[Marxism] Auto bailout fails for now in Senate over demands for immediate wage, benefit cuts

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Fri Dec 12 18:27:45 MST 2008


Greg Writes: "Someone on this list correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the
workers in southern-based auto manufacturing plants located in so-called
"right-to-work" states make almost as much as their union counterparts in
terms of the hourly wage, but they have no health benefits or pension
plans." 

My understanding is:

a) Wages are lower, but given the lower cost of living (especially housing)
in these areas, the difference is smaller than it seems at first blush. On
the other hand, the difference with other jobs in the local areas are
substantial. These are the best jobs around in those areas. They have
multi-tier wage structures which tend to make comparisons difficult.

b) In terms of health and dental insurance, benefits are ok, comparable to
other big corporations. Ditto vacations. Perhaps not quite up to UAW or some
other union standards, but close. 

c) The big differences are the UAW supplemental unemployment benefits and
pensions. 

Retirement provision is via 401K plans and even there the employer "match"
is substandard -- anywhere from 1/2:1 to 1:1, meaning the employer deposits
in the employee account anywhere from fifty cents to a dollar for every
dollar the employee deposits, up to a few percent of the employee's salary,
usually like 4% or 6%. Real scumbag companies give all the 401K
contributions in the form of company stock, i.e., they use workers
retirement money to artificially increase the  demand for the company's
stock, tending to increase the price (and with it executive bonuses and
gains from stock options). In the UAW, you work X number of years are
guaranteed Y dollars a month for life, as well as health insurance. With
401K individual retirement accounts, there is simply no guarantee, none
whatsoever. 

Also, these have become something of a tax swindle. ORIGINALLY the idea was
you contributed on a pre-tax basis, and would be taxes at a "normal" rate
when you withdrew the money, but since you had a much lower income later in
life, the percent tax would be less.

NOW that the tax code punishes hard work by giving preferential treatment to
UNEARNED income, capital gains, WORKERS "capital gains" in 401K plans are
taxed at a HIGHER "normal income" rate than BOURGEOIS capital gains (which
are subject to only a 15% "haircut").

And there's no income maintenance plan for workers laid off during
recessions, unlike the UAW. 

That's my understanding of the situation.

Joaquin










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