• Dec 3, 2008
While Ford, General Motors and Chrysler all submitted plans to Congress yesterday that detail how much sacrifice they're willing to make in order to secure government loans, the United Auto Workers union waited until today to announce how it plans to contribute. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger met with leaders of his local Detroit 3 unions today and emerged with a plan to suspend the controversial Jobs Bank program that allows laid off workers to receive up to 95% of their standard pay. Gettelfinger also said that Detroit automakers could postpone making payments into the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, a union-run fund that was scheduled to assume responsibility for retiree healthcare after automaker contributions in the tens of billions were made.

Gettelfinger will once again take a seat next to GM CEO Rick Wagoner, Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli in front of Congress tomorrow. After their admittedly weak showing on Capitol Hill last month, the CEOs and Gettelfinger now have detailed plans to offer Congress on how they would use government loans to ensure their long term viability.

Oh, and while each of the Detroit 3 CEOs will be driving down to DC after being lambasted by Congress for their previous travel aboard separate private jets, Gettelfinger, who never had a private jet, will still be using a commercial airline to reach his date with destiny.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd, Jalopnik, Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty]


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  • 49 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I find it strange that no one ever mentions Toyota's small but strong union workforce. I work for Toyota in one of its numerous PDC's and we are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Teamsters represent Toyota employees in California and Oregon and the UAW represents Toyota/GM employees at NUMMI. My wage is right on par with what UAW workers receive but I do not think it is enough. Los Angeles is super expensive and most houses I can afford are in undesirable areas or extremely far from where I work. I am from Metro Detroit and know many families who had someone working at the Detroit companies and their pay and benefits always made me envious. I still wish I could have worked for a healthy GM, Ford or Chrysler but that doesn't look like its going to happen anymore. My home state is under attack by the entire country because they are jealous. They wanted their own heavy industry for decades and have worked tirelessly to bring imports to the states. Now that our dysfunctional trade policies have injured these companies and the disaster on Wall Street has caused the credit markets to seize up, Detroit finds itself in a terrible position and everyone who was jealous is ready to exact their revenge. The sheer hate and contempt I have read in many different article's comment section shows just exactly how American's feel about one another. Just so everyone knows, a college degree doesn't lead to white collar jobs. I hold a Bachelor of Arts and an Associate of Applied Science and I was only able to acheive an hourly position with Toyota. I bet that someone will mention that I must not be smart enough to get a better job with Toyota or that my degree was one of those "worthless" ones. I hope someone does, it will reinforce what I said about how American's treat one another.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A few of us today at work were discussing unions and their leaders.

      One co worker however chimed in that "positions where employees require a college, university or some other type of degree are not represented by unions because employees are not allowed to be smarter than the union leaders". ouch!
        • 6 Years Ago
        As an software developer, I would never join an union unless forced to. Making my work more expensive does not increase my value long-term. It will just increase pressure to ship jobs to non-union areas. Plus, my value is not capped relative to my co-workers. If I am a better worker, I can demand higher pay.

        There needs to be more flexiblity.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, its because corporate white-collar drones have been brought up to believe that unions are bad because they're "anti-corporate". I wish there was an IT union that would allow IT workers to stomp out outsourcing and the dilution of our labor pool with foreign labor. If there was a union for your job, you'd join it, no questions asked.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wow, such wisdom.
        And to think, all the doctors, nurses, pharmicists, lab techs, lawyers, and cops in my area are union.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The bottom line is that yes, everything serves a purpose. Unions were once for the better and for the good of the workers, but slowly but surely greed has consumed them as well. Now they are not for the betterment of anything except to make their bank accounts lined with as much money as possible. While they once served a purpose they are now useless and have turned into the modern day version of Goodfellas.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The bashing of both unions and management does not really address many of the problems at the root cause of the demise of the US auto industry. The blame belongs at the feet of the congresscritters who have determined/legislated what kind of cars we will have. By forcing the manufacture of small, "fuel-efficient" cars, that people are unwilling to buy, at prices that will provide a profit to the company, Washington know-it-alls have guaranteed that the industry will fail.

      International operations of the car companies are profitable. They cannot be imported, to the US, because they will not count for "average fleet mileage" requirements, imposed by Washington. I'm sure the politicians somehow thought this would guarantee American jobs, but how does this seem to be working out?

      Now, these same politicians are going to provide more money to the industry, but will impose additional rules and requriements that will insure the industry remains unprofitable.

      The best thing congress could do for the industry is to eliminate the CAFE (mileage) rules and let the industry build cars that people are willing to pay for.

      Both the unions and management must give back, but it will not be enough until Washington removes the shackles and let's the industry compete and build cars people want to buy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The UAW is disgusting relic with attitudes left over from the 60's. Any way to get rid of them would do a world of good for the Big 3.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And what praytell are those attitudes? Or do you just like bashing blue-collar because your office cubicle makes you feel superior?

        And if you think GM's workforce relations are dated, try reading up on Toyota's non-US/Cn/Eu plants, the relations there are positively medieval. Toyota's Japanese workers would kill for a Union to ensure them a 40 hour work week with time and a half overtime.

        If the union didn't exist there is nothing to stop the companies from driving wages and benefits as low as they will go. That's NOT the value America was founded on. The UAW isn't the problem. The government is. Tax the piss out of Toyota/Honda/etc or restrict their imports to an eye-for-an-eye with what GM/Ford sells in Japan. That will level the playing field and preserve a good middle class American wage. Which is better than continuing to pump money out of our economy, and eliminating one of the best middle class jobs the US has left.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Americans work hard for their money, and no one ever said that working just 40 hrs a week would guarantee everything. Antiquated vacation policies and obscene benefits for non-working members (how about paying your family your wages after you die? smart move) are some of the costs that plague the efficiency and competitiveness of GM and others.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sure that the secret back-room negotiations that took place before this deal involved the automakers making a substantial contribution to "our thing" (as the UAW should be called) in exchange for this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "suspend" jobs bank?

      I don't think these guys get it.

      They did their "one for all, all for one" bit, they guaranteed everyone in the union had the same job security. And now, partially thanks to that, all of them are looking at losing their jobs.

      They need to actually change their ways, stop making their goal to find new ways to extract money from the automakers and instead find ways to help the automakers succeed, so they can share in it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They did the "seemingly" impossible when the VEBA was approved. They should still plan to make their initial contributions in this retirement system.

      Wasn't the VEBA created to relieve the Big 3 of billions of dollars in annual legacy costs? Do this, maybe include a portion of the initial installment in the requested loans from the govt. But the VEBA is a no-brainer & beginning to eliminate the Jobs Bank is more of a good thing.

      They need to keep moving forward, not taking steps back just to get some cash for the short term.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Then I guess none of you guys, oh wait some of the posters to the forum are just the people I'm going to spit on...

      Paper pushers, you know who are. You sit in front of a screen not doing much and get paid just as much as a UAW entry level employee gets.

      Playing with other people's money, 401k's and Money Market account demands more cashe just because you went to college and got a degree?

      Once upon a time in America you could work for a meaningful wage and for those in the rust belt that meant stamping steel for cars, building interior panels, steering racks and manual transmission, not what I would call back-breaking labor but requires some basic skills with your hands.

      While Detroit has made plenty of mistakes, the 49% of America that didn't vote for Obama belongs it either one of a few camps.

      Those that visit Stormfront.org

      Those adhere to Free Market Ideology

      Those that are Anti-Union for no useful reason other than its popular to bash them

      In my opinion the UAW doesn't need change anything, why is Wagoneer and the rest of them being paid 5 times what the highest Union job pays them????

      This culture is weird, companies get rewarded for laying off workers and their stock goes higher. The ex HP CEO chick gets a gig on the McSain campaign when she was ousted of HP and dismissed 20,000 employees, oh yeah her opinions are credible....

      Stop Blaming the Unions for the Big 3's problems, that is not the case. Shareholders and CEO's just wanted to make more money and who pays, the worker...

      If GM is being weighed down by health care cost, how come they weren't screaming and jumping up and down asking for National Health Care? That's because like many CEO's you're some weirdo Republican/Conservative.

      For those that don't like it, too bad.

      GM, Ford and Chrysler will get a Bridge Loan To Somewhere and the UAW will have to give back some, that's still better than the millions that work for Wal-Mart get and they are expressly Anti-Union...



      • 6 Years Ago
      bb,

      Did you memorize that yourself, or did you cut and paste it directly off of Rush's web site. I drive a lot for my job, and listen to him. He's entertaining, but he's wrong, especially now. That whole CAFE standard bit is a strawman. Detroit easily found ways to comply with CAFE, by importing small cars such as the Sprint / Metro, for instance. In fact, the CAFE standard might be the thing that saves them from oblivion, as it has at least forced the big three to make some sort of effort to stay in the small to medium sized market, which is where you see the most consumer demand due to the instability of fuel prices.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Really? Fuel efficient cars aren't profitable?

      The Civic and Corrolla are some of the best selling cars in the country....

      They don't make a profit for companies that have $1500 in extra labor expenses per car, true.... but that really has to do with the company.

      • 6 Years Ago
      @Anthony your last paragraph about Walmart workers is pretty stupid. What I don't see right now is a Walmart CEO begging congress for money, which means job security for the millions of Walmart workers that you want to put down. Walmarts success is partly because it DOES NOT have unions strapped around its neck.
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