UAW '07 Contract Negotiations: No Surrender!
I may be the only American automotive journalist who thinks the United Auto Workers (UAW) won't make any significant concessions in their new contracts with The Big Two Point Five. Window dressing? Absolutely. I fully expect to read breathless accounts of breakthough announcements– and discover familiar pay postponements, paper shuffling and prevarication. Genuine, honest-to-God, we’ll reduce the amount of money we’re draining from your coffers concessions? Never. And then I read Sharon Terlep’s piece in the Detroit News– “UAW: Expect Sacrifice”– and changed my mind. For five minutes.
I’m not saying Terlep’s article was pure propaganda, but if it’d been a bag of cocaine, the dealer would have cut it several times to prevent cardiac arrest. The writer assembled the usual suspects to predict the familiar bacon saving concessions: Big Ron Gettelfinger, UAW Vice Presidents Cal Rapson and Bob King, and GM spokesman Dan Flores.
"Sacrifice," "put aside the adversarial approach," "our fates are linked;" yada, yada, yada. I mean, they would say that wouldn’t they? The UAW and The Big Two Point Five’s management have been in bed for so long they have to turn every thirty minutes to avoid sores.
Meanwhile, testimony from the sharp end gave Terlep’s game changed analysis some major oomph: “’If we don't make a profit, we don't have a plant,’ said James Kaster, president of UAW Local 1714, which represents workers at GM's factory in Lordstown, Ohio. The plant has a program under way to educate workers on why GM's financial success should matter to them.”
Now THAT’S convincing stuff. Well kind of. I mean, can you imagine the “education” involved? “So, explain to me again why my salary and benefits get whacked because the guys upstairs green light crap cars.”
As is the way of such things, Kaster’s quotelette only implies a willingness to make financial concessions. As Terlep’s piece progresses, the front line rhetoric begins to soften and stink, like goat cheese left in a hot sun.
“’If the U.S. auto industry is going to survive, it's going to have to change, and we're going to have to change with it’ said Skip Dziedzic, president of UAW Local 1866 representing a Delphi Corp. plant in Oak Creek, Wis.”
In this case, the reader is left wondering if the "change" in question has any monetary value whatsoever, or if it simply means that more UAW workers will get more payoffs to sit on the sidelines and watch Delphi amp-up its foreign factories.
And then… “’It's very delicate this year,’ said Jim Stoufer, president of UAW Local 249, at Ford's plant outside St. Louis. ‘Common sense tells you this is going to be rough. We are going to have to play ball with Ford and keep them competitive. But there is going to come a line that we won't cross.’
That line is, of course, a picket line. Think it won’t happen? Neither do I. Again, GM’s “health care concessions” are the new template.
You know; announce that you’ve hammered-out a historic agreement to trim $3b from the compensation package, and then shove $3b into a union bank account and call it good. Or say that workers are forgoing a pay raise, and then earmark the money for health care benefits. That sort of thing.
The actual line which the UAW won't cross is easy enough to identify: their retired and active members’ current salary and benefits. The union and its paymasters can wrangle all they like about working rules, new workers’ pay and bennies, retirement buyouts, etc. They can monkey around with who gets the money how and when. But there is no way that a single one of the UAW’s current or retired workforce is going to take a major hit on their wallet.
By the same token, The Detroit News can tout the UAW’s “pragmatic stance” and the “unprecedented pressures” facing The Big Two Point Five. But no one’s cutting nothin’.
It all boils down to a simple, inescapable, unavoidable, unanswerable, inarguable question: why should a union member take a cut when the bosses are sitting pretty? UAW workers know that GM CEO Rick Wagoner and his minions are wearing golden parachutes, banking millions. In fact, Rabid Rick’s retirement plan is bankruptcy-proof. Try explaining THAT to the rank and file.
The Big Two Point Five can’t afford their current agreements and they know it. They can’t get out of them and they know it. Their real plan? Weasel, cut and run. Ask the PR flacks how their employers can bear the burden of union-based legacy costs, and they talk about a “new spirit of cooperation,” the value of automation, and the great gains in production efficiency. Meanwhile, they’re all busy moving vehicle production out of the U.S.– even as non-union transplants move production in.
I once heard detente described as a confrontation between a blind mongoose and a paralyzed cobra. Need I say any more?
[Read the original Detroit New article here.]
Nino on Jan 23, 2007mikey: January 19th, 2007 at 2:23 pm Active and retired employee benifits and pay? Your talking sacred ground.Your right RF every thing else is on the table. but the UAW and CAW aint moving on that one. We are gonna give and give big We all know it.Lets keep in mind we didn’t make the stupid decisions.GM is in deep poo,poo cause of enept,incompetant,greedy management. The fist line of the contract reads Management will run the company AS IT SEES FIT. Management could of dealt with unions years ago.Management could of kicked the ass of the dealers. for p—ing off millons of buyers,How many people won’t buy GM ever, cause of some a–hole of a dealer? Has GM management ever addresed the problem of thier bloated,top heavy army of incompetant higher management? The answer is no to all of the above. And now they want the active and retired employees to give up thier hard fought gains? GM has proven in the past,they can’t or won’t make tough decisions. I don’t see things changing much in 2007 negotiations. RFs analysis is fairly acurate.The new hires will take a beating lots more buy outs.But not much of a change for the active and retired work force I don't think that anyone held a gun to GM's head when they agreed to UAW demands and I feel that they should live up to them. The Big 2.5 should do EVERYTHING that they can to shore up their business BEFORE they ask for concessions from the UAW. Mikey is right on this.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
- Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
- Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
- THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
- ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?