GM Tiers the UAW's Playhouse Down
As common sense suggests, GM's new "two-tier" contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW) works best (at least for the automaker) if the majority of their employees are on the lower tier. The Detroit Free Press reports that GM is using its corporate wiles to move its workforce's wage structure in a decidedly downwards direction. To that end, the automaker is dropping an entire shift at their Pontiac pickup truck assembly plant beginning in May. It's just one of three layoffs GM's planning under the new UAW contract that will eventually divest the domestic of several thousand jobs. GM claims the cuts are "to keep production in line with demand" and deny it's part of a plan to prime high paid hourly workers for a buyout– so they can hire cheaper "second-tier" replacements. Credit Suisse's Chris Cearso suspects "GM will be back before too long with an announcement of an attrition program geared to induce current noncore workers to retire so they can be replaced with new Tier Two workers at about one-third the cost." RN auto analyst Erich Merkle agrees. "I think GM wants to put as many people as possible into retirement and get young hungry workers, that are still treating their acne, in there at the lower rate." GM has responded to talk of buyouts or other attrition programs by labeling it "absolutely wild speculation." The UAW can't claim they didn't see this coming. And if they didn't, they sure as Hell should have.