Bailout: Should We Or Shouldn’t We?
The UAW is making more concessions to help their industry. President Ron Gettelfinger says his members will sacrifice job security provisions and financing for retiree health care.
Currently, the average U.A.W. member costs G.M. about $74 an hour in a combination of wages, health care and the value of future benefits, like pensions. Toyota, by comparison, spends the equivalent of about $45 an hour for each of its employees in the United States.
Base wages between the Big Three and the foreign companies are roughly comparable, with a veteran U.A.W. member earning $28 an hour at the Big Three compared to about $25 an hour at Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Ky. (Toyota pays less at its other American factories.)
But the gap in labor costs becomes larger when health care, particularly for thousands of retirees and surviving spouses, and job security provisions are considered.
Mr. Gettelfinger said Wednesday that the union would suspend the much-criticized “jobs bank” program, which allows laid-off workers to continue drawing nearly full wages.
He also said the union would agree to delay the multibillion-dollar payments to a new retiree health care fund that the automakers were scheduled to start making next year.
Beyond those two concessions, Mr. Gettelfinger said the U.A.W. would be open to modifying other terms of its contracts. Changes could include reductions in wages, health care or other benefits, and would require approval from union members.
Is there enough public support to help these workers now?
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2008 Liberaland