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UAW okays suspension of jobs bank

by Bill Cawthon on

United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger announced the union will agree to suspend the Jobs Bank program and will allow Chrysler, Ford and General Motors to delay their payments to the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) that is due to assumer responsibility for retiree health care in 2010. The announcement came following an emergency meeting between Gettelfinger and the presidents and chairmen from the locals representing the Detroit automakers.

Both actions were taken to help the Detroit automakers through their cash crisis.

Commenting on the meetings, Jeff Everett, president of UAW Local 1166 at Chrysler’s Kokomo, Indiana, said, “Times are tough, and we are going to do what we have to do.”

Under the so-called jobs bank programs which actually have different names at each car company, laid-off factory workers can receive as much as 95 percent of their regular pay by remaining available for other jobs and community service programs. Originally adopted in the 1980s to help workers through short-term layoffs for model changeovers and production changes, the programs have come under fire as being unaffordable luxuries in the modern business environment.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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