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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Isn't it funny how the advocates of globalization are in no danger of having their own jobs outsourced?
Posted by Jill | 8:20 AM
Whether it's Thomas Friedman writing The World is Flat or Jim Cramer screaming that the UAW must be busted, it always seems to be those whose jobs are in NO danger of being outsourced to lower-cost countries who are the biggest advocates of eliminating American jobs.

C&L has this video of Jim Cramer saying on Hardball last night that the union MUST be busted for General Motors to deliver to shareholders:

Funny too how Cramer never, ever calls for a lid on executive compensation. It's always ONLY about health benefits and retiree pensions. I have no sympathy for GM about retiree pensions; this is a promise made to workers who planned accordingly. You can't pull the rug out from under them now. But as far as employee health benefits are concerned, isn't this an argument for a single-payer plan that gets health care costs out of the balance sheets for corporations? And isn't it funny how single-payer never plays into Jim Cramer's whining about poor, set-upon corporations?

I'd like to see Jim Cramer's pundit job being outsourced to someone from the developing world who will do what he does for a fraction of the cost. Jim Cramer made $2.4 million in 2006. I'll bet an economist from India would do it for fifty grand.

Meanwhile, GM and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement:

The United Automobile Workers union and General Motors reached a landmark agreement early today, ending a two-day strike. The key provision of the new contract is a health care trust that would get G.M.’s massive liability off its books.

G.M. said the tentative agreement was reached at 3:05 a.m. Eastern. The U.A.W. recessed the strike and said if the contract was not ratified, workers could return to picket lines. The agreement included a memorandum of understanding to establish an independent health care trust, as well as other changes to the national agreement.

G.M. said implementation of the trust would be subject to court approval, as well as a review by G.M.’s accounting for the trust by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The memorandum apparently establishes the principle of the trust, and allows the two sides to complete its details later. Analysts had predicted the union and the company might have to take that step, because of the complexity of such a trust.

“There’s no question this was one of the most complex and difficult bargaining sessions in the history of the G.M./U.A.W. relationship,” Rick Wagoner, G.M.’s chief executive, said in a statement.

U.A.W. leaders are likely to meet on Friday to consider the contract. If approved, it would go to workers for a vote.

The union’s president, Ron Gettelfinger, said the new contract “will absolutely protect their jobs and keep jobs from being reduced.” He said, while not offering specifics, that the number of jobs at G.M. would be “pretty much the same if not higher” when the contract concludes in 2011.

Later, Mr. Gettelfinger confirmed in a radio interview that there was a signing bonus for workers, but declined to state its size. He also declined comment on reports that the contract contained a two-tier wage program, with sharply lower rates for any new workers hired by G.M.

This health care trust, if it goes through, is only a partial victory for the union, because it apparently also contains a two-tier pay structure, which continues the race to the bottom for blue collar manufacturing workers. There was a time when the ability for such workers to earn a decent living meant a burgeoning middle class. Of course, with Republican policies designed to eliminate the middle class and return us to the socioeconomic structure that existed at the turn of the 20th century, where the rich owned everything and everyone else scrambled at the bottom for scraps, those days are over.

But hey, looky over there! Isn't that an illegal immigrant?

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