THE BARE TRUTH
Two months ago who would have believed that our negotiators would bring us an agreement that provides thousands of dollars of new money in each year of the agreement, kept all of our health care intact with no co-pays, and not a penny given up by even a single seniority member. They brought us the best retiree agreement ever with retiree health care protected for longer than any of us will live. For today's times and the challenges American workers face, this agreement far surpassed any of our expectations.
During this ratification process much misinformation has been spread throughout the system initiated by certain dissidents that enjoy the self-glorification and the media attention who would have opposed and distorted any tentative agreement, including three former Regional Directors that bitterly left office in shame after being defeated in reelection bids.
This misinformation was given credibility by a single member of our negotiating committee that, in a minority report to the Chrysler Council, identified certain areas of the agreement that he did not like but, when given the opportunity during the crucial moments of negotiations when you were about to be asked to strike, he had no strategy or solutions. The other eight negotiators all have endorsed this tentative agreement.
Unfortunately, this misinformation has been carried back to the Chrysler workplaces throughout the country by good local union representatives who did not truly understand the provisions of the tentative agreement or chose to take the easy way out and protect their own politics by being anti-ratification, believing that a no vote would serve as a protest against the Company.
Whatever the case, we believe that you deserve to know the bare truth about the tentative agreement so that you can make an informed decision when you vote.
Two emotional issues that have surfaced are core - non core jobs and janitorial services. Over the years we have witnessed thousands of jobs at big three plants being bled out of the system such as seat build, engine dressing, sub-assemblies and sequencing to name only a few, and sourced to non union suppliers. The Companies identified more of these jobs currently within our plants that would have the same destiny. Your bargaining committee developed the Core - Non Core agreement in an attempt to salvage those jobs within our structure and to bring back many of the thousands of jobs that are gone.
This agreement will bring those jobs back at a new entry-level rate of pay and benefits. Although this second tier is short of our existing rates, it far exceeds the standards that are paid by those scab companies that now do the work. Annual pay escalators are built into the structure and, most importantly, a bridge is built into the system that allows those non core workers to achieve core status. If you think those workers that are now doing that work for outside suppliers would not beg for such and agreement, you should try asking them.
Finally, not a single existing seniority member will ever be placed on entry level rates. We know the real resistance to this part of the agreement is that the non-core jobs are often the sweet jobs that are currently held by our older seniority workers. Unfortunately that is true but, as we have learned from our own history, if and when those jobs are outsourced, the jobs will be gone forever and none of our members will be doing the work.
Unfortunately, the same holds true for janitorial services. Many of our senior members hold these jobs. Only big three plants pay our rates for these services and many of those, through local negotiations, have already relinquished the services to save their plants or to maintain or bring new work in. The companies have attacked us on these non-competitive rates in every battle on insourcing or outsourcing decisions for many years. For us to keep and bring work into our plants we had no alternative but to conform to these industry standards.
Another issue that has surfaced is the Company's failure to provide future product patterns for our locations. This by no means establishes in any way that our facilities will not be utilized in those plans. Although GM made those commitments to the negotiating team, they were very disturbed that their corporate secrets were made public in our ratification process. Such announcements are rarely made this far in advance and for many reasons that transcends beyond the scope of our agreements, the Company refuses to make these decisions public. This agreement provides and absolute moratorium on outsourcing and guarantees work through the life of current products and provides the union with information and guarantees that we have never enjoyed in the past.
These and other issues are important to us all. This ratification vote may be the most important one that you will ever cast. It took a strike to move the Company to the tentative agreement that was achieved. If the agreement is rejected and your negotiators are sent back to the table, we can expect strong resistance in modifying these provisions. The choice is yours and yours only to make. We only ask that you take the time to hear the presentation of the tentative agreement, ask any questions that you may have and then make and informed decision on how you choose to cast your vote.
ASK QUESTIONS, BE INFORMED AND VOTE YOUR CONSCIOUS. YOUR NATIONAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE
Mark HashoRobert Mitchell George Welitschinsky
Jerry Stafford Ronald Suminski James Yore
REPRODUCED IN U.S.A.