Remember the Chrysler “hedge fund investors” that President Obama berated on national TV? Among these people labeled as “no goodniks” by the President were organizations such as the the Indiana State Teachers’ Retirement Fund, and the Police retirement fund. The President of the United States was trying to intimidate retired teaches from exercising their rights as primary investors. That’s the politics of change, screw a bunch of retired teachers to reward the UAW for helping you get elected.
Apparently it was not only retired cops, teachers and other primary investors screwed by the GM/Chrysler Bailout deals (along with the American taxpayer), The UAW screwed its own retirees. In their deal with the US Government-owned GM and Chrysler, all the sacrifices the unions made were on behalf of their retirees, the rank and file made no concessions on their wages or benefits:
…. The deal that U.A.W. workers at Ford approved in March got rid of cost-of-living pay increases and performance bonuses through 2010 and eliminated the jobs bank program, which allows laid-off workers to continue receiving most of their pay. In addition to those concessions, G.M. and Chrysler workers agreed to work-rule changes and a provision that bars them from striking.
What? From press coverage at the time, you would have thought that unionized GM and Chrysler workers made ginormous, humungous, unprecedented sacrifices to enable their companies to get through bankruptcy and to emerge as lean, mean vehicle-making machines.
What follows is a picture of the top portion of the first page of a “contract outline” presented by the union to its members shortly before the changes therein were ratified
Let me repeat the key sentences found inside the red box:
For our active members, these tentative changes mean no loss in your base hourly pay, no reduction in your health care, and no reduction in pensions.
…. Unfortunately, in this process our retirees are required to make difficult sacrifices as is explained later in the summary.
In other words, the UAW protected its currently working members, the ones who get to vote on contracts, from any meaningful sacrifice, while hosing its retirees, who don’t get to vote .
How hard were retirees hit? This hard, according to a May local news report out of Detroit:
(UAW President Ron) Gettelfinger said the contract is a difficult one for the active members and retirees, who will give up some 25% of their health care benefits. “This was a matter of salvation as much as we possibly could for our retirees. I am regretful that we had to do anything and I think it’s a disgrace we had to do anything,” Gettelfinger said.
Spare us the pseudo-tough talk, Ron.
Even given the opportunity to cleanse all sins in bankruptcy, GM and Chrysler ended up doing very little to change their U.S. manufacturing day-to-day cost structure. Thanks to press coverage that has been almost completely derelict, almost no one knows this. Nick Bunkley’s piece above continues in that truth-obscuring tradition.
What really happened between the two companies and the UAW confirms and extends what I noted last week (first item at link) when items about post-bankruptcy restructurings began to appear:
In each case, it looks like the bankruptcy plan really consisted of the following:
“Let’s steal as much as we can from disfavored stakeholders.” In Chrysler’s case, with the help of government intimidation, first-lien non-TARP lenders were fleeced.” At GM, it happened to the unsecured bondholders
“Let’s cut things back just enough to make us look like we’re serious, but not enough to be able to emerge profitably. “Let’s hope for a miracle in the marketplace.”
It looks like retirees were treated by their UAW “brothers and sisters” as yet another set of “disfavored stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, the marketplace miracle necessary for all of this to even have a chance of working is nowhere to be found, and tens of billions of our tax dollars appear to be headed for a big, fat write-off.
you can read the entire article at Newsbusters by clicking the link below: