[A-List] He's back! Kerkorian bids $4.5 billion for Chrysler (new propaganda for unions)
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Fri Apr 13 09:58:13 MDT 2007
"In addition, York noted that a private company can "offer a substantial
portion of equity in the company to the UAW as part of finding a solution to
ever-rising health care costs, which not only are unaffordable by
corporations, but over time will likely prove to be unaffordable by
governmental entities as well."
Bid may seem favorable
Some analysts, including Brian Johnson of Lehman Brothers, say they believe
DaimlerChrysler may look more kindly on the Kerkorian bid because he
expresses a willingness to work with the unions to address the company's
stiff liability issues.
"We would classify the Kerkorian offer in the category of labor-friendly
private-equity buyer," Johnson wrote.
The last time around Kerkorian's bid and plan was to break Chrysler up and
sell off it divisions and parts of its productivity infrastructure.
Kerkorian's $4.5 billion bid for Chrysler is well below the $36 billion Daimler-Benz
paid for Chrysler in 1998. The reason for the low bid is Chrysler's mountain
of debt, of which "running" pension and health obligations are a small part
or, as it is called, "legacy cost."
Legacy cost is really the cost of the legacy of capitalist exploitation and
45 years of million dollar bonus payments CEO's and their minion.
GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler all have "special funds," supposedly monitored
by the Union, and governed by federal guidelines, to pay for these benefits.
The companies estimate each year their immediate money obligations to
retirees and report whether they have enough money in the funds to meet these
Counting pension and other retiree benefit obligations, GM reported last
year that its plans were under funded by $45 billion. Ford's plans were under
funded by $34 billion, according to its annual report. These legacy cost build
up year after year and decade after decade, in a way not to different from
credit card debt. As long as you can make your monthly payment, in this case
yearly payments, no one cares about the long term debt and its consequences.
The problem is that no section of capitalists or their bourgeois politicians
in Congress, gives a damn about workers pensions; only quarterly profits and
their personal bonuses, consequently ensuring the financial health of these
funds is never a priority - as long as the monthly note is met. With federal
laws allowing the legal under funding of pensions, even union contracts
cannot guarantee the retired workers economic security.
Who writes these laws that shortchange the workers?
What makes these companies valuable to investment clubs of the bourgeoisie,
is that during good years, the investment group can take the money and run,
allow the legacy to grow - continue, and then start looking for another buyer,
sinking the workers into more debt. Because this "legacy thing" is a system
or set of rules governing the economic life of our country, there is no
escape for the workers as a class, short of changing the system. The system has
been changed before or we would still be a slave society. It can be changed
"Labor friendly" . . . . "Labor friendly" . . . .
Mr. York ("Chrysler's former chief financial officer and Kerkorian's
right-hand man") statement reveals, his anti-working class and anti-union outlook on
the all important issue of health care, although he would be quick to say he
is playing by the rules of the game.
Well . . . this is not a game.
Placing the financial burden of health care (for 40 - 50 million people),
squarely on the back on federal and state governments would no more bankrupt
the federal system, than the huge cost of the wars of our imperialists and
their terror campaigns.
We need to figure out how to do things on the side of the working class.
If tiny Cuba can consistently meant the rising health care expectations of
its people, through suppressing much of the profit motive in health care
delivery and health education, so can we. The cost of health care should not be
carried by small businesses or the large unionized companies for that matter,
and most certainly the individuals should not be responsible for the cost of
Primary care has to become a birth right. Two tiny hand fulls of the wealth
spent on the war against the people of Iraq, is more than enough to met the
primary health needs of the American people, and everyone knows this.
Who side are you own?
The power of capital, its economic law, drives increasingly larger sections
of higher paid labor into the ranks of the lowest paid workers. It is not
just a technology thing, but technology in the hands of profit lusting
The UAW is being maneuvered into a position where it will appear to be part
of the cause for the collapse of Chrysler - if it does not grant huge
concessions, but to grant such concessions, accelerates its own demise.
Who should pay the legacy cost in the here and now, considering the workers
themselves, could not pay such cost even if they wanted to? Slowly but surely
the workers themselves must learn to take sides in the class war. The UAW
workers are only a small fraction of the workers being hit by legacy cost, but
they are a politically significant fraction because they are organized with a
capacity to arouse the working poor of America.
It is time for the union to step up to the plate.
This is a contract year with the union having lived with the current
contract for last 5 years. The fight is right now . . . today, but we have to look
down the road because survival is at stake. Two more five year contracts from
now (2017) and the UAW, as one of the premium unions of the industrial era,
shall not exist as such.
Shifting from collaborationist policy (business unionism) - carried to the
extreme by former President of the Chrysler Division, Nate Godden, places its
new President in a difficult position with little choice. Business as usual
means the death of the union. We cannot and must not go quietly into the
The union leaders and its members face an extremely advanced stage of the
crisis of the entire social system of capitalism and no amount of wars of
aggression can get us out of this. The union must find the political will and
means to reform itself and literally leap outside of a purely trade union
framework and trade union politics and reconstitute itself as a fighting unity
(union) with one foot in the poor and marginalized.
Not just witting letters to ones Congressman and passing resolutions but
investing in class politics.
Such a feat may very well be impossible. The old form of the industrial
corporation and the companies that once ruled supreme, could not make such a
transition and were displaced by new comers like Intel and Cisco systems. Perhaps
it is true that old soldiers don't die . . . they just fade away. Yet . . .
the union is not a business and cannot be run like a business. When
capitalist businesses go broke they go belly up and the lives of the workers are
destroyed. When the union goes broke . . . , we don't belly, we tally and rally up
and go into revolution.
The headquarters of the UAW faces lay-off of its staff due to the increasing
shrinkage of its membership base. Oh well.
It is a hard times for the trade union movement as it is pushed further down
the social ladder. Between the post WWII period and the last strike wave
period in the industrial sector (1968-1978) it was possible for the union to
wage the battle for a greater share of the social product for its members and
support efforts to expand political liberties, - (for blacks and women), even
when such support was token and had to be wrenched from within the union by
these large groups.
>From the time of its formation to the ending of the last great strike wave,
the health of the union rested upon the expansion and deepening of the market
itself. Auto workers were America's industrial middle class and every
incremental increase in wages, meant more consumption and more consumption meant
more work for everyone.
Today the health of the UAW and indeed its very survival rest solely on the
platform of the vast majority of labor who have yet to find an organized
voice. These industrial workers cannot - not, fight back. Demanding relocating
plants back in America is not just a pipe dream, but if it were possible or
even desirable, would only increase rationalization of production, heighten
competition between the world auto producers, creating more vicious cycles of
unemployment as human labor is further rendered superfluous by advanced
Organizing the unorganized and extending the union in new field of labor is
The fight for the dignity of union labor cannot be carried on and pushed
further within the old boundary of the industrial unionism with its contract
between one employer and one group of workers and one industry.
Health care and pensions are not union issues but issues dear to the entire
working class. Negotiations with DaimlerChrysler, in and of itself, cannot
solve the health care issue and the union cannot get the support of 40 - 50
million people in need of health care, if it does not create and find the forum
to fight for this issue in the national political arena and win the respect
of the "great unwashed," who tend to be any of our seniors who have already
worked a lifetime.
A real Labor Party in America, fighting in national politics on the platform
of class issues would make a difference.
"Labor friendly" . . . . "Labor friendly" . . . . got to be kidding.
York is friendly to the domination of the capitalists. Behind his pondering
the plight of health care for auto workers and retirees is a concerted effort
to shift the responsibility of health care and pensions onto the back of the
The decay of the union, as it had existed, is so far advanced that no one
believes its survival is possible and it is not without change.
The upper layer of union leaders are stunned and disorientated in the face
of this dramatic decay. What is needed is a new perspective - a class
What are these workers to be told?
Who side U on?
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