Statement of 3 former UAW Exec-Board Members on UAW Tentative Agreement
|Below is a copy of the Statement on the GM-UAW Tentative
Agreement from Paul Schrade, Warren Davis, and Jerry Tucker, former UAW
Regional Directors & International Executive Board Members.
Statement on Tentative Agreement
Issued September 26, 2007:
by Former UAW International Executive Board Members: Paul Schrade - Warren
Davis - Jerry Tucker
WE REGRET THE decision by the UAW negotiators to tentatively agree to place
the future health care protection of hundreds of thousands of UAW retired
members under a union run Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, or
VEBA. We believe it irresponsible by the parties to this negotiation to
shift the burden of risk to the retired workers and their families and
release General Motors from its commitment to the full and perpetual
coverage of healthcare for the workers who built the wealth of the
corporation in the first place.
We have previously noted the lack of any real discussion or debate among the
members and secondary leadership of the union prior to the negotiations on
the VEBA. Springing a new and potentially hazardous economic concept on an
unsuspecting membership, either active or retired, is alien to the
democratic principles in our governing constitution. That a VEBA can be
dangerous is well documented. UAW retired members covered by a VEBA at
Caterpillar can painfully vouch for that. Their VEBA went bust and they now
have thousands of dollars in unanticipated out-of-pocket costs per year for
reduced health care protection.
In a recent letter to International President Gettelfinger, a prominent
Detroit area local unionıs leaders stated: "Most VEBA's allow the companies
to wash their hands of retiree health care. If things don't go according to
'plan,' it will be our own union telling retirees to drain their life
savings to pay for medical care. That's unacceptable because it goes
against everything our union stands for." And even former UAW President
Douglas Fraser expressed his reservations about a VEBA when he said: "God
help us if we get into a depression or recession and the value of the fund
plummets and the UAW is sitting there with this huge liability."
The Big 3 clamor to relieve themselves of the cost of retiree health care
may be applauded by Wall Street and the investor class, but unions have a
different responsibility and a different constituency. By going the VEBA
route the parties will have missed a historic opportunity to inject their
significant political clout in the growing push for a national health care
system in this country patterned after the Canadian "Medicare for All"
system. That's a system that each company acknowledges has leveled the
competitiveness playing field for them there.
From the start, this round of negotiations was projected by the media to be
about what autoworkers could do--meaning give up--to help the domestic auto
manufacturers out of the "competitiveness" hole theyıd dug themselves into.
Yet GM showed a profit last quarter of $891 million as reported July 31,
2007 in Market Watch and their stock is soaring. There are a number of
worker concessions in the tentative agreement which unfairly penalize
workers and their families for management's design failures.
We respectfully recommend that the GM UAW membership vote "NO" and that the
leadership instruct the workers to remain at work while they rejoin the
negotiations to correct the VEBA mistake and other unjust concessions
currently in the tentative agreement.
Paul Schrade Warren Davis Jerry Tucker
Former UAW Directors:
Region 6 Region 2 Region 5
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