UAW Barred From GM's Strike Zone

January 9, 2009

December's Big 3 bailout agreement has finally been filed with the SEC, meaning that details are coming to light. A close read shows that the Bush administration really put the screws to the UAW, but whether the union is totally screwed remains to be seen.

Included in the fine print--specifically, the $13 billion loan deal for GM--is a provision that prevents the UAW from striking against the General. As per the agreement, a strike would trigger an automatic default on the loan, giving feds the authority to force GM into bankruptcy. And as we all know, bankruptcy and restructuring of the company would seriously diminish the power of the union.

Also included in the agreement: forced reductions in UAW wages and benefits, bringing the union's scale in line with that of workers at foreign-owned plants. And 66% of the funds currently due to the UAW for its retiree health-care trust fund will have to be in company stock, not cash.

UAW president Ron Gettelfinger isn't very happy with all that, and he's weighing his options--including asking president-elect Obama to re-write the agreement. Which sounds a little like those t-shirts that say, "When mom says 'no'...ask dad!", but if it works for the other kids...

--Richard Read

[via Freep]


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