• Jan 22, 2009
General Motors and Chrysler are tasked with gaining concessions from debt holders and organized labor by February 17. If major cuts aren't achieved, the struggling Detroit automakers risk having to pay back the $17.4 billion in government loans that have helped keep the companies solvent. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger told Automotive News that any concessions won't include wage cuts. The Ron points out that Toyota workers at Georgetown average $30 per hour in wages and bonuses, or $2 more than tenured UAW workers. Though the union's $28 per hour wage is likely safe, generous blue collar health care benefits may not be. Pension costs are likely to decrease as well, as part of the loan agreement calls for half the retiree health care trust to be paid for with equity instead of cash.

Gettelfinger has recently questioned whether it was possible to agree to concessions in time for perceived February 17 deadline, but now he sayst that he fully expects the UAW, GM, and Chrysler to have "laid out ground work" to satisfy its portion of the loan deal.

[Source: Automotive News, subs req'd]


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  • 46 Comments
      Dee
      • 5 Years Ago
      I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY THE UNION WILL NOT HELP CERTAIN PEOPLE AT THE TWINSBURG OHIO CHRYSLER PLANT!!!! THEY FIRE PEOPLE, SOME FOR GOOD REASON AND THEN GET THEM BACK ON, SOME THEY TRY TO GET RID OF FOR NO GOOD REASON, ONE GUY THEY SUSPENDED, FOR NO GOOD REASON, WHO EVER IS AHEAD OF THE UAW IN TWINSBURG NEEDS TO BE GONE AND PUT A GOOD UAW MEMBER IN TO HELP THE WORKERS. MY DAD WORKED AT CHRYSLER FOR YEARS AND HE WAS PART OF THE FLYING ACES, HE WAS A VERY STRONG UNION MAN. IF YOUR GOING TO PAY THESE SO CALLED UNION MEN TO HELP THE WORKERS. ITS TIME YOU CHECK AND MAKE SURE THE UNION IS WORTHY OF HIS PAY!!!!!!!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I only buy American made cars, got a 2008 Ranger 4x4 right now. I'm an ex Big-Three Engineer.

      As someone who has worked inside the companies, the problems with the auto companies are 95% the blame of the UAW. It's not just that they are overpaid and over-benifitted, the UAW's work rules (and attitude) is like "bizaro-world". Five minute jobs will be stretched into 10 hours, get the millrights to move something, now write up the pipe fitters to close a valve, then write up the electricians to flip a switch, then you can do your job, then write up everyone in reverse order to get things back on line. And don't even think about writing up all 3 at one time, having them wait for you to do your 5 min adjustment, then put things back. If the UAW gets wind of you trying to be efficient, you get "black listed". All of a sudden anything you write up is illegible or unclear.

      The UAW guys cover and punch in for their "brothers" as they stay at the bar after lunch, go to the casino, etc. Workers will intentionally damage machines to get a break. Workers will intimidate the new workers to slow down, and adopt the union (meaning slow and advisarial) way of doing things. I've even heard that the UAW guys at the "do nothing" job banks couldn't even do that (nothing). They would pay some high school kid to take their card and go sit there for them.

      A friend of mine does training classes for rigging, motor repair, etc for manufacturing plant workers. He's trained at auto transplant and big three UAW plants. The attitude is night and day different. UAW has no interest in learning anything, because UAW has no accountability.

      If you say that it's management's fault, they should be introducing more, better, and varied products. That's pretty hard to do with the UAW demanding any profits to be used for increased wages and benifits. I've even heard UAW guys say that management should never have agreed to these high wage and benefit levels. Well, why did you threaten to strike (which usually means destroy property in the process) to get these? Why didn't you UAW guys wise up back in the 70's? It's too late now.

      Now Chrysler and GM are on the verge of bancrupcy. Thank you UAW!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fine you don't want to help fix the problem you created. So why don't you (UAW) just quit working. Stop wasting my tax dollars and find a new job.

      PS if you feel the US is doing you wrong why not just leave the country.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Gettelfinger is just daring GM to go Chapter 11. Guess he thinks the UAW pull with the new Administration is going to protect him from asking his members to give back some more to keep their jobs. If he is right, smart move for him; if he is wrong, disastrous move for his members because once GM goes into 11 all bets are off and the government money will go away and any influence the Congress might have on "reconfiguring" ,i.e a pre-packaged bankruptcy, is kaput. Then every stake holder gets in line and the employess are to the rear if not at the end where the common shareholders find themselves.

      As a taxpayer I am going to get real tired real quick of continuing to support a failing business model regardless of it being to support incompetent managment or workers whose compensation package is out of touch with the reality of their industry. From my point of view the sooner GM goes 11 the sooner everyone can get about sorting through the wreckage and start rebuilding a business based on economic reality not political influence. That is going to include a lower wage scale/benefits package for whomever can get work in the plants
      • 5 Years Ago
      WTF.

      Fear == Unions

      Why are people living in fear, and paying union dues?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The hourly wage isn't that bad from union standards, depending on location. As a union Millwright wage is different depending on location and lvl. What does need to be changed is the Overtime policies and standby pay and all that other bull.

      Benefits will have to take a hit as well, everything the UAW is "fighting to keep" won't matter when GM doesn't exist. I don't understand fighting for pay, when the money will be gone soon.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was fuming when I read that headline, now I'm fuming to know they make less per hour than Toyoda workers. I don't blame them one bit for not giving in on the hourly pay. Sorry, but $28 per hour for what they do or for what anyone does is just chicken feed.
      Last I heard was everyone wanted the UAW to bring wages down to the transplants level, BS. Bring the UAW up to the transplants pay.

      To HELL with the transplants, America and American industry first.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You seem to forget that GM's $28/hr pay to union workers is currently being funded out of taxpayers' money. Toyota workers' $30/hr wages are not.

        I assure you that if Toyota's financial position ever gets to the same depths that GM's is, then that $30/hr will likely be sharply curtailed.

        It's a concept known as business. Unfortunately, powerful unions are only interested in this notion when business is doing well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Spoken like a real aristocrat Caddy-V. Remember Toyota has money in the bank--GM doesn't. If GM fails they will be making $0 per hour.

        To help save the company they could at least take a $1 paycut until the company gets back on it's feet.

        Whatever happen to the days when people were willing to sacrafice for the greater good...we live in a selfish society.

        I garauntee when there making $1,200- $ 1,700 dollars a month on unemployment they'll be wishing for any job with reduced wages.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So, $56k /yr is chicken feed? Man, I wish I made chicken feed plus full benefits...
        • 5 Years Ago
        To quote the greatest golf movie ever... "...well, the world needs ditch diggers, too."

        Furthermore, that's $56K a year before overtime, holiday time, and all the other BS. I knew a guy that worked at a GM plant that made over $150K a year just driving a sweeper cart. Mind you this was when there was plenty of overtime, but nonetheless this guy has a cake job making the same or more than a guy sticking his hands into a 10 ton press.

        That's F#@KED UP! and that is what is wrong with the UAW pay structure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Taco, $56/yr is average or slightly above average here in the midwest for workers living an average lifestyle, in an average home, and average just about everything else for an average family of four.
        Dazza, Clearly you haven't read the details of the loan. The money LOANED to GM and Chrysler is being used to pay the suppliers keeping them at bay. One could make the case that it is used for suppliers wages, but since most suppliers are vendors to not only the D3 but Toyota, Honda, Hyundai etc. So, indirectly, the Japanese benefit as well.
        Monkaroo, While I agree $1 or even $2 per hour wage concession would go a very long way to help, not only the company but UAW pr as well, but I must ask.
        If the transplants asked their line workers the same how many hours do you think it would take before the line workers ran, not walked, to the UAW for representation?To help save the company they could at least take a $1 paycut until the company gets back on it's feet.
        MM, "...well, the world needs ditch diggers, too." Yes, and ditch's are on public land and since most construction jobs have been taken over by an illegal alien work force, not much room for unemployed UAW members unless we have a massive government works project that would cause taxpayers quadruple the loan for the D3 that would never have a chance of being paid back. And about that guy making $150g's pushing a sweeping cart, God bless him. I wish everyone could make as much money as they can. That's the American dream.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Let the idiot anti-union jabs begin.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Union is cancer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        lol! thanks guys!
        • 5 Years Ago
        They use to be mandatory though..

        They have become greedy and ill managed but there was a day when unions did not exist your life could become absolutely ruined quite easily.
        • 5 Years Ago
        hotel workers or cooks union? Unions are to go the way of the dodo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Listen up folks, it's not what the UAW members pay that has crippled the US auto industry, it's the dirty lowdown trade agreements our government has passed that are the cause. These agreements were passed for one reason, to lower wages and the standard of living in this country. I don't see the slime bags in congress taking pay cuts, hardly, they just gave themselves a raise it's automatic year after year. It's time to call a damn pig a pig, and the sty is located on capitol hill, and the pigs are all at the trough. How about we demand congress get rid of these sleazy trade agreements, and negotiate some fair trade laws that respect the workers of this country. It's not just the automobile industry, it's every industry in this country. I don't recall the television industry being unionized, but it folded like a cheap suit when Sony and the rest of the Japanese brands flooded the market with cheap goods. And the air conditioning industry, it has gone to China and the products aren't worth a crap, they're cheap but not worth a crap.......

      When are we going to get enough, China owns our ass and we keep offering it up. Our industries, the industries that made America rich and great are gone. Gone because of cheap slave labor in foreign countries. Our industries are gone with the best wishes of our elected officials, if you still believe the crap they spew, then you deserve losing your way of life. Lies will not put bread on your table, how about standing up for good wages instead of demanding someone give up their pay, your job will be the next to go.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mark K is right.

        It is all about emphasis. Henry Ford said it well, a Company that only makes money is poor indeed.

        Do you make a living doing the business you are good at doing, or do you just to some sort of business to make a living.

        Is money the reason you work, or is do you make a living by working at something...

        They may sound like the same thing, but it is all about emphasis and passion. Passion for the work, which you happen to make a living at, or is the passion for the money, and the work is just the hoop you jump through to get it?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I don't recall the television industry being unionized, but it folded like a cheap suit when Sony and the rest of the Japanese brands flooded the market with cheap goods. "

        Well, that's because Sony was in business of making TVs. Same as Honda that is in business of making cars. Zenith and GM/Chrysler and, until recently, Ford were in business of making money.

        Forgetting, along the way, that there already are companies out there that are in business of making money and doing it much better than them - they are called "Banks". In the process, though, they forgot how to make cars/TVs and were outdone by banks in making money.

        It's past time somebody tells them they are NOT in business of making money, they should make cars. Period.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree with you. Unfortunately, most people do not.

        America's economy was built with the blood, sweat, and tears of hard working laborers.

        It amazes me that so many people just do not get it.

        It's very simple really. Our jobs go to other countries, the middle-class disappears, our economy goes to hell.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's a new one on me. A company that's not in business to make money.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I strongly suspect that one reason why Chrysler finds itself in such dire straights is because the UAW chased away Mercedes.
      Think about it.
      The UAW saw deep pockets in Mercedes and sought out to import the same costly benefits that the German workforce enjoys for it's North American Daimler-Chrysler workers.
      Too many union blowhards blamed Benz for the current situation they now face,but I believe the problem was their own greed.
      It totally fit's the pattern of the UAW.To bleed a corporation within inches of it's life.
      So what's Mercedes supposed to say?They can't say anything and risk a PR nightmare so they just saw an impossible situation and cut their losses,because Chrysler is a welfare/nanny state for union shake down artists.
        • 5 Years Ago
        strongly suspect that one reason why Chrysler finds itself in such dire straights is because the UAW chased away Mercedes.
        Think about it.
        The UAW saw deep pockets in Mercedes and sought out to import the same costly benefits that the German workforce enjoys for it's North American Daimler-Chrysler workers.
        Too many union blowhards blamed Benz for the current situation they now face,but I believe the problem was their own greed.
        It totally fit's the pattern of the UAW.To bleed a corporation within inches of it's life.
        So what's Mercedes supposed to say?They can't say anything and risk a PR nightmare so they just saw an impossible situation and cut their losses,because Chrysler is a welfare/nanny state for union shake down artists.

        Ummm, excuse me jc, you seem to be rewriting history and the facts. Daimler gutted Chrysler of it's some 20B in cash reserves to improve the Mercedes line only to make the Chryler line their cheap volume seller. Before Daimler, Chrysler and Dodge made some decent cars, albiet not perfect, but certainly not the worst. It'll take years to mend the damage caused by Daimler and hopefully they will survive and in turn buy out Daimler and reciprocate.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Look,

        I'm no union fan but let's be honest here, what did Daimler do for Chrysler? They bled them dry of a large cash position and their management green lighted horrible, cost cutting designs because they knew they'd dump whatever was left when the ship started sinking, which is exactly what happened.

        The truth is, there are many reasons all three of the domestics are in the predicament they're in and one of them is union greed. They waited until the axe was looming over their companies' heads before making any consessions, but that isn't the only reason for the problems. There was some poor management, there are unfair trade agreements, there was an influx of competition that was bound to cut into their market share, there was a fuel increase overnight that almost completely killed the sales of their profitable lines, and their is now an economic collapse.

        But to pin the problems all on the union is a bit shortsighted.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I did open my comment saying it was "one reason".
        I didn't think that angle has been looked into enough ,given the the UAW track record.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Before everyone is so quick to blame the UAW, let me ask.... how did Ford manage to make 4.6 billion dollars of profit back in 1987. Was the UAW not around that year?

      NO, of course not.

      So if it's proven that you can make billions of dollars of profit WITH the UAW, then what's the difference?

      In Ford's case, CEO Jacques Nasser gambled that it was more profitable to purchase "luxury" car brands and sell those vehicles, because of a higher profit per vehicle. This misdirected the company's money away from continued product development of it's core brand.

      Combine that poor decision, by management, with the current volitility in the price of gasoline, the credit crunch, the loss of home values, and whatever other factors that are going on, and it's a very bad situation.

      How can you put the blame solely on the UAW, when it's been shown that a company can make a profit working with the union, and these are the same workers who are assembling world-class quality products??

      Now, I agree, everyone must "chip in" to get through these hard times, and that means everyone from the CEO to the line worker, to the creditors, to everyone.

      My simple point: Ford, GM, and Chrysler can make a profit working with the UAW, but that no one is guilt-free, and the "pain" will be spread across the board.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let me say this "right up front".
      I retired from GM, 2yrs. ago, with 37+ yrs. of service. I worked as many hours as I possibly could, 6 & 7 days a week and up to 60 to 70+ hours a week. I never
      made more than $95K/yr., but it was not for lack of trying!

      Unions may not be the answer now, but:
      #1 - Many Americans wouldn't have their current wage scale -
      #2 - Many Americans wouldn't have their current holidays -
      #3 - Many Americans wouldn't have their current benefits(health,etc.) -
      #4 - Many Americans wouldn't have their current safe working conditions -
      #5 - Many Americans wouldn't have their current retirement plans -
      If it were not for the Unions that sought improvements in all of these areas & more.

      Yeah, maybe the unions aren't the answer, but Heaven help our children if you think that the Corporations will always treat them as assets to the business.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Heaven help our children if they think business exists to provide union workers with jobs and benefits.

        Somehow I doubt that every last degree of normalcy in the workplace is due to collective bargaining that treats each and every worker exactly the same.

        Somehow I doubt all of your co-workers worked as hard as you did... yet Union bargaining depends on all of you being compensated and treated exactly the same.

        Why did you feel the need to give up so much of your life to your employer? For 95K? Your work ethic is not in question, but your sanity might be.

        The majority of your waking hours for years, and all you got was some money? I hope the money is worth it.

        Maybe if you were evaluated on your capabilities, rather than just being a number on a list of union employees, you could have made enough money without giving every waking hour of your life for years to a company, and some of those waking hours could have been given to something more personally meaningful than wage slavery.

        You claim that Unions have given so much to the worker. It sounds like you gave all of those things right back.

        And it is a bullcrap straw-man argument anyway. Most benefits were the result of wage-fixing during WWII, where the government froze wages, and benefits became the bargaining chips used to compete for scarce war time laborers.

        And most of those other benefits came about in their own due course, or pre-dated industrial revolution era unionism, anyway.

        Personally, collective bargaining makes everyone into a machine of set value. I am not a machine of set value, I am an individual, and my performance is dependent on ME. If my compensation is not reflective of my performance, I find another job.
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