things right now that are keeping this economy from dumpster city...... low mortgage rates (which are going away and are causing housing prices to go so high that people can't afford them anymore) and the iraq war that is providing the military industrial complex with GDP boosts.

The county that I live in has 15% unemployment and if toyota were to set up shop here (doubtful as this is california and they wouldnt want to put up with the environment and workers comp issues) people would be LINED UP for a mile to work for 9.00 bucks an hour and be happy.

Supply and demand is something that works in labor as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ultimately, if Ford and GM are to continue producing vehicles in the United States, they are going to have to be able to pay wages and provide benefits comparable to what the transplants offer.  I think I read (and I could very well be wrong) that Hyundai pays its workers in Alabama about $40,000 per year, with health insurance, a 401(k), but no pension.

that's really it in a nutshell. somehow, outside competitive factor will either kill it or bring it into line, union or not. adapt or die.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is the UAW part of the problem? All they want is what is best for their membership. Maybe the problem is that they haven't been able to organize the other plants that are being built because right now our country is in dire straits when it comes to employment for the people that do not hold a College Degree or higher.

I care about people first and foremost. If you dont have people then who cares how cool the new Tahoe or GTO is. Who is going to buy that stuff if nobody has a job or enough money to spend on things besides food and medicine?

Bottom line is that there are two things right now that are keeping this economy from dumpster city...... low mortgage rates (which are going away and are causing housing prices to go so high that people can't afford them anymore) and the iraq war that is providing the military industrial complex with GDP boosts.

The county that I live in has 15% unemployment and if toyota were to set up shop here (doubtful as this is california and they wouldnt want to put up with the environment and workers comp issues) people would be LINED UP for a mile to work for 9.00 bucks an hour and be happy.

Supply and demand is something that works in labor as well.

if toyota and hyundai etc. is forced to get unionized, they will pull out of the US and you will essentially see even more made in Asia and India product take over the slack. Its because the US auto industry is competing globally. It would actually erode the US UAW union position even more.

I think an autoworker does deserve a fair compensation. Problem is, the globalization of the industry is essentially destroying that notion. Its a problem that ultimately the auto industry cannot solve.

It'd be best if left to the free market to decide, but unfortunately customers are flocking more and more to foreign marques. Ironically, a lot of folks shun GM and Ford because they do not want to reward companies that operate with what is perceived to be gratuitous pay structures. This indicates a public sentiment that is less about sympathy and more about apathy or in some cases loathing.

As with everything, it will likely have to hit a dramatic rock bottom first before any sort of reform in either the public's thinking or the economic structure of how we do business. It would be fair to say that workers, ex- workers, customers, shareholders and the company/employees will all see hard times.

It's gonna get ugly and there's no guarantee fo anything getting better.

Edited by regfootball

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes... The Boomers will elect a President who will bring Socialized Heathcare.

You're from Canada. There's really no big demand among Americans for national health care. If there were, Howard Dean or Dennis Kucinich would be President now. Although I am ultra conservative on most other issues, I think a strong argument can be made for national health care because I don't think that free enterprise actually exists or can exist in health care. I think Thomas Friedman or Paul Krugman of the NY Times have written on this issue. I personally think that doctors are way overpaid, even considering their education and work hours. However, the doctors have a powerful lobbying group, and Americans do seem to love their local doctor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes... The Boomers will elect a President who will bring Socialized Heathcare.

Yeah. There a lot of Changes coming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This statement alone confirms how out of line union wages are. I'm not convinced the statement is accurate but clearly there is a downward drag to wages being brought to the table by the transplants.

... clipped ...

The county that I live in has 15% unemployment and if toyota were to set up shop here (doubtful as this is california and they wouldnt want to put up with the environment and workers comp issues) people would be LINED UP for a mile to work for 9.00 bucks an hour and be happy.

Supply and demand is something that works in labor as well.

Edited by ellives

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody is questioning what the UAW wants. The problem is they want it at the expense of GM when GM doesn't have the resources any more. Do you believe your own words when you blame the lack of unionization of Toyota and Honda on the economy? The problem is they can't make a reasonable case for themselves. You even say it - lack of college degree or higher. The bar is being raised everywhere and Americans need to raise their game if they want to stay in it.

I agree with your assessment that low mortgage rates and the military are keeping things going. Both amount to a simple fact: The US is borrowing their continued prosperity. Eventually we'll be tapped out and then the other shoe will drop. The governmental borrowing we can blame on George W. Bush. His era will be over in due time as well and history will prove his administration as one of the worst in US history.

I don't get this statement at all "Supply and demand is something that works in labor as well." To me the union proposition argues away from the concept of supply and demand. Care to explain?

How is the UAW part of the problem? All they want is what is best for their membership. Maybe the problem is that they haven't been able to organize the other plants that are being built because right now our country is in dire straits when it comes to employment for the people that do not hold a College Degree or higher.

I care about people first and foremost. If you dont have people then who cares how cool the new Tahoe or GTO is. Who is going to buy that stuff if nobody has a job or enough money to spend on things besides food and medicine?

Bottom line is that there are two things right now that are keeping this economy from dumpster city...... low mortgage rates (which are going away and are causing housing prices to go so high that people can't afford them anymore) and the iraq war that is providing the military industrial complex with GDP boosts.

The county that I live in has 15% unemployment and if toyota were to set up shop here (doubtful as this is california and they wouldnt want to put up with the environment and workers comp issues) people would be LINED UP for a mile to work for 9.00 bucks an hour and be happy.

Supply and demand is something that works in labor as well.

Edited by ellives

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you have a huge supply of workers unemployed then the demand for that worker will be low wages like wal mart and other jobs that have no future or ability to support even themselves.

You need money to buy things. I don't know about you but its pretty hard to buy much on 9.00 an hour. Thats how much I made while I was working my way thru college. No way could I buy a new car or a home or even a new television set for that matter after I got done paying my bills.

Unions keep wages up and heathcare around. The reality is that you can't expect everybody to graduate from college. You need work for these people to do or they turn to crime or welfare. Give them work, give them a real wage, then they can buy things. In order to make money, you have to spend money.

Product is important. Costco is a prime example. They have the best product, the best prices, and they take care of their workers. Thats why you will NEVER see me step foot in a Sam's Club.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you have a huge supply of workers unemployed then the demand for that worker will be low wages like wal mart and other jobs that have no future or ability to support even

themselves.

There is a flaw in this logic. The law of supply and demand will actually force wages to a natural equilibrium point. If the wage gets so low people can't support themselves, they'll get out of the business, thereby reducing the supply and the wages will go up. The argument always ends up being about what the equilibrium point is.

You need money to buy things. I don't know about you but its pretty hard to buy much on 9.00 an hour. Thats how much I made while I was working my way thru college. No way could I buy a new car or a home or even a new television set for that matter after I got done paying my bills.

Nope - you won't buy much on 9 bucks and hour but obviously there are plenty of people around making more since the economy didn't collapse.

Unions keep wages up and heathcare around. The reality is that you can't expect everybody to graduate from college. You need work for these people to do or they turn to crime or welfare. Give them work, give them a real wage, then they can buy things. In order to make money, you have to spend money. 

Agreed the unions have historically kept wages up. The problem is the domestic (unionized) automobile industry has also been on a steady decline for a long, long time. One could argue the wages have been artificially kept high during this period. As I have said many times before, unless the UAW can get into all manufacturers, the union model simply fails. It has to be everywhere or it doesn't work. If some aren't union, then they have a cost advantage and will eventually put the union shops out of business, although it clearly may take a long time.

This is the main reason municipal employees are all unionized. There is no profit and loss statement to be concerned about with their employers since they are paid by taxpayers which of course have unlimited funds. In some respects they probably have to unionize because otherwise they'd never get a raise because no taxpayer is going to vote for an increase in taxes. A vote down of a propose tax hike just happened last night in my town. Teachers are the ones I loath the most however, since they only work nine months a year and have a pension, whine about how little money they make but (at least in my town) won't police themselves and get rid of poor performing teachers who have tenure.

Product is important. Costco is a prime example. They have the best product, the best prices, and they take care of their workers. Thats why you will NEVER see me step foot in a Sam's Club.

On this we agree. Costco does a good job with everything from what I can see. Unfortunately they are too far from me to be useful but I don't shop at Sam's either for what that's worth. I try to give my business to local vendors whenever I can. My cars are repaired by a local mechanic and I buy from him whatever services he sells if I need them.

Edited by ellives

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, here is the deal about teachers. Teachers are paid, in california at least, only the months that they work. Their salaries can be split to pay over a 12 month period. I find it very troubling that the MOST important investment in our future, the teaching of children is a lower priority as far as pay scales as to paying prison guards (who dont have more than a HS degree).

Teachers that don't perform need to be sanctioned. But so do administration and PARENTS. How do you sanction an non performing parent?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pay scales I can't comment about because I just don't know the details. Like I said, it's a good thing they're unionized.

No idea on the non-performing parent as well. The problem is no one likes to deal with sticky issues - and this is certainly one of them. We probably all know parents who we've wondered about but have never taken action.

Of course having said this, have you seen the price of a private college these days? Personally I think a kid who has the potential will do well at any college, public or private. Nevertheless these private colleges enjoy very competitive recruitment every year. Somebody is paying the bills eagerly. Of course private colleges are also key centers for wealth re-distribution by charging top dollar published tuition prices and then providing scholarship money to those that can't afford it.

Ok, here is the deal about teachers. Teachers are paid, in california at least, only the months that they work. Their salaries can be split to pay over a 12 month period. I find it very troubling that the MOST important investment in our future, the teaching of children is a lower priority as far as pay scales as to paying prison guards (who dont have more than  a HS degree).

Teachers that don't perform need to be sanctioned. But so do administration and PARENTS. How do you sanction an non performing parent?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a flaw in this logic. The law of supply and demand will actually force wages to a natural equilibrium point. If the wage gets so low people can't support themselves, they'll get out of the business, thereby reducing the supply and the wages will go up. The argument always ends up being about what the equilibrium point is.

only thing is that Korean, China and India will be what we will end up having equilibrium with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pay scales I can't comment about because I just don't know the details. Like I said, it's a good thing they're unionized.

No idea on the non-performing parent as well. The problem is no one likes to deal with sticky issues - and this is certainly one of them. We probably all know parents who we've wondered about but have never taken action.

Of course having said this, have you seen the price of a private college these days? Personally I think a kid who has the potential will do well at any college, public or private. Nevertheless these private colleges enjoy very competitive recruitment every year. Somebody is paying the bills eagerly. Of course private colleges are also key centers for wealth re-distribution by charging top dollar published tuition prices and then providing scholarship money to those that can't afford it.

private colleges are as much about maintaining the order of the good old boy network more than tremendously substantial academic differences........i.e. putting a brand name on your education.

Edited by regfootball

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, here is the deal about teachers. Teachers are paid, in california at least, only the months that they work. Their salaries can be split to pay over a 12 month period. I find it very troubling that the MOST important investment in our future, the teaching of children is a lower priority as far as pay scales as to paying prison guards (who dont have more than  a HS degree).

Teachers that don't perform need to be sanctioned. But so do administration and PARENTS. How do you sanction an non performing parent?

our country is seriously out of whack in what we pay executives vs. things like scientists and teachers.

I wouldn't have any problem forcing big time execs to cough up 50 grand each to pay down the debt. that's probably a drop in the bucket compared to whatever tax shelters they've all had over the years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

private colleges are as much about maintaining the order of the good old boy network more than tremendously substantial academic differences........i.e. putting a brand name on your education.

Basically. You don't learn anything different at a private school than a public school...its just a snob thing.

Public universities aren't exactly getting cheap though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum 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

×