The Constitutional Death Of The UAW “Part Ten”
by William Hanline
IT ALL BEGAN WITH A BANG?
The labor relations model of Labor Management Cooperation or Mutual Interest Bargaining (MIB) colleges are teaching in management classes today are not new ideas. In fact, the paradigm of Labor Management Cooperation or MIB style labor relations of modern day simply revisits labor relations used by industrialist at the end of the 19th Century. The turn of the century programs were known as Company Unions or “Employee Representation Plans” (E.R.P.s). The Rockefellers received credit for most variations of E.R.P.s.
Ironically, since the 1960’s there has been a resurgence of E.R.P. style labor relations programs in America. There is an array of names used for them today, such as Employee Involvement Plans, Joint Programs, or Labor Management Cooperative programs (LMCs). During the advent of this new form of cooperative labor relations, the idea of company funded joint funds was negotiated in the UAW-GM National Agreement in 1982. The nickel and dime assessment model of funding, UAW members have become familiar with, was negotiated during the 1984 GM-UAW collective bargaining session. Over the past two decades UAW members, as well as reporters in the media have apparently forgotten that company funded joint programs were negotiated at the expense of vary serious and costly concessions, e.g. Personal Paid Holidays and Personal Paid Absence days, just to name a few. Furthermore, those concessions were never recovered.
The reality of the union and companies efforts to become partners literally began with a bang on May 9, 1985, when UAW and General Motors leadership officially joined hands as they pushed on a detonator setting off a small charge of explosives. The explosion heard in Auburn Hills, Michigan, was supposed to represent a groundbreaking ceremony that would mark the beginning of work on the new UAW-GM Human Resource Center building. To UAW dissidents, however, the small blast sounded more like a rifle shot fired at the hearts, minds, souls and future hopes of all unionists throughout America, not just in the UAW.
UAW President Owen Bieber at that time keynoted the event, he said, “For workers the center represents a new milestone in the opportunity to learn and grow and advance in their work. It means the opportunity to move with security into the workplace and the jobs of tomorrow.”
Bieber continued, “It means the opportunity to participate more effectively in the day-to-day decisions that affect their lives from the shop floor to the highest levels of the corporation.”
GM’s Chairman, Roger Smith echoed Bieber by saying the event marked the corporation’s “resolve to deal with people in a new way,” and to “put an even higher priority on people over machines.”
Moreover, in a joint statement by Don Ephlin, UAW Vice President and GM director, and GM’s Industrial Relations Al Warren said, “As the union recognizes the competitive challenge to the industry, so must the corporation recognize the union as its full partner in resolving this challenge.” The latter took place 21 years ago on May 9, 1985; it was reported in the “UAW-GM REPORT” QUARTERLY NEWS LETTER, Spring 1985 edition
Ironically, the MOTTO of the UAW-GM “Human Resource Center” was, “Jointly dedicated to meeting the challenges of the future with “PEOPLE”-our GREATEST RESOURCE.”
Let us take a realistic look at what truly transpired since the introduction of joint programs and what the programs did for “people” (workers) in the auto industry.
1n 1985 GM’s U.S. Blue-collar payroll was 435,000
(All the following employment figures came from “Automotive Industries” May, 1995 edition, these figures, include all Blue-collar workers even non-union)
When the UAW-GM Human Resource Center (HRC) was created, incorporators recorded on official federal documents the purpose of the center, it read, Article II
“This corporation is organized for the education, training, retraining, and/or placement of workers and all activities incidental thereto, to reduce the burden on government of retraining the work force in order to effectively compete with foreign manufacturers and workers,” (reported on IRS 1023 forms)
Then in 1993, GM-UAW contract negotiations emphasized the new spirit of cooperation. Contract talks opened at the UAW-GM “HRC” instead of the traditional GM corporate headquarters building. Even GM’s CEO John Smith showed up to shake hands with UAW President Owen Bieber at the June 23, 1993 kick off. Mr. Kim Moody of Labor Notes reported, “but despite the handshakes, the basic issue at the bargaining table was never in doubt: how to cut cost at GM.”
In October of 1994, the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources (CHR) was incorporated as a separate entity from the “HRC.” The “HRC” became a defunct organization and the old “HRC” building on Featherstone Rd. was eventually sold to DaimlerChrysler (DCX) for “one dollar” according to county records.
The Articles of Incorporation for the new UAW-GM “CHR” reads as follow, Article II.
“The UAW-GM Center for Human Resources is a non profit corporation created in October of 1994 as a joint effort involving General Motors Corporation and the UAW International Union. The Center provides development, delivery, coordination and administration of strategies and joint programs designed to educate and train both active and dislocated workers needed to enable the employer to compete in a global marketplace.” (Taken from IRS form 1023)
The “CHR” was created and operated for two years before the members ever got to ratify the 1996 contract that would allow the “CHR” to provide services to the members. The UAW and management told members the cooperative programs were needed to help the company compete with foreign manufacturers. YET, GM eliminated 200,000 workers in just one decade.
GM’s U.S. Blue-collar payroll in 1995 dropped to 246,000!
The UAW-GM “HRC” reported $70 million dollars in expenses for 1995. The UAW-GM “CHR” reported $30 million for that same period, for a total of $100 million dollars (Data taken from 990 tax forms).
In1995, when Stephen P. Yokich became the UAW’s President, the automakers replaced the lost workers with overtime, so much so, the big three averaged 11.3 hours of over time, for every employee, per week in 1994. Furthermore, Mr. John Lippert reported in “Automotive Industries,” page 44 – 46 that Yokich as UAW VP of the GM department lost 117,000 jobs, or one in three jobs in GM from 1989 to 1995, when he was elected President.
Another unique bit of information uncovered was GM and the UAW worked together to jawbone doctors and hospitals to cut cost with hope to shave some $800 million off GM’s $5.4 BILLION dollar total annual health care cost for 1994.
The last amendment to “Article II” of the CHR on record was reported in December of 1995. It reads, Article II.
The purpose of the center is to develop, deliver, and administer education, training, and other programs and activities that may be jointly agreed to by the parties in order to meet future competitive realities and enhance the employment security of UAW-represented General Motors employees
GM’s U.S. Blue-collar payroll in 2006 drops to 113,000!
Healthcare was between $5 billion, and the CHR spent $180 dollars for 2005. UAW membership has dropped from 1.45 million dues paying members in 1978 to 557,000 in 2006. The UAW membership declined 11.3 percent in 2005 alone.
Reporters cannot seem to make up their mind., The numbers they report for GM’s workforce keep changing. Last week newspapers reported 105 thousand GM blue collar workers because job Bank employees were not include as active employees. The week of May 7, 2006, figures for GM’s employment are at 13,000.
The Cost of Downsizing is Found in Joint Funds
Since 1984, joint programs at General Motors alone cost over 4,000,000,000 billion dollars, adding Ford and DaimlerChrysler to the picture, an estimated 9,000,000,000 billion dollars has gone through all three national training centers since 1984. The purpose of all money was to help the companies compete with foreign manufacturers.
Ever since 1984, UAW and corporate officials, both, enticed UAW members with delusions of life long job security, all of which would result from working cooperatively with management. They accomplished this by propagating the so-called MOTTO of the HRC, repeatedly, to the media and to their members. What is more, and contrary to the automaker’s media’s propaganda that UAW members are adversarial, UAW members have agreed to work cooperatively by ratifying one concessionary contract after another, which in turn allowed the proliferation of joint programs. For example, in the 1984 GM-UAW National Agreement there were as few as 34 pages of joint language, now in 2003 there are over 300 pages.
One of the main elements of joint or cooperative programs is Quality Network (QN) or Quality Network Manufacturing Systems (“QNMS”). Quality Network was ratified in the 1990 GM-UAW National Agreement. As Article II of the National Training Center’s Articles of Incorporation were amended the terms and conditions in the “QN” language of Doc 57 of the GM-UAW national contract changed, from development to implementation. Programs such as synchronous manufacturing, accelerated workshops, PICOS, just in time manufacturing, continuous improvement, lean manufacturing, were being introduced and implemented through joint appointed representatives. Therefore, UAW members have agreed to help GM, Delphi and the other automakers to become more competitive in the global market place. By 1999 Quality Network Manufacturing systems were implemented in every location in GM and Delphi and through out the auto industry. In the GM–UAW “Quality Network” language these words were printed, The Union leadership felt they could not be a party to asking their members to assist in `working themselves out of a job’ by supporting these efforts, namely, Quality Network! If they meant what they wrote, then what happened?
Let’s perform a historical review of all the latter, one more time!
1) In 1984 -1985 Joint funded programs began with a bang! Purpose was to help autoworkers save their jobs and help manufacturers to compete with foreign workers and manufacturers.
2) UAW-GM “HRC” was created and so were the FORD and DCX Joint Training Centers and programs. The purpose was to save jobs in the American auto industry and help the automakers compete with foreign competitors.
3) UAW –GM “CHR” was created and GM spent 300 million dollars building a new headquarters building for the CHR between the GM Towers and Solidarity House. The purpose was to save jobs and help the automaker compete in the world market place.
By this time, Yokich had lost over 117,000 jobs in GM alone and UAW membership was down below 800,000 members from 1.5 million in 1978.
4) Quality Network Manufacturing System and its equivalent was implemented throughout all three automakers by 1996. Yet, the industry kept bleeding jobs and the UAW kept hemorrhaging membership!
5) In 2005, Delphi filed Bankruptcy and GM and the UAW joined hands in a lawsuit to shift the cost of healthcare unto GM retires to help GM compete against foreign rivals. For GM executives, the $10.6 loss for 2004 included a little over $5 billion for healthcare cost. But wait, wasn’t that GM’s healthcare cost ($5.4 billion for the1994 period). Then should we not wonder what portion of the price of each car built in 1994 represented healthcare cost then?
In 2005, GM’s blue-collar payroll was only 105,000. Furthermore, not all of those employees are represented by the UAW, some belong to other unions and some were non-union. The latter holds true for all the Blue-collar payroll numbers reported in this article.
Furthermore, GM’s market share in 2005 eroded to 25% from 40% in 1982, Toyota now controls the majority of sales of autos in the U.S auto market. UAW membership has dwindled from 1.46 million members to 557,000. Some 330,000 workers have been reduced from GM’s workforce, and all of that was accomplished through cooperation and over $9 BILLION of joint funds money.
Now it does not take a rocket scientist to realize that jointness, cooperation and Quality Network and its likes, do not save American Auto Workers Jobs, right! Therefore, in respect to GM’s, Ford’s and DCX’s loss of market share and the loss of hundreds of thousands of autoworkers jobs, one can only conclude that Labor Management Cooperative Programs and joint programs have been a dismal failure as far as retaining American jobs and helping the automakers compete . RIGHT?
Brother Shotwell has told people over and over again in his Live Bait and Ammo and during personal appearances, that “Cooperation” does not save jobs. Well brothers and sisters here is the proof!
Has the UAW IEB Not Learned A Damn Thing From This Experience?
Where in the hell does Bob King, the UAW’s Vice President for Organizing get off making comments like the following: he said, “The union has dramatically changed its relationship with employers because of the dire need to preserve manufacturing jobs in the United States.” He went on, “We have made a conscious choice to put aside the adversarial approach. “We believe adversarial relationships drive manufacturing jobs out of this country.” Has Mr. King not learned a damn thing?
What is he talking about? What else can UAW members give to the managers of the automakers to get them to stop sending our work abroad and manage the companies in a manner that makes them profitable?
What is it going to take to convince our UAW, International Union leaders that cooperation does not work? Answer: They do not care! Because, despite the loss of members and despite the loss of jobs in the auto industry, the charge backs the UAW receives from the automakers from the joint funds has become more important to them than solidarity, honesty and integrity and membership. Go to and pull up the 2005 LM-2 form for the UAW International Union. Then go to pages 174 -176. You will find several listings for training centers by each corporation’s name. The letters CBK stands for charge backs. GM reimbursed the UAW $11.1 million dollars total, for 2005 through the UAW-GM CHR. Ford did the same, for a total of $9 million dollars and DCX some $5 million, for a grand total of $25 million. This does not include the service charges the UAW collects for processing those reimbursements and/or other contractually generated reimbursements. Do you remember the slogan mentioned in The Constitutional Death of the UAW # 9. Never forget it! It is all about the money stupid!
Gettelfinger and Shoemaker, and other members of the IEB, have forsaken the integrity of our collective bargaining process to secure their re-elections, but more important, secure their incomes even into their retirements. They forgot what Don Ephlin once said, that the union and management must continue to make progress on joint programs, but it must be accomplished “while we also protect the integrity of our collective bargaining process.”
Bob King went on to reiterate, “We have taken the high-road approach where we work together to reverse this trend.” What trend is he talking about? Haven’t UAW leaders been taking advantage of the joint funded, high road to life, approach for too long?
King finished by saying, “the UAW is acting differently.” “That is not the public perception but that is a fact and that is the truth.” How has the union been acting differently? Answer: They have forsaken the Constitution Procedure for Collective Bargaining.
In Bill Vlasic’s article, “UAW takes Cooperative Stance,” Detroit News, April 20, 2006, Mr. Vlasic got it wrong when he wrote: “Last year’s historic deal between GM and the UAW to cut health care cost—including assessing first ever healthcare fees on UAW retirees - was a turning point in the relationship between the union and the Big Three.” How could that be a turning point, especially after twenty-five years of joint relationships with the Big Three? Then again, one could claim it to be a turning point, because it has proven how the International Union has forsaken their members, active and retired to help the companies compete! Apparently Mr. King has forgotten that the greatest need people have for a union is at the time of organizing. Now let us see how the VP of Organizing convinces prospective members in foreign transplants to join the UAW when all the UAW has to offer to them is what they already have?
There is nothing written about Joint programs or Labor Management Cooperative programs in the UAW Constitution. Apparently, the lack has made it easier for our officers in the International Union to turn their backs on the very instrument written to protect UAW members’ Democratic rights.
Since Gettelfinger is so hell bent on forcing Nazi Democratic principles upon us members maybe he should set aside a day and call for the burning of our Union’s Constitution books right out front of Solidarity House.
Then again, maybe we should do something similar and protest what Gettelfinger and his clones are doing to our Union and do it in front of the Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Never forget! The only mutual interest and reasons Gettelfinger and the International Executive Board have to help the automakers remain competitive is simple, they do not want to lose the unions cash cows the created over the past twenty five years. Never forget. It’s the money stupid!
The Constitutional Death of the UAW #10 is dedicated to the Memory of all plant closings and jobs lost in the Big Three since Jointness was introduced in 1984. It is evident that jointness was used to facilitate the Automakers, to help them downsize in order to compete with foreign manufacturers. In addition, it allowed the companies to mitigate the unions loss of dues paying members through reimbursements (charge backs ) to the Union from the joint funds.