l presidente del sindacato auto U.A.W. (USA) avverte: ci aspettano scelte difficili

Usa, settori, auto, sindacato Nyt 06-06-12

Il presidente del sindacato auto U.A.W. (USA) avverte: ci
aspettano scelte difficili


Gettelfinger, presidente del sindacato Americano dell’Auto
UAW, nella sua relazione congressuale agli iscritti sulla crisi del settore:

  • dovete
    prepararvi a fare sacrifici per salvare l’industria;

  • giustifica
    le concessioni fatte dal sindacato nel 2005 per la previdenza sanitaria (aumento
    dei contributi sanitari per i lavoratori di GM e Ford) con la crisi dei costi
    previdenziali a cui ha contribuito la generosa previdenza sanitaria del settore,
    crisi “insostenibile” di fronte al calo delle vendite di auto.

  • il
    sindacato non si vergogna di fare pesanti richieste ai lavoratori, è orgoglioso
    che i suoi membri siano disposti a sacrifici per coloro che li hanno preceduti
    e coloro che li seguiranno [tutto il mondo è paese!!!]

  • un
    tempo Gettelfinger era tra i fautori della copertura previdenziale nazionale

  • Non
    si tratta di una fase ciclica discendente, siano di fronte a cambiamenti
    strutturali che richiedono soluzioni lungimiranti.

  • Gettelfinger
    ha rifiutato di specificare quali
    sacrifici intenda chiedere ai lavoratori, gli esperti del lavoro prevedono che
    le dichiarazioni servano a preparare i lavoratori ad ulteriori rinunce per il
    prossimo negoziato contrattuale.

  • Un
    tempo il sindacato dell’auto era l’avanguardia del movimento operaio statunitense
    per gli alti salari e la previdenza sanitaria, ora sta rapidamente perdendo iscritti,
    e sta vivendo le stesse richieste di rinunce fatte ai lavoratori di siderurgia,
    ferrovie e compagnie aeree.

  • Nel
    1979 aveva 1,5 mn. di iscritti, nel 2005 era meno di 600mila, il livello più
    basso dal 1942, con tendenza crescente al calo.

I 113 000
lavoratori di GM e i 23 000 Delphi (componentistica auto) devono decidere
entro il 23 giugno se accettare buone uscite e incentivi per andarsene, concordate
da UAW.

GM e Ford progettano tagli di 60 000 posti di lavoro
per i prossimi 6 anni, con la chiusura di dozzine di stabilimenti.

  • La
    quota di mercato di Delphi è scesa sotto il 53% a maggio 2006, secondo peggior livello
    della sua storia, contro il 40% dei gruppi asiatici, il loro miglior livello.

  • Delphi,
    che si è staccata nel 1999 da GM, ha chiesto di poter imporre forti riduzioni
    salariali e di prestazioni previdenziali ai suoi dipendenti a un giudice federale,
    che ha rinviato ad agosto il dibattimento.

  • Chrysler
    salvata dalla bancarotta dal Congresso.

  • Gettelfinger accusa la dirigenza del settore di non aver combattuto contro
    la concorrenza estera.

Nyt 06-06-12

Facing Tough Choices, Leader Warns


LAS VEGAS, June 11
— The president of the United
Automobile Workers union told his members in a strikingly blunt report released Sunday that
they cannot ride out the automobile industry crisis and should be prepared to make tradition-breaking
decisions to help rescue the industry.

In the report, to be given to members at
the union’s convention, which opens here on Monday, the union president, Ron Gettelfinger, pointed to
many causes of the industry’s grave malaise, including "bad
management" and declining auto sales.

But Mr. Gettelfinger acknowledged that the union’s health
care benefits helped create a ballooning health cost crisis that had become
"unsustainable" in the face of the auto companies’ declining sales
. This, he said, was a reason why the U.A.W. agreed to substantial
health care concessions last year.

– "This isn’t a
cyclical downturn," Mr. Gettelfinger said in the report. "The
kind of challenges we face aren’t the kind that can be ridden out. They’re structural challenges and
they require new and farsighted solutions."

– Mr. Gettelfinger declined
to say what specific moves he would ask union members to make and said he believed things could improve for the union, which he
argued is gaining political and social momentum. But seasoned labor experts said the report and a
speech Mr. Gettelfinger is scheduled to give on Monday on the state of the
U.A.W., are meant to prepare
union members to expect more concessions in critical contract talks that begin
next year.

"Usually you rally them for the
fight that’s ahead; he’s
rallying them for the hard times that are ahead," said Gary N.
Chaison, a professor of labor relations at Clark
University in Worcester, Mass.

– The U.A.W., long the envy
of the labor movement for its contracts with high wages and extensive benefits,
is now experiencing the same demands for givebacks that have swept workers in
the steel, railroad and airline industries, and it is
losing jobs rapidly.

– The union’s membership, which peaked in 1979 at 1.5 million fell below 600,000 last year, its lowest point since 1942, a
separate union report released Sunday showed.

And more members are likely to disappear
in coming months. Workers at
General Motors, and its former parts supplier, Delphi,
must decide by June 23 whether to accept buyouts and other retirement
incentives to leave their jobs.

Those still working are finding that
their lives have changed. In the past year, the U.A.W. reached landmark agreements that will require
workers to pay more for health care coverage at G.M. and Ford — an
action that Mr. Gettelfinger told Time magazine was "probably the most
difficult backward step to take in the history of our union."

Despite that, Mr. Gettelfinger, 61, who joined the union in 1964 as
a repairman at the Ford plant in Louisville, Ky., is expected to win a
second four-year term this week. He also will name new vice presidents
in charge of bargaining with G.M., Ford and Chrysler in next year’s
contract negotiations.

Hanging over the convention, however, is
the crisis affecting Detroit automakers, whose market share fell
to just under 53 percent last month, the second-lowest level in history.
Asian auto companies,
meanwhile, took 40 percent of the market, their highest ever.

Moreover, G.M. and Ford, which are losing millions of dollars
on their automotive operations, collectively plan to cut 60,000 jobs over the next six years,
when they plan to close all or
parts of two dozen plants.

The situation facing the companies is
"unlike any we have faced in the past," Mr. Gettelfinger said in the
report, including the near-bankruptcy
at Chrysler that required a Congressional bailout, the industry downturn
of the 1980’s and G.M.’s deep financial problems in 1992 that triggered the
ouster of its chief executive.

As he has before, Mr. Gettelfinger criticized industry
leaders for failing to act in the face of foreign competition. Auto
industry leaders, he said, were guilty of "missed market
opportunities" and "bland designs" while money that could have
been invested in new products and updating plants was "squandered in
ill-conceived international ventures."

But Mr. Gettelfinger, long a proponent of national health care coverage, said the extensive health care benefits, coupled with Detroit’s declining
fortunes, had created a situation that was "unsustainable" — a reason
the U.A.W. agreed to the benefit concessions.

"That reality was painful, but it
was the reality," Mr. Gettelfinger said in the report.

Further, he argued, "We can be
proud that our union doesn’t
shy away from making tough calls and even prouder of our members’ willingness
to make sacrifices for those who preceded them and those who will follow."

Mr. Gettelfinger’s pragmatism in the auto crisis
contrasts sharply with the previous determination of other past U.A.W. leaders
to fight concessions, Professor Chaison said.

"There’s a word that kept coming up
several times, and that’s the word reality," he said. "What he’s
really saying is that we live in extraordinary times, and we have to do what
reality demands we do, not what we’d like to do."

On Friday, the U.A.W. reached agreement with G.M. and Delphi to offer
buyouts and other retirement incentives to all 23,000 U.A.W. members at Delphi, which is operating under bankruptcy-court

Initially, the deals were offered to
only 13,000 Delphi workers, along with 113,000
workers at G.M. Workers face a June 23 deadline for deciding whether to take
the deals, which G.M. will finance.

Delphi, which was part of G.M. until a 1999 spinoff, has asked a federal
judge for permission to impose deep wage and benefit cuts on Delphi

But Friday, the judge put off hearings
on the request until August.

The three parties must now consider
critical questions.

Unless those discussions end in a
stalemate, analysts see an increased likelihood that the union will grant
concessions to Delphi, opening the door for
cuts at the major auto companies next year.

So while the U.A.W. convention will have
its usual round of parties, dinners and cocktail receptions here, they are
taking place against a somber backdrop.

Professor Chaison said: "This is
probably going to be the gloomiest convention that you’ve ever seen. Everyone
is just waiting for the other shoe to fall."

New York Times

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