LABOR ADVOCATES WORKERS SOLUTION
Not for Profit Working for American Workers, Retirees, and Families
Patricia Meyer, Director
P.O. Box 112 West Olive, MI 49460
September 22, 2011
As you know L.A.W.S., Inc. has been active for many years working for justice for our American workers, retirees and their families. In the last few days we have received several phone calls from General Motors UAW retirees with questions about what the 2011 GM UAW contact would hold for them since they have no voice or vote in the contract negotiations or the outcome.
Today I made a phone call to GM/UAW retiree Richard Danjin who has worked on contracts in the past. I asked him if he had any knowledge of what the provisions were in the new contract for the retirees . He provided me with both information and his opinion about the recently negotiated UAW-GM agreement as it pertains to the 400,000 plus UAW retirees, spouses and dependents.
* Annual Cola Catch Up: The annual COLA catch up of $700 for the principle retiree and $400 for surviving spouses will be eliminated. The reason given by UAW President Bob King at a press conference on 9-20-11 is that the pension fund is strained. No one knows better than you, Mr. President, the amount of underfunding that exists in GM's North American pension fund which today amounts to 10.8 billion underfunded dollars. A conservative estimate of $250 million dollars annually adds up to 1 billion dollars over the life of this agreement in REAL dollars taken from the retirees to underwrite the cost of this agreement to "keep the corporation competitive."
* Pension De-Risk Consideration: Over a week ago Mr. Stephen Girsky on GM told a group of Wall Street analysts, "we want to take the pension risk off the table" in the 2011 UAW-GM agreement supplement under Pension De-Risk. "The parties may amend the plan over the life of the agreement." Mr. President, a worker's pension plan is the foundation upon which his/her future is built. This language clearly states to current retirees that the rock solid economic security he is counting on is no longer rock solid. The cost of this contract should come from the active work force not the retirees in so far as the pension funding is the sole responsibility of the corporation. Furthermore the retirees were neither consulted nor are they provided an opportunity to give consent to this agreement.
* GM Legal Services: GM legal services for retirees may be terminated by the company. This service has been available for around 25 years. It has not been a free service. The retirees receive a separate withholding statement yearly. UAW President Bob King is allowing GM once again to take from the retirees to help fill their coffers.
Today General Motors has 48,5000 active workers and over 400,000 retirees, spouses and dependents. During the next ten days the United Automobile Workers Union will conduct a ratification vote among the UAW active work force. The agreement is being touted by the UAW leadership as economically keeping GM competitive and recognized as not adding to GM's cost. By Wall Street standards it is almost a magic act, but like the TARP bailout someone must pay. The entire American Society pays for the Tarp, in regards of the UAW-GM agreement the retirees pay. They are underwriting the cost of this new union, corporation collaborative creative problem solving with real dollars taken from their very hands.
As the United States Government stills maintains partial ownership in General Motors I am asking you to look into this situation immediately. The retirees in our country seem to coming under direct attack by our politicians and union officials. They are being accused of receiving entitlements for Social Security they have paid into since they began their work career. Are they once again to be shafted by the corporation and union they worked for, were loyal to and trusted to treat them fairly?
I need a direct answer within the next 48 hours and the name of someone who I can work with. You may reach me at 269-998-4609
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of L.A.W.S., Inc.