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Topic: More Delphi "No" Vote Ammo

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Public D

UAW Local 2017 sent Bankrupt Federal Mogul back to the Bargaining Table

Federal Mogul, an automotive parts supplier, was in trouble. An asbestos lawsuit plunged the company into bankruptcy. Steve Miller took the helm. The company took tax credits from the state and $5.5 million in concessions from UAW members in Greenville MI.

In June 2004 Federal Mogul demanded more pay cuts of $1.19 per hour, higher co-pays and premiums on an insurance policy with 10% less coverage [90/10], and fewer holidays. As an incentive the company threatened to close the plant if UAW Local 2017 didn't agree to the concessions.

It was a tough choice for workers in Greenville. But rather than bite the bullet, UAW members spat back -- No Concessions!

Dan Wilder told the Grand Rapids Press, "If you undervalue what you do, you undervalue who you are."

In a "stand up vote" Local 2017 shot the contract down 160-22.

Region 1-D Director, Don Oetman, didn't object to the stand up vote until he saw the result. The UAW was forced to go back to the bargaining table and improve the contract.

Six days after the contract was rejected Oetman called a second meeting. He explained that Federal Mogul would pull the new contract offer if three conditions were not met.

1) Immediate ratification.
2) Secret ballot vote.
3) A recommendation in favor of the contract by the Bargaining Committee.

The Bargaining Committee refused to recommend the contract. They felt that as sole supplier of 94% of bearings for Ford automotive engines they were in a good position to bargain. The Greenville plant had always been profitable. Federal Mogul used the plant as a showcase, a model of excellence and efficiency.

Davis said, "We've done everything we could to stay competitive. We changed processes, combined classifications, and met the challenges. We are so lean now, all we can give is concessions. We deserve better." The Bargaining Committee felt that if the company intended to move to Mexico or China, concessions wouldn't prevent the decision. The Bargaining Committee stood their ground.

Ron Ladermann, an autoline operator said, "It's terrible what's going on in this country. We have done everything they asked and more. We aren't getting rich. We think we deserve every penny we get. We work hard. We are good at what we do. They make money on us and always have. Does a company have to rape employees to stay competitive? I agree with our city manager. It should be illegal for companies to threaten to move if they don't get concessions. It's extortion, government backed extortion."

The President of Local 2017, Jeff Davis, refused to approve a secret ballot vote because the membership had passed a motion for a stand up vote. So the International imposed a secret ballot vote without rescinding the motion.

The membership was not permitted to go home and think it over. The membership was not permitted to debate the pros and cons privately among themselves. They were allowed to ask some questions and voice their opinions, but they had to make up their minds right then and there. Thus, the final company condition, immediate ratification, was met.

The contract passed by a narrow margin, 14 votes, but the Bargaining Committee of Local 2017 could look every member in the eye and say, We stood up to Steve Miller, we stood up to the International UAW. We didn't undervalue who we are. We did the right thing.

Stay Solid, Gregg Shotwell
Post Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:53 pm 
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