By on January 24, 2009

Just when I thought I was too cynical for this world, the world proves that I’m not cynical enough. To wit: The Detroit Free Press headline proclaims “Chrysler jobs bank ends Monday.” Seems clear enough, right? The Congress demands that ChryCo end the United Auto Workers’ Jobs Bank (95 percent pay and full benefits for not working). ChryCo and the UAW end the Jobs Bank. Done. Sure. I’ve pointed out many a time that the UAW hasn’t given back anything without a quid pro quo. “Historic health care giveback” my ass. How about a couple of billion bucks up front? So anyway, I’m scanning this article, looking for the catch. And by God, here come paragraph five, six, seven, etc. “Chrysler told employees in a letter Friday that workers now in the jobs bank would be placed on ‘enhanced layoff,’ effective Monday, until a final agreement has been reached with the UAW. Workers going into enhanced layoff were advised to apply for jobless benefits and told they will keep medical, dental and group life insurance during that time. [UAW ChryCo Veep General] Holiefield advised members that the changes are temporary until negotiations are completed. ‘It is important that everyone understand that these provisions will only be in effect until such time as the mandates from the U.S. Treasury Department have been clarified.” So it ain’t really over ’til… the workers or Chrysler die. Oy.

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19 Comments on “Chrysler Ends Jobs Bank on Monday. Calls It Something Else. Will Reinstate ASAP....”


  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ RF

    You are too cynical. Somewhere you think (as might be reasonable to expect) that there is a “plan” to all this, even if it isn’t being revealed.

    The whole thing has more the appearance of a rolling accident than strategy……

    It’s the Muppet Show after-all!

  • avatar
    mcs

    GettelZyte – For Natural Layoff Enhancement. With Smiling Ron as their spokesman.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    The UAW like the CAW here in Ontario feel they dont need to give anything back as thy have suffered enough over the many years of Strikes etc, etc. so they wont Budge period.

  • avatar
    Arkmen

    Car companies have come and gone–not all at once. I’d favor some help. But I’d think the workers and companies should work with the reality. The greed is so bad it makes people look like perverts. That or they are mentally ill. That’s the problem.

    The worker that is mentioned in this article is in the job bank for 4 years? A welder. Probably voted for Obama, but not looking for change either. Does that make sense? Sometime ago, that big outfit in Milwaukee, I’m drawing a blank, was looking for 800 welders. Couldn’t get the help.

    Big problem is wages have been flat for 20 years. The auto workers are the only ones who’s pay has gone up over the years. 23-something dollars is a fair wage. I don’t have a problem with that. You work in the foundry or on the assembly line and see what I mean. Don’t seem fair compared to under-payed workers today. I was making 6 or 7$ at AMC back in 1976. Now they are making about 5 times that. What have the CEO’s experienced wage-wise? Their pay is much more than 5X. I don’t have a problem with CEO pay unless it’s sick greed.

    Problem with crazy people they don’t think they are crazy, but I don’t want to perpetuate any myths.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Chrysler’s corporate culture of paying unnecessary employees to sit around and do nothing indicates that Fiat may in fact be their ideal partner.

    Now if the Chrysler employees can only learn to sit around at cafes drinking coffee instead of sitting around at home drinking beer.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    If I’m reading this right, people on “enhanced layoff” get benefits but not salaries (but they can collect unemployment from the government). That’s somewhat different than those in the jobs bank, in which they get both.

  • avatar
    Luther

    ‘It is important that everyone understand that these provisions will only be in effect until such time as the mandates from the U.S. Treasury Department have been clarified.”

    Translation: “We have to wait a while for that new tax-evading Treasury Secretary Parasite to over-turn this provision”

  • avatar
    br549

    A couple of things from someone who knows:

    All job bank employees will be transferred to “enhanced layoff” status, which means that they will experience little to no reduction in pay. If they have been in the bank long enough to qualify for state unemployment, they will apply for that and SUB will cover the rest, up to around 85% of 40 hours. In my case, it was never quite a full 85%. If they don’t qualify for unemployment, i.e. they haven’t been in the bank long enough to earn the requisite amount of real wages, then SUB will pay the full 85%.

    As to the UAW willfully negotiating to pay idled workers, that was not the underlying philosophy. The Jobs Bank was created for one reason and one reason only: to prevent offshoring. The UAW wants its workers to work. They reasoned that if there was a Jobs Bank, then the company would see to it that, indeed, everyone would be working. They never dreamed that Chrysler, et al, would be willing to pay its workers for years to paint murals, deliver donuts, or sit at home.

    The Big 3 have had various tools at their disposal to prevent the growth of the Jobs Bank, such as standing buyout offers, etc. For some reason, they chose not to use them. And don’t rag on the idea of severance. That is common, you know.

    I know the Jobs Bank is a real oddity, and unheard of in any other setting. But lax management is as much to blame for the debacle as anything.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ br549

    (The UAW) reasoned that if there was a Jobs Bank, then the company would see to it that … everyone would be working. They never dreamed that Chrysler, et al, would be willing to pay its workers for years to paint murals, deliver donuts, or sit at home.

    There’s a revelation in there that I just can’t put my finger on. Some-one had to know that the future viability of the scheme and the parent company would one day be impossible to sustain (or justify).

    The Big 3 have had various tools at their disposal to prevent the growth of the Jobs Bank, such as standing buyout offers, etc. For some reason, they chose not to use them.

    Threats of industrial action perhaps?

  • avatar
    63CorvairSpyder

    no_slushbox said, “Now if Chrysler employees can only learn to sit around at cafes drinking coffee instead of sitting around at home drinking beer”.

    Slush, this is actually a proper idea as long as it is Starbucks coffee. Seems Bucks may be in need of a bailout soon and if the jobsbank auto workers drank enough latte it might “stimulate” both Starbucks and themselves.

  • avatar
    scartooth

    I am glad to see that Chryler takes responsibilty for their most valuable asset and thats their workforce.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I am glad to see that Chryler takes responsibilty for their most valuable asset and thats their workforce.

    They showed their love by shipping their jobs to Mexico and paying them to sit at home.

  • avatar
    50merc

    The politically incorrect truth is a worker who has no job but still gets paid is not an asset (except historically or potentially); he’s a liability.

  • avatar
    bozwood

    br549 wrote: :

    “All job bank employees will be transferred to “enhanced layoff” status, which means that they will experience little to no reduction in pay. If they have been in the bank long enough to qualify for state unemployment, they will apply for that and SUB will cover the rest, up to around 85% of 40 hours. In my case, it was never quite a full 85%. If they don’t qualify for unemployment, i.e. they haven’t been in the bank long enough to earn the requisite amount of real wages, then SUB will pay the full 85%.”

    that’s real nice for the auto workers. because all the rest of the people who are laid off/unemployed have to actually report any earnings the receive and promptly get any unemployment benefits reduced by that amount. of course that does not include sub payments. so, these non-working/paid auto workers get sub payments and unemployment checks too. nice, very nice; just one more thing to add to the line of bullsh** that just keeps piling up.

  • avatar
    Arkmen

    br549wrote:

    “I know the Jobs Bank is a real oddity, and unheard of in any other setting. But lax management is as much to blame for the debacle as anything.”

    There is something similar I heard of br549. It’s a union creation called the “Rubber Room,” in NYC, I think it is. There is a building where teachers go to sit and collect pay. The teachers are considered too unstable to teach. I think I heard 200 teachers.

    The political machinations of this stuff are astounding. I’ve always wondered why we were destroying and re-building other countries during the Cold War, while everything here goes to wrecking ball. I’ve worked in factories in the rust belt that had 100-year-old equipment. These factories are gone now.

    People don’t care? Is it apathy? I’ve met people who don’t give whit for anything it seems. These people! Their attitude is “I got mine.” “I got mine.” Families are busted up. The gov’t is fragmented. Greed. Nuts.

    br549 wrote:

    “As to the UAW willfully negotiating to pay idled workers, that was not the underlying philosophy. The Jobs Bank was created for one reason and one reason only: to prevent offshoring. The UAW wants its workers to work.”

    This is a very troubling problem. I recall it was some years ago the CEO of Campbell’s Soup wanted the law changed so he could take his money out of the country. He wanted to “off-shore” his money. That seems un-American, don’t it? He might argue, like the automakers, that the punitive tax and other impairments to profits are un-American. We need a comprehensive understanding, not this kind of urination contest. Why is it so hard for business to operate? Why? Why? Why? Sound like a child, don’t I?

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    br549 :
    January 25th, 2009 at 6:58 am

    The Jobs Bank was created for one reason and one reason only: to prevent offshoring.

    I thought the reason was slightly different. At time it was created, Roger Smith et al were trying to replace everybody with robots. The jobs bank was enacted to discourage that.

  • avatar

    I have it as well as every policeman, fireman, postal carrier and teacher and every government worker its called a guaranteed work week.

  • avatar
    Arkmen

    no_slushbox wrote:

    “Chrysler’s corporate culture of paying unnecessary employees to sit around and do nothing indicates that Fiat may in fact be their ideal partner.”

    Not to crack wise, I think it is more blue-collar than corporate culture. I agree its too expensive. Workers should give up this perk right now. They should have some kind of “escape” clause. Execs don’t drink much beer with their fillet, I’d guess. Thye don’t swing a sledge hammer in the foundry, or go home with their arms on fire from operating a pneumatic ratchet. Then come the lean times. Production has always been up and down. Companies come and go. Then your out of the street laid-off. It’s a traumatic thing. Assembly line doesn’t keep on running. “Merry-Go-Round” some called it. That’s a rough life. You ever see that footage of workers at the Ford Plant back in the early days? Give you some idea of how hard people work.

    Yeah, most of those “unnecessary” workers are aware of it, that they can be unnecessary during the down-turns. They care about their future. Most of them are grateful to have a good paying job. Not all workers are strict unionists, all the time. They care about the company and the work they do. You can even say many of the workers are loyal to the company.

    Geotpf wrote:

    “I thought the reason was slightly different. At time it was created, Roger Smith et al were trying to replace everybody with robots. The jobs bank was enacted to discourage that.”

    Robots? Man, I’d hate to figure that one out. Way over my head. I don’t have the math background.

  • avatar
    Arkmen

    Sherman Lin wrote:

    “I have it as well as every policeman, fireman, postal carrier and teacher and every government worker its called a guaranteed work week.”

    Geez, I went to sleep and woke up in France, Sherman. Fiat will be right at home! We can add this to the list, right along with 14 weeks vacation for Congressmen and Senators.

    I think the pendulum has swung too far. You know coal miners used to get paid only for coal in the bucket? Other things, like shoring up, etc was unpaid work. Now we see paid leisure. I think we need a JOb Bank or something! Googly googly.

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