The Spark

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

GM Vice-Chairman Holds UAW Post

Mar 15, 2010

Imagine a General Motors vice-chairman who is also supposed to guard UAW retirees’ health care benefits.

Yes, this is Stephen Girsky. A Harvard MBA, once a Morgan Stanley managing director, president of Centerbridge Industrial Partners private-equity fund, and as of March 1, a new vice-chairman of General Motors, Girsky will also keep his board seat appointed by the UAW! The seat is supposed to be used to represent the interests of the VEBA fund that pays union retirees’ health care.

Imagine Girsky pretending to represent the retirees’ best interests, while GM is paying his vice-chairman’s $500,000 annual salary plus five million dollars in special stock awards – shares “based on a computer model that determines the potential value of GM stock every month.” Pity the UAW retirees!

It’s an extreme, mind-boggling conflict of interest.

It is also a particularly striking reflection of the view from the top of the UAW leadership. For decades, they have openly preached that workers’ interests must be married to the corporation, and only after the corporation does well – extremely well – can the workers hope to gain a crumb from the table.

For decades, jobs, wages, benefits, working conditions and solidarity have rapidly collapsed during this marriage.

Time for a divorce!