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GM news fuels worry


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GM news fuels worry

Local workers’ concerns include pensions, benefits

By JENNA MINK, The Daily News, jmink@bgdailynews.com/783-3246
Friday, March 6, 2009 11:45 AM CST
Bowling Green Daily News

It’s been another grim week for General Motors as its own auditors question the company’s viability, prompting GM to acknowledge the possibility of filing for bankruptcy and adding to local workers’ worries.

“We’re terribly concerned,” said Eldon Renaud, president of local union 2164. “It (would be) so taxing on the community because people who have had good-paying union jobs for all these years, chances are they’re not going to find similar employment.”

The General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant, which employs about 800 workers building Corvettes, began another round of 115 layoffs last week. About 60 more layoffs are scheduled for later this spring - those layoffs will include about 40 workers on the Cadillac XLR line, which will stop production in April.

The company’s viability hinges in part on an agreement with the United Auto Workers and bondholders to reduce debt and retiree benefit costs. If it cannot execute a restructuring plan on its own and get more government loans, the company said it will likely file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

And local workers are concerned for their pensions and benefits - GM recently reported a $12.3 billion pension shortfall.

“You work because you hope to get a pension,” Renaud said. “What hurts is the fact that you work every day to improve peoples’ lives and something happens like this. It hasn’t happened yet, but the news is certainly dismal.”

If GM files for Chapter 11, it will be able to void labor contracts and debt payments and restructure the company - and GM should be able to stay in business, said William Davis, chairman of the economics department at Western Kentucky University.

“I still hold the opinion that bankruptcy is the best option,” he said. “It should have taken place a long time ago.”

If GM files for bankruptcy, local workers can expect changes in factory rules and wage and benefit cuts. Also, suppliers and dealers could experience a downturn in business and a loss of money, experts said.

“With dealers, it will cause an increased shuttering; a number of dealers have already gone out of business,” said Bill Parsons, former managing director for the Global Advanced-Leadership Center in Bowling Green and chair of the Global Automotive Conference. “It will force suppliers to also look for a bailout. Whoever goes bankrupt will have protection in terms of paying debt, so suppliers, especially smaller ones, will be the loser.”

Still, the Corvette should survive the restructuring process, experts said.

“I think the Corvette brand is strong enough and has a niche market,” said Richard Cantrell, professor emeritus of economics at WKU. “There are certain automotive brands that have a strong enough continuance to survive. I think it’s not as desperate for the Corvette brand.”

But as bankruptcy becomes a stronger possibility and uncertainty surrounds the company, more workers might accept a buyout - the company is offering a $45,000 package for workers who wish to retire or quit. The deadline to accept the offer is March 24.

“I think there’s no doubt that will improve the interest in the buyout package,” Cantrell said.

If the company filed bankruptcy, local union officials would hold continuous meetings at the UAW hall and bring in representatives from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to speak with workers, Renaud said.

“I don’t think people realize how devastating this is going to be,” he said, “not just on auto workers - that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Nothing is even mentioned about the owners that still have warrenty left on their automobiles. Here I sit with two Cadillacs still under warrenty and all we hear about are the union workers whining that have contributed to all the problems at GM. The workers should have been thinking more about the consumers. If there are no consumers there will be no workers. Go figure! Way too much GREED in this country of ours.:bash::bash::bash:
I hope the guys that get 90% of their pay and their premier insurance along with their family for working 25 to 30 years don't lose a dime. Come on the unions won't give back anything. They will force bankruptcy. If A guy retires at 50 y.o. how can he expect all those benefits for maybe the next 40 years?
The retirement packages are what is ruining the auto industry. Only the big three have these ridiculous plans. I say make them work til 67 like the rest of us and find out what the real world is like.
So far all the car companies are still breathing--although faintly. . .:dunno:

Floyd (BB)
I agree with you that the union will most probably push GM to bankruptcy but I do not beleive that the retirement packages is what ruins the American auto industry. There is a lot more to it than that. Benefits provided to people that are not retired and not working is a big piece of it. Of course Health Care cost is a major issue and all employees and retirees should share the cost of that but the other important factor is the lack of productivity caused by the very restrictive labor agreements. That will have to go and I think bankruptcy maybe the only avenue to change that.


I hope the guys that get 90% of their pay and their premier insurance along with their family for working 25 to 30 years don't lose a dime. Come on the unions won't give back anything. They will force bankruptcy. If A guy retires at 50 y.o. how can he expect all those benefits for maybe the next 40 years?
The retirement packages are what is ruining the auto industry. Only the big three have these ridiculous plans. I say make them work til 67 like the rest of us and find out what the real world is like.
I guess I'm lucky having 30,000 miles on my 06-V, by the time I need an extended warranty there may be none or GM will be a new company offereing extended warranties.
Thought I had it all planned out like a lot of you and would keep the V for another five years with an extended warranty on it. If GM goes belly up does that kill all the warreties and our normal warranties that came with the car? I would think it would unless make a deal with the bankruptcy court to continue to keep the warranties in tack, which the BK court might make them do this as part of letting them go under.

I aspire to be able to retire someday! Why, oh why, did I choose to work in the public sector? :chuckle

I agree with FirstRobin; I bought a GM extended warranty. It used to be that the aftermarket warranty companies went out of business. Who would have thought GM would?!? :pat:
All of this sounds just like the reason Unions were put in place in the first place.
All of this sounds just like the reason Unions were put in place in the first place.

Unions came into being because labor was being taken advantage of and at that time unions were really needed to get a fair wage for the working people. Then the unions became way too powerful and the heads of the unions were not doing much for the working man/woman and putting all the dues money into their own pockets. I think you probably remember that as it has been in our lifetimes. Everyone got greedy and wanted more and more from the companies they work for. It is time for the unions to back off and realize they are cutting their own throats and will be out of jobs because you just can't keep tacking on the price of all the benefits to the price of the finished product, cars, houses, clothes and so forth. Do our farmers have unions???? NO and a lot of others don't have unions. I think you will also remember the unions were taken over by gangsters and I can relate to you a lot of horrific stories about that. Things I saw with my own two eyes. My father had to post armed guards at his constructions sites to keep the unions from bombing our local schools. Don't get me started on unions either. They actually threw one of my fathers friends out of a hotel window and naturally that was the end of him, leaving a wife and children to live with that the rest of their lives. OK, I am done for now, off the box.
Public sector jobs are another area where many get to retire after 25-30 yrs. That hopefully will end as well as I don't like paying my taxes to pay for two people to do one job.

I agree with the problem with productivity but not that it is the fault of the actual guy that shows up to work more what the union has gotten away with demanding.

Maybe our XLR's would be still being produced if not for the faults of our messed up gov't letting all the crooks get away with robbing america.

I don't want the XLR to end but our corrupt bureaucrats have completely ran out of control for to long.

As one of my favorite radio men says "Wake up America"
Well .... let's see ..... my 401k is all but gone. I contributed to it, trusted the company I worked for to invest it .... and they in-turn invested in me. Fair, right? I am screwed. All I will have is Social Security.

Ray also paid into his retirement - the County invested his and their money, and was smart enough to guarantee the funds. He does not ever qualify for Social Security and will never be able to collect it. He is less screwed.

I think. :pat: :lol:

It's a good thing that we didn't trust anyone to completely take care of us and we saved our money .... now I'm thinking about taking it out of the banks and burying it in the backyard. :laugh:
People need to start taking responibilty for their lives and not depend on "goberment"to do it for them. Everyone has the responibilty not to be a burden on the rest of the world. And "goberment" needs to get their hands out of my pockets. Get a real job ya bums.
I guess I'm not quite clear on your post ....
I don't believe we have any bums on this forum.
I am a closet Bum..................good to be outed!

My 401 is now called our 201/2'er, not worth counting on. I have my PERS retirement plus a half-dozen CD's, but I just rolled one over the other day at 1.7% interest.........might as well go to Vegas and play the slots.

I really feel sorry for those who worked all their lives investing in the market, realizing they are broke at this point with no time to make up the loss. Life will go from comfortable to eating soup three times a day.
I don't believe many who invested in the Market are broke, likely down 50%, unless, of course, you allowed Bernie to "handle" things for you. . .

It will take a few years to get that 50% back, unless you're a gambler and invest in very "adventurist" commodities, which will either allow you to get back what was lost faster or, just as likely, down closer to 0.

Best of luck to all during this world crisis.

Floyd (BB)
Sorry,I didn`t mean anyone on this board was or is a bum..... I was talking about the bums in our swell goverment who live off of us, take monies from lobbist groups and then tell they need more tax money. The bums in my state are complaining they need to have a 2/3 vote before can steal more money from the tax payers. All this crap makes me so crazy, oh yea my 401-kk is gone too.
Unfortunately, Floyd, my point of reference are many of the people of my generation. We were so busy working and raising families that we (foolishly, we now know) trusted that our 401K trust administrators were handling our $$ in our best interest as represented by the companys we worked for. We feel like we've been duped. Now at the time of our lives when we should have all those "projected" $$'s to retire they have dwindled to the point where we will probably be in nursing homes before they recover. For many people, recovery time has run out. My next door neighbor is 78 .... I don't think he will be doing much with his recovery $$ in 10 years ...

If someone has already retired and using their 401's .... they probably are not living at the same level they were 2 years ago .... or making bigger and better plans ... If they are, name names ...... I want them in Washington to solve this crisis.
Bigger & Better Plans

The people making bigger and better plans for themselves are in Washington Ruthie. I know a 53 year old lady that just moved on up to a $795,000.00 home. There was nothing wrong with her other home but she entertains people like Greenspan and his wife so she really needed this new home I guess. Her husband was a career military man that died when he was 50 years old. I have no idea what her check from the government is every month. Then we have the lady here that is a government contractor, she owns the company that teaches our military personal to play the games on WE and Ninetendo. She has a multi million dollar contract and is having her house remodeled, already over $600,000.00 just on the basement, she is also putting in an elevator to go from the basement to the first floor, the house is a ranch with a walk out basement. Go figure that one, I have not seen the cost of the remodel on the first floor. I know you will find that interesting. My grandson taught himself to play on those stupid things. We should all be happy the idiots in DC didn't tie Social Security into the stock market, if they had we would all be starving. The suicide rate in Colorado Springs is rising rapidly, about three a week plus we have the soldiers returning from overseas that have been commiting murder, so far six have been arrested for murder, some have been tried and some awaiting trial. You hear nothing of this on National TV. I wonder why????????? Things like this are going to get worse and more people loose their jobs.

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