September 25, 2007

UAW Willing To Compromise, GM Not

The way GM is talking you would think that the UAW is not willing to compromise on anything, but the reality is is that GM is demanding excessive amounts of cuts.

Key issues under discussion as talks resumed Monday afternoon included benefits for active workers, commitments by GM to invest in its U.S. plants and pensions, according to people familiar with the talks.

When the workers speak of job security, they are not talking about a jobs bank. They are talking about GM willing to reinvest in it's own plants.

The bargaining focus on core economic issues came after Gettelfinger blasted GM on Monday for demanding a litany of concessions to solve its financial problems.

"Nobody wants a strike," Gettelfinger said at a packed press conference at UAW headquarters in Detroit. "But there comes a time when somebody pushes you off a cliff and that's exactly what happened."

GM, Ford and Chrysler all think that the magic answer to all their problems is a huge cut in wages.

I have said before, the workers could work for free and that still won't get people to buy cars that have no style or platforms that haven't changed in over a decade.

If you design vehicles people want to buy, people will buy them. It is as simple as that.

And if you don't think the workers have given concessions, just look at a small list of things that have been given up in the last couple of years ...

Gettelfinger pointed out Monday that the UAW had given up its cost-of-living adjustments in the last four-year contract, negotiated in 2003. He listed other major union concessions in recent years: a 2005 health care deal that left retirees with higher medical costs; cooperation with GM on its plan to shutter a dozen factories and usher out 34,000 hourly workers; and a deal with bankrupt Delphi Corp. that gave workers cash payments in exchange for lower wages.

One can only give up so much before they expect the other side to give also.

Workers are willing to give, Gettelfinger said, but need commitments from GM in return.

One labor expert said GM gambled that the UAW would accept any number of concessions to secure a new four-year contract.

"GM felt the union was in a weak spot and went for broke," said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

"From a union's point of view, that turns sacrifices to make GM more competitive into subsidies for expanding into China or for executive bonuses."

That says it all, the UAW is willing to give but all GM wants to do is take.

Posted by Quality Weenie at September 25, 2007 08:41 AM | TrackBack

Good points, QW.
We're kind of sunk when business, government, and the press are against us.

Thanks for being on the reality based side. :)

Posted by: jimmyb at September 25, 2007 01:48 PM