The auto industry and the United Auto Workers (the UAW) are trying to work out a new contract.
On one hand you have the Union, champions of the underdog. Anyone who has been laid off can tell you how quickly they can lose interest in you when you are no longer a dues paying worker. Troubled industry? Maybe a pay cut to put the likes of you back to work, ha. They sell labor (that’s us) to industry, that’s their business.
On the other hand you have the Auto Industry, whining about benefit and pension costs. They especially complain about all the retiree’s health care benefits. Benefits that were prepaid out of the workers pay for 30 years. What they don’t mention is that the companies have raped what was called “over funded” pensions and used the money for their own ends and now, gee guys, sorry, your pension fund is broke and we need to cut you off or we’ll all go down.
Here’s the real deal, we don’t have anyone who truly represents us, in the workplace, in the government, in the economy. We are alone! Our parents have been stripped of their pensions and health insurance, our retirement programs are a joke, and there’s virtually nothing we can do.
Maybe it’s time for us to start some of the old CO-OP ideas for health insurance, banking, and retirement. Well it so happens some companies do something kind of like that BUT the health care industry still forces them to work through an insurance company. The company I work for is “Self Insured” this means we pay for our coworkers health care. If someone gets cancer or has a baby, it’s a little higher, if no one gets sick it’s a little lower. Now everyone talks about the rising cost of health care but two years ago our premiums went up 13%, only 4% because of medical costs, 9% were increases in the insurance company’s fee to administer the program, and they are abysmal, slow to pay, slow to respond, losing paperwork.
Anyway, my point is (yes I did have one) is that these two titans, the Auto workers and the UAW, are clashing over power and influence. We are but grist for the mill. If we realize this now, maybe we can break a tooth or two in the bread they make out of us.