By on November 21, 2008

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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17 Comments on “UAW: Job Bank “not gone yet but it’s almost gone”...”

  • avatar

    I always wondered just how many of these job bankers are actually doing “things” when they arrive each day? Are they really reading papers and dorking off, or are they put to work with United Way and Focus Hope to help in Detroit’s destroyed core???

  • avatar


    Union rules prohibits them from doing anything but their job (the one assigned to them). Those poor souls can’t do anything else legally.

  • avatar


    That type of work would not be in their job descriptions. Before Delphi closed up in Anderson, IN, it was nothing but a days worth of butt time. Some of the few entreprenuial folks actually ran side businesses out of the jobs bank.

  • avatar

    Did someone put “GM” and “China” in a title again? I can’t seem to post.

  • avatar

    Does anyone remember episode of “Sopranos”, when mobsters were sitting in Newark looking at construction and workers in order to collect? That was the definition of “job bank”.

  • avatar

    Guaranteed Income Stream??? Talk about socialism!

  • avatar

    “In the past, laid-off workers could be paid for nothing indefinitely … there are about 1,000 union members in jobs banks … compared to the 12k of about three years ago.”

    With aplogies to Woody Guthrie, Utah Phillips
    and Pete Seeger…

    Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,
    I’m sticking to the union,
    I’m sticking to the union.
    Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,
    I’m sticking to the union
    ’til the day I die.

    [Tune: “Redwing”, trad.]

  • avatar

    They’ll need to make larger concessions than this.

  • avatar

    I’m not going to rip the UAW for doing its job: getting the most for its members. That being said, CEO’s cant be the only ones thinking about not killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if states started a jobs bank program for their residents? Maybe we can get some pot holes filled in a reasonable amount of time?

  • avatar

    I’m acknowledging TTAC’s far right bias, but really, do you have to keep promulgating the “$77/hour” myth?

    How many people compute the ‘real cost’ of their wage, particularly hourly workers?

    Give the Freeper ideology a much needed rest.

  • avatar

    I am currently employed by one of the “Big” 3. The one that starts with a G. Anyway, I am in the job bank. I am still at my plant, I’m not on layoff status. And I haven’t sat a single minute since being placed in the bank. I am on the floor, working, either covering vacations, sick leaves or absences. Once you are placed in the bank you basically have to do what they tell you to. Many do not realize that we were understaffed going into this, so extra bodies are just that. We are there to free up “more important people” ie: UAW reps, or people with knowledge of the entire line. Those people are presently called CI’s or continous improvement. They were previously referred to as AR’s or absentee replacements. New contracts, new names. But, they, obviously, have more knowledge regarding jobs, therefore more “valuable” than me. Any other questions?

  • avatar


    You’re not exactly the type of “jobs bank” employee that people are pissed off about.

    This is the type that people are pissed off about:

    G.M.’s Jobs Bank Looms as Major Obstacle on Road to Survival

    Published: March 28, 2006

    At the General Motors assembly plant on the barren outskirts of Oklahoma City there are 2,300 reminders of why the company needs to persuade tens of thousands of workers to take the buyouts it offered last week.

    Each day, workers report for duty at the plant and pass their time reading, watching television, playing dominoes or chatting. Since G.M. shut down production there last month, these workers have entered the Jobs Bank, industry’s best form of job insurance. It pays idled workers a full salary and benefits even when there is no work for them to do.

  • avatar

    Lesseee…1000 workers * $70/hr * 2000hrs = 140 million/per year for doing NOTHING. Yeah, then they complain that a guy who actually went to high school and college makes a few million a year…jagoffs.

    • 0 avatar

      i hate the idea of the job bank and all that it stand for, but i think the 70+ dollars an hour is not realistic, from what i’ve read about the workers the wages are more in tune with 20.00 or less an hour, or at least in that neighborhood. i know years ago the union was supposed to help workers by getting better wages and safer places to work, but with the job market the way it is today i would hope we could do without the unions. but then again, if we do away with an entity like that we would have more unemployed, the problem is when we create anything like unions or for instance, the federal income tax, it takes a life of it’s own and would cause major problems to get rid of.

  • avatar
    Dr. No

    Largely symbolic in $ terms, the jobs bank has to go. No ifs, ands or buts. For UAW to be “considering” its elimination is why I am coming around to Chap 11. Are you kidding me??? This is BRAIN DAMAGE not to cut this welfare.

    Now that the news of GM’s perilous state is front page news and blather for talking heads at CNN, CNBC, etc., the stigma of bankruptcy is losing its punch. Filing C11, on strictly financial terms, is probably the way to go now. But they need killer marketing to keep customers inside the F&I office. Perhaps putting warranty reserves in trust to shore up fears of solvency later. It will be a hard sell.

    But, Wagoner doesn’t have enough tricks in his bag to do this on his own. It will take a magician, and I for one am tired on Rick’s lousy card tricks. C11 will clean house like nothing else –it will be no sleight of hand.

  • avatar

    “… it’s almost gone”

    -said the Scorpion to the Frog.

    otherwise: So Dr. No… you’ve lived to ‘Die Another Day’.

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