Tough cuts coming for UAW

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The old ways are gone-forever
Tough cuts coming for UAW http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=local&idI41868
MID MICHIGAN (WJRT) - (01/16/07)--Tough cuts must be made by the United Auto
Workers union in order to keep the domestic automakers afloat.
That is the message coming down from the top brass at the UAW as they prepare to work out a new union contract with General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Daimler/Chrysler Corp.
Times have changed and union leaders are reminding workers that coming up with a labor contract with the domestic auto workers won't be in cut and dried like in the past.
According to "The Detroit News," the UAW has told its workers to expect a sacrifice as it comes up with a new labor agreement by September.
This year's talks are expected to be much different than before, taking into consideration all of the trials the American automakers have faced.
GM and Ford have announced a number of job layoffs, buyout packages and even plant closures.
Daimler/Chrysler, which has already been knocked out of the Big Three by Toyota in sales, is preparing to unveil its restructuring plan next month.
One of the biggest challenges the automakers have had to tackle has been the rising cost of healthcare.
UAW officials have said if the auto industry is going to survive then the union will have to change with it.
We tried reaching UAW Region 1-C President Duane Zuckswerdt. He was unavailable for comment
UAW prepares for sacrifices http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/business/16467749.htm
DETROIT - The message coming down from the Union Auto Workers' top ranks as it prepares for this year's contract talks is not the hard-line rhetoric of the past.
Labor leaders are talking to the rank-and-file about sacrifice and the need to help Detroit automakers' become competitive again.
They're warning of difficult negotiations ahead and reminding members of the dire financial straits and intense pressure the companies face.
In a meeting last month, UAW Vice President Cal Rapson told union leaders from General Motors plants around that country that "the way we conducted business in the past when General Motors was very profitable, would have to change," according to a recent note sent to plant workers in Warren, Ohio.
The early messages come in stark contrast to the past, when the UAW insisted on gaining ground on wages and benefits with each new contract.
Ford Motor Co. has begun talking with its union chiefs on a monthly basis, even though the formal start of negotiations is months away.
And DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group will enter the 2007 talks from a markedly different position than three years ago, when the company was riding high. Chrysler was the healthiest of domestic automakers until posting a disastrous $1.5 billion loss in the third quarter.
"If we don't make a profit, we don't have a plant," said James Kaster, president of UAW Local 1714, which represents workers at a GM small car factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
His plant has a program under way to educate workers on why GM's financial success should matter to them.
The negotiations will begin in earnest this summer with the goal of agreeing on a new contract when the current labor pact expires in September.
Last time around, in 2003, the UAW was able to gain ground on wages and benefits and held onto key provisions like the jobs bank, which allows laid off workers to receive full pay.
This year, unprecedented pressures are driving the change in tone. The domestic automakers combined lost nearly $7 billion in the third quarter of 2006. GM and Ford have massive restructuring programs under way. Chrysler is preparing its restructuring, expected to involve job cuts, plant closings and the elimination of production shifts.
Foreign carmakers continue to eat into the Big Three's U.S. market share, with Toyota surpassing Ford in the last two months of 2006.
Leaders at GM have said they will focus on cutting its annual health care tab of $5 billion. GM's North America President Troy Clarke said last week that retiree health care, a linchpin of the UAW's benefit package, was an area of particular concern.
Already in the past year, GM and the union agreed on landmark changes to health benefits designed to cut GM retiree health care liability by about $15 billion and cut annual health care costs by about $3 billion.
Across town at Ford, union leaders and the company have been talking for months. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker posted the deepest losses of the Big Three in the third quarter, finishing $5.2 billion in the red.
Adding to the pressure on the UAW is the growing number of nonunion auto jobs in the United States, as American auto factory jobs steadily moved south and foreign automakers build more plants here.
Many of those factory jobs come with good pay and reasonable benefits, despite the lack of representation for its workers, a fact that's not going unnoticed by the UAW.
"Unfortunately, I do believe there's going to be concessions given," said Skip Dziedzic, president of UAW Local 1866 representing a Delphi Corp. plant in Oak Creek, Wis. "If the U.S. auto industry is going to survive, it's going to have to change and we're going to have to change with it."
-- The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. T.R. April 10, 1899
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Yea, keep buying Chinese and Japanese products. Pretty soon we'll be wondering why there are Chinese running everything in America, since no Americans have any good paying jobs. Oops, I forgot....the unemployment rate is down because everyone is working for Wal-Mart.

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The real question for UAW is if they loose 100% or 50%.
When GM and Ford become bankrupt they loose 100% and the question is if they want that or not.
If they loose 50% they are sure to be needing to cut the fat UAW bosses bonuses and I am sure they will fight for those.
So it seems inevitable for them top loose 100%
WMB wrote:

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What about 25%?

Don't you think that's a foolish question? Meant only only to fill blank space in a post?

I'm sure also - but, it will be appropriate, just as it is appropriate for GM and Ford executive ranks to thin down from the old fat cat levels.

You have a limited view of possibilities.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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Don't forget to cut the fat GM exec's bonuses and salaries too.
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Wrong, some are working at Indian Casinos. :)
Truth is, it is much more complex than that. Both management and the consumers are the problem. We want it all, we want it cheap and we are not willing to pay for it, but we do want to earn huge bucks.
Manufacturing started going overseas long before some unions started to get more reasonable with their wage and benefits demands. Management is too concerned about profit to give a damn anyway, so why negotiate a sensible contract with experienced employees when it is just as easy to open new operations in China?
Hey, look how cheap that (fill in name of appliance) but I bet I can find it $2 cheaper someplace else so let's go there. But we'll pay for a six pack of Bud so some pitcher can earn $10million a year.
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not
get
it
Very well said, Ed... If we want this system to work, there is going to have to be some give and take... not just take.
Both union workers and executives have milked the system for all they can get. Sure, we ALL want all we can get..
And as you say, manufacturing has been going overseas for decades.
I may be preaching, but when I see the sort of lazyassed underachieving kids that are coming into the industrial world, it is not hard to see how foreigners who are hungry economically and hungry to learn can deal us misery.
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The only way to compete with the Japs is for the GM to match the same lower wage and benefits package that the Japs offer their workers in the US. One must wonder if the UAW will except $5 an hour less, give up half of the benefits and accept a 401k for new hires, rather than a defined pension plan.
The problem for management is to educate the buying public to the fact that they need not spend 20% or 30% more to drive home a Jap vehicle to get a good dependable vehicle. Current surveys continue show the vehicles offered by GM today are as good or better in fuel consumption, as good or better in build quality as anything offered by the Japs and much less expensive to drive home and own than a Jap vehicle.
mike
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Mike,
You forgot to say " in my opinion " ;)
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Americans DO buy more of the GM and Fords vehicles. Nearly eight million Americans bought from them in 2006, millions more than from any import brand. Those buyers must think GM and Ford vehicles are a better place top spend their money than any foreign brand.
I spent over fifty years of my life in all three sides of the automobile business. I still have a great interest in everything automotive and stop in many brand NGs I own a large block of GM stock and have owned vehicles from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Hudson, Nash, Studebaker and few European brands.
You might ask the many foreign car owners why that come into all of the domestic NGs to put down their products and trumpet foreign brands? If their import brand is so good everyone would be buying that brand I smell trolls . ;)
mike

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A pity you have trouble facing reality Mike, you have a truly serious case of denial that blinds you to reality. If the Old Big Three (GM, Ford, Chrysler) had not created such a large reservoir of really ticked off *former* customers with very long memories they wouldn't be flushing large numbers of workers (who do not design the product) and large numbers of plants and building cars in Mexico/Canada/China/Elbonia. They also would not be crying about fuel economy rules that others have already met.
Instead the Old Big Three are starring near bankruptcy (if not the real McCoy) in the face and be seeing the New Big Three (GM, Toyota, Honda) which, if GM blows it, will be Toyota, Honda and maybe Nissan as the New Big Three. Mike, if Detroit hasn't totally flushed the old "What's Good For Bullmoose" way of thinking they will have flushed themselves with no one to truly blame but themselves. Detroit shot themselves in both feet. The Toyota Sienna is more American than the Ford Mustang. Lay off smoking the funnyweed.
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Seems you have illusion of grandeur, Toyota indeed is selling a lot of cars in the US but that fact remains whether you agree or not, both GM and Ford sell millions more. Obviously many Americans do not agree with your opinion as to who sells what THEY want to buy. If what you believe to be true was actually true the Sienna would have a '1' as the first number of the VIN not the '4' that it exhibits. '4' indicates assembled in the US of less than 70% but more than 40% AMERICAN content. If it had less than 40% it would have a '5' as does the Tundra. If you want to find a Japanese car made in the US you need to look at the Toyotas made in the GM/Toyota planet in California, the Accord or Nissan Titan, all of which have a '1.' You are confusing North American PARTS content with total American content. As to pissing off customers look around one sees a lot of Toyotas traded on GM vehicles ;)
mike

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Mikey, Mikey please learn to read and comprehend:
Ford Says It's Patriotic to Buy A Mustang, but Sienna Is Made In Indiana With More U.S. Parts http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/2006/Ford-Mustang-Patriotic11may06.htm
Few sports cars have captured the nation's imagination like the sleek Ford Mustang, a 21st-century reincarnation of an American classic. The Toyota Sienna minivan, by contrast, speaks to the utilitarian aesthetics of Japan: refined interiors, arm rests and lots and lots of cup holders.
Yet, by a crucial measure, the Sienna is far more American than the Mustang. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that were publicized in "Auto Industry Update: 2006," a presentation by Farmington Hills, Mich., research company CSM Worldwide, show only 65% of the content of a Ford Mustang comes from the U.S. or Canada. Ford Motor Co. buys the rest of the Mustang's parts abroad. By contrast, the Sienna, sold by Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., is assembled in Indiana with 90% local components.
There's more than a little irony in this, considering Ford has launched a campaign to regain its footing with an appeal to patriotism (catchphrase: "Red, White & Bold"). "Americans really do want to buy American brands," asserted Ford Executive Vice President Mark Fields in a recent speech. "We will compete vigorously to be America's car company."
As the Mustang shows, though, it's no longer easy to define what is American. For 20 years now, the dynamic car makers of Asia led by Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. have been pouring money into North America, investing in plants, suppliers and dealerships as well as design, testing and research centers. Their factories used to be derided as "transplants," foreign-owned plants just knocking together imported parts. Today, the Asian car makers are a fully functioning industry, big and powerful enough to challenge Detroit's claim to the heart of U.S. car manufacturing.
The result is a brewing public-relations war, with both sides wrapping themselves in the Stars and Stripes. Toyota, for example has been running commercials touting its contribution to the areas of the U.S. economy where it has built factories.
Next year, the staid Toyota Camry will undergo the ultimate rite of passage by entering the most prestigious circuits of the National Association of Stock Car Racing. Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said his company's vast network of dealerships saw the Nascar link as a crucial marketing tactic to raise Toyota's profile in the U.S. heartland. "Our dealers told us it was really important to do this," he says.
On Thursday, the Level Field Institute, a grass-roots organization founded by U.S. Big Three retirees, is scheduled to hold a news conference in Washington. Among the points the group is expected to make is its belief that comparing relative North American component content is an ineffective way to determine who is "more American" among auto makers. A better way, says Jim Doyle who heads Level Field, is to look at the number of jobs from research and development to manufacturing to retailing each auto maker creates per car sold in the U.S.
Mr. Doyle says the institute's study shows that Toyota in 2005 employed roughly three times more U.S. workers, on a basis of per car sold in the U.S., than Hyundai Motor Co. Each of the Big Three manufacturers in the same year employed roughly three times as many U.S. workers, on a per-car-sold basis, as Toyota. "What's better for the American economy?" Mr. Doyle asks. A GM car "built in Mexico with 147,000 jobs back here in America or a Honda built in Alabama with 4,000 or 5,000 jobs in America?"
Measuring local content is extremely difficult because a part made in America can be assembled from smaller parts, some of which might come from abroad. All of which underscores how the line between what is and isn't American, at least in the auto industry, is "going to be increasingly difficult to pinpoint" as car makers become increasingly international and produce more in local markets, says Michael Robinet, a vice president at CSM Worldwide.
General Motors Corp. is importing Korean-made cars to sell under the Chevy nameplate. Japanese car makers are using American designers for cars being sold in China. Some of the high end luxury BMW "imports" on the road are made in South Carolina. "We don't look at it as an American industry," says Mr. Robinet. "It really is a global industry."
That said, the Japanese manufacturing presence in the U.S. is growing. Foreign-based auto makers in the U.S., led by the Japanese, account for 1.7% of U.S. manufacturing jobs, according to a report by the Center for Automotive Research, Ann Arbor, Mich. After $28 billion in cumulative North America investment and annual purchases of parts reaching $45 billion or more in recent years 67% of the Japanese-brand cars now sold in North America are made in North America, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Japanese investment in U.S. production was a response to the trade tensions of the 1990s, when tensions flared over Japan's surplus with the U.S., of which autos and auto parts were a large portion. By spreading investment across the U.S., Japan's car makers have won crucial allies among U.S. politicians. Last year, when President Bush took to the road to tout his Social Security plan, one of his first stops was a major Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., a conservative corner of the country where the phrase "buy American" no longer means what it once did.
"As the son of a union member, I'll admit that free trade is an issue with which I've struggled," says Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, who has a Nissan Titan pickup truck in his garage. But he adds: "Remember that every Nissan built in Canton also was engineered by Americans, for Americans."
What isn't clear is how Mustang fans like Fred Barkley, president of the Bluegrass Mustang Club of Lexington, Ky., would react to the news that the Mustang is only 65% American, at least by one government measure. Mr. Barkley, owner of three Mustangs, one from 1965 and two from the early 1990s, says it "doesn't bother me too much." Told the Toyota Sienna has higher North American content than the Mustang, he is unimpressed. "I wouldn't buy a Sienna," he says. "I don't like them because they are foreign."
You have heard of the Wall Street Journal?
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You are confusing North American PARTS content with total American content. Don't believe everything you read in teh newspapers. My 2007 Mustang GT convertible as did my 2005 had a NA content label that says 80% NA parts not 65% and it has a '1' as the first number of the VIN not a '4' as does that Sienna
I'll say it again, if you want to find a Japanese car made in the US you need to look at the Toyotas made in the GM/Toyota planet in California, the Accord or Nissan Titan, all of which have a '1.' .
mike

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You have a major comprehension problem Mikey. North American does *NOT* mean American-unless you are one of Bush's pals that are pushing hard for a North American Union. Are you one of those pushing to end the United States of America in favor of a North American Union of the former USA, Mexico and Canada Mikey? Perhaps a guy pushing for North American GM Mikey? Come clean now, you really are Bush's Buddy.
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What color is the sky in your world? LOL
mike

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Unfortunately more are buying "foreign" makes.
Yes not all those other cars are any more reliable than big 2.5 cars but they seem to know better what the public wants. It's not necessarily a more expensive decision either. One thing I notice is that most BIG pickups and SUVs are big 2.5 makes, the often unnecessary vehicle size that is fortunately diminishing in sales. Chrysler is even having trouble unloading those heavy 300 cars, in spite of give away prices. When I look at the Toyota vehicle lineup shown in their ads there is a great variety of selection, much more than the Big 2.5 provide.
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wrote:

Thing is though, that GM still sells more vehicles then Toyota. Deal with it.

Everything I have heard about imports say they are more expensive to own. Though, I haven't owned one, so I shouldn't say that.

"fortunately diminishing in sales"? Do you have a problem with big trucks? Some people need them for work. Others for play, and others just like them. If someone wants to drive a gigantic Sierra or Ram, what's it to you?

Most people I know *like* the bigger cars. We all buy GM, but we like the big ones.

Bullshit. GM has an excellent selection of cars. You can get small little piss-ass cars, you can get medium size cars, huge-ass cars, trucks (also in small and large sizes), and even a station wagon.
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...

If they paid me, I'd still not want to be seen in one of those butt ugly cars. I imagine a handful of people in the Chrysler organization like them and let it be made, but I've heard many negatives about their styling. Small windows, poor visibility, and a big honking chrome grill that just overwhelms the front end.
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