By on April 9, 2015

2010-gm-oshawa-camaro-i01. Photo courtesy

In a move that could dismantle one of the pillars of traditional auto worker compensation, GM is seeking to end defined-benefit pension plans for new hires at its Oshawa plant.

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15 Comments on “While You Were Sleeping: April 9th, 2015...”

  • avatar

    >GM wants to end defined benefit pension plans, where employees will receive a guaranteed amount for life.

    Welcome to the 21st century. Most OEMs have been doing defined contribution for quite a while, for white collar workers anyway.

  • avatar

    Congrats to BMW for showing a little restraint. Although the article also talks about an X7 crossover bigger than the X5…

  • avatar

    Hmmmm… “The universe is unfolding as it should”… as I predicted yesterday.

    So, UNIFOR is going to blink. Defined benefit plans become history. We all knew that was coming. Its going through, that’s a given.

    My odds are looking better Derek :}

  • avatar

    The rape of the working class continues. Where would billionaires be if there were not workers to embody and give life to their companies and businesses? The “takers” are not those at the bottom of the heap, it those at the top of it.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, I think there are takers at both ends of the pile, but both ends are also essential in this world.

      Where would the workers be if the billionaires didn’t decide to risk massive amounts of capital to fund new ventures that put people to work?

      Would the Occupy Whatever movement have pooled their capital and started Tesla (not a fan, actually), or did it take Elon Musk’s massive ego and $$$? Where would Tesla workers be employed today if not Tesla? The local convenience store?

      • 0 avatar

        the problem is that the massive income inequality that we have in the US leaves the lower classes struggling just to survive. Yet there might be some major potential entrepreneurs among them who just never have a chance to pull together the kinds of resources to start worthwhile companies.

        If you’re already very wealthy, extra income isn’t going to make much difference. But if you are poor, every extra C-note makes a perceptible difference.

        You have to realize that every resource, including money, has diminishing returns. There is no societal benefit for anyone to have the incomes of the one percent, whereas there would be a huge benefit to taking some of that money to reduce poverty.

    • 0 avatar

      One has to laugh, though, that this age of the Great Liberal Corporation, whether that be Apple or Google or Microsoft, who have replaced your Fords and General Motors, the Great Conservative Corporation, we see the great displacement of the middle and lower class worker, and yet our titans of today do not get the same hassle that they are concentrating far more wealth in fewer hands, whereas General Motors and Ford sure spread that around in the good old days. General Motors once employed 600,000 US workers; Apple today employes under a hundred thousand globally.

      Carlos Slim is right – the most humanitarian thing in the world is to create jobs.

      Edit: It is hilarious that it is usually that bunch branded as evil, conservative corporations at the top of the heap that are employing more people than enlightened, left-leaning corporations.

  • avatar

    @ttacgreg I couldn’t agree with you more. The debate on that subject , could go on forever, and it has.

    However, for the here, and now, the Canadian auto workers{ UNIFOR} are fighting for their very survival. Their back is against the wall. All the placard waving, feet stomping, and threats, isn’t going to stop General Motors from closing the doors. Those days are past. Maybe future generations, will have to deal with it.

    For GM to agree to keep Oshawa Flex, and Metal Fab open, they want, uh…. make that “demand” something very sweet on the table. Defined contribution pensions, will happen

  • avatar

    Ultimately, pensions are doomed to fail. Companies go for pensions because they can pay less now and worry about defaulting on pensions 20 years down the road. Employees go for pensions because they think they can work for a tiny bit less money now and get a huge windfall later. There’s no free lunch, and the reality of the situation is that it can’t work out well in the end.

    What is so wrong with employers simply paying employees the market wage for the work done when the work is performed and letting employees do with their earned money whatever it is they want to do with their earned money.

    • 0 avatar

      Defined benefit pensions specifically are doomed. They proliferated in the days where you could build a pension scheme in the shape of a pyramid because it was assumed there would always be more workers than retirees. Massive improvements in production efficiency along with slowing population growth in general made those kinds of pensions not viable quickly.

  • avatar

    I don’t get the cheerleading here for this backward step for workers. Defined benefit pensions are/were a valuable perk, achieved through tough bargaining with strikes. Pendulum’s swung the other way now. Too many workers globally chasing too few jobs thus depressing the going rate for labor. The 1945 – 1975 Middle Class Golden Age here in the USA is looking more and more like a blip in history. At least there’s some slight upward movement at the bottom – Walmart and McD’s, but it isn’t much.

  • avatar

    Defined benefits will happen in Oshawa. If UNIFOR fights it ,GM will walk … Outside of government DB pensions are basically extinct. With an aging western world, I would argue that they will be eliminated by governments after the next financial crisis ( at least for “future employees” )

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