Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

I’ll start off with a whopper today:  Both the Communist Party USA and the Democratic Socialists of America are strong supporters of EFCA.  After thinking about it, we shouldn’t be surprised, but still, it’s discomforting to see it in black and white.

Mickey Kaus, famed blogger on Slate.com, Harvard Law School Grad, and son of former Democratic California Supreme Court Justice, opined that card check is worse then originally thought.  According to Kaus, “The arbitration parts of the card check bill are so vaguely drawn that nobody knows who the arbitrators will be.  The job appears to be delegated entirely to the Federal Mediation [and Conciliation] Service.  The FM[C]S might decide to use its own employees.  It might decide to use arbitrators from the private sector selected along more traditional lines…. Since thousands of arbitrators might quickly be needed for the expected explosion of mandatory arbitration, it’s unlikely they would all be newly hired GS-12s.”  Kaus continues, “The bill would have the effect of freezing in place hierarchies and job categories both across industries and withing individual firms.  You want to start an innovative job structure that, say, collapses six gradations of pay and authority into one?  You think workers will be happier and more productive if they’re delegated authority in this more non-hierarchical arrangement?  Sorry-if the union objects, then the arbitrator is likely to uphold the old regime on the grounds that that’s the way it’s always been done (and the way everyone else does it).  A recipe for rigor mortis!”

According to economist Anne Layne-Farrar, who studied the card check system in Canada, EFCA would result in 600,000 lost jobs following every 3% gain in union membership.  With this statistic, Ms. Layne-Farrar agrees with me that EFCA will make it harder for the unemployed to find jobs.  Binding arbitration will erase the union’s desire to bargain for a contract, but rather, the union’s unreasonable demands will be the starting point for the arbitrator.  Since FMCS (i.e. the government) will likely be the arbitrators and will impose wage and benefit levels for a 2-year period regardless of the economic consequences, a neo-Nixonesque government wage and price controls on private companies is not too far away.

Another academic found that unionized companies suffer not only lower profits but lower investment in physical and intangible capital and slower growth.  According to economic  Professor Barry Hirsch of Georgia State University, unionized firms tend to lose market share to nonunionized firms, whether foreign or domestic.  Furthermore, companies can survive unionization as long as every other competitor faces the same "tax" or if markets are notcompetitive at all.  “This is why government is the only area where unionization has been growing.”

Following up on Prof. Hirsch’s analysis that unionization only works if it’s the only game in town, Professor Gary Chiason, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Massachusetts, speculated that if EFCA passed, unions would focus on organizing low-unionization states, i.e. right to work states, making those states less attractive to businesses.  Accordingly, “it’s in Michigan’s interest that Alabama become more unionized.”  Conversely, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy believes that EFCA would likely strengthen unions in Michigan more than other states.  According to the Mackinac, EFCA is bound to lead to the establishment of unions in workplaces where union support is weaker and weaker union support in the workplace means more union opponents who would probably opt out of joining the union and paying union dues, an option that is available in right to work states but not Michigan.  for unions, there will be a strong incentive to focus on states like Michigan where they can be assured of receiving dues from all workers, even if support in the workplace is weak.  “Secondly, because card check is vulnerable to abuse, unions will be tempted to resort to intimidation to secure signed authorization cards.  Intimidation is both easier to engage in and more tempting when one has the advantage of numbers.  Intimidation tactics are also harder to resist when one cannot be sure that the powers that be will protect you.  Michigan, with its sizable number of labor officials and politically entrenched unions, is prime territory for rough recruiting methods.”  I tend to agree with the Mackinac analysis.  How about you?

The Chambers of Commerce in Right-to-Work States agree with Chaison (and not Mackinac).  Specifically, they have 181 Chambers in right to work states have banded together to urge Congress not to pass EFCA.  According to this group, “While some have suggested that businesses in right-to-work states would not be significantly affected by EFCA, nothing could be further from the truth…  Even though workers in right-to-work states do have the right to refuse to pay union dues, if the workplace is organized, they must give up their right to deal directly with their employer.  Likewise, employers would be forced to accept arbitration agreements that may impose conditions inconsistent with established business models and impede the ability to compete.”

I started this post with reminding us all that EFCA is favorable to communists and socialists, so I’ll end it with a little levity.  Last week the AFL-CIO claimed that “Union members aren’t the only ones supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.  This week in Wisconsin, Milwaukee-area business owners got together to talk about why they support EFCA.”  The AFL-CIO’s blog hypertexted “Milwaukee-area business owners,” just like how I hypertext words in this blog that you can click on for more information.  So I clicked on those words on the union’s website and was directed to the below picture.  Correct me if I’m mistaken, but there’s 7 people on a panel and only 1 person in the audience!  So much for that non-union support! 🙂

WI: Business Panel by aflcio2008.

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Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

ALF-CIO alleges that bailout recipients AIG and Bank of America were involved in a conference call for lobbyists and corporations to discuss raising funds to defeat EFCA.  From that, the union is alleging that bailout money was used to plot against Employee Free Choice.

American Rights at Work launched the below television commercial called “The Secret Big Business Doesn’t Want You to Know.”

 

The SEIU’s plan to shorten recover from this down economy is a shortened workweek and less productivity from employees.  Accordingly, an employer who currently offers no paid vacation can offer 3 weeks of paid vacation, approximately a 6%  reduction in work time.  Employers can cut the standard work week from40 hours to 36 hours, a 10% reduction in work hours.  These policies would “bring the US in line with the rest of the world.”  Newsflash to the SEIU – we’re America, not the rest of the world.  The rest of the world looks to us for leadership, protection, and guidance.  Diluting our productivity and companies is not the right solution for a viable, stable economy.

Human Rights Watch, the union-described watchdogs of human rights and the freedom of association, claims that the US is deficient in protecting the freedom to form unions.  Oddly, the HRW’s findings is comprised of the typical union slang: “unfair election procedures that are badly slanted toward employers; the lack of serious penalties for corporate misconduct, including firing workers; and the ability of companies to ignore workers’ choice to bargain collectively.”

Last week a lot of discussion dealt with Obama’s interview with the Washington Post and whether Obama really meant that he is tabling EFCA for some time.  The short answer is he is not tabling EFCA.  The Washington Postonly quoted 28 of the 611 words Obama gave on the matter

In March 2008 MIT Sloan School of Management released the results of a comprehensive study about unionization.  The study’s results concluded that few bargaining units make it from initial petition to a first contract; unfair labor practice charges reduce the chances of getting a contract; unfair labor practice charges reduce the changes of getting to an election; and even after a majority votes for a union, many units fail to get a contract.  What text of the results is slanted with the typical pro-union rhetoric about “the need for EFCA to level the playing field.”  What is not reported, though, is that under the current state of the law, only after an initial petition are companies allowed to openly campaign against unions.  For example, a union will promise an employee a 3% wage increase  if the employee signs an authorization card.  With enough cards signed, a petition is filed.  After the petition is filed, the employee hears that although the union promised him a 3% wage increase, the union does not have the power to do increase wages, and wages for all employees are subject to bargaining and could go up, stay the same, or go down.  In other words, many of the promises given to employees to sign cards are later exposed as not true and employees then decide not to vote for the union.  So, I am not surprised with the small number of bargaining units that make it from the initial petition to a first contract, and the removal of educating the employees about the lack of truth behind all of the union’s promises will be prohibited if EFCA passes.

Watch (well, really listen while watching SEIU photographs) Obama discuss his support for easing the ability to unionize and how business that oppose this notion “won’t get to far” with him.

 

I want to clear up a misunderstanding that was published in a mostly unbiased article in the Boston Globe about the Employee Free Choice Act.  The article says that the National Labor Relations Act lacks any real penalties to punish violators for wrongly terminating union supporters during organizing campaigns beyond making companies rehire those employees and pay them back wages.  This is not true.  With egregious enough violations of labor laws, the National Labor Relations Board has the ability to not hold an election and to order both sides to immediately begin negotiating a contract.  Unfortunately, the Globe’s article recited union propaganda about the weaknesses of the NLRA.

I couldn’t say it any better than this editorial from the Las Vegas Review Journal:  “But in this economic climate, with each week producing a new empty parking lot with plywood on the windows, do the geniuses in Washington really mean to create a situation where business owners already struggling to stay afloat can without warning be handed their “last straw” — a stack of cards adorned with the message, “You’re now a union shop; here are our demands”?

The State of Michigan should support EFCA.  With the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, Michigan would be just as attractive of state as a southern, right to work state would be to house a company.  In 2007, 19.5% of Michigan workers belonged to unions.  Conversely, the following are statistics in unionization for southern states: Alabama = 9.5%; Mississippi = 6.7%; Florida = 5.9%; Texas = 4.7%; Georgia = 4.4%; South Carolina = 4.1%.

Another editorial that took the words right out of my mouth: “If businesses are hurt, so are their workers; When businesses fail, workers lose their jobs.  And when workers aren’t treated well, businesses do not thrive.  The interests of workers and business owners are not in conflict – they coincide.  But it is in the interest of union bosses to foment conflict – it leads to more unions being formed and greater revenue for their coffers;  When workers are forced to declare their allegiance to a union in the open, they are far more subject to intimidation and coercion than when they make this decision in private.  It is no coincidence that, when private-ballot elections are used, fewer workers vote in favor of union than when they are asked to publicly sign a card; Many heavily unionized industries in the Midwest have been declining for decades.  Businesses in Florida and other Southern states, where unions have not been as strong, have been thriving during this time.”

Because unions are not democratic, they’re socialistic, a poll of 1000 likely voters with a subsample of 400 union households, results show that most people oppose EFCA

  • Three out of four voters (74%) oppose the “The Employee Free Choice Act.” Union households also strongly oppose the Employee Free Choice Act, 74% oppose to only 20% support.
  • When given a more detailed description of the Employee Free Choice Act, nearly 9 out of 10 voters, 86%, feel the process should remain private and only 8% feel it should be public information. Again, even union workers feel strongly that the process should be kept private, as 88% said private and only 8% said public.
  • Four out of five voters, or 82%, favor having a federally supervised election as a means to “protect the individual rights of workers.” The voters clearly see this as a basic right, especially given that only 11% of voters feel the card check would be the best way to protect the individual rights of workers. Support increases to 85% among union households.
  • The majority (52% to 26%) of American voters believe that the Employee Free Choice Act is not good for job creation. Even among union households, the plurality (48%) believes that the Employee Free Choice Act will cost America jobs.
  • In the current economic climate, 52% of voters are particularly opposed to any measure that would risk jobs or job growth.
  • Further exemplifying the electorates’ distaste for the Employee Free Choice Act, 71% agreed that this legislation would be “unwise” and “risky.” In today’s economic climate, the electorate has little confidence in the federal government’s ability to make such major business decisions.
  • The National Right to Work Act was introduced last week in an effort to remove compulsory unionism.  In other words, every state in America would be like the south – right to work states where employees have the choice to join a union or not.  Here is a video of Senator DeMint (R-SC):

     

    When speaking about a potential Card Check Compromise, Sen. DeMint said, Democrats could, “go out with a secret ballot and be magnanimous and withdraw it.  Then some Republicans may breathe a sigh of relief and vote for arbitration,” which “could actually be worse in the way it slows decision making” because arbitration rulings (in Michigan) take on average 15 months to be rendered.

    In another South Carolina entry today, an entrepreneur/legislator, State Rep. Eric M. Bedingfield wrote, “I recently introduced a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right of workers to a secret ballot in union-organizing election (H3305).

    Lew Ebert, the President and CEO of North Carolina Chamber reminds us that “Congress replaced the card check system with secret-ballot elections in 1947 after workers were coerced, intimidated, and in many instances beaten up and forced to join labor organization against their will.  Yet, 60 years later, we find Congress poised to deliver back to unions the same substandard system that exploited workers and proved grossly ineffective.”  Thank you to the Carolinas for helping us fight the battle against forced unionization!

    Another entreprenuer speaks about the damaging effects of EFCA.  “Small businesses already are near the breaking point as they try to cope with the crippling credit crunch, skyrocketing healthcare costs, and paralyzing recession.  Meanwhile, organized labor is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in political campaigns.”

    Here’s another entrepreneur’s viewpoint of how EFCA will kill small businesses:  “In fiscal year 2005, more than 20 percent of elections conducted by the NLRB involved bargaining units of 10 employees or fewer, while a full 70 percent involved bargaining units of 50 employees or fewer.”  He recently asked a business owner with 24 employees what he would do if overnight he was told he became unionized, and the response was “shut down shortly thereafter.”  This is a typical response.  Unfortunately, the NLRB has the right and power to force a company to re-open, rehire all employees, pay them back wages, and continue operating as a unionized company for as long as the NLRB feels is appropriate.  Companies cannot simply shut down and start another company as a non-union company.

    Thanks to LaborPains.org for this information:  American Rights at Work opined that “from 2000 to 2007, income for the median working-age household actually dropped $2,000 after inflation.”  According to LaborPains.org, “This is nothing new.  There are these events called recessions – ever heard of them.  Besides this period, there was also medial income stagnation from 53-54, 57-58, 70-71, 73-77, 79-85, and 89-93.  Notice that many of these years are the “good old days” of unions. . . The study finishes off with the usual: everyone wants to join a union but can’t because of intimidation according to (union-funded) research.  Nothing new to read here.”  Thanks for the detail, and for the sarcasm LaborPain.org!

    The AFL-CIO headlines: “Union Membership Grows in 2008. When People Can Join Unions, They Do.”  In fact, membership grew for the second straight year in a row.  So, I ask, why do unions need EFCA?  If unions win 60% of their elections, and their membership has grown the last two years, why is Obama, Democrat Congressmen, and Labor Unions all crying that our country needs to ease the ability for employees to unionize?

    I’ll end today’s EFCA Update on a sour note.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the increase in unionized workers in 2007 and 2008 “demonstrates that workers see unions, and higher job standards, benefits, and protections they provide, as a key solution in this struggling economy.”  I don’t see that.  The economy (other than home sales) wasn’t necessarily struggling in 2007 and there weren’t the mass layoffs in 2007 or 2008 that there are now.  The Bureau continues, “The uptick further points to the strengths of unionized workplaces – where labor and management work together as a team, they are able to tackle challenges and better withstand an economic downturn.”  Really?  Ever heard of the Big Three?  What about Boeing’s strike that resulted in 10,000 employees being laid off?  Or the 22,000 UAW represented employees that Caterpillar is laying off?  The list continues, but my point has been made.  My last bones to pick with the Bureau is its claim that “25 percent [of employers] even fire pro-union workers organizing campaigns.”  Where does that stat come from?  Oh wait, it’s not the BLS reporting that, it’s fancy writing from the labor-fronted American Rights at Work to sound like it’s the government reporting that!

    Misc. Mondays: Unemployment Rates Lower in Right to Work States

    I’ve posted about right to work states before, they are the 22 states (mostly Southern) where every employee has a decision whether he or she wants to pay union dues when working at a unionized facility.  In the north, on the other hand, if the job is unionized, you must belong to the union to work there.  Not surprising, right to work states have fewer unionized companies because employees don’t want to pay union dues.  Last week, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy informed us that not only is unionization down, but so is unemployment down in right to work states.  “In December 2008, states with right-to-work laws had an average unemployment rate of 6.2 percent compared to 7.0 percent for states without right to work laws.”  Michigan (the heaviest unionized state) has the highest unemployment of all 50 states at 10.6 percent.  The six states with the lowest unemployment rates all have right to work laws.  Enough said.

    Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

     

    A lot of the discussion throughout the country last week was whether the Employee Free Choice Act would be passed in Obama’s first 100 days and in what form will it pass.

    Will EFCA Pass in Obama’s First 100 Days?

    An editor of the International Socialist Review opines that Democrats are moving toward delaying the introduction of EFCA.

    Congressional leaders have indicated that passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is not their first priority.

    Business leaders took great comfort when Obama told The Washington Post last week that he was wary of pressing for the union measure ahead of broader economic needs.

    Despite Obama’s comment about putting EFCA on the backburner, a variety of administration and labor sources all indicated that there is no reason to believe that the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress aren’t proceeding along the expected track.

    Harry Reid said he would like the Senate to take up EFCA this summer.

    Rep. George Miller, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives labor committee told Reuters in an interview as the 111th Congress got underway that “there are things that may be more urgent because of circumstances beyond our control.  That doesn’t diminish the urgency I feel or the supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act feel…I am quite comfortable that EFCA is going to receive timely treatment.

    Will EFCA be Modified to Ensure it Passes?

    CNN Money reminds us that EFCA is about power, but a former AFL-CIO organizing director and former president and vice chairman of Bethlehem Steel and general counsel for the Labor Department during the Nixon and Ford administrations may have reached a compromise on what the legislation should look like.

    A former Governor of Virginia and one of the state’s most powerful Democrats finds the secret ballot part of EFCA troubling.

    T.A. Frank, a liberal author, believes that increasing the financial and other penalties against companies for violating labor laws during union elections would remove the need for EFCA.

    Because many believe that EFCA would easily pass the House but falls a vote or two shy of certain passage in the Senate, a compromise, like retaining secret ballots but speeding up various time limits or altering other provisions in ways that would still aid unionization drives, is likely.

    Other Articles Regarding EFCA

    Is card check certification Obama’s Hiliary Care?  In other words, President Clinton was seen to overreach in his first two years by pursuing initiatives such as Hilary Care, nationalized health care, and the voters severely punished the Democrats in the 1994 midterm elections by handing control of the Senate and House of Representatives to the Republicans for the first time since 1954.

    Despite currently supporting EFCA, in 2007, the Obama nominee for Labor Secretary, Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), protested that a secret ballot should be used by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to pick its new chairman.   Likewise, in 1998, the AFL-CIO, UAW, and others told the NLRB that secret ballots were essential when workers decide whether to decertify a union saying, “Other mean of decision-making are not comparable to the privacy and indepedence of the voting booth,” and that secret ballots provide the best way to avoid “the result of group pressures and not individual decision.”

    Mike Eastman, executive director of labor policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington says that EFCA has a better chance of being defeated rather than passed, since so many businesses are lobbying against it.  Although refreshing to hear, Mr. Eastman is in the extreme minority of people with this belief.

    The U.S. Chamber is switching its strategy in fighting EFCA from highlighting how the bill eliminates secret ballots to focusing on the binding arbitration aspect of the bill.

    The Montana Chamber of Commerce reminds us that the bill is ironically called the Employee Free Choice Act but is far from being pro-worker.

    Remember the group Save Our Secret Ballot – the group of states that are trying to change their constitutions as a way  around EFCA?  That group is “fairly confident” that state constitutional amendments “would hold up” under federal court challenges says former South Dakota Attorney General Mark Meierhenry.

    The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, a federation of 500 business groups, are actively campaigning against EFCA.

    National Right to Work Foundation launced an online petition to Obama advising him that his election did not give him a mandate to impose draconian policies that will dramatically increase the power and money of the Big Labor Bosses and would like everyone who is against EFCA to sign a petition.  The petition can be found here.

    This brief letter to the editor succinctly reminds us how the current NLRA achieves its purpose of unionizing workforces, since unions win 60% of elections with secret ballots.

    Small business owners typically think they won’t have to contend with union organizers in the workplace because it’s not worth the union’s time to mount a month-or year-long campaign to represent a handful of office workers.  Wrong!

    This small business owner from Raleigh, North Carolina is deeply concerned about EFCA’s ramifications.

    This is one of those articles that anger me.  The Employee Free Choice Act would not have saved Circuit City.  Circuit City did not put profits over people – it went bankrupt because it didn’t have any profits.  And the spirit of the collective bargaining process does not bind workers and management together as partners.  It pits them against each other and creates an “us v. them” mentality.

    Chris Fisher, Executive Director of Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan reminds us of the dangers associated with union pension and health-care funds because they are oftentimes underfunded.

    Jerry Warlow couldn’t have said it any better.  “The union’s push for this bill is not driven by unfairness of a traditional secret ballot or widespread injustices.  It is because union ranks are shrinking dramatically.  The United Auto Workers at its peak had 1.5 million members.  Today it has just more than 450,000.  What is really important to today’s unions?  Union dues.”  After being around unions for years and negotiating many contracts against many different unions, Mr. Warlow hit the nail on the head.

    Appropriate for Super Bowl week:  Isn’t EFCA just a “hail mary” for unions to get back into the game?

    Misc. Monday: Healthy Families Act

    Beginning today, Mondays are dedicated to miscellaneous topics/updates that do not necessarily warrant a full day to themselves, but nonetheless are newsworthy.

    The Health Families Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide seven days of paid sick leave each year to employees working more than 30 hours per week.  Employees working less than 30 hours would receive a pro-rated amount of paid sick leave.  This leave could be used to care for either the employee or a relative of the employee.  A doctor’s certificate is not required unless the employee is out for three or more consecutive days, and employers who violate this law may be sued in either federal or state court for lost wages and benefits, liquidated damages, costs, and attorneys fees.

    Ohio had a similar proposal on its ballot until the eleventh hour when Governor Strickland – to the dismay of local labor unions – removed it through what appeared to be a public relations maneuver citing that it would make Ohio uncompetitive in attracting and retaining companies.  For those of us who follow labor law, the removal was calculated because a federal version of this bill was already being developed.  If enacted on a federal level, all states would be equally uncompetitive – or I guess competitive depending on which side of the issue you sit.

    According to Peter Kirsanow, “Back when the Family and Medical Leave Act was being debated in Congress, more than 15 years ago, some claimed that FMLA was merely the first step toward government-mandated paid leaves.  Liberals scoffed at the prediction.”  They aren’t scoffing anymore.

    Misc. Monday: “Organizing for America”

    Beginning today, Mondays are dedicated to miscellaneous topics/updates that do not necessarily warrant a full day to themselves, but nonetheless are newsworthy.

    Last week I received the following email:

    Friend —

    When Barack Obama was declared our 44th President, you didn’t just revel in that victory — you started asking what’s next for this movement.

    How is this unprecedented group of volunteers, grassroots leaders, and dedicated supporters going to help make change a reality?

    More than half a million people shared their thoughts and ideas about moving forward, and we listened carefully. Last week, President Obama announced the creation of Organizing for America — a group that will work alongside the President to support the agenda you fought so hard for.

    You can be part of its first steps.

    Watch a short video message I recorded with Mitch Stewart, Executive Director of Organizing for America, and learn more about this new organization you helped build.

    Watch the video

     

    You’ve already invested in the future of this country — whether you voted, donated money, helped organize your local community, or got involved in countless other ways.

    But right now, your participation in the political process is more important than ever. We’ll soon be asking you to give whatever time or talent you can to support the President. With your help, we can bring change to Washington and the entire nation.

    I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.

    Thank you,

    David

    David Plouffe
    Campaign Manager
    Obama for America

    Questions or feedback? Contact Organizing for America at 1-877-922-4264.

    Is it just me, or does the fact that Obama’s perceived plan of bringing this country together resemble his ulterior plan of making it easier for unions to organize employees?   The name “Organizing for America” is eerily close to what a title that would be bestowed upon a union organizing drive.  Remember how the SEIU reminded the public to use the name Employee Free Choice Act instead of Card Check?  Well, perhaps getting the public to buy into the name “Organizing for America” will ease the road to winning public approval for organizing companies in the near future.

    Misc. Mondays: UAW Says Everyone Needs to Save Auto Industry

    Beginning today, Mondays are dedicated to miscellaneous topics/updates that do not necessarily warrant a full day to themselves, but nonetheless are newsworthy.

    According to UAW President, Ron Gettelfinger, all stakeholders have to participate in saving the auto industry, including management, board members, dealers, suppliers, and secured and unsecured creditors.  He further denies that the domestic auto industry is not in trouble because of union members or union contracts.  According to Gettlefinger, the problem is the global credit crisis that has dried up funding for businesses and consumers, and the federal government must tackle the “external factors that are a major part of the crisis facing the domestic auto industry.”

    Obviously Gettlefinger is seeking more than the federal government’s financial bailout.  He wants the  auto industry’s suppliers and creditors to help bail the domestic auto industry out of the problem caused by unions.  Although car sales are down worldwide, foreign car companies that operate non-union production plants in the United States aren’t asking for federal bailout money.  They didn’t sell their retirees health care to the union.  The first couple thousand dollars from each car sold does not go to cover contract costs.  They keep building more facilities and hiring more workers.  It’s clear to most of us that Gettlefinger is shifting the blame for what his union has done to the domestic auto industry onto the rest of the world and expecting the rest of the world to bail him out.