The Constitutional Death of the UAW, volume 2, part 1
Written By William Hanline and Friends
“The American automakers are experiencing a major financial crisis.” Even while investing (b)illions of dollars overseas to level the “Playing Filed.” these are the cooperative cries propagated by the auto industry (which is self funded/self insured), its spin-masters, academics and corporate media and the UAW. But, wait a minute, isn’t there something missing in those reports? Are we not overlooking the fact that 10’s of thousands of the union’s members are experiencing a crisis also? Why don’t we hear of the retirees and the workers being forced out on early retirement? Why don’t we read in the news papers and in evening news reports such as CNN’s Lou Dobbs the stories of those former GM and Delphi workers who can no longer make car payments, college tuitions, home mortgages? Lest we forget those who have been forced to file bankruptcy since Delphi and GM announced the UAW GM and Delphi Special Attrition program in March of 2006. Isn’t that a crisis also? How about it Lou Dobbs?
Furthermore, wouldn’t you think the UAW International Union would start experiencing a financial crisis also? Take for instance, since the mid 1990s, the union has lost over half of its dues paying members, (revenue) while the ranks of retirees grew to exceed active workers nearly 2-1. Instead of Gettelfinger crying in his handkerchief over GM’s and Delphi’s financial crisis and the crisis the other auto companies are experiencing. Wouldn’t you think he would give up trying to manage the companies through cooperative programs and do something to protect the Unions members for the spoliation of their pensions and retirement benefits? If Gettelfinger was so concerned about National Health care then why wouldn’t he strike the hell out of the automakers especially Delphi since Delphi has announced it will still close 17 plants in the United States? Why should he care if a strike drives one of them into oblivion? The companies have proven time and again they want to close shop in this country. Therefore, by striking Delphi and/or one or more of the automakers, could be the only way to shock and awe our politicians in Washington to investigate and eventually pass national health care legislation, which according to industry spin-masters and the UAW is the fix the auto giants need to compete with foreign rivals in this country. How many times have you heard or read Gettelfinger say healthcare cannot be fixed at the bargaining table, it can only be done in Washington through legislation?
This whole scenario reminds me of a couple lines from Tennessee William Ford’s hit song “Sixteen Tons” he sang, “another day older and deeper in debt and “I owe my soul to the company store”
UAW members need not forget, these companies are “Self Funded and Self Insured” they report to NO ONE the real cost related to their health care Insurance and the premium rate they set. This is the “Company Store” of healthcare and the reason for the high cost of healthcare insurance in the US. Their simply shifting the cost onto their active workers and retirees is not just designed so the companies can bleed their worker’s weekly checks and retirees’ pension checks but so they can bleed everyone who has to work for a living.
Constitutional Death of UAW
What? -- Bill Hanline
I guess I should not be surprised to see that this is all there is?
Vaughn Goodwin being quoted that the UAW has taken care of us all along? I cannot believe you printed his quote and fell for that line of manure? At the time when I hired in GM (1984) there were 340,000 workers in GM, "inside the USA." According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, GM had nearly 390,000 workers in 1987 inside the USA. Now GM has that many outside the USA The UAW with its Job Security contracts since 1990 lost over 300,000 GM jobs, and you and your editors had the unmitigated Gaul to report, "The UAW has taken care of us?"
Gettelfinger is now perpetrating upon the GM worker what he and Richard Shoemaker did to Delphi employees, driving down their wages two-tier and reducing pension security The GM Guarantee, and placing more expense on fixed income retirees for healthcare all of which is contrary to the purpose of the UAW pursuant the Union's Constitution, and still you report the union has been taking care of us? It was through the Union's ineptitude, stupidity and shortsightedness that forced the hand of Judge Drain the bankruptcy court judge to set the level of our October 1, 2007, wages according to the results of the 2003 two-tier wage agreement negotiated by Gettelfinger and Shoemaker for future Delphi employees. Did you ever once ask yourself, how could UAW Attorneys begin to recommend higher wages for Delphi workers when Delphi and GM workers ratified the 2003 UAW agreement to reduce the wages for new hires? That was the ploy and the judge had no choice. Ironically The GM worker is next if they vote for this agreement.
The only people Gettelfinger is taking care of are those who elect him every four years, the UAW International Staff!
It's their retirements, their healthcare and their wages and allowances he is protecting by taking on the GM Healthcare VEBA that will generate tens of millions of dollars for the Union's flat line annual income, thus maintaining the UAW bureaucracy at that level. Thereby maintaining Gettelfinger and Cal Rapson's JOBs, NOT OURS! Gettelfinger and Rapson could care less about loosing Local unions and dues paying members, they couldn't care less about recruiting new members or organizing foreign transplants because if they get their way and the new UAW-GM tentative agreement is ratified, the Union will have a Generous Motors Healthcare VEBA to replace the annual income lost from the attrition of all the dues paying members from plant closings etc.
The UAW already receives about 27 to 30 million dollars a year from the automakers in the form of Joint Funds Reimbursements that pays for one third the of the Union's staff members wages, allownaces and long time benefits according to DOL and IRS reports. The UAW-GM "CHR" that was illegally used for these negoitations and that kept all you reporters at bay during contract negotiations will probably house, (on the empty third floor) the newly created healthcare VEBA administration of around 50 or so UAW staff members. GET THE DRIFT? Picture? Ironically even though the DOL recently changed the reporting requirements for trust unions have an interest in (the T-1 Form) VEBAs are not handled by the DOL's EBSA and are not reported so how will the beneficiaries of the new plan get accurate information? Before it was reported on 5500 reports with the EBSA.
Not only that, you failed to report what I told you about the new VEBA and how Gettelfinger and the Rapson and GM's Wagoner is using it to get the retirees to pay for the Capping of healthcare benefits back in 1993 when the Federal accounting Service Boards rule 106 went into effect. That GM's contribution of 71 cents on the dollar means that each individual account of the newly created VEBA will be under funded by 30 cents on the dollar. OH you did not know that a Defined Contribution VEBA is administered by a thirds party and that every individual under the plan will have an individual account set up for them and that GM will not have to pay all up front by once a year. And that the money will come from the tax exempt earnings (or the 17.8 Billion dollars of over funding) from the pension trust and because it that money was tax exempt earnings GM will not have to pay any taxes on it?
I have to ask, why did you waste my time if that was all you were going to write? I had hope to read a more insightful piece not corporate propaganda?
I am sadly disappointed. Bill Hanline