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Does This Look Like Sacrifice to You?

The headline in this UPI piece - heralded over on the WSJ site, too -- says, "Obama: Sacrifice needed for auto industry." It is by now old news that part of that sacrifice means GM CEO Rick Wagoner is resigning. But shouldn't Ron Gettlefinger, President of the UAW and partner in crime, also resign? He not only bears some of the blame for GM but for Chrysler and Ford, too, putting him in a unique position of culpability.

Gettlefinger, for his part, has been saying for the past 6 months that they've had enough givebacks. It's gotten so bad, though, that he had to agree to remove the clause in the contract that allowed them to get paid not to work. Wow, talk about sacrifice!

So 6 months ago we moseyed on over to The Google and typed in "UAW." On their site was a link to summaries of their most recent contracts - a link that's mysteriously gone now. Luckily, we saved it. So here it is, a link to what they said when they inked the most recent agreement with GM back in 2007. Mind you, this was as the company was by everyone's reckoning speeding headlong into a trough. The UAW release says in part:

The tentative agreement, reached at 3:05 a.m. Sept. 26, delivers solid economic gains for active and retired members, despite repeated attempts by GM to impose harsh takeaways

The agreement will deliver more than $13,000 in economic gains for a typical UAW member, including a $3,000 signing bonus, two 3 percent lump sums and a 4 percent lump sum.

Active workers will see their comprehensive health care coverage continue, with dental, hearing and other benefits improved. Retired workers will have their health benefits secured by a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA), prefunded by GM with $29.9 billion in cash and other assets. The fund can only be used to pay retiree health benefits, and will remain solvent for decades regardless of the financial condition of GM.

The proposed contract will also deliver benefits to current and future retirees, with four lump-sum payments for current retirees, and a raise in basic benefit rates, the 30-and-out supplement, temporary and interim benefits for future retirees.

Does this look like sacrifice to you?

A "senior Administration official" is quoted in this WaPo article today as saying that Wagoner's resignation was required because the company needs a "clean sheet." If the Administration is serious about that, then Wagoner's ouster leaves the job half done, or less. If they really want a "clean sheet" - and want to show the country that they're not completely beholden to the UAW - they should demand Gettlefinger's resignation as well. The UAW helped get the companies into this mess, they should bear some of the pain of getting them out.


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Comments (2)


I found the same UAW contract webpage located at www.uaw.org/contracts/07/gm/index.php If it was gone, it's back up.

Yes, but the point is that it used to be easily accessible from the home page -- touted, even, you might say. No more. it takes some digging and tenacity to find it.

Thanks for writing.

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