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Tuesday: GM dumps retiree health care

Isn’t that special? Now, the rest of us can pick up the bill for them:

Mr. Gettelfinger, for his part, is trying to protect one of the jewels of the U.A.W. contract, which is essentially health care for life for anyone who worked on the assembly line and their surviving spouses. G.M. has already canceled health care for more than 100,000 of its salaried retirees.

“The U.A.W. at this point understands that it can very well turn into the villain of this whole thing by insisting that its workers receive health care benefits that few workers do,” said Gary N. Chaison, a labor expert at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

U.A.W. members are bracing for bad news, and worrying that their health care plan will be sacrificed to keep G.M. from going bankrupt.

“Where does it all stop?” said Mike Green, president of U.A.W. Local No. 652, which represents workers in Lansing, Mich. “It would be devastating. Our typical person works between 30 and 40 years. They did their part. Why should they have it taken away with the sweep of a pen?

Or, GM could stop thinking in the present like it has been doing since the first oil crisis and turn out cars and trucks that are actually energy efficient and well designed.  It could stop hiring CEO’s who live in the moment and oppose universal healthcare until the enormous cost of it threatens to bring down their industry.  They could stop blaming labor for all of their problems.

Did you ever notice that whenever there is a crisis in an industry, it’s always labor’s fault for demanding too much?  They’re damned it they work with no protection and damned if they work with it.  If they get laid off these days, they get blamed for the cost of unemployment.  Industry would work so much better if the damn workers would just show up, do their jobs for free and go away when they’re not needed any longer.

But NOooooOOOoo.  Now we learn that the unions enjoy privileges that most workers do not.  We can all point our fingers at them and say, “They are getting more than we are.  That’s not fair!” instead of saying, “Which bozos were in charge in the past 30 years who allowed this to happen?”

As for the retirees, I feel bad for anyone with a fixed income and a health problem.  It’s too late for them to find jobs.  If they were promised healthcare, someone needs to deliver on that promise.  But instead of determining whether the company bargained in bad faith, knowing that they wouldn’t ever be expected to deliver on their future promises, we are supposed to see the UAW as the villain for trying to collect on deferred compensation.  What did the UAW concede when it struck the “retiree health care” bargain in the first place?

It sets a really bad precedent to treat retirees in one industry badly because that kind of bad behavior has a tendency to spread if no one is held accountable for promises.  What about the rest of us who have been paying our taxes and have been promised pensions, 401K’s, cash balance plans and social security?  If the UAW is forced to sacrifice for their industry, who’s next?

Ahhh, here’s the problem:

But G.M.’s plan to shrink its way to profitability will not mean much without an agreement with the U.A.W.

There is apparently no other way that GM can make a profit without getting concessions from the unions.  They can’t make better cars.  No, no, that’s completely off of the table.  And it can’t stop stupid finance deals or cut executive pay or ask their shareholders to forgo their dividends until the American auto industry gets back on its feet.  No, profitability hinges on screwing the workers.  And Obama has decided to appoint Tim Geithner and Larry “Women are intrinsically incapable of doing higher level math” Summers to supervise the agreement that gets hammered out.

How strange.  In the case of the banks, there is a decidedly hands off approach to how the financial bailout money gets spent.  The taxpayer is a silent partner while the bankers divvy up the spoils and reward themselves with lavish bonuses.  To interfere with THAT is taboo and unAmerican.  We can not direct how executives are compensated.  But with the auto industry and their measley $14 billion, well, that’s a different story.  For that, we need Geithner and Summers to supervise directly.  And unlike Wall Street, there are unions that are to be considered.  And these union members have to make concessions or the industry is unprofitable.

Ok, I see where this is going now.

Hey, don’t blame us.  We didn’t vote for him.

On another note:

Marie Cocco hits the nail on the head: the middle class benefitting from the fruits of its productivity.  We aren’t making enough to maintain a middle class lifestyle.  It’s not that we took on too much debt.  It’s that we can’t make it on what we earn these days.  Oh sure, there are always going to be people who live beyond their means intentionally.  But what about the people who live beyond their means *unintentionally*?  Why are so many people struggling with mortgages and student loans that will take a generation to pay off?

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149 Responses

  1. Why don’t the unions make management sign something in the new contracts admitting to these things? If they had to publicly admit their stupidity, avarice, short sightedness, and state clearly that they had brought the company to bankruptcy and harmed millions of their workers perhaps being a failed manager would be shameful like going to prison. This society needs to treat these fools like pariahs.

  2. This is the most outrageous happening yet. They take tax payer money..drop the older people off their health care ..and will most likey give themselves a raise.

  3. Hey pain & suffering is part of growing old — those old people need to buck up & stop running to the doctor for every little broken hit or bout of pneumonia. So saieth Daschle, so saith Obama.

  4. How strange. In the case of the banks, there is a decidedly hands off approach to how the financial bailout money gets spent.

    As I read this I was thinking, “And the difference here? No bank union members.”

    And it appears you and I are on the same page. It’s union busting, plain and simple. UAW meet PATCO.

  5. Hey pain & suffering is part of growing old

    Without healthcare they geezers would croak sooner, and we could inherit a few bucks before they spend it all.

  6. myiq: LOL! My mom was just visiting here this weekend and she went on and on about how much she was worth. I was getting all excited. Then I had a moment of guilt.

  7. And this is EXACTLY WHY our congress people and other office holders should be treated in exactly the same way as the poeple: no lifelong benefits when you’ve only worked a few years; social security and 401 K’s but no pensions; same health insurance set-up as the rest of us.

  8. looking for integrity: Exactly!

  9. Industry would work so much better if the damn workers would just show up, do their jobs for free and go away when they’re not needed any longer.

    That’s pretty much how agribusiness has felt about immigrant labor here in the southwest US (formerly known as “Mexico del Norte”) for about 150 years.

    “Just show up to pick the crops and then go back where you came from until we need you again.”

  10. It’s just like I’ve been saying for the past few years. They want to turn us into serfs. The sad thing is that when I started saying it, even I thought it was kind of tinfoil hat. When are Americans going to take to streets like Icelanders did?

  11. Ugh, this is sickening. First we have Congress – they vote for their own raises and benefits. Well, I would loooove to vote for my salary and benefits. I’d take care of myself just like those asswipes are taking care of themselves! Has any member of Congress ever addressed the inherent unfairness in this set-up? We already know the first bank they decided to bail out was the one that insured their pensions.

    Now we come to Wall Street vs. Auto. It’s a class thing all over again. Screw the workers! I sure hope all those unions who endorsed and spent millions campaigning for Obama are happy they get their man in the White House. That’s the only thing they’ll be celebrating any time soon.

  12. Maybe we should just stop paying taxes. What’s the point?

  13. Company loyalty to faithful and hardworking employees disappeared long ago. Sad thing is so many voters supported the current president who trashed not only women but “old” as well. In effect, he has condoned what is happening.

    However, “old” is also getting younger and younger now, with people in their forties losing their jobs and health care insurance.

    I wonder if doctors will adjust to being paid in eggs and syrup — or whatever people had available on the farms in the 1930s? Oh, I remember now, those people went to work for the likes of GM and made it wealthy. And they don’t have chickens. So, I guess the only thing to do is suffer. (I see it first hand already.)

  14. Culture of life my a$$. They’re OOOOOOLD. Put’em on an ice flow and send them on their way.

    BTW, your post dovetails with Violet’s at Reclusive Leftist.

  15. Company loyalty to faithful and hardworking employees disappeared long ago

    About the time the unicorns died. 100 years ago if you got disabled at work you were SOL. Companies would promise pensions to anyone who retired after 20 years and then they’d fire ’em before they got much past 15.

  16. myiq — yep.

  17. My favorite book of all time is “The Grapes of Wrath”. Steinbeck’s book of fiction is pretty close to becoming a reality.

  18. My dad is a Boeing retiree with the best of their previous pension plans…he’s been retired for over 20 years, now.

    His medical coverage only lasted until he was 65, and my mother’s coverage on his pension also expired at 65. At that point, they were on Medicare (mandatory) and they found their own supplemental private coverage. At that time, Boeing was the King of Benefits.

    If they are removing something that is over and above what most large companies do, that is smart during the bailout review.

    Right now the auto industry bailouts are near the end of the list of what I’m watching for in results from this dreadful stimulus. It makes me want to scream that Obama finds it so necessary to make a big stage performance out of every single thing. He can sign this horrible bill in the WH rather than take Air Force One to Denver for it. He just couldn’t wait to start playing with the toys and taking advantage of the perks of his job.

  19. bluelyon: Union busting is at least a major component of their aim. I hope the UAW calls their bluff but I don’t see it happening. The auto unions. airline unions, (etc.) all made concessions in good faith because they thought the alternative was to lose all their jobs. In every case after the concessions were made management seemed to find the money to give themselves huge bonuses equal to or greater than the value of the concessions. Same with the banking bailout. The money didn’t go to bank solvency but to huge bonuses.

    The ONLY way out of our present crises is genuine leadership. The kind where the leaders don’t ask anyone to sacrifice anything they personally aren’t willing to sacrifice or give up. This isn’t even “new” thinking, it is old school. Every one has to have something in the game.

  20. It used to be the law that workers were responsible for their own safety and that if they thought a job was too dangerous they should quit.

    If you were hurt at work you couldn’t collect damages from your employer unless you could prove he was negligent (and the doctrine of “contributory negligence” would cut off liability if you were found to be even 1% negligent too.)

    Negligence is duty-breach-causation, but employers had no duty to put safety guards around belts, blades and other moving parts, nor did they have to provide safety gear.

    There are a lot of things we take for granted that our grandparents had to fight for.

  21. Steinbeck’s book of fiction is pretty close to becoming a reality AGAIN

    Fixed it for you

  22. native1: “The ONLY way out of our present crises is genuine leadership. The kind where the leaders don’t ask anyone to sacrifice anything they personally aren’t willing to sacrifice or give up.”
    *********
    Agreed! Leading by example seems a lost art.

    I vote for what – looking for integrity, on February 17th, 2009 at 8:22 am Said:

  23. Just stamp my forehead with a barcode and get it over with, already! The new czar positions/offices that BO is scaring us with would more than pay for the healthcare for everyone in the country.

    But, the writing has been on the wall and only a matter of time before GM dropped retiree health bennies. They made some terrible choices regarding the kinds of autos they put on the market. Mostly gas hogs. And, they quit making their cutting-edge electric cars.

    As just an observation…

    If your pic is a GM plant – take a look in the background at how fat the workers are. GM could save themselves serious jack by spending the money to get their workers fit. Not just in healthcare $$$ but in time off.

    Perhaps if they wud have started (and, not too late to start) an in-house campaign to get their workers heart-healthy.

  24. “There are a lot of things we take for granted that our grandparents had to fight for.”

    I fear for our future if people don’t wake up to the fact that all the things we take for granted now are being taken away at an ever accelerating pace.

  25. myiq: Thanks for completing my incomplete thought. You are absolutely correct.

  26. Pat J:

    I wanted to respond to you on a previous thread but I was too late. I for one enjoy reading your posts and always have. I like, for want of a better word, “spunk”. Please don’t become PC on us.

  27. Pat J:

    I really do proofread my posts. should have been:

    I like your, for want of a better word, “spunk”. sorry.

  28. Thanks for completing my incomplete thought

    If you make college freshmen read that book (or watch the movie in the case of HS kids) they are incredulous. The expect the good guys to arrive at the end of the movie and fix it so everyone lives happily ever after.

    They can’t seem to grasp that it was really was like that.

  29. Our President exhibits his continual disrepect for the people. Did he really have to go to Chicago this weekend? Does he really have to sign the bill in Colorado? How about some belt tightening at the top? Why should execs tighten their belts when Obama refuses? Do as I say and not as I do just doesn’t cut it anymore. Why not put all our elected officials on the same medical plans and retirement plans that we all have? We would sure save alot of money that way. I wonder how long will social security and medicare be “broken” if our elected officials had to rely on them for the medical and retirement?

  30. How about if the Obamas sacrifice their next vacation to Hawaii? The cost of travel on Airforce One, rent for luxurous mansion, meals, entertainment, and gym fees would probably be enough to take care of a lot of old people.

  31. Please don’t become PC on us

    She makes me nervous when she’s too nice to me.

  32. looking for integrity, on February 17th, 2009 at 8:22 am Said:
    And this is EXACTLY WHY our congress people and other office holders should be treated in exactly the same way as the poeple: no lifelong benefits when you’ve only worked a few years; social security and 401 K’s but no pensions; same health insurance set-up as the rest of

    Just caught up and I see that Looking for integrity and a number of us are thinking the same thing. Since this is the case why can’t the rest of the “we the people” see it also?

  33. luxurous mansion, meals, entertainment, and gym

    They have all that at “home” right now.

  34. Not sure of the “spunk” but I have been told to STFU on more than one occasion.

  35. I have been told to STFU on more than one occasion

    Which I’m sure you made them regret.

  36. Hi all. FlVoter I know, why doesn’t he just go up to Aspen and then ski a few trails while he is there?

    Here’s an idea BO, come to NE Ohio and stand in front of any number of abandoned businesses and houses and tell me how this stimulus will help around here.

  37. Sometimes the silence can be even more menacing. : ).

  38. I actually don’t care if private business execs don’t tighten their belts. They don’t work for me and I don’t have to but their products or listen to them on tv. I absolutely couldn’t care less if they fly around in corporate jets smoking cuban cigars rolled from $100 bills and using gold plated toilets. Of course I don’t think they should be getting tax money either, but that’s another issue altogether.

    But the POTUS should do better.

  39. Someone please help me. What is the link to how you do all the nifty things in these posts. I’m tired of being the dinosaur here. 🙂

  40. Good morning. Still reeling from reading the DV thread last night. I don’t think I could’ve participated. It was quite a day here yesterday.

    I’m living in an unreal world w/ work. The retirees there pay 1 plus million to move in and $3-6000 a month to retire in what amounts to a four star hotel.

  41. Bad headcold and now a croaky voice–like Pat’s! (teasing, Pat….)

  42. Sirota is mainlining Kool-aid again:

    Is President Obama rediscovering the economically populist voice that fueled his campaign?

    When was Obama ever an economic populist? Oh, that’s right, when he was bashing NAFTA in Ohio (while secretly telling the Candadians he didn’t mean it.)

  43. joaniebone: XXOO

  44. Meanwhile, back in NY:

    “ALBANY – Gov. Paterson has secretly granted raises of as much as 46 percent to more than a dozen staffers at a time when he has asked 130,000 state workers to give up 3 percent pay hikes because of the state’s fiscal crisis…

    The startling pay hikes, costing about $250,000 annually, were granted after the governor’s “emergency” declaration in August of a looming fiscal crisis that required the state to cut spending and impose a “hard” hiring freeze.

    One raise was approved as recently as last month – when Paterson claimed the budget deficit had reached an unprecedented $15.5 billion.

    Paterson’s top aide, William Cunningham, a one-time law partner of the governor’s father, Basil, saw his pay jump 5 percent to $178,500 – just $500 less than Paterson himself – from $170,000 on Nov. 7, after he was promoted from a temporary “acting” secretary to permanent.

    Charlotte Hitchcock, one of Cunningham’s deputies and a personal friend of the governor’s, received an $18,000, or 11.25 percent, raise on Dec. 22. While a press release said she was promoted from deputy secretary to “chief of staff” and “director of financial regulation,” it made no mention of a higher salary.

    Cassie Prugh, a confidential assistant, was given a 46 percent pay hike in late November, raising her annual salary to $125,000 from $85,721, while Gaurav Vasisht, an assistant counsel, received a 6 percent, $7,427 increase in December, bringing his salary to $130,279.

    Brendan Fitzgerald, a special office assistant, received a 21 percent, or $15,737, pay hike only last month, bringing his salary to $90,000, while Michael Deloach, another confidential assistant, saw his pay leap 29 percent, or $18,200, to $80,000 in August.

    Lauren Passalacqua, a confidential secretary, saw her salary jump $12,000, or 31.5 percent, to $50,000, while the salary of another confidential aide, Chardee Mendoza, was hiked $10,000, or 28.5 percent, to $45,000.

    Paterson, in his budget proposal outlined in December, demanded that state workers who belong to the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employee Federation forgo negotiated, 3 percent pay hikes that would kick in April 1 or face massive layoffs.”

  45. Still reeling from reading the DV thread last night.

    _________________________

    I am too.

  46. It still astonishes me to see them scratching around for reasons to support him even when he offers none. Mind boggling.

  47. “I actually don’t care if private business execs don’t tighten their belts.”

    I don’t care either except that those same execs are the ones screaming that workers have to tighten their belts or the business closes and THEY STILL fly around drinking good booze, smoking cuban cigars, etc. As I said before this attitude is what is killing us. Yes it is the execs fault, the productivity of the american worker has steadily gotten better and better, the workers are doing their part. Time for the execs and management to redefine their jobs as helping the company survive by good planning and leadership rather than how to screw the workers.

  48. My brother worked for Ford Motors from before WW2 until the 80s.During the war they made tanks and he was drafted with 4 kids and was sent to Fort Knox to work on tanks. When the war was over they closed the Chester Pa plant and relocated it in Matawan NJ. He had to transfer with it to have a job. He stayed in NJ during the week and could only come home on Weekends. You do what you have to do to keep a job and many hardworking people made this country great and do not get the recognition they deserve. The management class forgot without the workers management is not needed.
    Both political parties screwed this country and should be thrown out of office. Today there is no difference between parties and no one is looking out for the average American citizen.
    Soylent Green is almost here and when it comes since most of the representives.
    and senators are of a certain age they should go first
    Since most auto workers actually make something and the congress just produces hot air shouldn’t congress have to give up the perks first. The boy king should be sent back to Chicago and try to collect unemployment.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS.BUBBAS,EQUALISTS,AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  49. Meanwhile back in NY:

    “ALBANY – Gov. Paterson has secretly granted raises of as much as 46 percent to more than a dozen staffers at a time when he has asked 130,000 state workers to give up 3 percent pay hikes because of the state’s fiscal crisis…

    The startling pay hikes, costing about $250,000 annually, were granted after the governor’s “emergency” declaration in August of a looming fiscal crisis that required the state to cut spending and impose a “hard” hiring freeze. …

    One raise was approved as recently as last month – when Paterson claimed the budget deficit had reached an unprecedented $15.5 billion.

    Paterson’s top aide, William Cunningham, a one-time law partner of the governor’s father, Basil, saw his pay jump 5 percent to $178,500 – just $500 less than Paterson himself – from $170,000 on Nov. 7, after he was promoted from a temporary “acting” secretary to permanent.

    Charlotte Hitchcock, one of Cunningham’s deputies and a personal friend of the governor’s, received an $18,000, or 11.25 percent, raise on Dec. 22. While a press release said she was promoted from deputy secretary to “chief of staff” and “director of financial regulation,” it made no mention of a higher salary.

    Cassie Prugh, a confidential assistant, was given a 46 percent pay hike in late November, raising her annual salary to $125,000 from $85,721, while Gaurav Vasisht, an assistant counsel, received a 6 percent, $7,427 increase in December, bringing his salary to $130,279.

    Brendan Fitzgerald, a special office assistant, received a 21 percent, or $15,737, pay hike only last month, bringing his salary to $90,000, while Michael Deloach, another confidential assistant, saw his pay leap 29 percent, or $18,200, to $80,000 in August.

    Lauren Passalacqua, a confidential secretary, saw her salary jump $12,000, or 31.5 percent, to $50,000, while the salary of another confidential aide, Chardee Mendoza, was hiked $10,000, or 28.5 percent, to $45,000. …

    Paterson, in his budget proposal outlined in December, demanded that state workers who belong to the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employee Federation forgo negotiated, 3 percent pay hikes that would kick in April 1 or face massive layoffs.”

  50. I missed the DV thread last night. Must read.

    But my view of men who even threaten or use verbally assaultive language are domestically violent in my book. When you don’t even have to resort to actually laying hands on a female to make your point, you are just as guilty as if you had. Cowing a woman into submission is equally offensive.

  51. Native1
    I stole your word Equalist. . No hard feelings I hope.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  52. Someone has to explain to me what makes anyone worth a million dollars or more a year plus benefits and bonuses before I can take these fools seriously.

    You can’t be all that terrific if you leave the company insolvent, the workers out on a limb, and the product worthless. I may be from the old school, but I was under the impression that you had to earn your bread and butter by actually doing more than sit at a desk and push paper.

  53. helenk:

    I agree with your post. Also I couldn’t respond to your post last night. Please feel free to use EQUALIST as you see fit.

  54. But my view of men who even threaten or use verbally assaultive language are domestically violent in my book.

    ‘Criminal threats” are a felony in California.

  55. What the heck is the “DV thread?”

  56. helenk:

    OK now we are playing post tag. You didn’t steal anything. Thank you though. I’m glad some one got something out of my usual blather. We EQUALISTS have to stick together.

    Pat J:

    I too am old school. My first school had one teacher who taught multiple grades. Some how I survived and eventually went to college. To much coddling in these new schools. You had to be tough. Our bus did have a 2050 air conditioner though…20 open windows at 50 mph. :-0

  57. So now those piggish auto workers have to give up their retirement healthcare to save the industry. Somebody remind me, what did the fatcats working for the banks and financial industries have to give up to save their industries?

  58. I am also referring to someone like the guy who lives across the street from me. His wife is a nurse, he is an electrical engineer. Both educated and fairly well off.

    During the summer you can hear him screaming and yelling over things like the location of the lawn sprinkler, where she parked the car, who left the bike in the driveway, on and on. His all time favorite is “get your ass in gear”. Most of us shake our heads and try to ignore the verbal abuse while trying to enjoy our own yards. But his big, loud mouth can be heard all through an otherwise quiet neighborhood.

    The wife, on the other hand, tends to ignore us. Feeling ashamed can do that.

  59. helenk: Soylent Green may almost be here but Idiocracy has been in DC for decades.

    I really don’t see the need to have Congress in DC anymore specifically because of the avail. of VMI, video conferencing, email, etc. What is the point of having them there? To be lobbied? To look out for themselves and not for us? We are at a point in our capabilities that we no longer need Congress in DC.

  60. bostonboomer, on February 17th, 2009 at 9:49 am Said:
    What the heck is the “DV thread?”

    good question! anyone?

  61. bb: Domestic violence.

  62. PJ
    It was here on TC??

  63. I still don’t know what or where it is, Pat. I obviously missed something.

  64. bb, catarina: I think it might have been on last night’s thread. I went to bed so I think the conversation proceeded following comments regarding Rihanna and Chris Brown. Check out the post prior to this one.

  65. OK. Thanks Pat.

  66. GM doesn’t oppose universal health care. Nor do the unions. Rick Wagner, the GM CEO, has spoken about the need for a different system and has mentioned universal health care. It is clear that employer supplied health care is a bad business model for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that it costs GM $5 billion a year for retiree benefits alone.

    Also, GM has been looking forward re: fuel efficient vehicles. I’m not going to sit here and say that GM is the most forward thinking company ever, or that they have an unblemished record re: fuel efficiency or alternative fuels. But, at this point, GM has invested heavily in fuel cell technology and is on the leading edge of developing it.

    Also, every car company in the world has been slammed by this economy. Acting like GM’s problems are all caused by GM is short-sighted and helps this administration in its union-busting.

  67. RD: This is why health care needs to be an essential that is backed by the full faith and credit of the US. HC has spiraled out of control and the costs put much of our manufacturing out of business. I too rail at the auto companies for not building more energy efficient cars but I also live in the state that has more vehicles than anywhere else in the world. They made the Hummer a huge sales success along with the high powered pick-up truck. They are major buyers of those huge gas guzzling RVs. The open deserts around our community are major attractions for off-road vehicles that burn gallons and gallons of those fossil fuels so that fools can race up and down the sand dunes and destroy the fragil ecology of this environment. I heart these workers and I think they and all of us should have lifetime health benefits available to us at a manageable cost to us. But we have to begin to see all of these issues—health care, the state of the economy, our fossil fuel addiction, our environment—as the interconnected whole that they are. Maybe we should let these failed auto companies fail. Maybe it’s time to develop a whole new manufacturing platform to meet our transportation needs.

  68. It appears that Paterson is no different than any other sleaze politician gracing the national stage. Sleight of hand is the only way these guys know how to “govern”. What a joke.

  69. Being in Congress is the best paying part time job in the country.
    Auto workers get how many weeks vacation?
    Congress gets how many weeks off a year?
    One produces a product the other produces hot air.
    One has to feed their families.
    The other gets wined and dines and payed to play.
    One contributes to the economy.
    The other just takes and takes and does nothing.
    Which one in better for the country?

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS, AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  70. What Helen says. Right on the mark.

  71. cat — the “DV” thread is the “Domestic Violence” thread — the open thread last night turned into a domestic violence discussion.

  72. thanks angie, I found it.

    I might be hyperventilating for a while.

    No mention of the woman beheaded by her husband late last week. I believe she had a restraining order.

  73. The problem with Obama running around the country doing his Huey Long “a chicken in every pot” shtick is that he is forgetting that Long actually delivered on that promise. Obama must know there no way he can deliver on his.

  74. Well, when you put this together with BostonBoomer’s piece yesterday I guess it looks like Stage 5?

    Axle_____n has a hand in all of this!
    It’s just so alllllll about sacrifice in his worldview. Last year NQ had a lot on him. His quotes can be seen here:

    http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6153:us-auto-industry-pressed-to-restructure&catid=51:world&Itemid=67

    Crooks and cheats. Axle probably prefers the Toyota model?
    The workers live in cells that the factory provides.

    Now, if these were REAL DEMOCRATS what would they be doing about this? They would be outraged like all of us. A Real Dem knows “Grapes of Wrath” by heart!

    A real Dem likes to think of themselves as a TOM JOAD.

    It’s tragic RD. Very well written, always.

    Stage 5 BostonB, Stage 5.

    hugs from me….

  75. cat — have you noticed how little attention that has gotten? (i.e., the woman getting beheaded by her husband). You would think that would be big news.

  76. VB:

    That’s what makes us tough. Rich fellas come up an’ they die an’ their kids ain’t no good, an’ they die out. But we keep a-comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out. They can’t lick us. And we’ll go on forever, Pa… ’cause… we’re the people.”

  77. angienc

    the conservative blogs gave it more coverage than the MSM.
    I guess the “bitch deserved it”

    btw I emailed your heaven/hell joke to my Swiss spouse..

  78. cat — LOL! No offense — but they are really good at running trains.

  79. Alright, I am responding to this post from the opposite viewpoint.

    I am just as tired of the unions and the UAW being portrayed as poor, helpless, defenseless workers as everyone else seems to be of management and it’s “excesses”.

    The days of Norma Rae are over. Yes, the unions did some good things. There is no longer child labor for example. But to perpetually color all unions and union activity as good and all management and management activities as bad is simply not true.

    When times were good, and there were decades of very good times, companies shared those good times with their employees. Unions made sure of it, but the money was there. Then the unions began demanding not only what made sense to most Americans, a safe working environment for example, but things that the remaining non-union 90% of American workers could not imagine: Job banks that paid you for years while you did no work.

    How is being paid for not working an American value that the UAW is hanging onto to this day?

    UAW workers for the Big 3 get $28 an hour to work on the assembly line. This translates into $58,000 a year. After a whole 2 weeks of training. Not counting overtime. The loaded labor rate for these workers is $78 an hour. This rate includes the cost of benefits. That means $162,000 a year for each employee.

    Compare that to the average American wage of $40,400. (2007) This 40k number includes ALL professions.

    So now that many companies are facing bancruptcy and people are being laid off every day, I do not think it unreasonable to expect the unions to give concessions.

    I do not want my tax dollars used to support union workers who have an entitlement mentality. Certainly not when they have better benefits than I will ever see in my lifetime. I have to work past when I had intended to retire so that thousands of UAW workers can receive pay to do no work?

    Are you kidding me?

    Please stop blaming everything on management. It’s like only blaming Republicans for the mortgage crisis.

    Many hands had a piece of that pie, and many hands, including unions, have a piece of this one.

  80. OT — Wall Street is celebrating today’s historic stimulus signing in Denver by dropping 272 points so far this morning.

    Great job Team Zero!.

  81. angie I was not offended -I was ROFL and so was he..

    neway I’ve come to realize that mushy is overrated
    mushy and broke-even more so

    😉

  82. Here’s one reason we really must help the unions —

    http://www.blacklakegolf.com/

    be sure to check out the membership page

  83. Little criticism of the beast who beheaded his wife because we simply do not want to “tarnish” Islamic relations. He is merely following his “religious beliefs” so let’s just kind of keep it on the down low. Any outcry may sound bigoted or intolerant of a religion that is really all about “love” as they keep telling us. Over and over and over again.

  84. somehow I don’t get the disconnect between republicans who insist that CEOs are entitled to their fat bonuses (“it was part of the contract”) but union contracts for wages and healthcare are expendable. hmmmm

  85. mlhath — I don’t think anyone is saying it is all one person’s fault. I think the complaint is that the blue collar workers are being treated very differently from the white collar workers.

  86. Perfect timing….I think we’ve got stage 3 of the health care drive in action already…the “I feel your pain” section…Really, why else would Parade Magazine do a cover story on the Axelrod experience (note Hillary Clinton mention) which is then followed up by a Today Show appearance???

    The Palin stuff really is about the stimulus package…Sarah has got it down pat. The Bristol interview was only a small part of Greta’s show last night, although there is a long interview at her site…

    Family Matters (Politics, Home Style): David & Susan Axelrod and Epilepsy; Bristol & Sarah Palin Interview on Greta

    http://insightanalytical.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/family-matters-politics-home-style-david-susan-axelrod-and-epilepsy-bristol-sarah-palin-interview-on-greta/

  87. Does anyone think that congress understands the slow, simmering anger that is in the country right now?
    Backtrack is a sham and a lot of people know it.
    Congress is just a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.
    The congress and the banks and large companies seem to be saying to the average American ” you worked, you payed your taxes, you paid your own way and supported families.
    Well screw you sucker, thats on you we will get ours by taking from you.”

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS, AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  88. mlhath

    thanks for that.

    I have a hard time unconditionally supporting unions for the very reasons you’ve sited (and taken quite a bit of shit for it too)
    Which is not to say I support executive plunder and excess, by any means.

    The unfairness just doesn’t make sense to me. Why aren’t all American workers afforded the same benefits and protections?

  89. Cocco really nailed it:

    “…And through it all, those who complained that globalization was depressing the wages of Americans who simply couldn’t — and shouldn’t — have to compete with cut-rate workers who toil under inhumane conditions were shunned as hopelessly retro. Those who argued that American businesses shouldn’t be forced to choose between providing health insurance for workers or shipping the jobs overseas, where governments finance the health care burden, were dismissed as promoters of “socialized medicine…”

    It’s like a stack of tumbling dominoes.
    Each domino affecting the next.

    This was the part of Palin’s small townishness I could relate to — I knew at the root she was going to be for all these workers who are getting shafted. I liked that about her — even though she and I are worlds apart on other things.

    Those Chicago Dems?

    They have nothing to do with East/West Coast Dem mentality — that is becoming more apparent every day. In the actions.

  90. thanks, Pat
    don’t ever go PC, OK?

  91. Pat J — OMG!! Shira law is NOT the law in the United States of America — this killing happened here — he lives here right? Then our laws apply. Good lord — is this what modern “liberals” are saying?

  92. Color me jaded, but I do not believe one word coming out of the mouths of any politician, I don’t care who it is or what party they represent.

    After living through the last year in particular, they have shown how prone they are to say and do anything to get a vote. Obama leads the list with his hope and change message which added up to exactly nothing.

    I am at the point that if they open their mouths to yawn, they are lying. They are experts at stoking, cajoling, promising, and dodging. Keeping their word, not so much.

  93. On a much higher but ot note: Our Hillary is doing a great job making the rounds in Asia. Android Mitchell is apparently doing a one hr interview with her on msnbc tonight. Poor Hill. The people she has to put up with in order to do her job. I hope Android’s seat in the baggage compartment shows every crack beneath her plastic botoxed face.

  94. The beast is a resident of NY state and owns a tv station whose purpose was to bring tolerance and understanding of Islam to the masses. This is not some idiot in Iran or Pakistan. This happened on our soil.

  95. Pat J — exactly — this happened here — US laws apply. BS on being tolerant of Shiria Law.

  96. I am ambivalent about Unions. There definitely needs to be organizations that stand up for worker rights, but the unions in this country are totally corrupt.
    I would like to see the Unions start organizing workers over seas. Part of our problem with keeping jobs in this country and paying them well is that as soon as you increase wages and benefits here it becomes all that more attractive for companies to move operations to another country. If Unions were organizing the labor in those countries it would make it would less advantageous for companies to move out of the US.
    But I believe the Unions are corrupt and they would rather stay here and pick the low hanging fruit rather than do something that is difficult.

  97. He is only facing second degree charges in her murder. My point is that this behavior, based on religious freedom, is not being covered as much as the missing child in Florida because we do not want to offend the Muslim community by piling it on too thick.

    England has already accepted a form of Sharia law to be practiced over there. No doubt that “tolerance” for someone’s incredible religious beliefs has an opportunity somewhere down the line to happen here.

    Look no farther than the Faith Based Initiative crowd to make room for this insanity.

  98. I almost wrote another post about violence against women after that woman was beheaded, but I ran out of time. I don’t know why that story has been hushed up so much. Afrocity was talking about it last week. It’s either because of the muslim pc aspect or because the man was wealthy and ran a cable TV station. Apparently he was interviewed on all the cable channels when he started it up a couple of years ago. The wife helped him do it to. Women are murdered every day when they try to divorce their husbands.

  99. mlhath: Myfather was in textile managment, and I sat on a union board, so I have seen liife from both sides. Dad’s corporation, Burlington, remained non-union by paying and treating their employees decently. Damn, what a concept, huh??? I sat on a nursing union board because hospital managers frequently have to be reminded of due process , staffing ratios and fairness when it comes to their nursing staff. There is a great deal more to the labor/management relationship than meets the eye immediately. Also, please recall that in many instances workers received retirement benefits in lieu of salary raises, effectively as a back-loaded contract.

  100. And the retirement age of 65 was chosen because back then the average working class person’s life span was ….. yep, 65 yrs.

  101. I have worked at both union and non union jobs. No not all unions are wonderful. They are composed of people, The good, the bad and the ugly.
    If unions go away this country will go back to the Triangle Shirt Factory days. Some unions went overboard but a lot did not, A fair wage for a days work is not unreasonable, safe working conditions are not unreasonable. Even non-union companies had to pay a fair wage and have safe working conditions due to the gains by unions.
    Some companies sent jobs overseas because those countries have working conditions like the Triangle Shirt Factory. I do not want any future generation to have to work like that.
    I have worked without having a raise for 5 to 7 years while contract talks were being held and when an agreement was reached the company only had to pay 2 years back pay.
    So it was better for them to drag out the talks rather than settle. In the meantime management lost nothing.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS, EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  102. We also heard little about the father in Texas who killed two daughters for dating without his permission. He too was practicing “honor killing” and though he may face US courts, the issue received little attention.

    Islamic fundamentalism should not under any circumstances go unchallenged.

  103. Susan and angienc2:

    I don’t think CEO’s should be getting bonuses while their companies are going bankrupt. Unfortunately, the law is on the side of the CEO. If one can learn anything for future CEO contracts, there will be a clause included which would nullify certain compensation portions if such a thing were to happen.

    Union contracts are always open to renegotiation by law. As long as both parties agree.

    And as far as white collar vs blue collar workers, there are thousands of white collar workers getting laid off everyday who do not have the benefits or protection of the UAW. Somehow when we hear CEO excesses, we immediately translate that into the mass of white collar employees which is simply not true. Those white collar workers are the secretaries, technicians and engineers who are losing their jobs along with everyone else, but don’t have a job bank to fall back on.

    Don’t confuse the lone CEO or top executive excesses with the vast while collar workforce.

  104. {{{{{{{{{{{angie!}}}}}}}}}}}

    ps: I knew you were a Joad type when you posted that Thanksgiving menu!

    hugs.

    yep!

    Well, I could tell you a tale about the NYT and what it did about a union.

    You see, under O’s set of ideas $58,000 a year doesn’t make someone middle class does it? Wasn’t that 150,000 – 200,000?
    Correct me if I’m wrong?

    Why, $58,000 is barely a living wage, isn’t it?

    Now you think about it? How do you support a family of say four on $58,000?

    I mean, you could eat out at Soylent Inc.
    You could shop at Soylent Store.
    You connect the dots….

    I have always loved the French (having some of that ancestry myself)

    Do you sense a French Rev coming on?

    At Stage 5 — ?

    Or Stage 4 — ?

    hugs, PUMAS.

    I love you all — you know it!

  105. bb, Said:
    ” I don’t know why that story has been hushed up so much.”

    ************
    When I think a story is receiving too little attention, I Google it a few times to give it some hits. Besides advertising $, it’s the only thing Google understands.

  106. shoud be “white” collar workforce.

  107. cat — have you noticed how little attention that has gotten? (i.e., the woman getting beheaded by her husband). You would think that would be big news

    The conservative blogs are covering it and pointing out (rightfully) the hypocrisy of those who don’t want to talk about it out of political correctness

  108. ybonnaire: Aux Barricades!

  109. Mawm: In your opinion which unions are corrupt and what are they doing to make you think they are corrupt?

  110. Is the USA still giving “aid” to Pakistan? If so, are we now funding groups like the Taliban through our aid to Pakistan?

    I am not surprised by the beheading. Hasn’t the MSM and Obamanation worked diligently dehumanizing women for over a year now? When any group is dehumanized it is easy to commit atrocities since they are not really “people.”

  111. Apparently beheading a wife is nothing compared with cutting off a husband’s penis. Do you remember Lorena Bobbitt and all that news coverage?

  112. FL Voter
    Somehow I don’t think Obama and the MSM were the influences here, as much as I’d like to blame them..

  113. Actually catarina,

    Through the dehumanization of women so many things become acceptable that is done to them. For instances religious reasons for their treatment now are a matter of religious tolerance. So yes, dehumanization has a role in all of this.

  114. Mawm: Essentially I agree with you to the point that I decry the necessity of unions, despite being a board member of one. I wish that everyone would get a grip. My local city workers’ union has decided to let jobs go away and be priviaized rather than give up a single thing, which is not what my nurses’ union would have done. We’re not all of a piece.

  115. bboomer, and other admins, is anyone in line to put up a post, or could I stick my toe back in the water over here? 🙂

  116. FL
    If you are trying to get me to step out of PC-ness to say
    that Islam didn’t need our media to dehumaize women than so be it.
    But I’m going back to work now, so if a shit-storm ensues I will not be available for flaming.

  117. I must be either pie-in-the-sky wacked or a total commie, I guess.
    Why are there not LAWS protecting ALL American workers? Why??

  118. gary: Please, please, please do!

  119. gary
    come on home////

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBA,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  120. What Helen said!

  121. a little bit off topic
    Uppity Woman has a post about the economy in Mexico and how it will affect us.
    If the drug lords win the whole USA will hurt.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE, MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS, EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  122. Did you ever notice that whenever there is a crisis in an industry, it’s always labor’s fault for demanding too much? They’re damned it they work with no protection and damned if they work with it. If they get laid off these days, they get blamed for the cost of unemployment. Industry would work so much better if the damn workers would just show up, do their jobs for free and go away when they’re not needed any longer
    ————————————-
    The above really says it all.
    Before my husband retired, he negotiated contracts with all of the workers and administered the healthcare plan. He told his successor, don’t let administration change the healthcare plan. Up to this point, it has changed only slightly and retirees are still covered at the same rate as the current workers. However, if GM’s stiffing the retirees becomes a trend, that will be the beginning of the end for retirees everywhere.

  123. They are simply folowing the Daschle Bo guidelines ..

    Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. (wow) That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

    Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).
    The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

    And now we know what bo will be looking for in business plans ( cutting out health care for the elderly ) and why he chose Daschle and why he.. was not going to let Hillary anywhere near health care

    The AARP will respond I am sure … and once again I am thinking ONE TERM OBAMA the O stands for ONE TERM 😉

  124. native1;

    There are corrupt unions just as there are corrupt people. Look at the Teamsters. They were under oversight by several presidential administrations because of their gross corruption. That is, until Obama needed their votes.

    From personal experience, my first negotiation with the Teamsters occurred in 1980. At that time I was approached by the President of the local and told I could have any contract I wanted for $10,000. I refused the offer.

    For the record, I am pleased with Ledbetter, disappointed that the Fair Pay law was not passed, and against the Employee Free Choice Act. The EFCA is a misnomer to affect a certain response. Who doesn’t want employees to have a free choice?

    But they already have one. The main difference between what has existed since 1935 and the EFCA is the secret ballot. Currently, employees have a right to a union, positions are explained by both management and union representatives, and employees can vote in secret presided over by a representative from the NLRB.

    Under EFCA, there is no secret ballot. Employees decide either verbally in public or by signing a card, (which they cannot retrieve should they change their mind). The company is not aware of anything until the union tells them it’s a done deal.

    Kind of like the difference between a primary and a caucus. And you know how that worked.

  125. garychapelhill — PLEASE post, please, please, please!!

  126. Unions set the standard for “good” compensation packages. Boeing and other large companies treat the ‘general office’ or basic white collar workers the same as the unions (or nearly) in order to keep them from unionizing. Other companies have to compete with those packages.

    Economic downturns and massive layoffs are a great time to get concessions from labor that will translate into concessions for ‘general office’. Those benefits don’t come back completely during the good times, so with every downturn all labor suffers.

    I don’t want to be in a union, but I think they set the standard for how to treat the rest of us.

  127. catarina,

    I am not here to start a sh!t storm. I am not here to criticize any religion in particular. Almost all treat women less than equal. However, perverting religious beliefs and using that perversion as an excuse to commit atrocities against women should never be acceptable. The problem that we have seen with Obamanation and the MSM is that they have systemically attacked women for over a year now. They have lost the message that women’s rights are human rights. They have greatly contributed to the desensitizing of society’s ability to recognize the inherent dangers misogyny and sexism. The inherent dangers include the dehumanization of women. So women are no longer human, we are ho’s, we are b!tch3s, etc.. Repercussion, the beheading is no longer seen as an atrocity, since the victim is not human but is a ho, a b!tch, etc…. We need to understand the murderer. That the beheading is part of his religious beliefs. This is a load of BS. It is yet another perversion of religion to justify murder.

  128. If logic follows these pronouncements, is it safe to assume that euthanasia will not be far behind? I mean, if you are old and in pain and treatment is denied based on some flow chart, why not do the humane thing and ease the burden even further?

    Let’s hope those glaciers hold up long enough to provide enough ice floes for those of us who may have to climb onboard.

  129. and excuse me but that statement by Daschle reminds of the attitude of the n@zis toward “old people ” as well …
    they are not really useful and they cost us money … so lets not spend our good money on them … so even tho Daschle is not in the cabinet , his guidelines are being followed ..

    and why exactly is bo going to Colorado to sign this bill when he could do it from the less costly comfort of the Oval Office ? is he tired of sitting in the chair already ???

  130. GO GARY GO 🙂

  131. Swanspirit said; ‘The AARP will respond I am sure’

    Don’t be so sure. some of us contacted them recently re; concerns about possible proviions in the bill, and they feigned ignorance. AARP appeared to be in bed w/pharma during part D negotiations and are not a foolproof advocacy group.

  132. the commenter (yes it’s me), on February 17th, 2009 at 10:53 am Said:
    cat — have you noticed how little attention that has gotten? (i.e., the woman getting beheaded by her husband). You would think that would be big news

    The conservative blogs are covering it and pointing out (rightfully) the hypocrisy of those who don’t want to talk about it out of political correctness

    Please dont misunderstand … I totally understand and agree with what you are saying .. but the IDEA that it may even borders on what might be considerd “politically correct ” to hush the criticism of this beheading pushes me over that virtual Thelma and Louise edge ….

    and shows haw far we are from the humane treatment of women ..
    if it were a dog beheaded , there would be more coverage ..
    Which reminds me, does anyone want to take bets on whether Oprah will cover the beheading , or the Chris Brown felony assault topic ??

    any takers?? I could always use the extra income in this economy 🙂

  133. mlhath: Yes there are some unions that have corrupt leaders. There are just as many that are run by sensible and good leaders. I don’t blindly support unions, just the concept of unions. I would dearly love to work for a company where there was no need for a union and I know that they are out there.

    I guess I’m just tired of hearing the republican mantra that all unions are corrupt so should be done away with without any evidence to back this up.

    The worst thing about the republican agenda in my mind was the brainwashing they have engaged in since at least Reagan that has gotten the American people to be led by uncritical memes, such as “all unions are corrupt. I think many well intentioned people fall to this because they just don’t realize they are doing it. We have been conditioned.

  134. And he did such a great job breaking up the air controllers union back in the 80’s if I remember correctly.

  135. lililam, on February 17th, 2009 at 11:36 am Said..

    now that is sad news … even less hope to go around .. yeeesh

  136. sorry, swanspirit, i just think we need to be vigilant, for what it’s worth.

  137. lililam ..no apologies… I am grateful for the information , it helps to know who is really helping ..and maybe they need a push in the right direction …

  138. I am very much in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. I have a withdrawl card from the Machists Union. Now, they were not always a good union and in my circumstances sometimes went wayyyy overboard to please management rather than protect me and other workers from some occupational health hazards. However, the lean against unions and union members has been so very strong for so very long in our country that it is time to restore some balance. My two cents.

  139. native1: I agree. In the same token that you do not like the broad brush negative, I do not like the broad brush positive.

    I have negotiated with Teamsters, UAW, Steelworkers, Machinists, Bottle Blowers and UNITE. Each local has its own personality, usually dependant upon the outlook of the president of the local or the business agent, depending on structure. Most care about the wokers they represent. But not all. And less so the further up the chain you go. The furthur up, the more political and less responsive to the needs of the actual workers. At that point, they become more like the CEO’s we disparage. Huge salaries and perks regardless the effect on the membership.

  140. Liberals killed unions

    Liberals were so successful at improving wages and working conditions that middle-class workers started thinking they didn’t need unions and they started to identify with the upper class (management) rather than the lower class.

  141. And he did such a great job breaking up the air controllers union back in the 80’s if I remember correctly.

    The irony is that’s the only union that endorsed him.

  142. Anybody wanna take a crack at who gets to pay for health care since GM is reneging on its promise to provide health care for them? I’ll give you a hint. It’s the same people who paid for the bank bailouts. Isn’t this swell- GM gets to take something that isn’t “profitable” off its books and the rest of us get to pay instead.

  143. Just remember that the vast majority of health care workers are NOT Docs and Nurses. They earn far less than $40k/year often in the $20-30k range and 4 out of 5 are women. CUTTING HEALTH CARE INSURANCE will not significantly decrease the amount of essential care (in contrast to optional procedures that right now only the rich can take on). It will further screw up financing for health care employers — and the MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of women (unionized or not) who work taking care of us, our children, and our parents. Who cares about them?

  144. This last cycle my husband was nominated, and elected a trustee for his local. The union isn’t perfect but we do recognize that it is largely responsible for the fact that the company he works for sharing their profitability from the top down(unlike the non union counterparts who often make billions for their company but do not share the same luxury, instead the profitability or non profitability has meant benefits only to upper level management).

  145. The thing is I’m sure to get thier bailout, the auto makers spoke about the health care costs….we see this over and over.

    The upper crust says, give us what we want( bailouts/ concessions ) or we will have to axe so and so.

    So you give them what they want and they STILL axe so and so.

    Time to stop giving in good faith because there isn’t any.

    lililam, thanks for the heads up on AARP. Their silence is deafening.

  146. People think 5 days weeks just happened.
    People think 8 hour days just happened.
    People think children not working 12 hours a day just happened

    It didn’t . They were all bought with blood…alot of blood
    sweat and tears.

  147. You are right, paper doll. Anyone who bashes unions needs a history lesson — stat. Read about the coal miners, who faced well-armed corporate-paid thugs and were routinely beaten, killed, and kicked out of their homes and jobs JUST for wanting to form a union. Take a tip from Bette Davis, who once verbally lased a young actress who said the actors’ unions were passe’ and reminded her that nothing she enjoyed would have been possible without the work of her union-forming forebears.

    Every damn thing that we take for granted in a white-collar job–health insurance, 40-hour work week, pensions, paid overtime, family leave–ALL of it comes to us thanks to the unions who literally shed blood to get these things. And if you don’t think they’re valuable talk to ANYONE who doesn’t have these benefits.

    A couple of years ago I was talking with my bf who is a a highly skilled IT type and also a staunch Republican, about the job losses among IT workers. His comment: “Back when everyone wanted us and we could pick and choose our jobs we should have unionized.” Yup.

  148. I’m going to have to go back and read this in more depth but…
    so GM is going to drop health care for retirees.

    Is that for retirees before age 65 or after? I was under the impression that yes, they had health care thru the company for life and thus never particpated (or were required to) in Medicare even after reaching 65. If they are keeping it for retirees until 65 then they’ll just transition to medicare and probably a medigap policy for the medicare deductibles. *That* won’t be a big deal.

    My father retired from Amstar (Domino Sugar) and started early Soc. Sec. retirement at age 62. He had the option of continuing medical insurance thru the company at a large cost. However, since he was retired military and **not** aged 65 he was also covered by CHAMPUS and so was my mom. He just took out a supplement thru The Retired Officers Association to go with the CHAMPUS.

    If the GM workers/retirees are being dropped before age 65 when that was promised, then it sucks. If they were still getting company paid health insurance after age 65, and eligibility for Medicare, then I’m not feeling that badly for them. They can get into the medicare pool like most Americans have to do.

    As I said, I’m going back to read this more thoroughly.

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