I finally got a copy of "the highlights" of our new agreement Monday night at work. It looks better than I thought it would; better than the rumors that were going around had it. I feel sorry for those hiring in after this, as they aren't going to be making nearly as much; I also think that GM will have trouble keeping new hires with what they would like to offer as there are other places that will pay as well that won't destroy you physically like building cars can.
The VEBA fund for retiree health didn't worry me as much as it does many; since our health care money isn't "guaranteed" like pension money (not that those "guarantees" mean much anymore), GM would have tried to wriggle out of it somewhere down the road and we would have nothing; we may still end up with nothing, but if it's properly managed there is a chance it will succeed.
I was already in "traditional" Blue Cross anyway, since they closed out my "paid provider" program; since Dottie had all her surgeries we like being able to have her return to the doctors that did them for her check ups. Those that have been in the HMO programs aren't happy about the prospect of office visits; this is somewhere I will actually gain because instead of paying 100% on all of them, we each get 5 a year at $25.
The monthly retirement amounts were actually improved a few dollars. There are other odds and ends that either held or improved slightly; I held out no hope for them "holding the line" on anything.
The one loss is that "sanitation" will now be contracted; the guys that are there now, most of them over 30 years, will have the choice of taking retirement or finding a job in a different department by 2009.
In return for the things that they gave up, the plants that are building vehicles now are guaranteed product through the life of the contract. My plant is guaranteed vehicles through 2012. No one expected that!
I will get out under this contract, as I will have "my time" in about 16 months, and while I might not go out the door right then, I will get out before this one expires "just in case". I will take my pension and my medical and, though I won't be able to sit back on "take things easy" like I dreamed of in my youth (due entirely to my own mistakes through the years) I will go somewhere else and have the option if I don't like it of walking out the door...
Meanwhile, while I have been selfishly sweating this out and worrying about my own little world and my troubles, our peerless leader has told Congress he needs another 195 billion dollars to fund Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile he threatens to veto the $35 billion to fund health care for children...
Sometimes I wonder if that silver spoon he grew up with was lead!
I had a vacation day today; originally it was supposed to be a day off to go fishing, but since it was raining this morning, we slept in trying to make up for what we lost this last week and recover a bit. After we did get up and eat, the rain quit so we went and picked up the car hauler trailer we used for the trip from my sister's and returned it to my nephew's former shop teacher who lent it to us. We shopped on the way home and filled my truck for the first time since Nebraska late Sunday evening, then came home and paid bills, ran laundry, and watched some TV... I'm going to try to get to bed earlier than normal tonight (the line would not be stopped yet were I at work) so I can get up and go vote and miss the crowds tomorrow.
I'm going to upload the photos from our trip in a few minutes, and hopefully find something worth sharing (room was at a premium, so I only took the little camera). If so, I'll try to get them up in the next few days, and make the rounds to catch up with you all. I hope life has been treating you all well, and that you forgive me for being a bit "caught up in the whirl" this last week!