Conciliation, Imprudence or Shirk-ness
What ever happened to the man who in 1998 during the Flint, Metal Fab strike said, “If there are things that GM doesn’t like, and they consider uncompetitive, we remind GM – you entered into that agreement.” We have the right to expect as do GM’s dealers, customers and people in the community, that when GM enters into an agreement they will abide by that agreement until its termination.” “We will be in National and Local negotiations a little more than a year from now, and as in the past, that’s the appropriate time for GM to seek the changes they say they need.” He continued, “The corporation has repeatedly reneged on its side of commitments made to the union - breaking and ignoring contracts is not good business, will never be good business and should not be condoned.” (Copied from Richard Shoemaker’s comments in the 06-10-99 “NEWSUAW” UAW Leaders Comment on Flint Metal Fab Strike)
Instead, all we hear is defeatism in Shoemakers words, and coward ness in his mannerisms. Words Brother Shotwell quoted in Live Bait and Ammo #59 Shoemaker said we must “try and save jobs,” “presumably with concessions,” Shotwell wrote. In addition, Shoemaker went on to say, “the best we will probably be able to do is buy time for retirement and save some plants.” Brother Shotwell wrote, “in other words Shoemaker is waving the white flag before the fight begins.” Where is the fight he exhibited during the FAB strike? What does Shoemaker have to loose? His term of office is up and he is going to retire in June of 2006. Why won’t he get off the corporate bandwagon and go after the economic terrorist before retirement? What ’s more, do it with both guns blazing. Why wait to pass the responsibility on to his replacement? Apparently, Mr. Shoemaker does not realize this is the opportune time to make history and he is passing that opportunity up, and for what reason. Why will he not tell the Cooperation Partners both in the A.C. and company to go to hell and just shut everything down, at least until he retires? Hell, why don’t he use the power he derives from consent of his members? He won’t miss a dime of his retirement so why not go out with a BANG! Shut down Delphi, then GM, let the dominos fall, and lie where they may. Is he afraid? On the other hand, could it be, he has been threatened with the loss of his accrued 80 to100 dollar per month, per years worth of service retirement as negotiated in the staff councils agreement? Do not forget, UAW Vice Presidents positions are filled by appointments they are not elected and he could be fired. Then again, maybe he is afraid of loosing the portion of his retirement that is Joint Funds Reimbursed. Who knows, for he is too cowardly to come before his members and give us a reason? UAW members need leadership, not cowards hiding behind the guarded gates of the CHR. We need leadership NOW! Apparently he does not understand that through God’s grace we will find leadership if we have to do it through organizations such as SOS.
UAW miss-leadership has repeatedly reminded members how important it is to Vote and be a Democrat. Maybe the following words will inspire Shoemaker to get off his complacent, cooperative and cowardice ass and do something for his UAW members before he leaves office next year.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he signed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) “NO business which depends for existence on paying less than livable wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. The aim of this whole effort is to restore our rich domestic market by raising its vast consuming capacity.” How do concessions accomplish what FDR said? The concession freight train as some members refer to them is contrary to democratic methods and beliefs.
“Obscene” is when the UAW joins hands with GMC Files suite against its own retired members to win concessions for the corporation. “Obscene” is the text of the recent letter from the UAW to its retirees about those concessions. Let us compare facts. In a December 14, 2005 “New York Post” article “General Misery” it was reported, “when asked about GM and rumors of an appending Chapter 11 filing last week, Wagoner said something to the effect that Bankruptcy wasn’t in the cards because he hadn’t been raised to run from a fight and he didn’t plan to do so now.” In another article by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP, written November 2, 2005 Wagoner was reported as saying in an e-mail to employees, the company has a turnaround strategy in place and has NO plans to file for bankruptcy.” The latter are just two of many examples where Wagoner publicly stated that GM does not intend to file bankruptcy. His conciliatory and reassuring remarks had a positive but short-term effect on GM stocks.
Then on December 20, 2005, the UAW sent a message to the union’s retirees attempted to mitigate the benefits concessions the Cooperation Partners signed. What was the reason? Here are a few of the phrases taken from the UAW letter,
1) “in view of GM’s precarious financial situation-healthcare benefits would be endangered”
2) GM’s financial difficulties have been widely reported, it went on to explain, healthcare benefits has grown from $38.4 billion in 1992 to $77 billion today. $61 billon of that liability is associated with union-represented benefits to which we believe you and your family are entitled.” (Boy what a guilt trip)
3) The letter went on to say that a team of specialist was hired by the UAW to review GM’s books and their conclusion was
“That “GM’s financial condition was distressed to the point that its long term viability – and thus its ability to provide the health-care benefits promised to retirees – was questionable unless significant cost-savings measures were instituted.”
4) “While the settlement will modestly increase what you must pay for your health care, we believe that the alternative would be the very serious risk of BANKRUPTCY – or worse- that could mean far more drastic reductions in, or complete elimination of, GM’s retiree health care benefits.”
What in the world is going on here? Who is lying? Is GM, in financial trouble or not? Wouldn’t Rick Wagoner know if GM was in financial trouble? On the other hand, is this an indication the UAW knows more than Wagoner and he needs the UAW to inform him of the companies pending financial doom? Then again, remember what the union’s hired analyst pontificated in the retiree’s letter? Why, is the UAW simultaneously and seriously propagating bad news about GM’s financial future to their retirees when the CEO of GMC is trying to assure his stockholders that the company is in good financial shape? The letter read, 1)”The analysis made it clear that in order to provide UAW-represented GM retirees and surviving spouses the strongest possible long-term protection for their health-care benefits, action had to be taken sooner rather than later.” 2) “class counsel reached the conclusion that GM’s financial condition was distressed to the point that its long-term viability was questionable” LONG-TERM????? It makes a UAW member wonder why Shoemaker would say what he did during the 1999 FAB strike but now turns his back on his convictions. If the out look and forecast is “long term” why couldn’t GM wait till 2007?