The UAW & 'Shared Sacrifice'

Former RSer Pat Cleary has been checking up on the United Auto Workers and has some thoughts on the need for shared sacrifice. He also observes that the UAW no longer seems so proud of the great deal it got for its members in 2007; in fact, they’ve sent their press release down the memory hole:

So 6 months ago we moseyed on over to The Google and typed in “UAW.” On their site was a link to summaries of their most recent contracts – a link that’s mysteriously gone now. Luckily, we saved it. So here it is, a link to what they said when they inked the most recent agreement with GM back in 2007. Mind you, this was as the company was by everyone’s reckoning speeding headlong into a trough. The UAW release says in part:

The tentative agreement, reached at 3:05 a.m. Sept. 26, delivers solid economic gains for active and retired members, despite repeated attempts by GM to impose harsh takeaways
The agreement will deliver more than $13,000 in economic gains for a typical UAW member, including a $3,000 signing bonus, two 3 percent lump sums and a 4 percent lump sum.

Active workers will see their comprehensive health care coverage continue, with dental, hearing and other benefits improved. Retired workers will have their health benefits secured by a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA), prefunded by GM with $29.9 billion in cash and other assets. The fund can only be used to pay retiree health benefits, and will remain solvent for decades regardless of the financial condition of GM.

The proposed contract will also deliver benefits to current and future retirees, with four lump-sum payments for current retirees, and a raise in basic benefit rates, the 30-and-out supplement, temporary and interim benefits for future retirees.

Does this look like sacrifice to you?

The first step to ‘saving’ GM will be to take back the giveaways in the 2007 collective bargaining agreement. Car buyers can choose whom to support with their dollars; thanks to Barack Obama, taxpayers do not have that choice. Members of Congress and candidates for Congress had better ensure that the UAW ‘has some skin in the game’ – to borrow a phrase the president likes to trot out.