"What could they be Negotiating?"
Let us look at the negotiated "Benefits Guarantee" and the concessions negotiated in the 2003 Delphi –UAW National Agreement and compare those items with the most recent demands the "Hatchet" laid on the negotiating table.
1) Miller wants to cut or reduce legacy cost (pensions and healthcare). The GM "Benefits Guarantee" does exactly that for Miller because GM would pick up our pensions or make up the difference with those benefits from the Federal Government. Under the 2003 Delphi-UAW National Agreement, all new hires will have a different type of retirement 401-K.
2) Miller wants to cut or reduce healthcare cost for both active and retired members. Again, the "Benefits Guarantee" does exactly that because a member who retires under the "Benefits Guarantee" will have the same healthcare a GM employee receives at the time of their retirement, including dependents and surviving spouses. (RE: Benefits Guarantee, Page 2, paragraphs 1&2, and remember retirees healthcare is not backed by the PBGC)
3) Miller is demanding cuts in cost of life insurance. The "Benefits Guarantee" once again provides for GM to pay those cost instead of Delphi, Sect. d. Paragraph 1.
4) Miller wants lower wages. The UAW "Cooperation Partners" negotiated and UAW members ratified a UAW- Delphi National Agreement which contains two distinct two-tier wage packages. One package allows new hires to top out at wages we currently receive, but only over a very long period of time.
The second two-tier starting wage agreement allows new hires to top out at only $18 per hour. Remember, all new hires in Delphi will start out at 15 dollars an hour, or exactly the same level of total compensation of 21 dollars an hour range Miller says he has to have to make Delphi competitive.
Please do not let any one say I am being anti-union or undemocratic for that is exactly what the International "Cooperation Partners" would want you to believe. The facts are, during the 2003 negotiations I expressed my opposition to the two-tier wage agreement and reduction of retirement benefits for future employees of Delphi by doing the only things a member could possibly do, I campaigned against the agreement and I voted NO! I am simply reminding members in Delphi and GM, THEY voted and ratified the agreements. Therefore, those agreements or language expresses the democratic will of the members and I am just advocating your desires. How could that be anti-union or undemocratic?
Delphi UAW members need to ask the "Cooperation Partners" two very important questions. 1) We need to ask the UAW to produce a copy of the (NOTICE) describing Delphi’s financial position and have it disseminated to all UAW-Delphi members. 2) Ask the "Cooperation Partners," has Delphi’s Financial Officer notified in writing (The Notice) to GM’s Financial Officer the position of Financial Distress Delphi is experiencing and if they have, is the Benefits Guarantee in effect at this time and is GM already paying for various Delphi retirement benefits? If the answer is "yes" then we need to ask Shoemaker and Gettelfinger, what in the hell are they doing in negotiations? All they can accomplish is negotiate away more of our benefits! E.G., In a January 23, 2006, "Automotive News" article, David Barkholz wrote that the "traitor" to the UAW Constitution and his membership, Ron Gettelfinger said the healthcare concessions to GM and Ford had been excruciatingly painful to the union, "but it was the right thing to do." Right thing to do? FOR WHO? It will not be excruciating for Gettelfinger because he has a UAW pension plan that pays 100% for all those retirement benefits. However, for the retirees who cannot afford the cuts from their fixed incomes, and for their communities it will be disastrous.
All GM has to do is give Miller want he desires by implementing the Benefits Guarantee. For in reality, isn’t getting rid of the older workers what Miller and Wagoner truly desire? To get the worker with 30 or more years seniority who draws $1,300 a week out of the plant and put on retirement drawing from the pension plan? Funny thing, that degree of attrition could be easily accomplished if Wagoner would offer us the incentives it would take to encourage us to make the move.
GM and Delphi Shareholders might be surprised to find out that GM and Delphi could have done the latter with the money they have already paid to the legal counsels to file bankruptcy! All UAW members in Delphi should send the "Cooperation Partners" a message Concessions do not save Jobs! STOP MESSING WITH OUR BENEFITS!
Work to Rule! I. S. Bill Hanline Skiphanline@aol.com
"What good luck for the rulers when the people do not think!"