VEBA Las Vegas
Then there are questions concerning the new Direct Contribution -VEBA. Information UAW members should have before the Court rules to allow the Settlement Agreement to proceed.
1) The new DC-VEBA will be administered by a 7-person committee. The committee will be composed of three members from the public, with the fourth public member holding the chairperson’s position. The other three committee members will be appointed by the UAW. According to court Dockets and documents the four members of the public side have already been picked. However, every request for the names of the three people from the UAW has fallen on deaf ears. Why hasn’t the UAW appointed those people? Could it be because Ron Gettelfinger is waiting for the current crop of UAW Vice President retirements so Owen Bieber (currently retired, former UAW President) can be joined by a couple of the newly retired Vice Presidents. Moreover, would placing these retired top officers of the UAW on the “Committee” provide Gettelfinger with a 3-man campaign crew at the coming Constitutional Convention? Think about Owen Bieber, maybe even Doug Fraser and a retired Vice President. Think about this trio taking the podium at the convention and testifying to the convention delegates that “what Gettelfinger and his cohorts have done at GM and Delphi is GOOD, and if you cannot believe us, who can you believe?”
Because many of you have not read the dockets and documents as we have, you do not know that the positions on the new DC-VEBA Committee will pay $28,000 a year. One heck of an incentive to push the court into approving the new VEBA, especially by UAW, International Executive Board members who are about to retire, something the Judge is apparently overlooking.
Do UAW members have the right to know who will be determining their health care benefits from this point forward? So far we have had no luck in getting the three UAW names. If anyone can find out who the three UAW members are please let me know.
Furthermore, the new DC-VEBA has not received determination by the IRS. This is very important and the court ought to know that determination documents and cases can take almost as long to complete as the settlement agreement was negotiated. Yet the company and union will start administering, and place into affect, the programs before the VEBA is certified by the IRS as a VEBA. VEBA certification is very complex and has to meet very stringent regulations. Chances are good that this would not fit the requirements of the IRS. What would the consequences of failed determination mean to the active member and retiree?
So! Why would the court allow the case to move forward without certification of the very program the court is about to rule on and force upon retirees?
Next is the question of the Segregated Fund that the new Settlement Agreement will allow.
The Segregated Fund has no limits and will be controlled entirely by the Committee, not the trustee (bank) or investment manager. It seems that a red flag would pop up, not knowing the purpose and amount of money of the segregated fund that can be created arbitrarily by the committee after the court’s ruling. Why would the court allow/agree to such a program? A program that could lead to mismanagement of the money intended for retirees’ benefits. Furthermore, there is no legal record of the specific purpose for the Segregated Fund, or its potential size; more importantly, the fiduciary accountability imposed on the “Trustee” is not imposed on the “Committee” and the Segregated Fund.
Then there is the questionable act of the Union negotiating a contract that will force employees, and retirees, to pay money to the company for services? Especially the fact that the contributions made to the program will not be absolutely voluntary. The language in the settlement agreement states that if a retiree fails to make payment by the final due date, the retiree will default into the catastrophic plan retroactive to the first of the month. Retirees can renew their modified plan coverage by making payment, but the modified coverage will not go into effect until the end of the month payment is made. This means a retiree who chooses to make his/her own monthly contributions could unknowingly find himself, herself, or their family, without full coverage for up to a minimum two-month period. The alternative is to have the monthly contributions automatically deducted from their pension check.
The UAW and GM make this VEBA thing sound like something new when in fact VEBAs have been around since 1928. They were amended in 1984 and again in 1986 to stop unions from abusing the VEBA programs.
The real question we need to ask ourselves as contributors to the new VEBA is: Do we truly want our union to get involved in another tax scheme that could possibly create another three story building next to the UAW-GM “CHR,” for the sole purpose of administering the new VEBA? Which in turn could, and most likely will, create another source of annual income for the International Union? Would that constitute another form of non-voluntary contribution of dues to the union, similar to the joint funds?
The GM Contract Re-opening That Never Was?
It has come to our attention that on March 13, 2006, Richard Ruppert, a top Administrative Aide to Shoemaker, filed court Document # 1395 in the litigation before Judge Cleland. The last paragraph says
“5. As set forth in my February 24, 2006 Declaration [filed under seal], UAW-GM Vice President Richard Shoemaker met on June 9, 2006 with a national leadership meeting composed of the elected presidents and chairpersons of all GM and Delphi local unions. Vice President Shoemaker told the leadership meeting that the Union had more leverage at that time to make less painful changes to retiree health care than if the Union delayed addressing the problem. The presidents and chairperson attending the meeting gave him unanimous support to continue negotiations with GM about possible changes to retiree health care benefits. In my February 24, 2006 Declaration, I described this leadership meeting as the UAW-GM National Council. I now clarify that while the leadership body that met on June 9, 2006 has the same membership as the UAW-GM National Council, it was not formally convened as that UAW-GM National Council. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.” s/Richard Ruppert.”
Ruppert claims this is true on personal knowledge. But he attached no minutes or official notes of any UAW-GM National Council officer to corroborate this paragraph.
Shades of Watergate, Iran Contra… President Nixon had Haldeman and Erlichman. President Reagan had Lt. Col. Oliver North. Individuals no one heard of nor voted for, administrative bureaucrats with no accountability to or responsibility to voters, shoved into the limelight by their masters to say and do anything to protect them.
Why are the actual written minutes and reports of all GM Council meetings held May 2005 to date not being forwarded to the court? As a matter of fact, where are the records of all those meetings since May 2005, of the Delphi Council, GM Council, and information meetings? Why was unilateral union meetings held at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources? Why were all of your locally elected members travel expenses covered by joint funds for conducting unilateral union meetings? It has been in these “meetings,” dear friends, brothers and sisters, that your contractual rights, and more importantly, the Death of the Constitution has taken place and festered.
Judge Cleland should lend a lot of weight to this revisionism by the UAW this late in the case, using the principle “if part of it is a lie, it is all lies.”
To conclude, the overall reason this article was written was to raise one big question in the mind of the reader.
WHY IS THIS CASE EVEN IN COURT?
Say NO to concessions
Onward in Solidarity
Work To rule!
Remember their game evolves from three works: “Complicate, Obfuscate, Confuse, Win” Don’t be fooled by those who would deceive you!