The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Behind the workers’ back

Oct 24, 2005

The agreement between GM and UAW leaders includes some kind of “defined contribution” or VEBA plan to cover health care costs. It’s not clear who it covers and what it means since the two “partners” who negotiated it aren’t saying. But anyone who has a question about how well that works can just look at what happened at Detroit Diesel.Detroit Diesel just announced that retirees will be paying huge health care premiums beginning in January. Apparently the UAW International and the company made a deal 12 years ago in 1993 that would limit how much the company would have to spend on medical benefits for its retirees.

Then, too, they called it a VEBA plan without saying what it meant. Today, unfortunately, workers are being hit with the reality of this plan. The company says it has spent all the money and that retirees will now have to pay!No wonder they didn’t explain the significance of this backroom deal to Detroit Diesel workers!

And what about those at GM?