The media is making a determined effort to present the Chrysler bailout as a real boon for UAW members even if it means playing fast and lose with the facts.
For example, we are told that the UAW will own 55% of the new Fiat-Chrysler company stock, suggesting that the workers will really be running the company. The truth is that this stock will be held by an independent retiree health fund—not the union. The UAW will have only one of nine seats on the board of directors.
For a reality check, let’s look at things from a worker perspective.
First, thanks to Doug Henwood (editor of Left Business Observer) you can read what Chrysler workers received from the UAW leadership. The leadership is clearly trying to put the best face on a bad deal.
Then, you can read an assessment of the contract by a retired UAW member. Some highlights:
- Retirees will lose all dental and vision coverage as of July 1, and perhaps all health coverage in six years
- There will be a wage freeze until 2015. All new workers hired until that date will be paid $14 an hour (with no raises possible until 2015)
- Work breaks will be reduced from 16 minutes to 13 minutes
- Workers will not be allowed to vote on future contracts until 2015—that should tell you everything you need to know
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