Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where is the UAW?

Why is the "auto workers make $70 per hour" lie getting so much traction? Where is the UAW in this conversation, correcting the record?

UAW workers make about $28 per hour -- certainly in line with auto workers from Toyota and other foreign companies. Their benefits (This includes the costs of negotiated benefits such as health care, pensions, education and training and prepaid legal services. It also includes statutory costs, which employers are required to pay by law, such as federal contributions for Social Security and Medicare, and state payments to workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance funds.) cost about $10 per hour -- again totally in line with other workers who receive benefits in the USA.

How these liars get to $70 per hour is they take the total cost of all retirees including health benefits and divide it by the number of current employee hours. Each of the 302,500 UAW workers is carrying in addition to their own costs, the costs of 368,810 retirees and 105,420 surviving spouses. Who else includes the cost of benefits to multiple other people in the compensation rate for employees? Liars, that's who.

And that disparity has already been solved:
In 2007, the Big Three signed a breakthrough contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW) designed, once and for all, to eliminate the compensation gap between domestic and foreign automakers in the U.S.

The agreement sought to do so, first, by creating a private trust for financing future retiree benefits--effectively removing that burden from the companies' books. The auto companies agreed to deposit start-up money in the fund; after that, however, it would be up to the unions to manage the money...

In addition, management and labor agreed to change health benefits for all workers, active or retired, so that the coverage looked more like the policies most people have today, complete with co-payments and deductibles...

The right has pounced on the $70 per hour myth to destroy labor. The UAW has a perfect response -- why aren't they shouting it? At a minimum their web site shoud have updates and fact sheets to refute these attacks. Instead the News Release site hasn't been updated since 11-6-08; Speeches and Testimony since 9-25-08;
and Features since 11-12-08.

The UAW is in desprate need for a new PR firm!


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