New hires not yet buoying the spirits of autoworkers
Despite new hires in the automotive industry, autoworkers are not quite ready to celebrate.
January 31st, 2011
04:24 PM ET

New hires not yet buoying the spirits of autoworkers

American automakers are modestly adding new jobs that some say signal a strengthening American manufacturing sector.

Autoworkers are not celebrating yet.

Second-generation GM autoworker Leonard Smith says the last time he checked, there were still some 6,000 workers laid off.

“The plant I’m working at now at Marion, Indiana, has 70 original hires out of 1,400 employees,” Smith said.

He said those who were not laid off have been transferred to other plants. He and many others have been transferred several times. They’re called “GM gypsies.” Smith said no one feels secure because there are still “flex employees” which are temporary workers being hired and/or rehired with thousands of union workers running out of unemployment benefits.

He says, too, that with the government bailout of GM, the union now owns 17 percent of the corporation.

“That seems like a conflict of interest to me,” he said.

Bob King, the new president of United Auto Workers, said it’s not the union that owns the shares of GM but rather the Volunteer Employee Benefit Association, a group that pays health care benefits to retired GM, Ford and Chrysler employees.

“The VEBA owns only about 10 or 13 percent now,” said King. “We sold shares during the IPO, but we still hold a significant portion.”

He also said it’s not a conflict of interest.

“We’re all in this together,” King said. “The more profitable and successful the companies are, the more secure our membership is."

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Economy • General Motors • Indiana
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. raven

    on my first hitch on the slope i wanted to pee in the arctic ocean and as a girl thats no mean feat so i did it but 2 days later there were pictures of me plastered from pump station one to valdez.just glad they dint have internet access back then . funny to everyone but me at the time but funny now .

    January 31, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. raven

    I know right ?i dint roughneck, i was a bullcook and then worked in the office but lemme tell ya those woman roughnecks are just as vulgar and gross as men .how do WOMEN miss the toilet ? im ak indian so i got into the field outa indian preference but i dont miss it .

    January 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    Hi, Phillip! Hi, raven! Don't have much to say, just wanted to say hello to y'all! 🙂

    January 31, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    Oh, btw, raven, I think you rock!

    January 31, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. raven

    Im all girl .or woman.a delicate flower anyway ! and im INDIAN not an ESKIMO. well russian and indian . indians and eskimo (inuit) are two diff things and been enemies for centuries . we dont look the same either .

    January 31, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. raven

    Hey Banasy ! Back at ya ,i love readin your posts ! i hope to get ta know you better . alla you !

    January 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. raven

    Well THAT dint come out the way i meant it ...meant alla you people !how embarrassing!

    January 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    He he...gettin' to know alla banasy. lmao. Hi banasy. Gonna hang out this evening? I've missed you ya know.

    January 31, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    @Raven...my mom is 1/2 Apache. My grandma had an affair. She usta help Native Indian gals with their newborns and hooked up with the chief. (shrug)

    January 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    Minds me of my Grandma, my grandpa usta call her ' Princess Never Sleeps Alone ' after they divorced acourse ,needless to say there was a lil animosity there .

    January 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chrissy

    well foxgop i believe u have just stepped into the wrong room if u think ur gonna get away talkin smack bout our man phillip. now if i were u i would be a lil more careful what u say and about whom. & u could be alot wiser to pay attention 2 what he says

    January 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    now that i got that outta the way hi guys

    January 31, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Philip

    Hey dare chrissy! that foxnewsguy was a troll just stirring things up. When they resort to personal attacks, you know the message got through. Anyway...what's new with you? (you've met raven I presume)

    January 31, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kenneth Williams

    The reason you have GM employees still on lay off status, that way when their benefits run out they can be transfered to other plants and maybe bring them in under the two tier wage plan? That's one of the many ways the Co. can hire more people in at a lower wage and no benefits untill they have worked a year. This is how they are making money, this is the best way to break the UAW, from within? You will have more two tier employees then original workers and they will gear those scare tactics on them and they will fall for them.

    January 31, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    @Kenneth... The UAW is in cahoots with GM, ford, and Chrysler to phase it all out. But this is the little picture. For the big picture, scroll up to post #2 and start reading. Let me know what you think if you do, and if you would be so kind.

    January 31, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
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