Detroit automakers worry about UAW money struggles

United Auto Workers’ main source of income is down sharply, and its ranks are a fraction of what they were just six years ago.
Associated Press
Feb 22, 2014

 

The United Auto Workers' membership and dues are down sharply from just six years ago. In another sign of weakness, the union suffered a stunning defeat this month when it tried to organize a Tennessee factory run by labor-friendly Volkswagen.

The rejection, by a close vote, was a major setback in the union's effort to expand in the South, where non-union, foreign companies such as VW, Nissan and Hyundai are rapidly growing.

But instead of relief, Detroit's three automakers — Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — are increasingly anxious about the 78-year old union's future.

For them, it's a "devil you know" situation. They worry that the 382,000-member UAW could be absorbed by a more hostile union. Such a merger could disrupt a decade of labor-management peace that has helped America's auto industry survive the financial crisis and emerge much stronger, according to a person with knowledge of executive discussions.

Another union might not be as willing to keep labor costs competitive with overseas automakers, says the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are confidential.

Despite talk of a union merger, Gary Chaison, a labor relations professor at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., says he doesn't see the UAW giving up its identity and history by combining with another organization.

"It's something that the employers always fear," he says.

Spokesmen for Ford, GM and Chrysler declined comment, and a top UAW official says the automakers' worries are unfounded.

Even as it struggles, the UAW remains the wealthiest union in the nation, with assets of more than $1 billion at the end of 2012. Officials point to a revived U.S. auto industry and more hiring at UAW-represented factories, moves that have stabilized membership dues that have been falling since 2006.

Still, the union's loss at the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., heightened concerns about how it can grow.

Annual dues collected were down more than 40 percent to $115 million from 2006 to 2012, as the union's ranks fell by 30 percent. Thousands of members took buyouts and early retirement as Detroit's auto industry lost billions during the financial crisis and worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Membership has risen slightly since 2009, but dues collected continue to decline.

The union had hoped VW would give it a foothold in the South and help revive its fortunes. Even though the Detroit Three have hired thousands in the past four years as auto sales have recovered, union membership is nowhere near a 1979 peak of 1.5 million. And the new hires are paid only two-thirds of what veteran workers get, keeping dues revenue down. The union agreed to the lower wages and became more cooperative seven years ago to help the companies survive the recession.

As it struggles to reverse declines, the union has been forced to tighten its belt. It cut spending 15 percent from 2006-2012, but still had to sell more than $300 million worth of assets, mainly securities and other investments, to pay operating expenses. Last year alone, the UAW raised more than $47 million by selling assets to balance its budget. The union may even raise dues this year for the first time in 47 years.

"That right there tells you it's fairly dire," says Mike Smith, director of the Walter P. Reuther library, an archive of union history at Wayne State University in Detroit.

A weaker UAW is worrisome for American automakers who only recently reached a labor peace with the union after decades of fighting. The peace resulted in lower wages for new hires and in health care concessions that nearly erased a $1,500 difference in production costs per car between U.S. and Japanese automakers.

A more radical union could bring a return to strife-filled days, when UAW strikes cost automakers dearly. The last major strike, in 1998 at a GM factory in Flint, Mich., cost the company about $2 billion in profits.

The UAW isn't alone in its struggles. The decline in membership is consistent with unions overall in the U.S., where only 11 percent of workers were unionized nationwide last year. That's down from 20 percent in 1983, the Labor Department says.

For the UAW, dues won't rise by much without an influx of fresh recruits in the South, where most of the auto industry's growth is occurring.

Bob King, the UAW's president, has said the union has no long-term future if it can't organize southern foreign-car plants. Automakers from Japan, Korea and Germany have 14 assembly plants in the region, including eight built in the last 10 years, a time when Detroit was closing factories.

Yet Dennis Williams, the UAW's secretary-treasurer and likely its next president, says the companies' worries about the union's demise are off-base. He says dues and membership are now on the rise from new hiring by Detroit automakers and recruitment in areas such as casino workers and heavy truck assembly.

More spending cuts also are coming, and the union plans to balance its budget and stop selling assets in the next 2 ½ to 3 years, Williams says. He knows of no talks to merge with another union.

"The UAW can survive a long time," Williams says. "They'll be here far after you and I pass away."

Williams says the UAW will show higher dues revenue when it files a 2013 report with the Labor Department next month.

Still, the union can't fully replace dues paid by longtime workers who retired at $28 or more per hour, says Art Wheaton, an industry expert at the Worker Institute at Cornell University. Lower-tier workers for the UAW start at $15 per hour, although recent raises can make over $19.

"What you're getting per hour to deal blackjack is nowhere near what you're getting per hour as a skilled tradesman at General Motors or Ford," Wheaton says.

There have been merger talks in the past between the UAW and the Steelworkers and Machinists unions, but nothing came of them, Wheaton says.

Spokesmen for both unions say there are no current discussions.

Williams is not giving up on organizing a southern auto plant, saying that the union recently signed up parts-supply and truck-building factories in the region.

And the union on Friday challenged the recent VW vote in Tennessee. In an appeal filed with the National Labor Relations Board, it asserted that "interference by politicians and outside special interest groups" swayed the vote.

The challenge comes days after the top labor representative on VW's supervisory board suggested that the anti-union atmosphere fostered by some southern politicians could lead the company to make future investments elsewhere.

Even without an expansion in the South or into other industries, the UAW is trying to boost its ranks and revenues now that the financial crisis is over and the industry is strong again.

Williams says the union wants more pay for the new hires, and will work with automakers to figure out how to get there while keeping the companies competitive.

But higher pay presents a quandary. If new hires at Ford, GM and Chrysler make more than workers at southern factories, Detroit's cars and trucks will be more expensive and they won't be as competitive. That could threaten union jobs.

In Detroit, workers aren't worried about the VW loss in Tennessee, or the financial pressures on the UAW, says George McGregor, president of a local union office at a factory that makes the Chevrolet Volt electric car. He thinks workers will approve the dues increase, which amounts to about one-half hour of pay per month. And he says the union will be back for another vote at VW.

"We'll try again another day," McGregor says. "It's not going to break the UAW."

Comments

jacksonbrowne

Ooooopppppsss, what will Obama and the democraps do?

holysee

Take a vacation to Colorado!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Sounds like a problem of their perceived/actual image or actions. Perhaps they can spend some of their billion on a PR campaign to have people see they aren't a [fill in the blank with what you think they are]? Removing themselves from politics would probably do MUCH to help that image as I don't hear nearly as many grumbles about various other trade/safety unions than I do about ones like this or the Teamsters.

That old style, in my opinion as a union outsider, is part of what antiquates big unions like that. Whether that is the case or not there is an ingrained image of that. If everyone in Sandusky thought I sold devil-summoning rituals (you know, Pokemon cards) that is an image I have to fight despite me proving that that isn't the case.

Sure, the minority of people who already come to my store know that I don't seek guidance from a diabolic tutor (Big Dog's presumption I watch "Faux News" religiously aside), but I already have their confidence and economic activity. If I need to expand I need to overcome perceptions. If I am to be a locust, which is how some could label unions, I need to plead the case that locusts are actually quite delicious covered with chocolate or boiled in vegetable stock.

Donegan

"devil you know"
Devils are evil you know. 383,000 members are a minority dictating how the government deals with labor (All the unions are just 12% of the population) So how does that work out for those Bama supporters who claim the majority makes the rules? Yeah we already know, There hypocrites and don't care.

CAST THE FIRST STONE

like

Contango

Re: "UAW could be absorbed by a more hostile union."

I found the UAW to be hostile enough.

Some time ago, I was out of work, jobs were hard to come by and I 'finally' found one at a stamping plant that was UAW.

I was paid piecework rates and given the crappiest jobs.

After a certain time period I was required to join the UAW, pay dues PLUS a $1,000 initiation fee.

I was hardly making ANY money and the union goons wanted $1K????

Read like extortion to me. I left after 2 wks.

Yea, protecting workers rights - BS.

WhatTheHeck

BS! No where are the initiation dues $1000. If you're gonna lie, make it believable!

Contango

Re: "And the union on Friday challenged the recent VW vote in Tennessee."

As most of their plants world-wide ARE unionized, VW encouraged and promoted the UAW to succeed in TN!

Bunch of whiners.

looking around

RE: Union vote in Tennessee, Republicans had no business interfering in Union/Company affairs.

Why does the GOP oppose unionization?

Unionization raises wages, increases and boosts the economy because it puts more money in the pockets of American worker but all of that happens at the cost of some of their employer's profits and for many of those employers that is completely unacceptable if it can be avoided.

Anti-union business leaders have a misguided zeal for low wages at all cost and short term profits -- ignoring the impact on their own workers, their firms' productivity, their own long-term profits or the broader economy.

The relative stagnation of wages over the last few decades -- due in large part to effective unionbusting aimed at keeping labor costs low -- helped bring on the economic meltdown because too many low-income workers were suckered into mortgages they really couldn't afford. Those mortgages were in turn bundled into the "toxic assets" derivatives -- those various nearly-worthless investment vehicles -- that weakened the world's financial systems and brought on the super-recession.

If private business (vs. public service) unionization rates today were the same as they were in 1983, an additional $49 billion could be pumped into the economy by workers represented by unions.

By 2008, that portion declined to 13.7 percent. Workers in unions earn 30% higher than non-union workers. That means an additinal $49 billion pumped into the working economy through wages.

A union job transforms a low-wage job into a pathway to the middle-class which fuels the rest of the economy as workers walk into showrooms, real estate offices, auto dealerships and stores and buy.

Even the Heritage Foundation's much-hyped index of "economic freedom" in countries around the world pointed to economies with the highest rates of unionization in the workforce.

As for the right-wing's favorite whipping boys, the auto industry and the UAW, analysts says that the blame for the auto crisis of 2008-2009 should fall on the executives' poor manufacturing decisions -- not the 10 percent of a car's cost made up by labor costs. And, despite the demonization of the UAW, the American auto-industry workers' wages are now roughly comparable to those in non-unionized Japanese factories, but it's the added costs of health care and pensions for union retirees over the decades that have actually raised costs. In addition, as the latest restructuring and cost-cutting plans show, the UAW has been willing to compromise -- after giving up important gains in negotiations in earlier years.

Bottom line: Unions drive negotiations toward higher wages and better benefits; they give workers a stronger voice in the political arena where business PACS and Lobbies represent their interests; they stand in opposition to regulations and treaties that could hurt the working man. To get the backing of big money, the GOP has to oppose this.

No wonder the GOP hates them.

Contango

Re: "Union vote in Tennessee (snip)"

Nice copy and paste job.

Without quotation marks it's plagiarism.

You can simplistically post someone else's lefty fruitcake opinion; so what does it all mean?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ar...

looking around

Who's whining now?

Contango

Re: "Who's (snip)"

Again: Got a REAL opinion or do you just know how to copy and paste?

looking around

The troll boss makes you work on Sunday? I hope your in a union and get double time! I have offered my opinion on many occasions and on many topics. Just happened to feel these statements to be very appropriate and spot on! Sometimes a simple copy paste makes it easier for others to benefit the read rather than a link.

I obviously gave you something you really have no response to.

Have a nice day, I must get back to tending my fishing pole. A little slow action this morning on the Gulf.

Contango

Re: "I obviously gave you something (snip)"

So other than copy and paste you "obviously" have no idea or opinion on what it means?

You're here, that author is not.

Other than childish trash talk ya got nuthin' huh?

SamAdams

Many people believe that a large part of the decline in American auto manufacturing was due to greed. They're right. But only part of it was CORPORATE greed. The rest? All union.

Nobody wants unsafe workplaces. Nobody wants companies that abuse their employees. But OSHA and various anti-discrimination laws picked up that slack. In fairness, unions were instrumental in pointing out those problems and in ensuring they got solved. But after things were better, unions wanted to stay alive and shifted into politics in a major way.

Now unions are more likely to get publicity for protecting unworthy employees (look no further than the Sandusky Police Department for recent examples), or their own pocketbooks (frequently causing serious hardship, or even bankruptcy, for the company they claim to work for -- Hostess, anybody?). Unions were also instrumental in pushing Obamacare through; now most are exempt from it after they learned the hard way it wasn't good for ANYbody, including them.

The hypocrisy, the past (and still occasionally present) greed, the political wheeling and dealing, and the strong-arm tactics have given plenty of people a bad impression of unions. I was delighted to see VW vote down the union. It's just too bad the UAW won't likely give up any time soon.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree with your second paragraph for sure. It's not a whine (necessarily) against government but a pointing-out that as government continues to expand it makes organizations like unions increasingly irrelevant to their members as their taxes pay for redundant services the government provides while also paying dues to the union. The irony is that as I see the trend of public opinion, the candidates most unions support with their millions/billions only (if inadvertently) advance the planned obsolescence of the very same organization funding them.

That may be the reason of the perceived scramble to expand their influence, relevance, income, and such. That is what most "middle-managers" feel especially in lean times or in a workplace that has advanced beyond their original cause and purpose. In a way it's kind of like the "institutionalization" that was seen in The Shawshank Redemption.

But, the question is will they go the way of Brooks or Red?

sorryhog

The Union Big Shots in Detroit will screw the retirees in the end, to keep on living high, on the hog!

BabyMomma

Keep calm and outlaw unions.

Contango

Re: "outlaw unions."

The ONLY union I want is a 'taxpayers union' to help protect us from the (bleepin') govt. kleptocrats.

Strike! Strike! Strike!

BabyMomma

Absolutely. A government for the government. <----that's just dumb!

Contango

In my life, I've belonged to four unions.

Three were mandatory and essentially USELESS. The fourth was one that I joined voluntarily in order to help lobby for legislation that I believed in due to my self-employment.

Dr. Information

Wow who would have thought, Unions, Detroit and money trouble all in the same sentence.

The Big Dog's back

Our resident haters are all on this morning. They won't be happy until the middle class is gone.

Contango

Re: "Our (snip)"

Belong to a union where you work? If not, why not?

anthras

Re.Belong to a union where you work? If not, why not?

Dues is one reason for why not. Read in the above article wages around $19.00 per hour. Read also VW wages around $19.00. Both groups receive about the same pay one group has dues deducted from their pay.

If VW would join the union would the union then get them more money which might then put them above the big three I hardly doubt it so why offer to pay union dues when it seems it would not be necessary?

grumpy

Piddle Puppy hates when I write about the Union I was in... But to rub his nose in it one more time...

When I first went in as an apprentice it was like many others in the 70's. In 80 the membership voted to not donate money, from dues, to any politician or party. That was the beginning of making it more for the membership instead of for the union bosses and politicians. If you wish to donate to politicians or parties through the union bundle, you have to write a separate check to do so. They have backed candidates from both parties, as example they weren't happy with Strickland for not being good for expansion in construction, and are happy with Kasich because he is. They normally prefer the d's but will look at what they actually do. I like that.

In our union you will be fired, or more accurately laid off if you can't run the equipment you were hired out on. You can be gotten rid of for being late, many things. You get training from the union for free for running various equipment and have to get certified for some equipment, more every year so the contractors aren't hiring blind if you haven't worked for them before.

This union does what the members want and have voted for. Do the benifits, insurance, collective barginning, and still let the member negoiate a better deal if they can, do training, and certification, apprenticeship, safety checks, hiring hall, and such while staying out of politics. Just what the members wanted and voted for. It is a "good" union. There are right wakko's in it as well as left wakko's who push for changes that never happen cause most of the members vote those things down. Many of us think this is what the future of Unions should be, Keep the work quality standards high in the trade, teack new members the trade, deal with the insurance and retirement, banking, safety, and collective bargining, and stay the he77 out of politics.

This is how a modern union looks, The old unions have to get with the 21st century and quit trying to live in the 1920's-1940's, the time has left them behind. they need to modernize and enter the 21'st century. Do what the members want, not the wingnut politicians, union goons and union bosses want. Times change and the unions need to do the same.

SamAdams

You're right: THAT'S what a union should be! Unfortunately, too many are not. They use threats and coercion on the membership and the employer alike. And the union goons and union bosses (as you put it) make out like bandits -- which seems a fair description since "bandits" are effectively what they are.

I won't argue against a union like the one you describe. In fact, I'd be inclined to support it. Most, however, AREN'T like that. They deserve to go the way of the dodo, and preferably BEFORE they do more damage!

grumpy

That is why I say the unions need to evolve into the 21st century instead of trying to stay in the 1920's-1940's. Some/many unions need to evolve from what was needed in the early 1900's into the 21st century. There are some things a union can do but most try to do the same as the early 1900's. Depends on the industry and the needs of the membership. It ain't cookie cutter, same for everyone type deal anymore. Much like federal gov't it is not one size fits all. The closer to the member, the better for unions. For gov't the closer to the people (state, local government) the better. unions and gov't both need to evolve. closer to the people the better.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It would seem that the non-modern unions have become that which they were established to fight?

The Big Dog's back

Why were they established?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I'll play 19th century dressup: To save workers from bloated "fatcats" who are socially and economically disassociated from them and support candidates/laws they may not? The same entities that "take" the money brought home from the workers through their labors?

If my costume isn't up to snuff you can correct me but more to the point that was my allusion above. You have the floor.

The Big Dog's back

Oh boy.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Your lack of anything different means I hit the nail on the head, right?

The Big Dog's back

No, it just confirms you are clueless. But I already knew that.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Ahem. I am trying to draw out a point with all this. Can you at least "correct" me before deriding my response, not making a counter-point, and walking away feeling like you somehow are victor over a conversation never had?

The Big Dog's back

Victor? Is that what you think this is about? If you don't want to take the time to find out what the union movement was about, why should I tell you?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Haha you did it! You actually said it! Wow haha.

Anyway I am not interested in what the resources I have ready access to to be regurgitated. I want YOUR own thoughts and opinions, which you can't produce?

But with this reservation the point I made earlier continues to unfortunately stand. It isn't just with unions but so much more in life!

The Big Dog's back

Therein lies the problem. It's not what you or I think happened, it's actually what happened. My opinion or yours doesn't matter as to why it happened. You or I can have an opinion as to whether their reasoning was right or wrong, but we can't change the facts.

Stop It

Non answers from you all the way. You can't debate so you name call and deride all the while throwing out non answers to simple questions. Just a s*!t stirrer.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Opinion does matter and I realize that going into it right or wrong they are ones we hold. What I was trying to tie this into is that in the context of this discussion unions (at least the "big" ones like the UAW) have a problem with public opinion and perception. As much as they may claim X, Y is seen with no attempt to counteract Y.

My original post was neutral to helpful of the UAW by trying to indicate this and draw out a discussion to prove the point.

The Big Dog's back

IUOC Local 18 has not stayed out of politics. I guess if you support Repubs, it is staying out of politics.

grumpy

As stated they can't use dues to donate to either politicians or parties. The money has to be donated into a bundler for a party or candidate using a separate personal donation. As long as it is not money from the Union (dues)I don't care that some folks in the union wants to bundle their money for a politician or party. Link below shows how much money gets bundled and to who. Pretty well spread out across various candidates and parties. Oh yeah more to repubes than to dims, probably not a Union you would like piddle puppy. But there you have to be able to preform the work.

The donations cover 2004 to 2012, eight years, $295,000 from various members of the union, not from the Union. Not much when you look at how many members and it being over 8 years. But you can see for yourself from the information linked below.

http://www.followthemoney.org/da...

Re: " I guess if you support Repubs, it is staying out of politics."

If you look at the charts in the provided link you will see what little money is donated, more goes to repubes. So I guess you are barking out of your a$$ again, piddle puppy, but it is so little donated considering that it is $295,000 over 8 years over the whole state, it is rather meaningless. 15,000+ total membership in Ohio. Last few years SE Ohio has been hot with pipelines and pumping stations.

The Big Dog's back

So which unions force their members to donate? And don't say UAW either.

grumpy

I haven't stated what other unions do or don't do with their money. Dues or any other money they have. I only said that the union I was a member of can't do with dues, s orry piddles.

The Big Dog's back

IUOE operates the Engineers Political Education Committee (IUOE/EPEC). EPEC Voluntary is the federal political action committee of the International Union of Operating Engineers in the United States, which raises money through voluntary contributions from its members and their families. IUOE then uses these funds to elect candidates and incumbents who will support IUOE members’ interests on key issues in the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and the White House.

grumpy

Re: "raises money through voluntary contributions from its members and their families"

As I have stated every time I write about the Union I am a member of. I also have linked to the amount and candidates and parties They donate to. I have never stated otherwise. The Union CAN'T use dues or the money collected by the union. It has to be separate donations from individual members and their families, and then bundled. Show me where I mis-stated something about 18's political donations. Every time I write about the union I was a member of I state that. This time I even linked to how much and to whom it went to. The Union doesn't do politics, the members voluntarily donate to both parties candidates who they feel support their interests, not Union money, members money. Goes to both parties and various candidates in all parties.

The Big Dog's back

This is part of what you wrote:
"This is how a modern union looks, The old unions have to get with the 21st century and quit trying to live in the 1920's-1940's, the time has left them behind. they need to modernize and enter the 21'st century. Do what the members want, not the wingnut politicians, union goons and union bosses want. Times change and the unions need to do the same."
You state as part of your whine that your union doesn't use dues. Once again, which union does? Which union does those things you complain about? Quit blowing smoke and come up with solid facts.

grumpy

I have not said what any union other than the one I was a member does with their dues. I have stated that mine does the apprenticeship, journeyman training, certification, takes care of benefits, insurance, retirement, safety, and so forth. They also stay out of politics. If you wish to make claims what other unions do be my guest, you have the floor. I can only speak to what the union I was in did. They did what the membership voted for them to do.

Re: "You state as part of your whine that your union doesn't use dues."

BTW I never stated that my union doesn't use dues. I have stated that they CAN'T use dues to donate to politicians or political parties or anything political. I have stated some of the things our dues went for, the Apprenticeship training, safety, retirement, insurance, and other such things.

The Big Dog's back

Semantics. So how can you say other unions haven't "evolved"?
"I can only speak to what the union I was in did."

grumpy

Re: "Semantics."

Hardly, you try to make it out that when I say the union can't donate to anything political that it is semantics, it is truth as I have shown using your copy and paste of what the union I was in does. They have to get separate donations, bundle them to donate them to political things, and try to call that semantics? It is EXACTLY what I said they did.

Contango

The REAL issue is the financial one with public unions and Detroit also helps to clearly illustrate that problem as well.

The private sector increasingly can no longer afford to support the legacy costs associated with the rich health and welfare retirement benefits that the liberal politicos promised their campaign-contributing friends in the public sector.

"Detroit bankruptcy plan includes deep pension cuts"

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la...

DEATHnTAXES

With the horror stories I'm hearing coming out of the KBI and Ventra plants about lack of good union representation, there may not be a need for unions at either plant.

KURTje

Like you know anything about work pooh. America in general is broke & there are a plethora of valid reasons why. (bye-bye SSI)

Contango

Re: "America in general is broke,"

“Thanks for my government check/military.”

- kURtje,10/23/2013

Why then do you receive taxpayer money for doin' nothing?

How are YOU not part of the problem, kookie?

Contango

Re: "bye-bye SSI"

According to 'good' liberals like you, SSA will be able to pay benefits until 2078 and reduced ones thereafter.

Answer the question: So why do you get a govt. check?

Pete

Maybe they should sell the resort and actually use that money for their members:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2...

But where would the UAW Elite summer at?

looking around

All of this anti union rant. Would someone like to paint a picture of what this country would look like if the unions were never established and continue to represent American labor? Start with your little backyard of Sandusky and surrounding areas. Tell us what life would be for the average worker trying to support a family, better his children's education and support a tax base to grow a community.

Tell me about the type of business that would flourish and also support the community.

Tell me about what are school systems would be like, our roads and infrastructure.

You folks that hate unions so much have no idea of what your own miserable lives would be like if they had not been here for us all for years members or not.

Yes, unions are made up of both left and right thinking members, all whom may vote in any manner they wish and donate their personal money to whom ever they wish for political gain. Perhaps they have strong feelings on gun control and a candidate that shares their views, but how does that candidate feel about the issues that allow them representation for fair wages and benefits?

Why shouldn't a portion of member dues go to candidates that support the overall views shared by union labor?

I wish every business owner that is so anti union, even that their little venture has nothing to do with unions would post a sign in their window, ad or business card so I could readily identify them and forgo any business with them! They would soon see how unions had previously benefited their lives.

Now that I've had MY morning rant, I'll get back to my fishing rod! Thank god I was a union member and can enjoy my senior years in relative comfort and in good health. To the folks that I shared my income with and supported them in their own endeavors both in my working years and in retirement, I wish them the same happiness and good health.

Contango

Re: "Thank god I was a union member and can enjoy my senior years in relative comfort and in good health."

So in what and where are those union pension assets that support your health and welfare benefits invested?

looking around

Again you have no answer, you only offer another question. But I will answer you, Unions have always invested funds that they are responsible for disbursements in investment portfolios approved made up of several types. Why shouldn't they invest money in the many factions that they have represented workers in? These workers have helped to make these profitable. Unions are not against business, they promote fair and equitable wages and benefits for labor provided.

I as a union worker purchased many shares in company stock over the many years I worked not only in my company of employment, but also many others.

After many workers lost their retirement benefits due to corporate raiding and other unscrupulous acts, the PBGC was formed to insure that workers would not be stolen from again if they were in a defined pension program.

Today my retirement is composite of the PBGC (supported by investment and employer contribution), Social Security and investments.

So now tell me what your miserable life would have been like if the unions had never existed? That has nothing to do with where my retirement comes from or how those funds are invested.

You seem to be simply hung up on the fact that I and my union counterparts receive our due pensions and benefits as negotiated by our union.

Contango

Re: "PBGC"

So your union's pension trust became insolvent.

The PBGC is 'technically' bankrupt and has a line of credit with the Fed. govt.

Good luck!

BTW: Union pension trusts invest with hedge funds, private equity firms and in foreign cos.

Hypocrites one and all.

If one doesn't ask questions, how does one learn?

Also: The term is defined "benefit" pension plan (DB).

looking around

No my company claimed insolvency due to their own mismanagement of business and profits.

My union has no problem providing me my health care benefits as well as many others.

Line of credit? you better go learn what the PBGC is.

And you still have not answered my question about how your miserable life would be had the unions not existed?

FISH ON!!!!!!

Contango

Re: "My union has no problem providing me my health care benefits as well as many others."

And with whom and where are those assets invested?

"PBGC also has a $100 million line of credit with the Treasury."

http://books.google.com/books?id...$100+million+line+of+credit+with+the+Treasury.%22&source=bl&ots=0mqXgo8Ipp&sig=XrKDS0sUNB-FT5wxhKrEXtArvAI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YnYLU62_JYfx2wX08YHQAg&ved=0CEQQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=PBGC%20also%20has%20a%20%24100%20million%20line%20of%20credit%20with%20the%20Treasury.%22&f=false

Like I wrote: Good luck!

looking around

Still no answers to the questions I asked of you? Good Day. Typical of your rant.

Contango

Re: "Still (snip)"

And still no facts from you, just typical ignorance & nonsense.

The Big Dog's back

pooh, always answers a question with a question.

Contango

Re: "always,"

And you NEVER answer an asked question PERIOD or just spew nonsense, lil' fella.

looking around

Sounds like Contango is not feeling well today, maybe off his meds, has resorted to attacking and name calling. Typical of what his reaction when he has run out of anything to say.

Contango

Re: "Sounds (snip)"

You're hearing "sounds"? lol

You ask and answer your own questions; why bother?

Unlike you, I deal in facts. Hence the need with types like you for questions.

You questioned the Treasury line of credit to the PBGC - proved you wrong.

So you don't know where your union pension plan assets are invested?

They give you an annual summary plan description. Do you read it?

looking around

You need to read your link a little more carefully. The PBGC has never used the credit line, it is a stop gap measure put in place to make certain that pensioners do not lose the pensions which were earned. I don't see what your problem is with where my pension assets are invested? Unions invest in many businesses that they have represented members working. Asset investment is closely monitored and regulated, hence the annual summary.

Again YOU have not answered a single question, all you do is blather and froth at the mouth!

Contango

Re: "The PBGC has never used the credit line,"

True and the FDIC has never used theirs, but why are life vests required on cruise ships?

Read what I wrote: I wrote that they HAD a line of credit.

Better check out the financial solvency of the PBGC. And like I wrote:

Good luck!

Why I prefer defined contribution (DC) plans - MY MONEY! Not relying on 'someone's' promise.

----------------------

Re: "Unions invest in many businesses that they have represented members working."

Better read your summary plan description again.

Union employee pensions tend to invest their assets for the greatest return, so they invest with hedge funds, private equity firms and in foreign cos., et. al.

You think that your union bros. are working there? lol

As I wrote: You're a smart guy; you asked and answered your own questions. Why bother?

looking around

My my my...the red phone must ring when I post...LOL! So when are you going to answer my question " What would your miserable life be like if unions had not existed" Don't be afraid to describe your community as well.....let's see how smart of a guy you are?

Contango

Re: "What would your miserable life be like if unions had not existed"

I would of had more money in my pocket from not paying worthless union dues.

Don't worry about your future retirement income and health benefits; the govt. and the union fat cats have your back. LMAO!!!

looking around

Sounds to me like a case of jealousy! You can't even admit that the union created a better standard of life for people, members or not and are responsible for building community's where business flourished and family's enjoy a middle class lifestyle and higher education for their children just to mention a few things which evolved from better wages and benefits along with common sense regulation.

Contango

Re: "union created a better standard."

Can't help but notice that you wrote in the past tense.

And the Rust Belt is the museum of that unsustainable fiction.

Did you even read the above article, Sport; or just refuse to accept reality?

grumpy

Re: "So now tell me what your miserable life would have been like if the unions had never existed? "

I will do so when you inform me how to go back in time and change the past so that unions never happened. Till then I will simply live my retired life, using my pension SS, paid part time job that happens to be one of my hobbies, and other investments and savings.

I have no idea what would have happened if unions had never happened. I can guess but what good would that do? Guesses about what would happen if only... happened instead is a child's game.

looking around

Well a guess would be a step forward, at least it shows a bit of imagination and recognition of what the problems of the past were before union representation. It's not hard to imagine that the working class would never have risen to the life styles we now enjoy. We would have little if any protection by regulations pertaining to labor laws and work place safety among a few topics that I can think of.

Also for a moment think of what your municipality would be like without the tax base of well paid work forces that pay taxes directly out of payroll and are taxed on most purchases. Imagine not having that tax base for community infrastructure. Let's not leave out expendable income pumped into the local economy supporting the many non union type workers.

Think of the Beatles tune "Imagine" it's really not very hard to see.

I'm glad that at least you gave it some albeit brief thought, however the question was directed at your pal contango.....certainly he should be able to answer for himself.

grumpy

Last I checked guesses aren't answers. Are guesses, answers in your mind? I live in the real world. I prefer facts to imagination.

I can imagine a world where we were out of Iraq and Afganistan within a year of obama taking office, gitmo was closed, obamacare allowed you to keep your policy if you liked it, along with keeping your doctor if you like him, that a family of 4 will save an average of $2500 buckks a year, that buying a policy will be like using Amazon. I have all kinds of imagination. It just doesn't seem to come true when I imagine what will happen if only. Using imagination just doesn't seem to come true very often, as is shown above.

Contango

Re: "Think of the Beatles tune 'Imagine'."

John Lennon, NOT The Beatles.

You're livin' in a past, union paradise fantasy land, Sport.

Today, their greed is helping to bankrupt the private sector - see Detroit, Chicago, et. al.

looking around

Your living in your own little world sport! Your tunnel vision, hate mongering, and general ignorance has muddled your mind.

Contango

Re: "Your,"

And when the jobs go away, so do the union rank and file goons.

Keep living in your once-upon-a-time fantasy land.

grumpy

Re: "Why shouldn't a portion of member dues go to candidates that support the overall views shared by union labor?"

I can only speak for what the union I was/am a member of. The membership voted not to allow dues to be donated to anything with politics. Perhaps you missed that part of what I wrote. They also voted to allow individuals to bundle their donations in assocation with the union and give that to political things. It was what the membership wanted. The union is there to serve the membership.

looking around

" The union is there to serve the membership"

I would say that in supporting candidates or sitting political figures that share the interests of the union membership, that they are serving them very well.

Contango

Re: "they are serving them very well."

Unions are campaign slush funds for the Democrat kleptocrats.

looking around

And corporations don't provide "slush funds" for Republican pukes?

Contango

Corps. donate A LOT to Dems too. lol

https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs...

Quit believing the propaganda and open your eyes.

grumpy

Perhaps you missed yet again where I said the membership VOTED not to allow dues to be donated for anything political? Do you think the union leaders should be able to overule the membership on how money is to be spent?

You are welcome to your opinion but the membership of the union has the say, or should have the say in how dues are spent.

The Big Dog's back

Nobody missed what you said. Now for the umpteenth time, tell which unions haven't evolved. Your words, not mine.

grumpy

Poor piddles wants answers ti his question. I'll tell you what, if you answer the next half dozen questions either I or Hero Zone ( I like many of his questions and he posts more than I do) ask you I will answer yours again. I have answered many of your questions in the past while not getting any answers from you. When you start answering I will also. In life it is give and take, not all take, I am tired of giving answers to you and getting none in return.

The New World Czar

Democrats + UAW = Detroit's Demise...simple math.

looking around

Republicans + attack on the middle class = America's Demise.....simple math.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

What's the middle class and why do you separate people into classes in our country? This is a compulsion I can't seem to understand.

KURTje

Looking around is right. The new America almost always mandates both husband & wife work out of need. It wasn't like that Hero Zone. (that was pre-Obama too)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Not sure I follow you. Could you clarify? (<--neutrally said)

The Big Dog's back

sappy, do you do any research on anything? Or do you just rely on what's in your head and what you think it should be?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I do plenty of research, but it is because of that I have found that most people who say "middle class" have very different meanings/intentions of it. That makes its use all but irrelevant, let alone its derogatory to "classify" people as if they were an insect, mineral, asset or the like.

The Big Dog's back

You classify Liberal and Conservatives. Dems and Repubs.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I'll describe, but not classify. Classification implies that "that is it". You can't be anything else at all unless an overwhelming system and groupthink change that FOR you.

I will describe people as having some property or another, but that "label" is relevant only between me and it/them. You describe yourself as a Democrat. I do the same. But could that change by your own actions at any point in time? Yup! I don't know if I can call you a liberal in the classic sense. You are far too authoritarian for that.

But then again, that is just my description of you.

Dr. Information

Here are the ungrateful federal workers we have in this nation. While most people and many middle class workers have taken a hit, here is the response your federal workers give about their 1% Obama raise:
Federal labor unions are crying foul over President Obama's proposal to raise federal employee pay by 1 percent next year, arguing the increase is inadequate.

David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the nation's largest federal employee union, said Monday that the 1 percent increase is "pitiful" and fails to compensate for sacrifice by government workers.

“Federal employees have endured years of pay freezes and cuts in retirement benefits,” Cox said in a statement. “Federal employees deserve a meaningful pay raise, not a token increase that will be more than eaten up by rising living costs, including higher retirement and healthcare costs.”

The increase would mark the second year in a row that civilian federal workers would get a 1 percent hike after three straight years of pay freezes.

So while its okay for everyone else to have to work more hours, do more with less, have their insurance premiums increase due to Obamacare and have their benefits slashed, its not okay for federal workers to experience the same things.

They are better than you, so they think.

Contango

According to Consumer Reports vehicles to avoid include:

Chrysler, Ford and GM

http://www.usatoday.com/story/mo...

Love that union-made quality.

@ looking around: What make of vehicle(s) do you own?

looking around

All GM !07 Chevy truck has over 100 thousand trouble free miles, changed brakes and tires at 65K change oil every 3K still looks and drives like the day I bought it.

2013 Caddy, the finest automobile ever made in my book! Love that car! Not a single service call yet!

Unsurpassed quality and American craftsmanship that I'm proud to own and drive!

I've purchased over forty new cars in my lifetime all American made and most GM!

Hows your foreign ride sport!

Contango

GM? Good for you!

Good to see that you put your money where your ideologically misdirected mind is.

How are those "union" shops in China doin'?

BTW: At the time of their bankrupcy, GM China was the only profitable division.

Re: "forty new cars"?

Little wonder that you have to rely on the PBGC and a union for health and welfare bennies and have little savings; you bought the loss.

’12 Nissan, Altima 3.5SR V6 & a ’04 LaSabre here.

looking around

RE:Little wonder that you have to rely on the PBGC and a union for health and welfare bennies and have little savings; you bought the loss. [snip]

I'd match my net-worth to yours any day! Don't you worry your little head about the security in my retirement, I do just fine thank you and will continue to prosper until the day I'm planted.

You can only hope one day to do as well!

Incidentally, I'm not on any "welfare bennies" all my benefits are earned.

Your the one looking out the window at snow with nothing better to do than blog......I'm sitting on the back of my boat about twelve miles off shore watching my fishing pole and enjoying a sunny day!

Contango

Re: "welfare,"

It's a IRS & DOL term. If you knew anything about pensions or retirement planning you would know that.

I'm doin' just fine. And I didn't need union goons to help me do it.

Assume away pal.

Investible liquid assets are all that really counts anyway.

Reads like you sunk your money in depreciable ones.

looking around

So if your doing fine, then why are you so worried about unions and the fact that they have benefited others?

Your use of the term "welfare" always seems to indicate that you feel others that have earned benefits are getting welfare because that is your misunderstood perspective of it.

My investment assets are divided between moderate and safe risk, I have plenty of liquid assets to enjoy my toys of which I have many, if that is what you are referring to as depreciable. With 60 percent of my life behind me, I plan on enjoying the remaining 40 percent and according to my financial consultant I won't need to worry about a backwards slide, in fact he tells me that I'm ultra conservative in how I spend for fun! Plenty left to take care of me in my old age and leave a little behind for my family.

Limited out for the day...time to put her back in the rack! Worst day of fishing is better than the best day of work!

Contango

Re: "unions and the fact that they have benefited others?"

"Benefited"?

Again: Your use of the past tense.

Other than the public ee. unions which are bankrupting the private sector, they're thankfully dying.

"Financial planner"? LMAO!

Good luck with having a shyster stealing from you.

looking around

You misquoted me I said "financial consultant"

KURTje

Looking around he does not know the meaning of happiness or joy.

looking around

Good thing he has that 04 Buick, he needs a dependable car in those harsh Ohio winters!

Contango

Re: "Good thing,"

My last Goverment Motors car.

Contango

Re: "Looking (snip),"

lol

Are you happier with free taxpayer money, kookie?

“Thanks for my government check/military.”

- kURtje,10/23/2013

looking around

FISH ON!!!!!!!

Contango

Re: "FISH ON!!!!!!!"

More in keeping with your mental acuity.

looking around

The thing about fishing is you have to be a little bit smarter than the fish, I take it that's why you don't enjoy it?

Contango

Re: "little bit smarter than the fish,"

I do my fishing at the seafood counter - smarter.

looking around

RE: "I do my fishing at the seafood counter"

Not near as much fun!

KURTje

hahahaha Joy is a good thing.

Contango

Yes, it is kookie. It must be h*ll being a taker like you.