2019 UAW Special Bargaining Convention


WAGES and SALARIES


The UAW intends to sit down at the bargaining table to:

  • Eliminate tiered wages so workers doing the same job with similar
    experience receive the same rate of pay.
  • Work to establish wage and benefit standards so that employers
    cannot whipsaw workers across work sites, jobs or departments.
  • Establish wage progressions that are based on objective, clearly
    defined measures. We will also seek to improve progressions to
    reduce inequality between workers.
  • Seek wage increases that ensure earnings keep pace with or
    exceed inflation.
  • Seek to eliminate the pay incentive for using temporary workers,
    so all workers can enjoy good pay and a stable job.
  • Seek pay equity between men and women to ensure that men
    and women receive comparable pay for comparable work and
    equal access to new job opportunities.
  • Seek just rewards for workers’ skills. Well-designed “pay for
    knowledge” systems offer workers an opportunity to increase
    their pay by expanding their skills through education and training.
    We will continue to address the issue of compression between
    skilled and production wages in order to maintain a fair balance
    between the two
  • Establish a healthy balance between wages and variable
    compensation like profit sharing. Variable bonuses are positive
    additions as long as they supplement good wages and benefits.
  • Bargain for an election day holiday so we can elect representatives
    who will support our public sector members.

RETIREMENT INCOME


The UAW will address the following general pension issues in bargaining:
• Employers may demand to “freeze” our pensions. These freezes
sometimes exclude new hires from participating in defined benefit
plans; sometimes the multiplier is frozen and sometimes accruals
are stopped. Defined benefit plan freezes have occurred despite
adequate plan funding levels, or even when the employer’s
financial position was good. Pension plan freezes are often just a
first step to plan termination.

• The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) impacted pension
bargaining. This law was meant to strengthen the funding of
17 defined benefit pension plans and reduce stress on the Pension
Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). However, some employers
use the PPA as an excuse to dilute a defined benefit plan or refuse
to bargain improvements. In the worst cases, employers use the
law to threaten to freeze or terminate the plan.

• The PPA places restrictions on seriously underfunded plans.
Depending on the level of underfunding, restrictions can range
from prohibiting plan amendments that increase benefits to
prohibiting workers from accruing future benefits. We must use
our UAW pension experts to verify employer claims relating to
these restrictions.

• A recent bargaining trend is for employers to buy out current
retirees and institute lump sum options to new retirees. This
practice is known as “de-risking.” We will assess any employer
de-risking proposal we receive under the standard of what is in
our best interest.

• Some employers claim accounting issues require regressive
changes in our pension plans or use them to justify de-risking.
These claims must be independently verified.

• Defined benefit plans in the public sector continue to battle
intense scrutiny and attack. Many plans are underfunded through
no fault of workers and the solution most often proposed by
elected officials and the media is a pension freeze.

 


HEALTH CARE



Employer-provided health care benefits are a critical part of our
compensation, and we are committed to preserving good collectivelybargained
benefits for our members and retirees by fighting to protect
our gains, maintaining quality coverage, and resisting shifting costs
to workers.
Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010,
many challenges remain to preserving health care benefits. The ACA
contained important provisions that improved health care benefits
and slowed rising health care costs, but the continuous attacks on the
ACA jeopardize these gains, such as ensuring coverage for patients
with pre-existing conditions or eliminating lifetime maximums and
other maximums.
Access to health care coverage has improved under the ACA. However,
in 2017, 27.4 million Americans were uninsured. This is why our
ultimate goal remains a comprehensive, universal health care plan that
will provide quality coverage for every person in the United States.
Health care should be a right, not a privilege.
Health Care Costs: Health care costs continue to rise and, in response,
employers try to shift costs to workers and erode the quality of health
care benefits at the bargaining table. For example, they may propose
eliminating coverage for spouses and dependents, raising deductibles,
copays or premiums, or limiting the choice of providers.
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The Kaiser Family Foundation has continually studied the cost of health
care and how it affects individuals. Worker share of the premium has
remained in the range of 26.4 percent to 28.3 percent over the past 10
years. However, because of continued health care cost inflation, this
results in higher and higher out-of-pocket costs.
It is not just inflation that is increasing health care costs for workers.
Employers are compounding the problem by shifting health care costs
to workers by increasing deductibles, copays, and coinsurance in the
benefit design, as well as through so-called ‘innovations’ such as highdeductible
health care plans. High-deductible plans can be appealing
to the healthiest workers, but are out of reach for most workers,
especially those with serious illnesses. The result is siphoning off the
healthiest enrollees and driving up costs for other coverage options.
High deductible plans are not a solution to increasing health care costs;
they only serve to shift costs to workers.

Prescription Drugs: Prescription drugs have continued to add to
the strain of health care costs. Employers continue to propose more
cost share and more copayment tiers that require greater out-ofpocket
costs, but cost-shifting is not the solution to the rising cost of
prescription drugs. To address the issue, we can partner with employers
to create solutions that ensure employees are receiving high-quality,
cost-effective care, while discouraging waste in the system. When
negotiating benefits, we will focus on improving quality, reducing the
cost, and promoting the health and wellness of our members.
In this round of bargaining, we will:
• Resist cost-shifting and address employer efforts to increase
deductibles and coinsurance.
• Work to maintain and improve upon the gains brought by the
ACA by incorporating them into our contracts.
• Work to eliminate any gaps in coverage between workers.
• Push employers to design pharmacy benefits that improve access
and reduce the cost of care.
• Support voluntary disease management and care management
programs.
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• Work to protect employer provided coverage for spouses with
inferior alternative coverage.
• Work to secure and protect health care benefits for our
retired members.
• Demand longer, more comprehensive employer-paid coverage
during temporary and permanent layoff and periods of disability.
• Continue to work towards and support the establishment of a
national health care system.
• Resist high-deductible health care plans that shift risk and cost
to workers.
Group Insurance
Our earning power is directly linked to our ability to live in dignity and
provide for our families. Lost earnings as a result of injury, illness or
death are among the most unpredictable threats to working people.
Our negotiated group insurance benefits include basic, optional and
dependent life, accidental death and dismemberment, survivor income
benefits (transition and bridge), short and long-term disability. These
essential programs provide critical support at our most vulnerable
times and should be protected and enhanced.
As we bargain over group insurance benefits, we must educate ourselves
and seek technical assistance when needed because the legislative
and political landscape is constantly changing. These dynamics can
make bargaining challenging and give employers cover to change
essential benefits.
Our collective bargaining efforts will include:
• Employer-paid benefits.
• Increases to the life insurance coverage of retirees.
• Protecting survivor income benefits.
• Ensuring sufficient disability benefits are universal and definitions
are fairly applied.
• Guaranteeing that disabling mental health conditions are treated
the same as disabling physical health conditions.


PROFIT SHARING


 

The UAW first incorporated the use of profit sharing proposals into its
bargaining strategy over 70 years ago at the 1958 Special Constitutional
Convention under the direction of Walter Reuther. The rationale was
laid out very clearly: “The UAW supplementary economic demands
would facilitate the equitable sharing of the greater productivity and
advancing technology by workers, consumers and stockholders.”
Ironically, at that time, the very idea that a blue collar worker
would receive an extra bonus based on company profits was highly
controversial and was met with much skepticism by many large
corporations, politicians and the media.
Since 1958, a wide variety of profit sharing plans have been negotiated
by UAW members across many different industries and types of
companies and organizations. Indeed, millions of members, along with
their families and local communities across the country, have benefited
from the increased purchasing power that has come with annual profit
sharing checks.
However, because business conditions change over time, plan language
needs to be thoroughly reviewed, updated and improved during each
contract negotiation. Updates should include the metrics that the
plan is based upon and enhancing payout calculations to increase the
likelihood of higher payouts. Additionally, updated language is often
required to address changes in corporate structure or the creation of
new reporting segments in their business.
Although there is no “one size fits all” approach to creating a good profit
sharing plan, the following strategies should be applied depending on
whether you are bargaining with a corporation with publicly traded
stock, a private for-profit company, a non-profit organization, or in the
public sector.
Publicly traded corporations: Over the past few years, S&P 500
companies have reported record profits. On top of these record profits,
the newly enacted tax cuts funded by hard working taxpayers are
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adding even more to the bottom line of these companies. At a certain
point, when companies have consistently generated significant profits
after paying for normal operating expenses and capital expenditures,
they find themselves with what is commonly referred to as “excess
cash” and must make decisions on how to use these funds. They can
use excess cash to reduce prices for customers, invest back into the
U.S. by building new modern facilities, pay down debt or shore up
underfunded pensions or retiree medical obligations. Instead, the lion’s
share of the excess cash is being sent to the company’s shareholders
through increased stock dividends and share buybacks. In 2017 alone,
public companies spent more than $800 billion dollars to buy back
their own stock in order to increase their earnings per share. This figure
surpassed the $1 trillion mark in 2018.
With these startling trends in mind, profit sharing plans at public
companies should have two separate components.
The first component is a traditional profit sharing plan that provides a
payout based on the main profit metric associated with the business unit
or segment that is most relevant to the membership on a geographic
basis. This profit metric needs to be publicly disclosed and reported
to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For example, if a
company publicly reports a profit figure for its U.S. or North American
operations, that often is the most relevant figure to base the plan on.
The second component is a new idea in response to all the money being
returned to shareholders. It would provide an additional payout to UAW
members when a company makes a distribution to shareholders for
special dividends, increases to normal dividends, and/or when a stock
buyback program is announced. The goals of this second component of
the profit sharing plan is to 1) provide UAW members with an equitable
share of the excess cash they helped generate and 2) provide an
incentive for companies to start investing more heavily in its operations
and workforce right here in the U.S.A. instead of the current practice of
excessive givebacks to its shareholders.
Private for-profit companies: Profit sharing plans should be based
on the company’s main profit metric, which is often the same primary
metric that executive compensation plans are based upon. Since there
is often no publicly available financial information to rely on, whatever
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profit metric is utilized, it should be fully traceable to a set of annual
financial statements which is audited by an outside CPA firm.
Non-profits or public sector: In organizations where profit generation
is not the primary goal, other financial or operational metrics can still
be used to form a bonus plan. Examples of alternative metrics include
operating surpluses and budget performance. Whatever performance
metric is used, it should be traceable to publicly available financial
disclosures, such as Federal Form 990 filed with the IRS or annual
financial statements audited by an outside CPA firm.
Regardless of the type of profit sharing plan negotiated, UAW members
must have a voice in the initial development and continuous review of
the plan in order to ensure the metrics are appropriate, achievable and
understood. In addition, a well-defined dispute resolution procedure
should also be part of any negotiated plan.
Companies often propose profit sharing plans as a means of shifting
cost away from what they call “fixed” wages and benefits to “variable”
payments which are only made if profit metrics are achieved.
The UAW takes a different view. We firmly believe and make clear
that profit sharing plans should never be a replacement for solid wage
and benefit increases negotiated at the bargaining table, rather profit
sharing plans should be considered a supplement to those wages
and benefits.


WORK SCHEDULES


Through collective bargaining, we believe that work schedules can
be negotiated to create an important balance between work and
family. These schedules can improve worker satisfaction, aid in worker
retention, reduce absenteeism, improve health and safety, and create
new jobs on UAW worksites.
Schedules in the industries we represent include the traditional five-day
work week, alternative work schedules and flextime schedules. They
also vary both between worksites and within the individual worksite.
We believe these schedules can be designed or modified to address
both the employers’ needs and the individual values of multiple
generations of workers.
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Whichever work schedule model is selected, the purpose of a work
week schedule is to provide balance between employers’ needs and
our members’ ability to meet personal, family and social needs.
We support limiting the maximum number of hours worked in a week.
Schedules that may require overtime should have strict limits on both
duration and frequency. Overtime should never be used to restrict or
substitute the hiring of workers.
In worksites that must respond to fluctuations in demand for the
product or service provided, the employer should be required to give
the maximum possible advance notice. We should have the right to
decline overtime, except in isolated circumstances.
Work schedules should be designed so that fatigue and injuries are
eliminated. The schedule should provide adequate paid relief time and
job rotation. Where possible, the relief time should be designed with
flexibility to fit our individual schedules and workloads.
The physical requirements of the job should be carefully monitored.
Jobs that are ergonomically taxing should have strict limitations on the
amount of time a worker spends on it. We must use the bargaining
process to make sure that work schedules are based on sound
ergonomic principles.
When alternative work schedules are considered, we must seek
consistency in compensation practices for all mandatory, voluntary
or obligatory time away from the job. This includes ensuring the
appropriate wages, premiums and hours are provided for vacation,
bereavement, jury duty and all other leaves.
We support premium pay for any schedule that requires work beyond
the traditional eight-hour day, Monday through Friday work week. This
is to compensate for the potential disruption to our family, civic or social
engagements. This should include premium for schedules that require
“off-shift” or weekend work. Likewise, industries that require “on-call”
readiness should be required to compensate for schedules that limit
activities during time away from work.
Where operationally feasible, we should be able to adjust our starting
and ending times, or work non-traditional schedules to meet our
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individual needs. Likewise, we support schedules that can be individually
modified to support important life events such as child or elderly care.
In workplaces that allow work off-site, we should require that this work
is protected and compensated just as traditional employment.
We encourage negotiating schedules that compress the work week.
To improve our quality of life outside the workplace and support our
engagement in the community, we will seek additional holidays and
increased vacation and personal time. We also support mechanisms
and policies to encourage the full utilization of vacation entitlements.
We resist the use of traditional, alternative, or flexible schedules to
limit or reduce other contractual rights, such as employer paid health
care or retirement benefits. Compressed or modified schedules are
meant for improvements in work and family life, and we should not
allow schedule changes to degrade these improvements.
In all cases, we believe that schedules should be designed and
implemented through good faith bargaining with the employers.
Through negotiations, we can ensure that schedule flexibility can be
applied in a manner that is equitable rather than arbitrary. The balance
of work life and life outside of work can be enhanced only through
equal application of these schedules.


TEMPORARY WORK SCHEDULES


There were nearly six million temporary and contingent workers in
the U.S. in 2017. Although some jobs are temporary by nature, the
increased amount of contingent employment in our country is due to
employers using long-term temporary workers in place of permanent,
direct hires. They do this to avoid the costs of unemployment insurance,
workers’ compensation, and other paid benefits. It also provides the
employer complete operating flexibility. But this flexibility places all
the risks of the ups and downs of business on poorly paid workers and
their families.
We must differentiate between truly temporary assignments and longterm
temporary workers filling permanent openings. Blurred lines
between these two roles could put decades of bargaining gains at risk.
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Our contracts need to define clear limits on the use of temporary
workers. In cases where temporary workers are employed, they deserve
union representation. We also have the duty to stand by workers in the
fight for secure employment and define an approach to obtain it.
Our bargaining goals include:
• Restricting the use of temporary workers. In our agreements,
specific language should be negotiated to define when temporary
workers can be used. This language should include the number of
temporary employees, the duration of their employment, and by
whom they are employed.
• Increased security and benefits for temporary workers. Our
agreements should provide temporary workers with greater job
security and stability.
• Provide a path to permanent employment. Our agreements
need to define a clear path from temporary employment to
permanent positions.
• Temporary workers’ employment should not go through
a temporary agency. Our agreements should mandate that
temporary workers be employed directly by the employer with
which we collectively bargain.
• Temporary workers should be covered by our collective
bargaining agreements. Temporary workers should receive
the same pay as other newly-hired workers and have access to
employer paid union orientation and union representation.


WORK AND FAMILY


Our members are not just workers, but also family members with
important responsibilities. Consequently, our bargaining goals include
provisions that allow workers to meet their responsibilities as workers,
parents, caregivers, spouses and friends.
Parents and caregivers have a responsibility to the individuals in
their care. When the employer recognizes this fact, the worker is
empowered. To support members in their roles outside the workplace,
our bargaining goals include: common sense scheduling, child and
elder care resources, contract language that recognizes the different
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family structures, parenting, lactation and mindfulness. Attainment of
these goals is mutually beneficial to all involved.
Schedules
Work schedules can have a serious impact on work and family balance.
Schedules that support both work and family life can help reduce
absenteeism and alleviate stress which will help improve health
and safety on the worksite. We support the goals identified in the
Work Schedule section of this resolution that pertains to work and
family including:
• Right to refuse mandatory overtime
• Flexible hours
• FMLA extensions for catastrophic events and no rolling calendars
Child and Elder Care Resources
For our work sites that have child and elder care resources, knowing
and understanding what programs are available will help to reduce
stress and help in planning child and elder care. Expanding our child
and elder care assistance programs is also a necessity as quality child
and elder care is still unaffordable for many.
To do this, we will bargain to:
• Always have a designated person/people available to assist
members who are navigating through elder and/or child
care programs.
• Meet individually with members to evaluate their needs and
match them to available services.
• Work with child care providers and area agencies on aging in
the community to improve the quality of services and negotiate
group rates.
• Have onsite educational programs that provide resources,
seminars, educational materials and hold elder/child care fairs
that invite local businesses to discuss options available to our
members.
• Have onsite child care to make the work and family balancing act
easier for members to manage. This will also increase employee
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productivity and reduce absences due to child care issues. In
locations where onsite child care is not a possibility, group rates
should be negotiated with nearby facilities to provide more
affordable, quality child care for employees.
• Negotiate group rates or onsite programs for school-aged children
for before and after school care, holidays, school closings and
summer programs.
• Expand flex spending accounts for use on elder and child care.
Chosen Family Contract Language
Families come in all forms and recognition of the diverse family
structure is imperative in modern society. Long-term partners, friends
who have become like siblings, or a neighbor who provides regular care
to an elderly individual are now considered family.
To account for this we will bargain for:
• Chosen family contract language – to provide the contractual
right to sick time and bereavement that covers not just people
related by blood or legal ties but also chosen family.
Parental Leave
Paid parental leave that encompasses all variations of the family and
enables parents to be present in the life of their young child.
To do this we need to bargain:
• Paid maternity and paternity leave.
• All parental leave should be extended to include the nontraditional
family recognizing a parent’s role regardless of their
presence on the birth certificate.
• Paid maternity leave extended.
• The option to use both maternity and paternity leave
intermittently throughout the first year after birth.
• Paid adoption leave for spouses and partners who have recently
adopted with intermittent leave offered throughout the year
following the adoption.
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Lactation Resources
We will bargain to make lactation rooms available at all worksites and
to provide adequate time for pumping during the workday. Lactation
rooms should be:
○ No more than a 5-minute walk from work-site.
○ Functional for expressing milk.
○ Shielded from view.
○ Free from intrusion by the public and coworkers.
○ Available whenever a mother needs to pump or express milk.
○ Equipped with an outlet and a small refrigerator to store milk.
○ Not in a bathroom.
Mindfulness
Dealing with work/family/life balance can cause a lot of stress. Bargaining
for mindfulness training would help to alleviate that stress, promote
more peaceful worksites and help overall health and well-being.

 

 

 


UAW ANNOUNCES STRIKE FUND INCREASE


 

UAW President Gary Jones announced that the union’s leadership has raised the weekly strike fund pay from $200 to $250 per week effective March 2019. That number will increase to $275 per week in January 2020.

“No one goes to the bargaining table expecting to strike. But the UAW goes to the bargaining table prepared to strike if our members need to strike,” said Jones. “Raising the strike fund is an important symbol that we have their backs.”
The UAW Strike and Defense fund totaled out at more than $721 million in 2018.  Delegates voted at the UAW’s Constitutional Convention to keep a 2011 dues increase that funds the Strike and Defense fund until it reaches $850 million — at which point the fund will trigger dues to go back down to pre-2011 levels. If the Strike and Defense Fund ever dips below $650 million, the dues increase will kick back in.
“We are solid heading into the next four years of bargaining,” said Jones. “And this extra security for UAW families carries us to the bargaining table united in our goals.”
article by UAW.org