The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Better Be Angry!

Oct 17, 2011

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler, has found a way to take a bad UAW pattern contract and make it worse.

With the Chrysler tentative agreement, both Chrysler and top UAW leaders are pushing the lie that the Chrysler contract has to be cheaper, pretending that Chrysler has no money.

All that Chrysler has committed to with this contract is a signing bonus of $1,750 up front plus $500 each year in bonuses–only $3,750 total–stretched out over 4 years. Additional bonuses come with strings attached. These Chrysler bonuses resemble a marionette puppet–they are designed to be easily yanked away.

Confronting the reality of Ford workers’ national No! vote in 2009, Ford dangled $10,000 in bonuses–ALL guaranteed by December 201l–to try and entice workers to ratify the Ford contract. This amounts to almost 6 times more than the up-front bonus being offered at Chrysler.

Chrysler’s flimsy excuse for offering so little to workers is that they reported a “loss” of 254 million dollars for the first half of 2011. They conveniently fail to mention that this “loss” occurred because Chrysler racked up a one-time expense this spring–when they paid off their government loans 6 years early.

Why were the loans paid back early? Doing this gave Fiat immediate control of Chrysler. How did this benefit Fiat?

An article in Automotive News Europe (10-12-11) provided one explanation. It explained that once Fiat gained majority control of Chrysler, they increased their cash holdings:

Chrysler’s cash holdings were rolled into Fiat’s for a total of $27 billion. And in a sign of their strength, Fiat leads the industry with the highest cash-to-revenue ratio, at 36.2%.

Does THAT sound poor to you?

What about profitability? Reuters reported on 9-13-11 that entire year profits for Chrysler for 2011 will top 2 billion dollars. Sergio has also been stating that profits of 3 billion dollars are expected for 2012.

Chrysler workers have MANY reasons to be angry about this tentative agreement–first of all the lies about Chrysler’s so-called poverty!