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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on December 17th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

UAW Postponed Protest During President Lee’s US Visit

» by in: Politics-US

Remember when Presidents Obama and Lee toured the GM plant in Michigan and everything appeared to be fine and swell?  Now it has come out that it appears that the administration got the UAW to stop a planned protest during Lee’s visit:

Former auto czar and wealthy Wall Street financier Steven Rattner told a luncheon in Detroit on Thursday that while the $50 billion GM bailout was successful, “we should have asked the UAW to do a bit more. We did not ask any UAW member to take a cut in their pay.” He also said that “friends on Wall Street” were concerned by GM’s earnings and communications with the market, pushing the stock down to a level that would lose the goverment $14 billion if it sold its shares today.

Meanwhile, at General Motors’ Orion Township, Mich., plant about 45 minutes away from where Rattner spoke, there are three tiers of hourly workers. Roughly 900 workers at the top tier, the most senior UAW workers, make $29 an hour, a rate unchanged since 2008. Another 500 or so UAW workers are paid about $16 an hour — a rate, adjusted for inflation, equal to the famed $5 a day Henry Ford started paying his workers in 1914.

And at the bottom scale are 200-odd workers technically employed by an outside supplier but who work in the plant moving parts to the assembly line, jobs once done by GM workers paid $29 an hour. The contractors’ pay: $9 an hour with no health care, a rate which over a year’s work would leave them below the poverty level for a family of four.

GM’s contract with the UAW that convinced the company to move small-car production to Orion from South Korea allows it to shift such work to the outside supplier. That supplier has resisted UAW bargaining, and the tensions have grown high enough that UAW workers at the plant picketed earlier this month and sought approval from the union for a strike. (They delayed one planned picket so that President Obama could tour the plant with South Korea’s president).  [Yahoo Autos]

It appears that the UAW would rather these workers not have a job at all considering that GM moved the plant from South Korea to Michigan because of the lower wages the contractors offered. If these workers were UAW workers making $29 an hour GM would have never moved the plant to the US.

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  • Teadrinker
    7:10 pm on December 17th, 2011 1

    “The contractors’ pay: $9 an hour with no health care, a rate which over a year’s work would leave them below the poverty level for a family of four.”

    And there you have why I support workers unions.

  • jeffreytg
    9:20 pm on December 17th, 2011 2

    If a person is in family of four, he needs to find himself something better than a $9.00 hour job. I wonder how many of those making $9.00 per hour were straigh A students in high School who got full rides at univesities where they learned something that makes then marketable? Likely none, therefore, they failed to work hard when it mattered, and now they pay the price. And what the heck are they doing as a bread winner of a family of four when the can only get $9.00 per hour? Ever hear of birth control.

    feel sorry for them not!

  • John from Daejeon
    11:18 pm on December 17th, 2011 3

    Damn, Teadrinker! You are so right about unions, it sure sucks that I have to prove my actual worth yearly in “right-to-work” states and overseas teaching jobs.

    For those who can’t see the video, here is the written article.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    3:44 am on December 18th, 2011 4

    @3 – I think TD would just prefer they be unemployed instead because GM cannot afford to pay people $29 an hour for a low skill set of moving parts to an assembly line with full health care benefits. This is a globalized economy where GM can find other places to open their plant for much cheaper.

  • ChickenHead
    5:14 am on December 18th, 2011 5

    I hate unions and all the evil lazy self-destructive short-term greed that comes with them.

    …but without them, you get Sinclair and Zola…

    …and all the evil slave-driving destructive long-term greed that comes with the perversions of unchecked psuedo-capitalism.

    As companies make record profits and pay their CEOs record incomes… even after spectacular failure… while paying “$9 an hour with no health care” or, worse, giving empty promises of bright futures to unpaid “interns” drowning in manufactured student debt…

    …perhaps it is time to transfer a bit more social power to the unions… with the hope that they recognize the reality of a globalized workforce and make demands and offers that are correct for their workers and the long-term sustainability of their jobs.

    But… no.

    Everybody will get greedy and an agreement will be made to satisfy many superficial political desires of the parties involved… without the real considerations of maintaining a profitable and competitive company that can supply long-term jobs at a fair wage.

    The Philippines is a great place to observe fantastically greedy, abusive, and exploitative companies that chew up and spit out workers at an alarming rate… until they organize and strike… with equally greedy and impossible demands… until the company goes out of business or the multinational writes it off and moves to Thailand or Malaysia and all the jobless Filipinos go back to sitting under the banana tree swatting flies and lamenting their existence.

  • Teadrinker
    7:07 am on December 18th, 2011 6

    #3,

    Cute…

    I’m not American, nor do I live in “America”.

    #5,

    “I hate unions and all the evil lazy self-destructive short-term greed that comes with them.

    …but without them, you get Sinclair and Zola…

    …and all the evil slave-driving destructive long-term greed that comes with the perversions of unchecked psuedo-capitalism. ”

    I haven’t read The Jungle yet, but Germinal was quite good (I read it in French, of course).

    PS. Reminds me of how I wrote an essay in grade 5 in the style of Zola. My teacher, who never had any useful guidance to offer, or anything nice to say for that matter, didn’t appreciate it, the bitch. ;-)

  • Teadrinker
    7:10 am on December 18th, 2011 7

    #4,

    Right, because GM loses money on every car it sells. :roll:

  • Teadrinker
    7:14 am on December 18th, 2011 8

    #2,

    If you’re supporting a family of 4 on 9$ an hour, you can’t afford to study and learn a marketable skill nor can you afford to move where the higher paying jobs are.

    Where do they build auto plants? Where unemployment rates are high enough that people are desperate enough to take the 9$/hour jobs.

  • jeffreytg
    7:38 am on December 18th, 2011 9

    #8,

    My point: one needs to stduy and learn a marketable skill before starting a family, not after.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    8:12 am on December 18th, 2011 10

    @7 – You know GM went bankrupt and was bailed out by the government? Paying people $29 with benefits to move a part from point A to point B is part of the reason why they went bankrupt. In the article President Obama’s car czar says UAW pay is too inflated.

    Also the people most likely to work this $9 an hour job is probably young people looking for a starter job. The person could work for this contract company and move up in pay to a higher position over time. Or the person could use the work experience from this job to make him competitive for a future job opening within GM. That is why I say having this $9 an hour job is better than no job because the person is being productive and if they work hard enough and make enough connections could move into a better paying job over time.

    Due to the globalized economy the days of walking out of high school and receiving a well paying manufacturing job with full benefits is largely over.

  • Glans
    2:27 pm on December 18th, 2011 11

    $9 is enough for anybody. If they honestly need something and can’t afford it, their church can ask for donations.

  • jeffreytg
    2:48 pm on December 18th, 2011 12

    Both parts of that family of four can woRk and mak $9 each or $18.00 total per hour. Now if the child care issue is raised: Dont have kinds if you cant afford to raise them.

  • Teadrinker
    5:15 pm on December 18th, 2011 13

    #10,

    And why was it bailed out? To protect those 29$ an hour jobs. If GM starts hiring temp workers and paying them so they live below the poverty line, you should ask for your money back.

  • marty
    12:01 am on December 19th, 2011 14

    whats interesting about the class-warfare champions is this
    you can be a celebrity or athlete who has no education, never had a real job but make millions of dollars!! the liberal wackos will love you
    then on the other hand you can be a college educated person who started at the bottom worked their way up through the ranks of the corporate world holding various positions across various companies, years of experience and training. the liberal wackos will hate you
    tell me what the problem is?

  • Glans
    1:50 am on December 19th, 2011 15

    Marty, the problem is your fantasies about “liberal wackos”.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    7:21 am on December 19th, 2011 16

    @13 – So once again you would prefer these people to be unemployed? Should people working in fast food that requires as much skill as moving parts to an assembly line be paid $29 an hour with benefits as well? If so the taxpayer will have to bail out McDonald’s over time as well.

  • jslim
    4:03 pm on December 19th, 2011 17

    glans can you argue anything of merit based on how liberals view celebrities/athletes, musicans, actors etc vs corporate CEO’s
    i can, one achieves success by doing nothing more than say looking good, making sex videos, being on a reality show. i could go on and on!
    the other gets educated, works hard, gets promoted and eventually becomes rich
    stark difference

 

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