Soliders of Solidarity: The Truth About the UAW Jobs Bank

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
soliders of solidarity the truth about the uaw jobs bank

Greg Shotwell is my kinda guy. He’s a GM employee, United Auto Workers member and the founder of the Soldiers of Solidarity pressure group. I don’t agree with half of what he says, but man does he know how to say it. “When the tantrums are over, President Bush will appoint a ‘Car Czar’ to strong arm the ranks into a marching band for martyrdom-layoffs, plant closings, bank-ruptured dealers,” Shotwell writes in an advance copy of his next polemic, attained by TTAC. “It’s uncanny how heavy handed politicians are with irony. A Russian title for the federal agent assigned to dictate demands to the auto industry? What next? Hammers and sickles for hood ornaments? But don’t worry, Wagoner, Nardelli, and Mullaly won’t be hawking their options at the low end. They’ll fleece the cons and field dress the union. Before you know it, they’ll be bitching about taxes and regulations and clearing their nostrils with Ben Franklins.” Shotwell is just warming up his rhetorical Howitzer. And the jobs’ bank is in the crosshairs..

“The Center for Human Resources [CHR] is a non profit, tax exempt corporation funded by General Motors. [Ford and Chrysler have similar s-corporations that pay off UAW office rats.] Approximately thirty percent of appointed UAW-GM staff salaries, benefits, and expenses are reimbursed to the UAW International by the CHR. On May 18, 2001 the Detroit Free Press published an investigative article about joint funds: ‘A Shroud of Secrecy Surrounds Joint Funds.’

“UAW-GM told the Internal Revenue Service that $85.6 million of the $186.9 million it spent in 1999, or 46 percent, was for ‘management,’ or ‘overhead, expenses.’ Which sounds excessive, but ‘Union officials say there are adequate checks and balances within the centers: No money can be spent without the approval of both union and corporation.’

Management and overhead exceeds 40% because they place two people, one union and one management, on every job. And they like to party. ‘Joint-funds business also takes hundreds of UAW officials to the Riviera Resort and Racquet Club in Palm Springs, Calif. Hotel officials say UAW members and auto company representatives fill the 475-bed hotel every January, and at least one week a month through March.’

The reason that Gettelfinger can dismantle the Job Bank without the approval of the members is because joint funds was never ratified by the members. Joint funds is “a contract within the contract” between the companies and the UAW Staff.

In 2006 the president of UAW Local 2151 was approached by the plant manager and the personnel director. Management wanted to put all the local union appointees into the Job Bank. Since they would be paid out of a different set of books, it would make the plant’s bottom line look better. To his credit, the Local Union President, Robb Betts, refused. He didn’t think it sounded ethical. At which point he was informed that ‘everybody else is doing it.’ Robb said, ‘That doesn’t make it right.’

If we are going to eliminate Job Bank, we should concede all the joint funds and dissolve the CHR and its counterparts at Ford and Chrysler. The entire jointness apparatus with its thousands of appointees should be dissolved. UAW staffers can be funneled down the Job Bank Drain with the rest of the rank & file.”

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2 of 8 comments
  • VLAD VLAD on Dec 11, 2008

    He makes the best argument yet for not giving them a dime. Not one workers job will be saved, taxpayer money will just go to the organized crime like management - UAW structure.

  • Tesla deathwatcher Tesla deathwatcher on Dec 12, 2008

    One news report said Gettelfinger flew to both hearings on commercial airlines. It didn't say what class, first or coach.

  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.