UAW: Job Bank "not Gone yet but It's Almost Gone"
We’ve been harping on the UAW for not making concessions either at this week’s congressional testimony or subsequent press conferences. After all, how is congress supposed to take your endorsement of a $25b bailout seriously when you are part of the problem and yet refuse to give up a single iota? Well, by passing the buck (for now), Congress has apparently convinced Detroit that it has to offer something, and the union boys are starting to understand that they have to be part of the solution. At least for PR purposes. The UAW’s controversial job bank program has been widely floated as a possible concession, and apparently Gettelfinger wants folks to know that GM isn’t paying his union brothers $77/hr to do nothing. “It’s not gone yet but it’s almost gone,” Gettelfinger tells the Detroit News. “We’re on the verge of eliminating that provision.” So, why does the DetN lede their story with “reports that the United Auto Workers union is in talks to dismantle the controversial jobs bank program are premature, according to people familiar with the situation”?
So, we know that Congress’s plan to ask for a plan is stirring up the shit in Motown. Ford and GM are in negotiations with the UAW, but they “have not specifically discussed eliminating the jobs bank.” Gettelfinger’s “almost gone” quote referrs to the fact that the job bank was reduced in the last Union contract. Sort of. In the past, laid-off workers could be paid for nothing indefinitely as long as they didn’t turn down two job offers within 50 miles of their factory. The 2007 contract imposes a two-year time limit, and workers are out of the jobs bank if they turn down one job within 50 miles or four jobs anywhere in the country, according to Forbes. Now there are about 1,000 union members in jobs banks, which means that it’s “almost gone” compared to the 12k of about three years ago.
If you still believe the UAW is merely defending victimized workers, take a look at this informational packet from the 2007 negotiating round ( Washington Post PDF). It notes that the JOB and SUB (supplemental unemployment benefit) funding cap was elevated to $4.1b, and that if those funds are exhausted by 2011, the Guaranteed Income Stream (GIS) would be “immediately reinstated.” I’ve had a union job before (SEIU) and let me tell you, we had none of these perks. If any of the B&B out there have some first hand info on these programs, we’d love to hear about it.
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