uffice it to say, I have a soft spot for Chevy and GMC trucks. However, as much as I may like them, I think the producers of these big boyz are doing nothing more than contributing to the coffers of the Saudis, and in doing that, undermining and intent on destroying this country. And for that matter, I’m particularly NOT a fan of Ford, Chrysler/Dodge.
I wanted to see what’s going on in the local scene where these ‘talks’ are taking place. I went to the Detroit Free Press news site and read some of the comments. First off, I was appalled at the level of illiteracy abounding there. Simple things, simple words, simple phrases – “hard ache” rather than “heartache” , allot vs ‘a lot’, companys vs ‘companies’ (and, no – it was not used to denote possession.) That’s not endemic to Detroit; it’s endemic of the general populace in the United States and the general dumbness I see. But, of course, that’s just a pet peeve.
I did find some good comments regarding unions, union members, corporations and corporate structure, and appalled at the stupidity regarding political ideologies: specifically socialism, communism, democracy/republicanism in the usual encounters with the inevitable troll and/or shill.
On to the story, from the Detroit Free Press:
After resuming contract talks mid-morning, General Motors Corp. and the UAW continued to make progress – so much, in fact, that several subcommittees had settled some of their issues, a person familiar with the talks said today. However, a substantial amount of work remains between GM and the UAW, that person said, and a final agreement is not expected by the end of the day.
What I was trying to see, trying to get some kind of grip on, was what exactly is driving this. The contract ‘expired’ Friday, going into an ‘hour-by-hour’ contract. However the talks have been ‘ongoing’ since July if I recall correctly. There has to be a focus, and there is. It’s health benefits. It’s those benefits promised to retirees and, something called VEBA, which according to this source
The early stages of the labor talks had focused on a complex plan to allow GM to cut billions of dollars in expenses for retiree health care by paying into a new UAW-aligned trust fund, according to people close to the talks.
The outcome of the contract talks is seen as crucial to efforts by the three Detroit-based automakers – GM, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC – to recover from combined losses of $15 billion last year and sales difficulties that have driven their slice of the U.S. market below 50 percent.
The Wall Street Journal weighs in, predictably, but to me really is more stark than that above from the Windsor Star (Canada).
“…..differences remained over proposals that Detroit hopes will help it close the gap with Asian rivals.
Teams from GM and the UAW are bargaining over a wide range of issues to replace a four-year contract that expired Friday. Most significantly, talks include a proposal to unload from GM’s balance sheet more than $50 billion in debts owed to UAW retiree health care and place them in a union-controlled trust. GM says that burden, a legacy of past labor deals, adds as much as $1,200 to $1,500 a car to its costs compared with those of rival Toyota Motor Corp.”
The WSJ puts it at a per car cost ($1200-$1500), while other sources relate to an hourly rate that includes the current worker’s wage & benefits, and inclusive of benefits for retirees ($30). It’s the old framing issue. The WSJ, perpetuator of the business status quo makes every attempt to pit worker against worker, and in this case the American worker who is not part of the union (UAW), but the worker purchasing the car from GM.
Do you see the problem? It’s not the fucking capitalists; it’s the fucking worker! Forget that those same fucking capitalists have insisted on building what Americans do not want in the way of vehicles. I’m in truck country here. Let me tell ya, there are some mighty fine bonuses for buying these big boyz trucks. I’m sorry – I meant incentives. Who cares if the buyer eventually can no longer afford the payments, insurance, let alone the gas, and the truck is repossessed? Trust me, not that fucking capitalist sitting across the table from UAW president, Ron Gettelfinger.
Those people who have worked for GM and retired, those still working for GM and due to retire, and those still working should pay heed because the primary issue is RETIREE HEALTH-CARE LIABILITY. Liability, not an asset; liability. Now it’s down to the haggling, back-and-forth stage for the union and GM, and the establishment of a VEBA (Volunteer Employee Benefit Assoc./Admin)
To continue with the WSJ article:
The auto maker and the union are haggling over how much money GM and its rivals will pour into the VEBA in order to make it a viable source of benefit-funding for hundreds of thousands of retirees and family members.
If the UAW goes ahead with setting up a VEBA, it would almost assuredly open the door to benefit reductions, because the trust would probably not be designed to fully absorb double-digit medical-cost inflation.
Here’s another framing set-up within the article:
But UAW officials, including President Ron Gettelfinger, have had heated debates internally over how much the union should give, some people briefed on the progress say.
Because, it’s the WORKER
who will be the ultimate loser……
(more to follow later 🙂