Wednesday, September 26

GM - UAW Reach Tentative Deal

We're gathering information right now - but here's what we know:
1. Most importantly for both sides, the auto workers are going back to making cars this morning (thanking God, probably, that they aren't going to be living on 200 bones a week for the next 6 months.)
2. GM has an official statement that the agreement is finalized, and...wait for it... it looks like there's a VEBA! We knew it! Not on the table our ass.

No more healthcare costs for GM (minus that hefty up-front contribution). Interesting. Does this mark a Womakian shift in Detroit? Everyone seems to think the other Big 2 are going to jump in ASAP. Plus, what does assuming 50 billion in healthcare responsibilities mean for the Union? Does this create solidarity or itnernal strife?

We'll keep updating this post throughout the day, as we learn more. In the meantime, discuss in the comments.

UPDATE [10:32 a.m.]: We got emailed that some people wanted an explanation of a VEBA. We scoured the web for one that wasn't written for IRS auditors (i.e.: BORING), and found this fascinatingly well-composed description on the Hopkins k-12 School District Website. We did the math, and CE started learning about VEBAS in 20th Grade. Apparently that puts us at, like, 7th-grade in Minnesota. Kudos to you, libertarians!

UPDATE [9:15 p.m]: Details are trickling out finally - looks like not only did GM catch up to the Minnesota primary education system, they're also getting the 2-tier salary structure they asked for - down to the dollar. From now on, temp and non-manufacturing workers will start at $18/hour, down $10 from the previous contract.

A lot of people seem to think the UAW is calling this a "victory" way too soon, citing a bunch of unanswered questions (like where the 38 bil will come from to fund the VEBA), and that the union is using the short strike to make this a win, when they did all the conceding. If the NY Times is correct, CE agrees:

In return [for taking over 50 billion in healthcare costs] the union won
guarantees that medical benefits for hourly workers and retirees and their
families will remain in place for the next two years. G.M. will also invest
money in its American plants, and will maintain its current union work force of

Won? The union "won" that? So the UAW takes over the next 80 years' worth of healthcare costs in return for a promise by GM to keep making cars. If we didn't know it was the UAW, we'd be worried this was adhesion. No such luck - the CE prognosis: the union caved. Hard. Discuss in the comments.