UnionMaine

Trust me, I work for the Government

$80.00 an hour


We can’t bail out the big three because the UAW bankrupted the big three; they raped and bankrupted the big three and now is the time to smash the Unions before they get into the Honda and Toyota plants. Translation: We must defend the foreign auto makers against a strong American work force.

Take this sentiment apart further and you get rage, rage that Democracy worked and the Republicans were thrown out. The American public is seen as stupid because they didn’t elect McCain and the right intends to punish the UAW, blaming Unions for failed management and a failed regulatory climate under the Bush regime. The right hates the American worker, loving only the money they can make for themselves.

John McCain set the example laughing at the idea of buying American. Before the run up to the presidential election John McCain described requirements that materials for the US navy be purchased from American companies as “ludicrous” and “disgraceful”. During a Senate debate McCain sarcastically said: “I know we’ll sleep better tonight knowing that all our carbon plates (for Navy ships) are made in America.”

For years the treasury has been looted, providing “incentives” to move American jobs abroad. Not only did the pharmaceutical industry move most drug manufacturing off shore, they made the taxpayer reward them for losing American jobs.

Why else would a fifteen billion dollar package, and yes, I expect more to come be fought over so harshly? Consider the fact that the UAW ran ads in swing states costing millions, while union members volunteered for the Obama campaign. Obama wants to provide federal aid to bail out the auto industries so Americans can keep jobs where they make real things, not just shuffle billions on paper. Obama supports what corporations see as the anti-Christ, the EFCA.

While there is hardly a peep about AIG providing “retention bonuses” of millions of dollars for a single years work to executives, the talk shows rant “These greedy union workers don’t deserve taxpayer’s dollars” Today it seems like common sense to say that no company can afford to pay lifetime pension and medical benefits or to support workers for up to two years if laid off.

What happened to the money that should have been invested to provide those benefits? Like so many defined benefit plans the funds were seen as a pot of gold to steal from with no risk. Year after year dividends and golden parachutes were handed out by underfunding future promises. The money was there and it would be there now if regulations had been in place to prevent using the funds as risk free betting money. Management always knew it was heads we win tails you lose.

The right wants to follow the same pattern as the airlines, the Republicans made it easy to, like the airlines, declare bankruptcy, shed their pensions, break their Union contracts with the help of the government and then continue to hand out millions in bonuses. The real reason is always to break the unions.

Unions are not perfect, but Unions didn’t ruin these companies and should not be punished. In order to pay for the wages and benefits, auto companies passed the cost to consumers and then instead of investing they handed out bonuses and more dividends while lowering the quality of their cars to make even more profit. Taxpayers have paid enough for these greedy auto executives. They think they are entitled. The big Three have been setting up foreign operations for years and if they want funds the first plants to close should be in Mexico, not the US.

Foreign companies come to America and provide quality autos and good paying jobs. Why won’t the UAW take the same wages? Why are these companies paying good wages? They had to be or their plants would have been unionized. Last year when the UAW had to compromise on health care, Toyota for no reason except greed lowered benefits to its non Union workforce. What happens to Detroit will happen to the South.

Destroying the big three will cause wages to fall or to stagnate in the imported factories because there will be no better model to compare to any longer. The employees in these companies will find that they are truly working in “right to work for less state”.

If it is the Union’s fault because of pensions, vacations, and healthcare then any company providing the same benefits will be in the same boat…..right? The German auto industry isn’t collapsing. In the US, Boeing just settled a contract with wage increases and job security clauses. Boeing stock is looking good on Wall Street. You also can’t depend on company profits to be shared. Caterpillar tractor made billions and then more billions, but when it came to contract negotiations in 2005 threatened to move to Mexico. I am certain Bush would have allowed them to write off the costs. The UAW was forced to sign a contract severely cutting wages and benefits for new hires even after years of increased growth and profit that supported good jobs.

There is enough blame to go around, we have seen the private jet flying, arrogant and inept management team, greedy stock holders, Union inflexibility at times, greedy stock holders, and a right wing press still reporting that UAW workers make $80.00 an hour. Spread the wealth, why blame it all on the unions?

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December 12th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | ATTACK ON UNIONS, Employee Free Choice Act, MSEA, MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, UAW, state employee lay offs | no comments

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