Oct 30, 2006
Faster than you can say “Follow the Leader,” DaimlerChrysler Corporation (DCX) forecast a 1.2-billion-dollar “loss,” for 2006, then generated big newspaper headlines speculating whether DCX would “spin off” its Chrysler Group.
DCX’s official spokesmen, laughing up their sleeves, coyly told reporters “no comment.” But the story is as phony as a three-dollar bill. Every official financial statement by Germany-based DCX makes quite clear that its North American operations – that is, its Chrysler Group – is a cash cow being happily milked all day, every day by DCX’s big stockholders.
Trying to deceive workers into giving concessions, DCX simply moves its profits off of the manufacturing books and onto the books of its “finance arm.” Thus, even though Chrysler Financial made profits at a rate approximately ten times that of DCX’s German unit, DCX can say – almost with a straight face – that Chrysler Group lost money. This is basically saying that Chrysler Group builds the cars but Chrysler Financial makes the money!
It’s easier to see through DCX’s game because workers have already seen GM and Ford play it.
GM orchestrated a long-drawn-out “poverty” soap opera until it got workers to vote OK on wage, health-care and retiree concessions. Then suddenly GM rocketed back to good health, its allegations of ten-billion-dollar deficits forgotten, its stock price zooming to a 52-week high.
When Ford tried to follow GM’s ploy, workers were suspicious enough to vote against it. What the real result of that vote was no one knows – since there were no controls of the voting. Ford continues to cry “broke” today while pressuring its higher-paid workforce to take buy-outs and allow Ford to hire new lower paid workers. Ford’s GM-style “recovery” will appear as soon as they have taken all they can get from their workers.
At DaimlerChrysler, workers have watched the previous charades and are very suspicious. The UAW read the tea leaves and did not even try to make workers vote on the same wage cuts and retiree concessions as at GM and Ford.
Nevertheless, for the sake of its stock price, DCX cannot afford to be seen as lagging behind. The phony “losses” and the scare story about “selling off” Chrysler Group are only the first salvos in a new campaign of attacks. DCX workers can expect much more of the same psychological warfare.
To keep their grip on reality, workers only need recall how the corporate game plans played out at GM and Ford – and then make a different game plan for themselves.