“The Vibe will go down with the phase out of Pontiac, so there would be no need for NUMMI,” said GM CEO Fritz Henderson.
I hate to be picky, this this quote contradicts the entire article (and headline). I understand that NUMMI workers would be some of the cheapest GM workers to lay off. If this is true, it does not look good.
In related news, have you read about the severance benefits for GM’s UAW members? A $25k car voucher and $20-115k depending on years of service. This is in addition to pensions. And, those with 28 years of service get a bridge wage of $2,850 per month until retirement benefits.
It is interesting how quickly some people bash the retirements of union workers while overlooking the gilt-edged retirements of company executives who constantly chip away at workers benefits before they retire with millions of dollars per year, even when they haven’t fulfilled their contracts and have completely mismanaged their companies. Some union reform may be needed, but why pit workers against one another? See who really drains tax-payers dollars with tax loopholes, executives benefits, and 401K mutual fund scams. Let’s fix that stuff.
Perhaps I should clarify my message. I am not bashing union employees as a broad group. I am bashing 50+ year old UAW union members for pricing the GM employees that followed them out of a living. I believe this trend is universal and will be the detriment of the old US of A.
This economy is making me keenly aware of the disparity between the late baby boomer generation and those in the prime of their work careers. The boomer sense of entitlement is sickening.
They’ve hoarded the wealth available to the working class by way of inflated pensions and wages, all at the expense of future generations.
Because of dumb luck and a manageable population at the time of their youth, boomers were able to purchase real estate at price-income ratios that hovered around 2, though they have the nerve to price their sh*t shacks at 6x the average income when resale time comes around.
Have you see the RE listings with the crack pipe prices that have been lingering on the market for 200+ days? That’s a boomer trying to suck the last drop of blood from the gen-X carcass.
Caps on taxable social security income all but forces the burden of this ponzi scheme onto the younger working class.
If we’re lucky, a whole generation of new grads will live in abject poverty, but damn-it the baby boomers will get their “deserved” retirement and pension social security.
So, bravo 55 year old GM worker. You scored 115k, a new Silverado pickup and a nice check until that pension that I and my generation will be paying for kicks in. As for the young guy down the assembly line, he can’t do a damned thing but bolt sh*t to a chassis -just like you, and his future is looking pretty grim.
“So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company’s body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with — dare I say it — joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown and brought misery, divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug addiction to the people I grew up with. Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job.”
If we believe that American workers should be able to retire with dignity, we need to build a new system of retirement security; a new labor movement to fight for and win the benefits that we deserve. If you work hard, you should get a decent wage. If you get sick, you should have decent health care. If you put in a lifetime of work, you should get a pension. That’s the American dream. But corporate America is not going to give it to you, any more than they gave it to the union organizers back in the 20′s and 30′s.
Today’s retirees are not obligated to give you part of the retirement that they worked to earn. That is between you, your employer, your union, and your government. Tell your representative that you expect them to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
Nice article, Lou. I like how Moore invents his own interpretation of “planned obsolescence” to mean designing a car to fail within a few years. The actual application by Alfred Sloan was in regards to the style of the car as a marketing tool to create a fad, much like Apple Computer does today.
You can always count on the never ending stream of bullsh*t emanating from Michael Moore.
Problem is that with all the retirement benefits, un-empployment benefits, healthcare benefits, american car companies cannot compete with say japanese or chinese companies who dont have to pay all that. Net effect is there will be no more american car company.
Having said that, I would reward a CEO millions if the company makes profit, but when it makes a loss I would have them pay that money back to the company. There has to be balance between the two.
I think the american car companies have problem of over compensation on both CEO side and workers side. You only deserve what you make. If you make 10000 poung gas guzzling gorillas CEOs deserve to be whipped by obama, and the workers losing their jobs
Andy, if you had the opportunity, wouldn’t you accept a job that had retirement and healthcare benefits? Don’t you want your children to have jobs that offere them these benefits? Do we want to go back to the days before unemployment insurance when there was no social safety net for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own?
I agree with your idea that CEO’s should pay back losses to the company, but GM’s workers had no choice about what kind of cars GM produced.
Lou, I think if you compile the May election result with the recent fate of the UAW you can gauge public sentiment toward collective bargaining.
The fact remains that an unskilled laborer in America is as good as one in Mexico. The days of exploiting one’s God given right to the American Dream because of the crap-shoot result of being born on American soil is over. In this respect the American dream is dead.
The GM bankruptcy is a microcosm of this reality. 40 years of unionized workers garnering well above market wages with respect to offshore manufacturers has been shown with glowing clarity to be an unsustainable way to staff an American corporation. And the world is getting flatter, as Thomas Friedman would say.
This phenomenon is not exclusive to unions, either. Workers of every stripe will have mighty intellectual hurtles and achievements to overcome if they want to live above the world’s standard of living.
Add this to the burden of supporting today’s bloated retirees, and the outlook for those Americans under 40 is pretty grim.
Of course, this is in contrast to what I “want” for myself and my kids. But the writing is on the wall. The days of getting paid to be American are close to over.
I agree with Marty. The only justification for better benefits for american workers is to work somehow better/smarter than their say asian counterparts. This applies to every american companiy/worker. If google, microsoft are matched in their quality by indian, chinese companies then those companies win due to lower costs. This is what capitalism, globalization is all about. The alternative is protectionism/socialism which will be disastrous for america.