: GM vs UAW



caddydream
02-09-06, 07:41 PM
On the morning of Feb. 7, 2006 National Public Radio (NPR) ran a segment describing the Job Bank of General Motors (http://www.oldsmobileforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3694#) in Detroit, MI. It told how every morning for almost 15 years nearly 800 people go to a building somewhere in the GM (http://www.oldsmobileforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3694#) complex and do nothing for 8 hours earning $26/hour. It also told about workers at the Oldsmobile (http://www.oldsmobileforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3694#) museum earning the same rate of pay. It mentioned the UAW had something to do with this. Is this true and why is NPR running this now, not years ago? GM propaganda? Union bashing? Definitely something that "liberal" NPR would not promote.

Jesda
02-09-06, 08:28 PM
I remember when the UAW went on strike in the late 90s and forced GM to cave in.

HotRodSaint
02-09-06, 09:54 PM
Is this true...

Yes, Ford and Chrysler pay workers to do nothing as well! :bonkers:


...and why is NPR running this now, not years ago?

G. W. Bush is president!! ;)

CTS4Chiefy
02-09-06, 11:06 PM
Unfortunately, it's true - to a point. While I wouldn't say they're sitting there doing nothing, they ARE being paid overly generiously (sp?), plus the benefits are insanely good. It's really hurting GM, and is a major reason for GM LOOSING nearly $10 BILLION, with A B, just in 2005 alone.

DBA-One
02-10-06, 02:56 PM
This is one of the reasons I think GM should file for bankruptcy. They need to do something to break away all this dead weight they have acquired via this or that agreement/contract. United has been able to adjust it's contacts with labor while under bankruptcy protection and I think this would help GM.

GM isn't cash starved like an airline but how much longer can they go on selling fewer cars and "employing" people at job banks? I don't see the unions giving up anything so it's going to take a judge telling the union to count on little or nothing in the future.

JimHare
02-10-06, 03:48 PM
While certainly not defending this egregious practice, we need to keep it in perspective, so as not to lose the real focus...

26 bucks per hour x eight hours : 206 dollars per day per employee
Add in bennies, probably a bit liberal but what the hey : $250 per day per employee

250 a day x 800 employees: $200,000 a day

That's a million a week. $52 million a year. Pretty cool cash...

But wait:

GM had REVENUES last year of $192.6 Billion dollars (with a B)

The "job bank" consumed somewhere around 3/10ths of ONE PERCENT of their revenue last year.

( $192,600,000,000 divided by $52,000,000)

Even allowing for overhead, fluff, and a bunch of other stuff, I'd be hard pressed to allocate even 1% of revenue to this "Job Bank" foolishness.

GM probably spent around $5 billion dollars in advertising and R&D during 2005 (Their 2004 number was $5.1 billion, so I'll leave it at that)

Thus, their Job Bank costs were about 1% of their advertising and R&D costs.

$52 million dollars is a lot of money. But not to GM.

We shouldn't let stupid s*** like this DISTRACT us from the real problems of the American auto industry. They go a lot deeper than a stupid program that only represents 1% of their losses.

I think it is counter-productive to single out one facet of their operations and blame all, or even many, of their ills on it. Unions bear a responsiblity, as do Management, Government, and, sadly to say, even us....

HotRodSaint
02-10-06, 08:49 PM
$52 million a year.

Times the big two, plus that third one owned by Germans!

I read recently, not sure where, that GM asks some local 'charities' to state that these employees worked there for 8 hours, even when it's not true. I also think I read that the number is much higher than 800 workers.

But using that number of 52 million, if it was properly invested into R&D, that would be enough to make a good Camry competitor for GM or Ford.

caddydream
02-10-06, 09:04 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I know this is a sensitive subject and your prespective depends on which side of the fence you sit, union or management. I have been on both sides but tend to see it the following way (I am presently a Teamster):

The United Auto Workers (UAW) are struggling in this country for their very existence. I can see that at a local factory here that manufactures transfer cases for SUVs and pickup trucks. I know in the past unions have abused their power but now they are at the point of protecting wages and benefits for the union jobs that are remaining. Unions can also protect the worker from tyrant executives. Take for example US Airways, my wife works for them. The airline has had six CEOs in the past ten years. Each one of them took something from the employees. First they (the employees) lost their pension, then health benefits, then vacation and finally wages. Oh, did I mention the airline went bankrupt? And each time one of the CEOs left they took their "golden parachute" with them, millions of dollars worth of benefits and cash. Cash taken from the employees.

Anyhow, I think that greed is a major problem for GM and US companies. Some people want not just comfort but luxury, filthy rich luxury. This insults my union brothers and sisters. We just want to pay our bills and not live in poverty. My grandfather lived in poverty during the great depression. But after WWII he worked a union job in a steel mill and died with enough assets to take care of his survivors. I hope my children do not live in poverty with the bills my generation is handing down to them. And I hope they can still drive American cars.

ewill3rd
02-10-06, 10:23 PM
My personal opinion is that collective bargaining is unethical.
Workers should be rewarded or penalized based on their own job performance and skills.

The UAW is precisely what is responsible for the decline of ALL the US carmakers. Their actual income with bennies and pensions, wages and all that I have recently read turns out to be closer to $65 an hour when it's all said and done.
It's pathetic really to know that those people that can do the same work as a trained monkey get paid over 3 times what I make and I actually have a skill that requires a wrench that turns two ways... not just one.
I agree that Unions really helped this country and the labor force... about 80 years ago! Since then most unions (not all) have become giant money sucking machines that take money from all their members to fill the pockets of a select few and they do it all in the name of "fairness".

Their outrageous wages and benefit packages are what have driven up the cost of vehicles and driven down the quality. If you let people know you will pay them what they are worth, they will produce quality products. If you reward them for being stupid and lazy, they will be stupid and lazy. I guess it's okay though, it's just job security for me. I just resent having to fix their production screwups for 1/3 of what they are getting paid to make them.

Thanks for listening.

JimHare
02-10-06, 11:24 PM
Times the big two, plus that third one owned by Germans!

You're right, but the subject was GM. So $150 million for all three. Still a drop in the bucket, overall.



But using that number of 52 million, if it was properly invested into R&D, that would be enough to make a good Camry competitor for GM or Ford.

Ahhh.. but would the consumer THINK it was a good enough competitor to buy it? That's the crux of the matter.

davc
02-10-06, 11:27 PM
............

davc
02-10-06, 11:29 PM
My personal opinion is that collective bargaining is unethical.
Workers should be rewarded or penalized based on their own job performance and skills.

The UAW is precisely what is responsible for the decline of ALL the US carmakers. Their actual income with bennies and pensions, wages and all that I have recently read turns out to be closer to $65 an hour when it's all said and done.
It's pathetic really to know that those people that can do the same work as a trained monkey get paid over 3 times what I make and I actually have a skill that requires a wrench that turns two ways... not just one.
I agree that Unions really helped this country and the labor force... about 80 years ago! Since then most unions (not all) have become giant money sucking machines that take money from all their members to fill the pockets of a select few and they do it all in the name of "fairness".

Their outrageous wages and benefit packages are what have driven up the cost of vehicles and driven down the quality. If you let people know you will pay them what they are worth, they will produce quality products. If you reward them for being stupid and lazy, they will be stupid and lazy. I guess it's okay though, it's just job security for me. I just resent having to fix their production screwups for 1/3 of what they are getting paid to make them.

Thanks for listening.


YES ... yes ... and YES ... !!!

plus the fact that most of the dealerships are run buy morons ....

JimHare
02-10-06, 11:52 PM
<slight snip>
Unions can also protect the worker from tyrant executives.

Unfortunately, your example doesn't show that -


Take for example US Airways, my wife works for them. The airline has had six CEOs in the past ten years. Each one of them took something from the employees. First they (the employees) lost their pension, then health benefits, then vacation and finally wages. Oh, did I mention the airline went bankrupt? And each time one of the CEOs left they took their "golden parachute" with them, millions of dollars worth of benefits and cash. Cash taken from the employees.


Seems to me the union DIDN'T protect the employees very well from those white collar'ed thieves. Very little burns me up as much as these rapacious snot nosed Harvard and Stamford MBAs that come in, fire half the work force, see the profit and share price drop anyway, then leave with a multi-million dollar parachute. Now THAT burns my bollocks, as they say.

Trouble is, most unions don't have a lot to say about executive hiring. Usually, the Board of Directors does that. The BoD answers to no one but the shareholders, but usually, the voting blocs are controlled by a half dozen or so larger shareholders (pension funds, banks, et cet) so it's very difficult for a lone shareholder to come in and pee all over the BofD's lunch at a meeting because they hired some schmuck and then let him (or her) run off with 10 million bucks of company cash.

What the UAW should do, if they don't already, is buy a ton of GM stock. This would give them a much larger, and much more valuable stake, in the continuing success of the company. They may already. I don't know. Then they should buy more.



Anyhow, I think that greed is a major problem for GM and US companies. Some people want not just comfort but luxury, filthy rich luxury. This insults my union brothers and sisters.


I have to disagree here. Greed is the driving force that makes you or me WANT to work harder to make more money to get better stuff. Greed, in and of itself, is not bad.

It's DISHONESTY and THEFT (taking or accepting something that you did not earn), or the use of FORCE, to TAKE something that doesn't belong to you that's bad. Using the government to back up your thievery is even worse.

Normally, those areas where people are motivated the most by greed (sometimes also called "profit margin") are the areas that we're the most satisfied with — Grocery stores, FedEx, Amazon.com, etc etc.

Contrast those with "non-profit" areas, where our sense of "caring" and "fair play" and "public service" are supposed to be paramount, and greed is a no-no: public education, the post office, trash collection, police services, disaster response..

Imagine, if you will, that FedEx and UPS handled disaster response after Katrina, and there was money to be made, but ONLY if you actually helped people. Think they might have done better than FEMA??

90Brougham350
02-11-06, 04:48 AM
If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. The UAW has been sucking the life out of GM for years. How many thousands of complacent and apathetic UAW workers have been doing $10 an hour jobs for well over $20? GM has many problems, and a lot of them are to blame on poor management, but many of the financial problems are directly related to the UAW. Don't bite the hand that feeds you UAW. I'm sure there are plenty of good hard working UAW employees, but there's just as many, if not more who aren't taking up much but space and $26 an hour.

HotRodSaint
02-11-06, 09:53 AM
You're right, but the subject was GM. So $150 million for all three. Still a drop in the bucket, overall.

When they are cutting shareholder dividends, and management salaries to save the smaller amounts, then no it's not just a drop in the bucket. It's patching the holes to stay afloat.

But you are right, they should attack Union pension expenses first because GM's is 850.00 per vehicle to Toyotas 150.00.

The Unions have created the problem, and the unions must feel the pain from the problem they created. And if the head of the UAW gets a salary cut, then that's good too.


Ahhh.. but would the consumer THINK it was a good enough competitor to buy it? That's the crux of the matter.

If the product is the best looking, and not merely a mediocre copy of a medicore Japanese design (i.e., boring Impalla looks like the boring Honda Accord), then yes the consumer would be lined up at the door.

The Solstice is a good recent example. They have conquested sales from Miata with a car that from all articles isn't superior to the Miata in engineering. And in the first year, when GM has typically needed 3 years to get the car right.

The PT Cruiser was another example where it's design enabled it to overcome it's Neon underpinnings.

The failing of the Jaguar X-Type wasn't because of it's Mondeo underpinnings, it was because of it's useless rear seat and it's conservative styling. If you are going to make a rear seat as unuseable as that, then it better be because you wanted it to be the sportiest looking sedan in it's class.

The failure of the Five Hundred to live up to Taurus type sales isn't because it's not as good as a Taurus, it's because it's not as daring in it's design as the Taurus. If people really wanted a Passat, then we should have see the Passat challenging Camry for the number one. We don't, and neither is it's clone the Five Hundred.

The whole auto industry seems to have forgotten that first and foremost, they are in the fashion business. People buy cars on emotion, not reason.

The Mini has proven you can make people emotional over a sub-compact FWD hatchback. Remember that hatchbacks were declared dead in America on more than one occasion.

So were pony cars and station wagons, but Ford and Dodge showed that the 'experts' were wrong and that it was really poor execution that killed them, not lack of interest.

If GM or Ford would make a great looking RWD sedan/coupe/wagon/convertable with a V6 (and optional V8 for under 30K), it would not only take sales away from the Camry, it would take sales away from the BMW 3-series.

People are sheep, if those who used to buy an M3 and a Range Rover, replace it with the HR-S GT wagon, their neighbors might buy the HR-S LX sedan.

And not everyone shops at the Fairlane mall in Dearborne and wears Brooks Brothers suits.

Armani is good example of a designer who can sell up market as well as down. Not everyone can buy something at Armani. But almost everyone can buy something at Armani Exchange.

Design is what Ford and GM need to focus on, without compromising the engineering. GM isn't hard to fix, what's hard is to get those morons out of Detroit so they can have a look around.

The current Civic and Corrolla aren't spectacular looking cars. But what does Ford and GM have to offer??? The Cobalt was a decent attempt after years of neglecting this segment. GM should take that wasted 52million and pounce on Honda while they are weak, by updating the design of the Cobalt.

But if history is any gauge, GM will look at the failure of the Cobalt to connect with the marketplace and claim the segment isn't worth the effort. And the stumble of the Civic will be fixed in less than 3 years by Honda, to compete against GM's 4 year old car that will have no future replacement in sight.

Lord Cadillac
02-11-06, 01:57 PM
It appears to me as if unless everyone involved suddenly becomes ethical, GM is doomed...

Lord Cadillac
02-11-06, 02:00 PM
The failure of the Five Hundred to live up to Taurus type sales isn't because it's not as good as a Taurus, it's because it's not as daring in it's design as the Taurus. If people really wanted a Passat, then we should have see the Passat challenging Camry for the number one. We don't, and neither is it's clone the Five Hundred.

Hey, that's funny. Remember this page I made a year or so ago?
http://www.cadillacforums.com/fordvolks.html

At least Ford used the 2001 Lexus LS430 headlights...

FSU_Noles
02-11-06, 05:36 PM
Here is a novel idea...

How about those X number of people that are sitting in a job bank getting paid outrageous wages learn a new trade. How about instead of the UAW bargaining for a job bank, they bargain for training.

In theory, those folks could be trained to do a number of other jobs, trades, etc, but then guess what?? Once they leave the job bank for another trade or business the UAW would not be collecting DUES because they would lose those members.

I bet GM, Ford, Chrysler, could fund some awesome vocational schools or pay for college instruction for a lot less than the meager $52 million number that was levied about in this thread earlier.

To take it one step further, GM would be better off to offer each of those people in a job bank a one-time "golden parachute" if you will, payment of $65,000 (800 * 65000 = 52 Million). Then they could cut ties and leave these people to fend for themselves.

I am all about personal responsibility in this life and to me -- sitting around a job bank collecting money and not taking the opportunity to better yourself is not taking responsibility, in that case you get what you deserve - and that isn't $26/hour.

CVP33
02-11-06, 06:01 PM
I'm closer to this than most would ever know. I watched as my father worked himself to death for GM as a salaried accountant. Countless hours, audits, reports, etc. Many times he would leave for work at 6am and not return until 8 or 9pm. His blue collared counterpart would've received overtime bonuses, flex time, etc. The most my father ever earned after over 30 years of service was $50,000 per year. A pitance compared to a uneducated factory worker pulling home $75,000 - $100,000 annually.

Nothing in the Union system encourages productivity or rewards hard work. Tenure is rewarded more that either of these two traits. As your workforce ages, slows, becomes less productive and earns more, your profits drift away.

And why? Because of a choice. A highschool graduate decided to forgo further education and obtain a factory job. You and I now support this worker through Unions to ensure that he/she never has to learn more, work harder or frankly worry about the same things all the rest of us do. Like how do I improve myself to ensure I'm more valuable to my company than I was yesterday.

You will and can think this all out to it's logical conclusion. But here's the truth. The capitalist system works when it's allowed to function properly. Encouraging competitiveness at all levels. Unions are the closest thing to Socialism and Communism that we have left in our country. The good of all is actually put before the good of the individual. When an individual is not rewarded and/or challenged the incentive is removed and all things seek their own level. If I couldn't or didn't apply myself in High School, what in the Union system will now encourage me to flourish and grow. I would argue, NOTHING. Welcome to Communism.

danbuc
02-11-06, 07:14 PM
Hmm...I was just about to comment on the similarites between a Union, and Communism is it's simplest form. CVP33, makes a good point. Belonging to a Union where everyone earns the same, and is treated the same, removes the need for competition. This competition is what normally causes an employee to work harder, to try and better themselves, in order to contribute more to the company, and therefor earn more in the long run. Without this, you have employees with lackadaisical attitudes, who could care less what they do or how well they do it, as long as they get a check.

I noticed that Greed was mentioned as well. Greed is what drives our economy. It's what makes you always want that bigger TV, or have a nicer house than "The Jones"..as they say. Greed, can also be detrimental though, when it becomes the driving force behind the business practices of the select few in charge.

I think that unless the UAW decides to comprimise, their action are certainly not gonna help GM (or any American auto manufacturer for that matter). On the other hand, they are the real cause for the problem. GM, Ford, and Chysler are mostly to blame for their own problems. Sure, the UAW may be overstepping their bounds a little with the wages that their members are paid, and for the work they do (or work they don't do), but the manufactures themselves must also be held responsible for their own actions. Countless years of poor management decisions what to design, produce, sell, and how to market it have more or less led them to their own demise. If they had taken control of the situation years ago, and start producing cars' that were on par with those from over seas, they would not be complaining about how the UAW is bleeding them dry, or how these job banks are unfair (mainly because they would be non-existant).

At this point, I think it would be benificial for the UAW to ease up on the manufactures, until they can get their act together again. As a few have mentioned before, it's not wise to bite the hand that feeds you. If GM suffers, the UAW suffers. If the UAW suffers, GM suffers. It's a symbiotic relationship that requires an effort to be made by both parties, if either is to survive. Until they learn this, they will continue to fight each-other until one of them falls. This won't do anybody any good.

On a side note, I think it is worth mentiong that Unions CAN be a good things, when implemented in the proper way, in the right situation. There has always been a great history of various Unions fighting for decent wages, or fair treatment of the average working man. There's a fine line between a fair wage, and being over paid. You can't base a salary for an entire workforce on the few who really strive for excellence, because you end up carrying the weight of all those who either can't perform as well, or simply don't try. This is what the Unions must realize. Unfortunately, this will never happen, because it would essentially be the end of the Union. On the other hand, I can see how difficult it miught be for a comany like GM to keep track of the performance of each individual employee, and pay them accordingly. This is where the standardized pay of the Union system is more effective.

I sorta went off on a tangent there.....I'd just like to make one more comment on what ewill3rd said regarding pay between an assembly line work, and the average automotive tachnician working at a dealer. I myself am in training to be a Mercedes technician. Although I may not see it quite the same way as ewill3rd does, I still understand where he's coming from. The wage should be dictated by the level of skill required to perform the job. Attaching 300 door panels a day, or installing 250 radios each week doesn't require a lot of training, or skill. Trying to figure out whether or not the misfire is a bad plug, faulty wiring on an injector, a burnt valve, or any other number of thing does require skill. Because of this, I think that those workers at the plants should be extremely thankful that they can earn such a living for doing a job which requires so little skill, or effort. If pay was based on how much effort was put into your work, the average automotive technicain should be making at least twice, if not three times as much as the average assembly line worker. You don't see automotive technicians making 80 some odd dollars an hour though. I guarantee you though, if we had a Union, we'd be making a hell of alot more than an assembly line worker. We don't have a union though, and are paid based on how well we do our job, and that's how it should be.

Alright...now I'm finished.

JimHare
02-11-06, 09:11 PM
Kudos to both CVP33 and Danbuc for well thought out and presented arguments. Professor Hare gives them both A's on their term papers.. :histeric:

Unions, like any other special interest group, act to benefit their members as the expense of the rest of the economy at large. When those unions are a part of the huge American automotive industry, their actions ripple through to a far greater extent than any other union. The UAW has to come to realize this, and alter their position, if the US auto industry is to remain viable and competitive in the world economy.

My fear is that the government will intercede with a short-term, panacea effect program that ultimately does more harm than good, and costs the American taxpayer untold billions of dollars.

SilverCTS
02-12-06, 09:01 PM
Anyhow, I think that greed is a major problem for GM and US companies. Some people want not just comfort but luxury, filthy rich luxury. This insults my union brothers and sisters.

:violin:

So, in other words, your union brothers and sisters are insulted when successful people buy yachts, drive expensive cars, live in mansions, drink Perrier Juoet and send their kids to Harvard.

Come on. When it comes to greed, the labor unions are at the top of the food chain.

SilverCTS
02-12-06, 09:11 PM
Unions are the closest thing to Socialism and Communism that we have left in our country.

Excellent analogy.

This is very true.

Caddyshack100
02-12-06, 10:44 PM
If I may chime in here, all here have raised valid points, but you the public have supported the Unions by buying the product. Whether we know it or not, we are backlashing against the Big Three, by buying the Toyotas, Nissans or the Korean entries. It won't matter one bit if the Unions give back their wages. The public has seen fit to turn its attention somewhere else. As I said in another part of these forums, most of the auto production in the Usa will be moved into China within the next 15 to 25 years. The UAW will be extinct then, and there won't be anything they can do about it. No doubt like Nixon they will go to China and try to sign up workers there.
For those who think the assembly line job is easy, it may appear to be, but I have to admit, I would not do it for 30 dollars an hour, it has to be one of the worst jobs out there. I really hope for GM and Ford, they can turn it around, Chrysler is also in trouble, they just won't admit it yet.