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U.A.W. Workers to Vote on Contract

Friday, September 28, 2007

uaw.jpgThe Detroit Free Press reports:

UAW local leaders are expected to meet in Detroit this morning to learn the much-awaited official details of the tentative agreement reached early Wednesday between the union and General Motors Corp., as UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and other union officials work to get the deal ratified.

Today is the first time the union will broadly distribute the specifics of a landmark deal that restructures retiree health care, introduces a two-tier wage system and eliminates wage increases for the duration of the 4-year contract. And the union’s more than 73,000 GM workers are anxious to see the hard facts.

The Free Press also reports:

A cornerstone of the tentative deal reached Wednesday is the creation of a trust — called a voluntary employee beneficiary association, or VEBA — that is expected to rid General Motors Corp.’s financial books of more than $50 billion in retiree health care obligations at a $15-billion discount.

But not all UAW members are happy about the deal’s:

guarantee that the proposed trust fund should be solvent for at least 80 years.

“I don’t buy that for a minute,” said Ralph Herndon, a 50-year-old GM retiree from Otisville, who retired in January from Orion Assembly. “I think we’re going to be worried for a long, long time. I think worry is going to be part of our life when it comes to our health care.”

In fact, on NPR today I was listening to the show All Things Considered and they were interviewing a retiree who worked for Caterpillar and he mentioned that one of the main benefits for working for Caterpillar was free health care for retirees but after the UAW set up a VEBA the retirees had to start spending a lot more money per month to receive benefits that were promised to them years earlier.  So we’ll see how this contract vote goes and if this VEBA deal is as good as Gettelfinger claims it to be.

Image From:
Detroit News

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