UAW Workers to Picket ... the UAW; They Should Also Picket the White House

October 11th, 2010 10:50 AM

Following up on yesterday's post ("Government/General Motors, UAW Hose Long-Time Members Twice in Two Weeks"; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) -- What a "revolting" development this is, as reported in the Detroit News:

GM Orion assembly workers to picket UAW over two-tier wage structure

In an unprecedented move, Government/General Motors and the UAW are imposing a two-tiered wage structure involving pay cuts approaching 50% on union members with as many as 10-12 years of seniority. That's right; the Democratic Obama administration and the alleged champions of workers' interests are acting in concert to gut the earnings of hundreds of the union's longtime, dues-paying members.

Does anyone expect any press coverage of this outside of Detroit?

Here's more from the story by Louis Aguilar and Christina Rogers:

GM Orion assembly workers to picket UAW over two-tier wage structure
Some unhappy hourly workers at General Motors Co.’s Orion Assembly Plant plan to demonstrate outside the United Auto Workers international headquarters next weekend against a two-tier wage deal they contend could impose lower starting wages on some veteran workers. ("Could" should at least read " probably will." It seems that the only way it wouldn't happen is if all Tier 2 workers refuse to return. -- Ed.)

... Local 5960 member Juan Gonzales confirmed plans for a demonstration seeking repeal of the two-tier wage agreement, under which about 60 percent of the workers will be paid $28 an hour, while others with less experience could earn $14. The bulletin asks participants to bring picket signs and petitions.


The rally reflects divisions in the labor movement. UAW leaders want to save as many jobs as they can and insist they are protecting workers’ wages.


Some workers fear the UAW is creating a loophole that will eventually force lower pay on veteran workers and want to protect the higher-paying positions.


... “There is a better way to go about doing this than forcing people to go to Tier 2,” (UAW member Nick) Waun said. “This sets a new precedent; we’re afraid this will be (repeated) at other plants around the country in the next contract.”


A labor analyst agrees.


“Orion looks to be a big moment that can cause major problems for the company and the union further down the line,” said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

I will suggest that if the UAW through its health plant weren't a partial owner of GM, it would never have considered this move.

I will also suggest that the UAW would never have negotiated this kind of deal with a company not controlled by the government. Let's be clear: President Obama and his car czars are perfectly fine with the idea of cutting the pay of less-senior but more than likely equally capable workers at the plant in the name of more senior members keeping their gold-plated package of wages and benefits. What in the heck ever happened to "equal pay for equal work"?

I will also suggest that if Ford or another major UAW shop had even proposed something like this, politicians would have been running to microphones in droves to denounce management greed and worker oppression, and that the news coverage would be national in scope.

As it is, I expect stone silence from the alleged champions of labor and a virtual media blackout as the a labor union and the government engage in practices which I contend most private employers would never even consider attempting, or even attempt to consider.

Prove me wrong, guys and gals.

Cross-posted at