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“Ryan Martin” you are entitled to your own opinion but NOT to your own facts. In addition, your comments would have more credibility if you use your real name as opposed to a fictitious one and if you focused on facts as opposed to name-calling and personal attacks.
On your first paragraph, you contradicted yourself by stating, “we didn't make GM cars. We made Corollas and Tacomas and the Pontiac Vibe (25% at its height)” GM owned the Pontiac brand, therefore, we DID built GM vehicles, according to your math, 25% of NUMMI’s production. (contradiction.....!!)
But lets focus on the subject being discussed on this post as opposed to your own agenda. The comparison of the auto industry and NUMMI to healthcare and Kaiser should be explored.
In the mid 1990s, NUMMI entered a different business practice. The contract started changing and at each bargaining year there were more concessions being made by the union. The employer’s attempt to do more with less intensified. Temporary workers were introduced on 2003; this meant that labor with no benefits, raises, or seniority replaced the conventional 90-day provisionary period for a benefitted employee. Attendance policy became extremely strict and it terminated more seniority employees than any other issue in the facility……. (Sounds familiar?)
What did the union do? We focused 90% of our resources on representation. Year after year at the bargaining table, being faced with a challenging business climate and rising cost of healthcare, we took steps backwards for fear of losing jobs. On 2008, NUMMI had beaten every record in the industry by producing more vehicles with less people than any other auto plant in the nation. The vehicles we built had the best quality and were in higher demand than most vehicles in the world. Toyota was making record profits and was expanding; then 2009 and the Housing Bubble came, GM and Chrysler were seeking Federal aid in order to prevent bankruptcy. Toyota stopped production in some of their plants for the first time in history, and Ford was on the verge of financial ruins as well.
The UAW negotiated a deal with GM and Chrysler over the retirement plans in which the UAW became part owner of the companies with 17.5% ownership of GM, and 55% ownership of Chrysler. However, this deal did not stopped plant closures or a two-tier wage system negotiated on 2011 by the UAW. In addition, the UAW continues to drop in membership to an alarming rate.
The lessons I learned in my tenure with the UAW and the NUMMI plant closure are that the world can change in one second, and that unions are not truly representing its membership well if they continue to show up at the bargaining table with no ideas or solutions to the challenges of tomorrow. Calling the employer names and pointing at record profits did not work for the UAW and it’s not working for other unions throughout the Nation.
On June 4th 2013, SEIU-UHW will be mobilizing 10 thousand people to the state capital to rally against a one billion dollar in cuts to Medical. These cuts affect working families, low-income Californians, Hospital Administrators, Healthcare workers, Insures, etc. While Kaiser and other Healthcare giants are affected by these cuts, they’re unable to mobilize thousands of people like we are, thus stopping the cuts from materializing. It is these actions we are taking that generate strength to our union, political power, and results at the bargaining table.
It is shameful that NUHW and CNA spent over 10 million dollars in a second failed attempt to destroy the best contract in the industry while they could have focused on organizing the unorganized or fighting cuts to Medical. It is a shame that NUHW calls itself “the workers” union while NUHW and CNA are doing nothing to prevent cuts to Medical. Who are they really looking out for……?????
Ryan Martin, or whatever your name is, if you really care about labor and working families, join me on June 4 to stop cuts to Medical………..
NUHW supporters are in denial and it's time to stop. Two election; two defeats::::::please accept it; Kaiser members spoke and Democracy must prevail.
The labor movement is dying and the world is changing. If it really is about working families, then focus your energy on that. Regardless on how evil NUHW supporters think SEIU is, the facts are that the Kaiser SEIU contract protects working families well; with respectable wages, benefits, and a 52 weeks of income security that no one outside of that contract has, including NUHW or CNA....
Start focusing on the economy, unemployment, National Debt, the rising cost of Healthcare, the competition, and the fact that only 9% of American families have a retirement plan. That's the fight that labor needs to fight.... Not each other....
If Kaiser workers don't wake up soon, the world around them will change their lives just like the American Autoworkers' lives changed while their union was focusing on being militant and fighting "the boss", and in the end, their lack of vision for the future, and understanding of the world around them, was the root cause that failed to protect the contracts that brought Blue Collar workers to the middle class of American society........ Wake up!!
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