Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Contracts and such...

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!



ZBTzahBTzoo said...

Considering all that's awhirl, it's amazing you find time to write, not to mention visit!

Glad the contract came out better than anticipated.

I remember in the 1980's, when the heat was on in Flint & guys were getting forced out left & right, my dad used to say, "I can read, I can write, and my bags are packed." Always good to know what your skill sets are, and good to keep your options open.

Still, I think we'd all like to live in a world where loyalty is reciprocal.

I hope healthcare takes a top priority in the next administration. I also hope mental health care for our returning soldiers is made a priority. That would fall under the heading of "reciprocal loyalty," I think. 195 billion is STAGGERING.

I would think that most old school good ol' boys would have a firm grasp on the concept of loyalty -- but a pair of silver spoons make a nice set of blinders, don't they?

Ange (formerly Writer Mom) said...

Where is that 195 coming from, I wonder.
160, I mean.
Who needs healthy children when we've got a war going on to protect us from destroying our way of life?


Glad the contract was better than you expected.

robin andrea said...

Yes, glad to hear the contract was better than expected. Also good that you are going to be getting out in 16 months, or thereabouts.

I was just listening to Air America radio and heard it expressed that we should have a War Tax. If we're going to keep fighting this damned war, we better start paying for it now, rather than saddling our grandchildren with such a huge debt. The outcry will be that Dems tax and spend. The answer is that Repubs borrow and spend. That might work, what do you think?

I guess you didn't get your pics up, because they're not here. Looking forward to them when you get the chance.

puhpaul said...

hey Alan, sorry I haven't been around for a while. I'm so happy to hear your contract came through and that you didn't have to go out on strike.


HAR said...

It seems as if you have a better contract than anyone expected. It is smart for you to think ahead and plan a strategy to get out before the next one. Just in case they go after the medical. I am thrilled for you!

ryssee said...

Hi Alan!
Nice to see your comments on my blog. Thanks!
This post was really cool to read - the whole thing with the contracts-I don't really know too much about what goes on so it's good to learn from someone on the inside. You guys are tough cookies. Glad to see it's decent - you guys work hard to make a product to compete and keep the American economy going.