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A piece of information for anyone who cares: I work for a company that supplies GM truck plants. I'm hearing that it will take 3 days to re-start production after a settlement is reached (at the plants we support). So now that they are shut down, they are out a minimum of 3 days production. That's probably a couple thousand trucks at the plant I'm familiar with.
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CindiH-- Being affected by the situation, from your perspective how do you and your coworkers feel about the strike?

Umillt
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A militant UAW local can't have it both ways. Much of the work done at Flint parts factories can be done far more cheaply by outside suppliers. Making plants more efficient is essential to GM's survival. GM management knows it's not going to happen in Flint. Buick City should be closed NOW!

Umillt
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>>>> A militant UAW local can't have it both ways. Much of the work done at Flint parts factories can
be done far more cheaply by outside suppliers. Making plants more efficient is essential to GM's
survival. GM management knows it's not going to happen in Flint. Buick City should be closed
NOW! <<<<<

Right! GM has to take some short-term pain for long-term gain. These featherbedding practices are not affordable, or at least they won't permit GM to compete with the Fords and Chryslers of this world who faced these issues several years ago, and solved many of them. I assume GM management is counting on pressure from workers in other factories who are now being layed off to put some heat on the UAW-Flint workers. With JIT manufacturing, the old-style month-long strike is scarcely tolerable for shareholders, given the way it can quickly leads to worldwide production shutdowns.
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I thought the closures occurred truck parts plants. Isn't GM introducing its new CK trucks, Tahoes, and Subburbs this year? If so, then doesn't GM have an incentive to slow current production?

The timing is strange.

RCH
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>I thought the closures occurred truck parts plants. Isn't GM introducing its
>new CK trucks, Tahoes, and Subburbs this year? If so, then doesn't GM have an
>incentive to slow current production?
>
>The timing is strange.
>RCH

From the union's standpoint, the timing is not strange, it is IDEAL. GM certainly does not want to delay the start-up of the new line of trucks. This is why the new metal stamping dies were removed from the Flint plant during Memorial Day weekend (anticipation of the strike). That plan however, appears that it won't pan out as the plant that now has the dies is saying if they are asked to use them, they will walk out too, in support of their "Brothers and Sisters."

Incentive to slow current production? I'm not sure what your thinking is here.
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The local news here just reported that GM has agreed to return the dies that were removed over Memorial Day. They showed a big cheer from the union guys hearing this news.

This is the first piece of news about the negotiations that I've heard. They are being totally silent excpet to say that negotiations are ongoing.

The other news they're reporting is that it's iffy whether the strikers will receive unemployment payments. The state jobs commission is still deciding. I'm not sure how it will effect their decision, but the annual 2-week company-wide shutdown (a forced vacation of sorts) starts June 27 (or maybe it's officially the 29th - I'm not sure)

In any case, I guess thought I'd throw out what they're saying around here.

Laura
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<<<The other news they're reporting is that it's iffy whether the strikers will receive unemployment
payments. The state jobs commission is still deciding. I'm not sure how it will effect their decision,
but the annual 2-week company-wide shutdown (a forced vacation of sorts) starts June 27 (or
maybe it's officially the 29th - I'm not sure)>>>

My step-dad, an engineer at the Arlington, TX plant, said that the workers would have to return before the 2-week shutdown to get paid for it. Therefore, the strikers have some incentive to arrange a deal quickly, or risk losing the two weeks of vacation pay. On a sad note, apparantly the engineers usually have to work during the shutdown. Only the lines get the break.

KDagen
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I was curious about how that is impacting attitudes. Thanks for shedding light on it. Makes sense that the UAW would want to settle before the maintenance shutdown to be eligible for pay and GM would be inclined to hold firm into or after the shutdown period.

Umillt
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Couldn't resist putting up this reply from the transcript of a chat session Thurs. night with host Jim Cramer, outspoken hedge fund manager. Someone asked him about GM.

He said, I bought some GM today because I think this strike is not going to last much longer. I bought some yesterday too, so you can say I was too bullish. But there is so much value in GM I want to use any short term concern to buy more.

One experienced person's view. Considering yesterdays and todays hits his timing is slightly off. However, with the intensity and depth of his research, I'll not find fault with his hope for better times.

Unfortunately the yen is a second concern.

Umillt

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KDagen writes:
<<On a sad note, apparantly the engineers usually have to work during the shutdown.>>

My hubby is with their Information Systems and Services group. They're shutting down for the two weeks. (And we're taking a whirlwind driving tour of the Great Lakes. Hitting Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin - woo hoo!)

I asked him today if things are weird at work with the strike going on. He said his group didn't notice, and that it wasn't effecting him at all.

Not that any of that really matters. Just feeling chatty. :)

Laura
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Re: the effects of the strike on other workers...my father worked for GM for 41 years. He was a UAW local union president, member of the UAW National Ways and Means Committee, and as he got close to retirement, shop steward in a plant of almost 3000 men at its peak production. I remember the strikes, plant closings, and the annual shut downs, all of which took their toll on the family finances. The membership stood together on prinicples back then...my father and the other workers had been through lean times before and after WWII, and seemed to share an idealogical comraderie that sustained them through the strikes. In the overall scheme of things the auto workers of my father's era did not enjoy the benefits that today's workers seem to have.
Today's strikes, and the resulting ripple effects (closings)are presented as potentially devastating for GM and its bottom line. The implication is that the company will be brought to its "economic" senses and will soon settle. As has been noted on this board, the UAW membership is not saved from the same economic "hardships". The average worker can little afford a long strike, coupled with a two week retooling closing, esepcially if he/she is not being paid for that time off. The workers in the plants closed as a result of the lack of parts, etc. may not be of one supportive mind. They may not be as committed to the cause as the leadership would have the public believe.
IMHO the strike will run its course after both sides have taken to the press to blame each other for the length of the shut down (maybe two more weeks). After all the posturing, there will be some type of agreement, influenced by worker and share holder backlash. It will be interesting to see how entrenched the company is regarding its position on less expensive, more efficient production of parts in Mexico. This one point will not only impact the bottom line, but will also set the stage for future concessions by the UAW.

Opnions? Thanks for your indulgence with such a long message.

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You have it pretty well pegged IMO. Another month or two of posturing and idleness without paychecks may have to happen before serious progress. GM dealers have about two months worth of inventories to work off of and others laid off for the 'cause' probably will get more restless and less supportive. As you suggest, UAW leadership may not represent all desires & needs of the membership. The UAW notion that a company has a "social contract" (a/la press reports)to continue pouring money down a rathole in a highly competitive global business is obviously unsustainable.

Umillt
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"Another month or two of posturing and idleness without paychecks may have to happen before serious progress.

Actually, I think JoeBell only predicted two more weeks of inactivity, but I think both of you are on the money (no pun intended). I don't know about the automotive industry, but the computer industry has gotten rather quickly to the point where we must all operate 'cost-effectively,' with regular attempts to limit wasteful 'costs' and enhance the 'revenue' we generate for the company. Getting paid a full days pay for six hours of work would not go over big at my job. And we have already farmed out some of the excess work we have on our schedules to consultants in Argentina because they can do it just as well and cheaper than consultants in New York.

A business does what it has to do to improve its bottom line. With the two week re-tooling period looming, I am beginning to think GM management has the upper hand ... which is, of course, a switch from my previous position, but that's what happens when people who actually know what's going on in the industry (such as JoeBell and MomAtHome) put their two cents in.

==> david
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With the two week re-tooling period looming, I am beginning to think GM management has the upper hand ...

Exactly. That leads me to believe no meaningful progress towards settlement will happen before mid-July.

Another far out thought. Some pundits estimate it will be costing GM $50 million a day to hold the line. Using that figure for an average, excluding the 2 week shutdown period, a GM commitment to spend $5 billion to get their message across... suggests it could last almost 4 months.

Umillt
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<<<With the two week re-tooling period looming, I am beginning to think GM management has the
upper hand ...>>>

Here in Texas, the Arlington plant workers are not benefiting from the strike because they will most likely not receive unemployment if they have to be idled because of the strike.

Here's an excerpt describing why that I got from http://www.wfaa.com/news/9806/15/gm.shtml

<<<<<
Lonnie Morgan, United Autoworkers Union Local 276
president says the last time workers were laid off because of
a strike in another state their unemployment benefits were
denied.

"At that time, we were denied unemployment benefits
because of a law that has been on the books since 1954
that states that if we pay dues to an international union, then
we are supporting that strike, and therefore we were denied
the unemployment benefits," Morgan explained.

Union leaders say the Arlington workers are not eligible for
UAW strike fund money either, because they are not
striking.
<<<<<<

If other states have similar laws, the workers at other plants may put pressure on the union to settle quickly.

KDagen
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The song & dance goes on.

Union negotiators walked out (in a huff) after a GM rep. suggested support among striking workers would weaken after they live for a while on $150-a-week strike pay.

The union negotiators said, "we take major exceprtion to that remark". "That was just a total slap in our face to say that about our members out there on the picket line."

Meanwhile UAW heads are preparing to take off to Las Vegas for a convention.

As if on schedule, nothing happens before pain sets in!

Umillt


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