Workers Say UAW Got Best Deal
|Topics: UAW, Delphi, General Motors
June 28, 2007
The United Auto Workers (UAW), Delphi Inc. and General Motors Corp. have reached an agreement Friday. In the said agreement, Delphi workers will get cash payouts and other compensation in exchange for leaving the company or accepting considerably slashed wages.
The concessions at Delphi were crucial to the industry. As a fact, they have created a lingering buzz among critics, analysts, workers as well as other Detroit automakers. A significant number of workers said that the union got the best deal while others are opposed to it. The situation needs a Saturn EGR valve to facilitate recirculation of auto industry’s clever ideas.
"The Delphi agreement will be the lens through which the companies will view the national contracts," said auto analyst John Casesa of the Casesa Shapiro Group. "That doesn't mean it will be easy to get concessions from the union. It shows a union that is willing to be more flexible than people expected."
For many, the reductions will be radical, over $10 an hour in pay along with scaled back health benefits. And workers who started with the company decades ago when it was part of GM will make wages similar to those earned by relative newcomers. The deal, which still must be ratified by union members, was needed to avert the threat of a strike at Delphi that would have crippled GM, Delphi's largest customer, and disrupted the coming labor talks.
Delphi Corp. worker Darrell Snell, 24, felt months of stress and worry slip away as he left his union hall on Monday after learning details of a landmark wage deal between the parts supplier and the United Auto Workers. "I've got a job," the Mount Morris resident said with a slight grin. "I can move on with my life. Makes me feel good about the union."
Snell sees the agreement as a sign of the UAW's enduring strength in tough times. In that sense, the tentative deal is a victory of sorts for the UAW because the concessions were not as deep as many had feared given Delphi's bankruptcy. But the givebacks were significant and could foreshadow the sacrifices workers will be asked to make when the UAW negotiates new national contracts this summer with Detroit's Big Three automakers.
GM shares climbed 81 cents, or 2.3 percent, Monday on the New York Stock Exchange after Goldman Sachs analyst Robert Berry increased his rating on GM to "buy" from "neutral," largely on the belief that the UAW will give concessions beyond what investors were expecting. "We suspect members and retirees are increasingly amenable to," wage and benefit cuts, Berry said in a research note. "We think that translates into progress on health care costs, work rules, and potentially on wages in 2007 union talks."
Harley Shaiken, a labor expert at the University of California, Berkeley, said that the UAW's ability to hold ground against Delphi signals that the union will have clout when it deals with the automakers.
"This deal shows the UAW remains very powerful even in a very tough situation," said Shaiken, who has intimated that the UAW’s power remains formidable, and often underestimated, in an industry where labor-management cooperation is critical to both sides.
Even with the concessions, many workers said that they were pleased with the way union leaders managed the negotiations. "This shows the union still has power and that it still protects its workers," said Flint East worker Tammy Scofield. "It would have been a lot worse if it was decided in bankruptcy court.”
"I don't think the union had much of a chance given the environment," said Jeff Reno, 33, a worker at the Saginaw Steering Systems plant.
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