Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UAW’s Face Effectively Spited

I saw this on Mish’s blog a couple days ago, and I still can’t believe it--I mean, how often do you see people in the midst of a depression deliberately vote themselves out of work?

General Motors autoworkers have rejected the contract offer from JD Norman Industries to continue operating an Indianapolis stamping plant, said Maurice Davison, a UAW official in Indianapolis.

According to retired GM autoworker Gregg Shotwell, publisher of the UAW dissident newsletter Live Bait & Ammo, the final tally included 457 “no” and 96 “yes” votes.

The rejection means that General Motors will proceed with plans to remove machinery and close the plant in 2011, Davison said.

The plant employs 650 workers.

Here were part of the proposed terms, cited in another article at the link:

The new contract would include a lower base wage of $15.50 per hour, down from $29 per hour, and pare the wage for skilled trades workers to $24 per hour from about $33.

Autoworkers who stay with JD Norman would receive lump sum bonuses, in some cases up to $35,000 over two years, and retain the right to transfer to open GM plants. They could keep the bonus if they did transfer.

Now, for most skilled workers, obviously this is a huge fucking pay cut, and if you have a mortgage, $15.50 an hour probably ain’t going to cut it unless you were saving a chunk of your income beforehand (Yeah, I know, stop laughing).  However, rejecting the deal should be done under the presumption that the jobs would be available at some point down the road.

Here is something rather interesting, from the Indy Star:

Some workers apparently thought the Chicago-area manufacturer might respond with an offer for higher wages later this fall if the proposal for a pay cut of almost 50 percent was rejected Monday, said Maurice “Mo” Davison, executive director of UAW Region 3.

But the entrepreneur left no doubt he decided to walk away, Davison said, noting Norman told him Monday afternoon that his “negotiations are done” with GM and the UAW.

JD Norman Industries, based in Addison, Ill., had emerged as the only potential buyer after GM said it would close the 80-year-old plant to shed excess capacity if no sale took place.

In other words, the UAW had no leverage at all here--GM was bound and determined to close the plant, a corporation stepped in to try and keep it running, and the union played a game of chicken in which they had no real threat because they simply assumed JD Norman would cough up more money “just because.” It’s this kind of thinking--that money somehow just magically appears when you need it--that’s become de rigeur ever since the original wolf in Santa clothing, FDR, promised people a bunch of free shit that other people would pay for.  Eventually, people start taking for granted that some sugar daddy, usually the government, is going to step in like fucking Superman.

These union workers just got a real dose of the New Normal--that the party’s over, and no one’s obligated to save their ass.  They better pray to whatever gods they worship that the current 99 weeks of welfare holds up, because they’re going to be on the street eventually offering handjobs for food when it finally comes to a halt.

Posted by on 09/29/10 at 08:23 PM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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