GM's $29.9b UAW VEBA Shrouded in Secrecy

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
gm s 29 9b uaw veba shrouded in secrecy

The Detroit Free Press reports that U.S. District Court Judge Robert H. Cleland has granted the United Auto Workers (UAW) and GM a gag order preventing either side from revealing the details of their $29.9b VEBA health care superfund. Cleland deemed the cone of silence necessary to protect financial, proprietary and personal information (?). To that end, he forbade the release of "documents containing information that would cause named plaintiffs, prospective class members, the UAW, GM or any other present or current employees of the UAW or GM 'annoyance, embarrassment or oppression.'" Well guess what? The UAW rank and file rightly consider the gag order a major "annoyance," as it prevents them from knowing how far up the river they've been sold. "These workers have paid for that plan over the years with forfeiture of pay, and cost of living and many other concessions that were made over the years," Jerry Tucker, a former UAW International executive board member, kvetched. "They are entitled to know everything about the plan." Given the union movement's long and ignoble history of fraud, corruption, theft, mismanagement, extortion, bribery and violence, he may have a point. This is the second time Judge Cleland has agreed to keep union members in the dark about "their" VEBA; he issued a similar order for the UAW-Chrysler filing on November 15. Ford's VEBA-related judicial filing hasn't yet gone dark, but it's only a matter of time. For shame.

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  • GS650G GS650G on Jan 08, 2008

    Unions are little socialist micro governments. Almost marxist in nature. The law of supply and demand, indeed the law of the jungle, is lost on the "members" who are led by semi-elected overlords, and replaced by a warm soft blanket of care giving. It's their VEBA and if they get ripped off by the Union it's their problem. They can take it up with the justice department. GM did what every major company is doing and that is letting themselves (and stockholders) off the hook for endless benefits for people who no longer make them any profit. We're told how there is a responsibility towards retirees, well maybe the retirees had a personal responsibility to save for their future, protect their health, and plan their own golden years. Kinda like the rest of us.

  • Ralph SS Ralph SS on Jan 08, 2008

    He who has the money...

  • Mykeliam Mykeliam on Jan 08, 2008

    How about this.... The Democratatic President, Hilary Clinton, has just signed into law a historic piece of legislation. The new Universal Health Care Bill is now law. "UUhhhh Hey Ron, what do we do with all of this cash we got from the auto makers???"

  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Jan 08, 2008

    mikey, The practice of union bosses looking out for themselves is a live and well: I am not union, by any means, but I do think that the leadership is more interested in filling their pockets than protecting the rank and file. I guess the top leadership is setting the example for the shop chairpersons.