Tag: Chrysler

Sep 08

US auto workers face historic struggle

http://wsws.org/articles/2011/…

For a good look at the upcoming auto worker contract cuts talks and how the UAW looks to continue the betrayal of the workers who provide its very reason for being, read this article.

(From the link.  ek)

US auto workers face historic struggle

Jerry White, wsws.org

8 September 2011

On September 14 the four-year labor agreements covering 114,000 US auto workers at GM, Ford and Chrysler expire. Although the companies have raked in more than $7 billion in profits this year, they have made it clear that workers-who have not had a raise since 2003-will see no improvements in wages or working conditions.

On the contrary, with the full backing of the Obama administration and the United Auto Workers (UAW), the auto executives are pressing ahead with plans to drive out the remaining better-paid workers and create a low-paid, casualized workforce.

Sep 23

On Improbable Realities, Part One, Or, “I Want A Jet Car With Frickin’ Lasers…”

When it comes to getting around, Americans love to consider the question of “what if…?”

As a result, our cars have evolved into “land yachts”, our trucks have become “monster trucks”, and the desire to drag our living spaces around with us has morphed into converted busses with rooms that pop out of the side, a Mini-Cooper hidden under the master bedroom floor, and self-tracking satellite dishes that fight for space on the roof with air conditioning equipment.

And for more than a few of us, “what if…?” has even extended to “what if my car…was a jet car?”

In today’s improbable reality I’m here to tell you that Chrysler engineers asked that exact same question, for roughly a quarter of a century, and as a result they actually designed and deployed seven generations of cars with jet engines-and they came darn close to putting the eighth-generation design on sale to the general public.

It’s a story of pocket protectors and slide rules and offices full of guys who look a bit like Drew Carey…but as we’ll see in Part Two, it may also be a story of technology that couldn’t be perfected “back then”, but could be reborn in our own times.

May 27

On Cutting Dealerships, Or, We Examine The Costs Of Selling Cars

So there’s a lot of conversation out there about car dealerships being told they won’t be selling cars for Chrysler and GM any more.

The idea, we are told, is to save the auto manufacturers money by reducing the number of dealerships with whom they do business.

I don’t really know that much about the car business; and I really didn’t understand where these cost savings would come from, but I was able to have a conversation with the one person I do know who actually could offer some useful insight.

Follow along, Gentle Reader, and you’ll get a bit of an education at a time when we all need to know a bit more about these companies we suddenly seem to own…and about the closure of thousands of local businesses that will make the news about our bad job market worse.

May 03

Auto Industry: Too Big To Fail, Too Big To Be Privately Owned

Richard Wolff, American Economist well-known for his work on Marxian economics, economic methodology and class analysis, Yale University Ph.D. in Economics, and Professor at The New School University in New York City, talks with Real News CEO Paul Jay about the reform needed to pull the United States out of economic crisis.

“If we say something is too important to let it die, too big to fail, then we’re saying it’s so important to the society as a whole, but if it’s that important, it can’t be in the hands of a few people in the first place. If you’re too big to fail, your too big to be in private hands.” He goes on to suggest that if there is chaos in the US economy, the rest of the world will have chaos as well. “We have an unknown situation, the outcome of which could be very bad, we actually have a vision of that already, Mexico, it’s a society in free fall.”



Real News Network – May 2, 2009

Too big to fail, too big to be privately owned

Auto industry affects the whole society, it’s too significant for private ownership


Apr 10

Selling of America

Photobucket

“People who are my age have no idea what they are going to do,” Suter said, trying to angle a workbench into his trailer. “How they are going to live on $12 an hour without benefits when we’re used to $29 with benefits? You can’t make an economy on cleaning somebody else’s shirts or selling mutual funds. What are towns like Ypsilanti going to do?”

Ypsilanti is not the most besieged city in Michigan, but is an auto town, and its problems mirror those of the larger industrial Midwest. Just four square miles and 35 miles west of Detroit, it has lost more than 25 percent of its population since 1970. Schools have closed, as did its two other auto-related plants. Outside the Visteon plant, located on Factory Street in Ypsilanti alongside Interstate 94 and Ford Lake, the building that housed the UAW Local 849 is for sale. –snip–  

Mar 30

Obama forces Wagoner Out..Contracts only matter when they belong to WS

Apparently contracts and sacrifice from the people receiving taxpayer money are only off limits when it applies to Wall Street.

I have no clue if Wagoner was good or bad or should have or haven’t stayed.  What I am totally pissed at is the double standard.  I won’t detail it, we’ve all been living and paying for this administration’s double standards.  When it comes to Wall Street or bringing justice to war criminals and profiteers, they would rather “look forward”.  When it comes to bailing out Americans, whether it is their jobs or their homes, it is time to right the wrongs and make sacrifices for America.  

also posted

More/Detroit News.

Mar 30

Barack, Barack, Barack . . . We Need To Talk

Barack Tells Detroit to Drop Dead . . .

The White House says neither GM nor Chrysler submitted acceptable plans to receive more bailout money, setting the stage for a crisis in Detroit and putting in motion what could be the final two months of two American auto giants.  President Barack Obama and his top advisers have determined that neither company is viable and that taxpayers will not spend untold billions more to keep the pair of automakers open forever.

But American taxpayers are supposed to keep spending untold billions more to keep those predator banks on Wall Street open forever, aren’t they, Barack.  GM and Chrysler aren’t viable according to you and your fiend Tim at the Treasury Department, but those big banks that imploded and turned America’s financial system into a black hole of toxic debt are still viable.  Yup.  They’re as viable as it gets, they’re so viable they only need a trillion dollars every few months so they don’t China Syndrome themselves right through the planet, blast the Great Wall of China into rubble on the other side, and soar off into space to boldly go where no Masters of the Universe have ever gone before.        

Let’s summarize what’s been happening, shall we?  The big banks tell Barack to jump and he asks them how high. They tell Barack to fetch a stick and he fetches a stick.  They tell Barack to hand them another trillion dollars and lay back down by his dish like a good dog, and he hands them another trillion dollars and lays back down by his dish like a good dog.        

Feb 28

Reject UAW sellout at Ford! Mobilize autoworkers to defend jobs and living standards!

Original article via socialistworker.org:

Auto workers across the US are voting on proposed changes to 2007 UAW-Ford contract, which attacks the jobs, wages and benefits of 42,000 current workers and 186,000 retirees and dependents. The ratification process is scheduled to be completed by March 9.The Socialist Equality Party is calling for a rejection of this betrayal by the UAW and the mobilization of auto workers industrially and politically. We encourage auto workers and supporters to download and distribute this statement as widely as possible.


Ford workers should reject the sellout agreement negotiated by the United Auto Workers union and fight to mobilize the strength of all autoworkers against the attack on jobs, living standards and working conditions.

The deal signed by the UAW, coming on the heels of the 2007 concessions, will destroy the achievements of decades of struggle.

The agreement will eliminate cost-of-living raises and the lump sum bonuses the union said would offset the wage freeze it accepted in the last contract.


The UAW also agreed to eliminate overtime payments after eight hours, reduce break time and cut two paid holidays. The Jobs Bank will end and supplemental unemployment benefits will be capped at one year, just as the auto companies embark on an unprecedented wave of plant closings and mass layoffs.

By allowing Ford to fund half of its retiree health care obligations with virtually worthless stock, the deal ensures that 186,000 retirees and their dependents will see their health benefits slashed and their premiums and co-pays raised by thousands of dollars.

Autoworkers are not responsible for the crisis in the auto industry. They had no power over the decisions of the corporate executives and Wall Street investors who sacrificed the long-term health of the industry in order to boost share values and amass staggering levels of personal wealth.

The working class is not responsible for the breakdown of the capitalist system, which has created the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s.

For the last three decades-starting with the 1980 Chrysler bailout-autoworkers have given up one concession after another, culminating in the 2007 contract which cut wages in half and eliminated employer-paid pensions for new-hires. Now, UAW members are to work for the same or even lower wages than non-union autoworkers at the US plants owned by Toyota and other international companies.

Once again the UAW bureaucracy is claiming that massive concessions are needed to “save jobs.” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger says that without the concessions, “Ford cannot survive on a long-term basis.” But none of the “job-saving” contracts signed by the UAW has stopped plant closings and mass layoffs. Since 1978 nearly three-quarters of a million autoworkers have lost their jobs. At Ford, the hourly workforce has shrunk from 174,000 to 42,000.

General Motors has already announced plans to wipe out another 47,000 jobs, including 21,000 hourly and salaried positions in the US, and close 14 plants in North America and Europe. Chrysler and Ford are preparing their own downsizing plans to meet the drastic decline in car sales.

The money robbed from workers in previous concessions contracts was not used to bolster the health of the industry, but to fund stock buy-backs and other measures to boost share value and funnel billions into the bank accounts of corporate executives and big investors.

All the talk about “shared sacrifices” by the auto executives is a fraud. Ford CEO Alan Mulally is to take a cut in his base salary that will leave him with the “modest” figure of $1.4 million-some 28 times the pay of Ford workers. In 2007, Mulally’s total compensation package, mostly from bonuses, stock and stock options, came to $21.6 million.

He and the rest of the top executives will eventually recoup their “sacrifices” by reaping vast profits from a “restructured” auto industry, having dumped their pension and health care obligations, driven out higher paid veteran employees and hired new workers at half the wages.

The new concessions will be used to establish a lower benchmark for the next round of concessions demanded by GM, Ford, Chrysler and other global corporations. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ford will be “free to seek additional concessions from the UAW if GM and Chrysler-which must secure concessions to comply with terms of their government bailout loans-get better deals or file for bankruptcy.”

The Obama administration is functioning on behalf of the most ruthless sections of finance capital, which see this crisis as an opportunity to fundamentally and permanently shift class relations in the US. They aim to put an end to the so-called “middle class worker” who attained a modicum of economic security-a home, a pension and a college education for their children. The attack on autoworkers will be widened to encompass the entire working class.

This is clear from the collection of Wall Street bankers and asset strippers Obama has selected for his auto task force. They include Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a key architect of the Wall Street bailout, and White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers, who was treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. Both have opposed all but token restrictions on banks that receive taxpayer bailout funds, and both lobbied against limits on bank executive pay that were included in the stimulus bill passed by Congress.

They will be advised by Steven Rattner, a mergers and acquisitions expert who runs a multi-billion-dollar private equity firm, and Ron Bloom, another Wall Street financier. Bloom helped protect the interests of the steelworkers’ union bureaucracy as it worked with various financial sharks to “save” the steel industry, leaving tens of thousands of workers without jobs or pensions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one scenario being considered is to drive the auto companies into Chapter 11 bankruptcy so they can sell off their profitable assets to big investors and dump their health care and pension obligations into the bankruptcy court.

At the same time, the White House is reserving the power to recall the government loans to GM and Chrysler and throw the companies into bankruptcy if workers carry out any strikes or walkouts.

The UAW is complicit in this attack. In exchange for its collaboration, the UAW will reportedly receive hundreds of millions of shares in common stock from Ford, making it the single largest shareholder in the company and qualifying the union bureaucracy for a seat on the board of directors. This will give the union a direct financial incentive to increase the exploitation of its own members.

The fact that the UAW is a union does not make it a workers’ organization. It has long since ceased defending the interests of the workers from whom it collects dues. For many years it has striven to reposition itself as a business enterprise so that the income and privileges of the union bureaucracy could be separated as much as possible from the fate of the workers it nominally represents.

Together with union-management corporatism, the UAW has promoted “Buy American” nationalism and anti-foreigner chauvinism to block any unified struggle with autoworkers in other countries, while demanding ever greater concessions in the name of making Detroit “competitive” with European and Asian automakers. The outcome of this policy is a fratricidal struggle pitting workers from different countries, states and even factories against each other.

Autoworkers must reject the blackmail being carried out by the auto bosses, the Obama administration and the UAW and launch a struggle to halt the destruction of their jobs and living standards. Such a struggle must be organized independently of the UAW through the setting up of committees of rank-and-file workers in the factories and of working people, youth and the unemployed in the communities.

A decisive stand by autoworkers will generate massive support from working people in the US and around the world, who are looking for a way to fight mass layoffs, home foreclosures and the continued bailout of the financial aristocracy.

Ford workers should launch a national strike and urge all workers at GM and Chrysler to join the fight, along with the tens of thousands of workers in the auto parts industry and non-union transplants. A special appeal should be made to workers in Canada, Latin America, Asia and Europe to join US workers in a common fight in defense of jobs and living standards.

This industrial fight must be guided by an entirely new political strategy and perspective. The crisis in auto is part and parcel of the failure of the capitalist system in the US and around the world. The only alternative that represents the interests of the working class is the fight for socialism.

This means mobilizing against the Obama administration and breaking decisively with the Democrats and Republicans-two parties of big business that are united in their efforts to make the working class pay for the crisis.

Workers need to be organized as an independent political force to advance their own solution to the crisis. The auto industry must be taken out of the hands of the corporate executives and financial speculators who have driven it into the ground, and transformed into a public utility, democratically owned and controlled by the working people themselves.

The trillions of dollars squandered on the Wall Street bankers must be recovered and used to retool the auto industry to build safe, affordable transportation, in cooperation with autoworkers around the world.

This is the socialist and internationalist perspective fought for by the Socialist Equality Party. We urge autoworkers looking for a way to fight the assault on jobs and living standards to take up the struggle for a socialist future and join the SEP.

Dec 09

So where’s Dodd’s resignation?

I have a hard time suffering fools.   How dare anyone who has been in the Congress or the Senate for the last eight years criticize the big three.  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

These corrupt and incompetent fools have mismanaged this country into bankruptcy.  Instead of oversight, they gave the same people who ripped off the system another 780 billion tax payer dollars without any plan or strings attached.  If anybody ought to resign because of gross mismanagement, it is the fools in DC.  

 

Dec 05

In bid for loans, Detroit auto makers outline plans for drastic downsizing

Original article, by Jerry White, via World Socialist Web Site:

The CEOs of Detroit’s Big Three auto companies are appearing before the Senate Banking Committee today to present plans for the restructuring of the US auto industry as they seek federal loans to avert bankruptcy. The plans involve the destruction of the jobs and living standards of tens of thousands of auto workers and factory closures that will devastate communities across the country.

Nov 10

A bailout for the auto industry?

Original article, a commentary subtitled Lee Sustar looks at the automakers’ demands for a taxpayer bailout–and what working people should demand in return, via SocialstWorker.org:

THE BUSH administration’s Wall Street bailout may be a prelude to a sweeping government intervention in the auto industry–even before Barack Obama takes office January 20.

Nov 07

Recycling America’s auto industry

If the peak oil theorists are correct, within 20 years Americans will have to live on 10% of our current per-capita energy consumption. This means that the auto industry as we know it must undergo radical change. The conclusions for the auto industry are clear, and it will be up to the Obama administration to transform it according to the following imperatives:

1. The era of high personal mobility is ending. Americans may still own lots of cars, but they will be driving and replacing them dramatically less.

2. Auto sales are going to plunge to a fraction of what they are today, and the types of cars and trucks sold will shift to electric-powered vehicles.

3. The productive capacity of America’s auto makers must be shifted to the manufacture of other goods to avoid massive unemployment and further economic collapse.

4. The precedent of WWII factory conversion of manufacturing away from automobiles should be followed by the Federal Government, but it is mass transit vehicles, buses and train cars that should be produced, not weapons.

5. The production of clean buses, electric locomotives, and rail cars will absorb the unemployed and under-employed workers of the auto industry and enable the rapid expansion of public transportation in America.

6. The Federal government should supply funding, leadership, and technical assistance for this strategic industrial conversion.

7. Fiscal stimulus, in the form of massive subsidies for the build-out of inter-city rail, light rail, and bus service, will be the most productive anti-recessionary policy the government could pursue.

Americans should understand that the current economic turmoil is not a temporary interruption in our old energy-squandering way of living, and that the fat times are not going to return soon. We have got to radically restructure our society to function with less energy, and we will have to start with our automobile industry.  

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