Gettelfinger: UAW "Insulted" by AA/GM Offer

John Horner
by John Horner
gettelfinger uaw insulted by aa gm offer

The Associate Press reports [via Yahoo] that UAW leader Gettelfinger was "insulted" to learn that American Axle's plant closure plans include the shut-down of the Cheektowaga, N.Y factory– in addition to the two plants (Detroit and Tonawanda) already sacrificed at the altar of, dare I say it, profit. And get this: King Ron says "he hadn't wanted GM involved." Say what? Big Ron didn't want GM to kick in $200m in extra wages for the guys? "Many of its U.S. competitors won deals from the United Auto Workers to pay newly hired workers about $14 per hour. But American Axle workers say they won't take that big of a pay cut from a company that made $37m last year." So let me get this straight. As long as the company is making any profits the UAW isn't willing to negotiate competitive deals? By my count, American Axle has six US factories (including the three on the chopping block), two in Mexico plus one each in Brazil, China, England, Scotland and Poland. The longer the strike oontinues, the more likely it is that American Axle will ship tooling from its US factories to the others around the world– if it hasn't done so already. Sure there would be disruption, but strikes are plenty disruptive. Seen any Mexican or Chinese auto parts factories go on strike lately?

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  • Netrun Netrun on May 12, 2008

    Despite my dad working in the UAW for almost 40 years, I'm not a big supporter of theirs. In fact, I think they've gotten too fat, dumb, and lazy to be of much good. For me, keeping manufacturing in the States is simple: make sure you add more value to the pipeline than you take home. Year after year. It's much harder for management to buy into a long-term plan requiring investment into their workers, but that's where the future efficiencies and productivity is going to come from. Likewise, the worker has to be interested in working hard to come up with ways to improve how things are done instead of developing a feeling of entitlement to high paying, simple labor jobs. If, instead, you keep making your products better, for less money, with better quality, then no Chinese/Indian worker has a chance at your job. For me it's the same concept as the future value of money: if your future value as an employee includes many additional efficiency improvements then your future worth is going to be much higher than your current pay. The UAW (originally) saved the common worker from a hellish workplace that was trying to kill him only to have insulated that same worker from normal market forces so completely that it's difficult for reality to seep through. Reality has gotten really harsh now and it's costing lots of people their jobs. I say these jobs being lost now should have been naturally shed over the years as manufacturing improvements were made.

  • MikeInCanada MikeInCanada on May 12, 2008

    Re: Geotpf The UAW had no choice but to strike in this case. The company was asking for a 50% pay cut. No union could accept that. Would you like to have your pay cut in half? I would disagree - yes, the union has several 'options' or choices. They picked the strike option - by force of habit, or preference, or who knows.... The bottom line is if the wage being offered is not acceptable - then quit. If a company can hire people at that rate, and you can't find comparable work at that old rate, then you have to ask yourself if maybe you were overpaid. If a company can not fill it's ranks at the lower rate, or the quality of labor is such that it's just not worth it, then a company would be well served to increase wages and attract better (skilled) staff. As I've said previously, if my employer cut my pay by 50% I'd quit! And I'd steal as many office supplies as I could carry on the way out the door (after deleting 5 years of email, of course). Regarding AA threat to cut multiple factories perhaps they were giving the Union a choice. Higher wage rates (then first proposed) but, fewer workers. The bottom line is that the cost of labor at AA is going down, just the way it is being reduced is the real variable.

  • on May 12, 2008

    As MikeInCanada already said, no I wouldn't take a pay cut of 50%. I would immediately start looking for work elsewhere and quit as soon as I got another job that paid more. The problem for these UAW workers is they probably won't be able to find a job elsewhere that pays more. Is that AA's fault? Should AA pay significantly more than the open market says the workers are worth? Why?

  • DearS DearS on May 12, 2008

    Its not my job to come to a conclusion for someone. Its not my job to find out what someone is entitled to. Its not my job to tell someone what they car dare to feel, think, do or see. The UAW and the executives have a right to their own choice, they are not forced to care about anyone's opinions. Personally I can clearly see why its all logical, what each side is doing. Its not the executives' job to worry about the UAWs welfare, Its not the UAWs job to keep the executives' integrity jesus like, and Its not my job to decide anything for them. Lets not be naive, many folks have little use for each others values. If I were an executive, I'd do my job according to believes not TTAC or The UAWs. Criticism wont mean scuat, I listen to reasoning. Now why might an executive find it worth his while to make less money? How he can he be forced to take less money? Criticism perhaps, although unlikely. They do not need to be politicians to advance. Now the UAWs is in talks with executives and owners who are looking about for their bests interests (making more money?) to the best of their ability. The UAWs is looking out for their best interests to the best of their (not mine) abilities. I think many individual UAW members can possibly make 50% less money or similar without well the UAW. Most I think can be ok without the UAWs. Poorer but happy. If they dont know that, its not anyones job to tell them. So why does anyone want to worry about the UAWs again? because its sad? I'm sure we sad individuals have plenty of others to help. Myanmar for example.