What's Done in the Dark
Monday, March 6, 2006
When a company self destructs like GM has, people ask questions. Here are a few from my friend Bill Hanline:
Brother and Sisters:
As many of you know Joint funds has not been an issue for GM and Delphi during the most recent rounds of negotiations. In fact joint funds is never an issue except when it comes to increasing the size of the bureaucracy.
In 1995 retirees worked very hard at a campaign to get the international union to negotiate COLA on their pensions. Brother Dave Yettaw raised the question why don't GM take what money we generate for joint funds an apply it to COLA increases for retirees. Ironically any honest Staff member will tell you President Yokich had a fit and told them at the first staff meeting in Detroit in 1996 that he did not want to here another F----king word about COLA on Pensions. So it was never discussed by the delegates.
I thought you all might be interested in a five year sequential break down of joint funds that were expended by the UAW-GM Human Resource Center, HRC and the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources. Many of you may not remember but the HRC was changed to the CHR in October 1992. They are treated as the same entity by GM and the UAW.
The following break downs will be for five year periods for 1987 to 1991, 1992-1996 and 2000 - 2004. They will represent the total expenditures just by the HRC-CHR and for the amounts for Contractual education expenses.
The information has been taken from the incorporation documents of the HRC and the 990 and 990-PF tax forms for the HRC and the CHR.
Employment level numbers came from the 10-K reports filed by GM for those respective years.
>From 1987 through 1991
Total expenditures as filed in IRS documents was from 1987----1991 a total of 444,091,000 dollars. Information for the total for education and contract expenses are no longer made available by the IRS.
However, the employment level of GM's hourly workforce from 1985 - 1986 -1987 was 417, 300, 441,800, 366,000 respectively.
From 1992 - 1996
Total expenses Contractual & Educational
1992------------------- 74, 938, 000 29, 528, 000
1993------------------- 72, 200, 000 29, 152, 000
1994------------------- 80, 122, 000 32, 000. 000
1995------------------- 91, 000, 000* *50, 555, 000
1996------------------- 98, 413, 000 38, 597, 000
five year total------416, 693, 000 199, 835, 000
The employment level of GM during the early nineties was 265,000
* in 1995 there was two forms filed the numbers above represent the combined figures from both forms.
From 2000 - 2004
Total Expenses Contractual & Educational
2000---------------- 209, 444, 000 142, 776, 000
2001---------------- 205, 097, 000 123, 522, 000
2002---------------- 187, 494, 000 116, 587, 000
2003---------------- 154, 981, 000 91, 423, 000
2004---------------- 145, 139, 000 83, 034, 000
total Expenses 902,152, 000 557, 342, 000
Employment level during the five years above went from 200,000
to less than 106,000, without Delphi. With Delphi approximately 130 thousand.
Around one half of total expenditures were used for training? What training? Ask your selves a very simple question. How much joint money has been directly spent on you for training and then ask your coworker? I would bet you all that if we took GM's seniority roster and hang it up and went in Alphabetical order and asked each person how much was spent on you from Joint funds a couple might say well we go a refrigerator or micro wave oven for our department.
GM recently made the announcement to eliminate another 30,000 UAW jobs. Thus reducing the companies dependency for the need for joint funds. Ironically, Bill Ford said FORD needs the cuts in Health care to be able to compete in the Global Market place. Well, Brothers and Sisters that is what the joint programs were supposed to do, but did NOT according to the articles of incorporation.
ONE billion dollars has been spent on the UAW-GM CHR over five years from year 2000 to 2004 to improve quality and make GM more competitive in the Global market place. If we take a real good look at GM's performance it's evident that management in GM does have the first clue as to what it takes to compete. One thing is for certain GM's competitors cannot beat GM's CEO Rick Wagoner at senselessly throwing away billions of dollars on Programs that have been proven to be dismal failures. That is unless you believe NASCAR is worth the tax dollars you pay for each year as being a success.
One billion Dollars were spent on contractual joint programs and ironically CFO Thomas P. Hill of the CHR includes the expense for Tuition Assistance and Dependent Education Grants as part of the joint funds expenses. How can that be since we all know that those programs are fringe benefits and not welfare benefits plans? Wouldn't that testify that GM is getting a double tax break from those contributions? Boy wish I could get that kind of Break for paying for my kids education don't you?
The following is the language used by CFO. Hill in the 990 Forms for the CHR which reads as follows:
Statement 2, usually on page 10
Contractual funding of educational programs (skill center, Tuition Assist., Training, plant programs, dependent scholarship, grants)
Whenever you call the PWBA which is now known as the Employee Benefits Security Administration or EBSA and request a fully filled out 5500 benefits report for GM's TAP Plan they will only sent you a copy that is blank because the agents will tell you that TUITION Assistance is A FRINGE BENEFIT, Not a Welfare benefits plan so therefore they cannot disclose that information. This mechanism is used by GM and the Union to prevent any one from finding out just how much money is truly spent on the workers directly for education.
Now don't take me wrong I believe in education. My college degree is in Special Education. But I do not believe that kind of money is truly getting to the members who desperately need to retrain for new jobs and to help layed off workers get a start on new careers. I believe to much of the money has been spent on gifts such as coffee pots and micro wave ovens, jackets and T-shirts. Just recently every person in our plant received a T-shirt for being best in quality just a couple weeks after Miller announced taking Delphi into bankruptcy. And members acted like they were receiving a Christmas Gift or something, not even knowing they generate the money for those gifts by every hour they work.
Have autoworker really forgot where they come from and become that materialistic that they will gladly forsake their own jobs for a lousy T-shirt?
We need an accounting of the joint funds. I have recently made another request of Mr. Wagoner to review the audits of the joint trust. He did what any logical CEO would do and delegated the responsibility on the one person who need s to answer that question Mr. Thomas P. Hill, CFO of the CHR. An again Mr. Hill has turned down my request in a February 2006 letter.
Again I am asking Mr. Wagoner to make the audits available to me and my union Brothers and Sisters by e-mailing him this letter. That way we can see how effective the programs are and to see what amont of money is being crossed-charged or reimbursed back to our UAW through the Joint funds.
Stock holders should be asking this same question at the next GM stock holders meeting.
Why do you Mr. Wagoner continue to dump billions of dollars of GM money into a dismal failure of a program such as the CHR? Furthermore they need to ask him why don't you put that on the chopping block with Health care? Some other questions are Just how much money is in the accrued joint reservoir fund? Why couldn't Mr. Wagoner use that money to pay for and supplement the retirees health care program or even offer COLA on Pensions much like the COLA the international Union gets on their pensions?
Cost counts so lets start looking at sharing the cost with all the other aspects of the business including the Joint funds.
Stay well my friends I. S. Bill Hanline