A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Auto Workers "Sacrifice"

Regular readers will know I have no great love for unions but this has really got my hackles up…….
Some extracts from the recent union press release (my comments)

- The existing contract is extended to September 2012. (So we agree to agree for a little while longer, woopeee)
- Base wages are frozen for the remainder of the contract. (duh) - Quarterly cost of living adjustments are suspended until 2012. (Cost of living? What the H is that?)
- There will be no annual cost of living adjustments to pensions. (Christ I just wish I had ANY pension let alone one with COLA)
- Paid time off is reduced by 40 hours per year, on top of the 40 hour reduction in annual vacation pay. (Paid time off, I wish! That’s a reduction equivalent to the amount most folks get in total vacation.)
- An annual $1700 special bonus payment is diverted to retiree health care benefits. ($1700 bonus!! Shit that’s about 2 months pay for many full time workers)
- Expenses for union-sponsored programs (including training, child care facilities, wellness programs, and national coordinators) are reduced by about one-third. (If they are union sponsored, why are the unions / workers not paying for them?)
- Significant changes are made to a range of health and non-wage benefits (Which most other folks never got in the first place)
- Other health benefits affected by reduced caps or increased co-pays include dental, long-term care, life insurance, and tuition benefits. (Nice stuff if you can get it!)
- The agreement is contingent on the company receiving government financial assistance and recommitting to a proportional Canadian manufacturing presence. (contingent on the company receiving a bail out from the already stressed Canadian taxpayer!)

This all is a little much to take for someone whose family income has never been up to what ONE of these worker make and who now is supporting 3 on our savings, but this bit which has been already repeated ad-nauseaum in the news really makes me sick…. "Together these changes represent a major sacrifice by our active members and retirees," said Lewenza. "They will reduce active hourly labour costs by several dollars per hour. (from the already inflated wage these “semiskilled” {I’m being nice} workers receive). Note that the hourly take home pay remains unchanged but I suspect that many more of them will not be taking it home! (bet they get more than 22 weeks of EI though!)

Just to be clear the management, salaried workers, union bosses and corporate executives are no better and perhaps worse in their willingness to reduce their personal gain for the betterment of all. When I hear that these folks have taken a 20% or 30% cut in wages in order to give 20% or 30% of their colleagues a better chance at retaining their jobs then I will be impressed. Meanwhile our government better get some guarantees that the jobs will remain and all these highly paid workers will not be collecting EI in a year despite the bailout!

If this is sacrifice, let em sink sink, they aint getting my tax dollar cause I aint got any left!!

Edit – Seems like I am not the only one not impressed!

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