GM's pain hits retirees

GM's pain hits retirees

There are 164 comments on the Baltimore Sun story from Jul 16, 2008, titled GM's pain hits retirees. In it, Baltimore Sun reports that:

When Charles Miller went to work at General Motors ' Broening Highway plant in 1954, he was attracted to the company by its reputation for good salaries and stellar benefits.

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Mike Baltimore

Baltimore, MD

#1 Jul 16, 2008
Talk about CRYING, you people were making $30.00 an hour. You got paid while the company changed models. You were able to stay at the same job, with good benifits, for over 30 years. You paid less than $20,000 for your home, which has been paid off for 20 years. I ENVY you crybabies.
jeffro

Pittsboro, NC

#2 Jul 16, 2008
That is why US companies can not compete globally and never can again. Wait until the US government defaults on the 99 trillion dollar SS and medicare bill it can not afford. Then you will here some crying. You think China is going to give us 99 trillion so over entitled americans can lay around for 30 years and go to the doctor twice a day...I wouldn't count on it, that account has $0.00 in the bank. Oh yeah, we can print some more money.
Jim

United States

#3 Jul 16, 2008
For years, the government has beaten up on GM. Threatened to "break it up" several years ago. Taxed big corporations to the hilt. Regulations to the point of stangulation. And the unions gave millions to the very politicians doing it. So, the chickens have come home to roost. Supplemental plans are not that expensive and millions are doing OK without one at all. I bet people buying Toyotas and other makes from companies who NEVER offered those benefits in the first place will be whining away. And, of course, the declining readership SUNPAPER will never tell the that side of the story.
Charlie S

Towson, MD

#5 Jul 16, 2008
With the liberals, fully funded by rich labor unions, creating the entitlement culture, why the hell SHOULD GM still keep paying the bill?
As a business owner, I'm certainly not going to give my employees any health benefits when the government keeps saying they will take care of it. With this new "Healthy Howard" socialist health care plan in Howard County, why should I even think about giving my employees benefits?
shoreraven

Magnolia, DE

#6 Jul 16, 2008
I totally agree. Where is the united auto workers union now? I guess continuing to fund their leaders and corrupt politicians. The union stole the golden egg and have now got the goose on life support. This guy is crying even after getting an additional $300 a month from GM that more than compensates for supplemental coverage? Let's see medicare, medicade, supplemental insurance money, a great pension, social security payments (and who knows what else?, maybe other investments? I'm sorry this story is a sham and a very weak attempt by the socialist sun reporters to continue the beating drum for socialized medicene, which, if enacted would ruin the medical system forever (ie Canada, Great Britain, etc. I'm in my sixties and still work and I work to have a good lifestyle not cry after being retired for how many years?
WORKERS GET SCREWED

AOL

#7 Jul 16, 2008
ERISA should be modified legislatively, to provide for a safe haven for retiree health insurance. If the implied or stated covenant created by employment and longevity and or union contract(s) included a promise of health insurance in a workers retirement years, it should be a sacrosanct promise; one that no mismanaged corporate entity can void by subsequent management fiat.
The workers, once again, are getting screwed. 50+ years after Mr. Wilson of GM once stated to the US Senate: "What's good for GM is good for the USA," today, he'd be categorically way off base, and profoundly wrong.
Jim

United States

#8 Jul 16, 2008
WORKERS GET SCREWED wrote:
ERISA should be modified legislatively, to provide for a safe haven for retiree health insurance. If the implied or stated covenant created by employment and longevity and or union contract(s) included a promise of health insurance in a workers retirement years, it should be a sacrosanct promise; one that no mismanaged corporate entity can void by subsequent management fiat.
The workers, once again, are getting screwed. 50+ years after Mr. Wilson of GM once stated to the US Senate: "What's good for GM is good for the USA," today, he'd be categorically way off base, and profoundly wrong.
No, No, No. He was RIGHT. It was the government, stupid! The government went the wrong way. Had government policy supported the lucrative benefits that GM gave- which is what he was talking about- and if that became the norm for doing business in America, than things would be different. E.G. a stiff tarriff amounting to the benefit cost of American Companies should have been placed on the no=benefit companies importing millions of cheap cars into this country. We now are seeing that their quality was a sham- tail gates falling of Tundra's, etc. GM had it right. The unions and the government truly squashed the golden egg!
G M Jim

Baltimore, MD

#9 Jul 16, 2008
it's o.k., they didn't take the medical benefits from us hourly workers , we will be o.k., we only pay 150.00 a month for the best coverage in the world with little copays and vision and dental coverage , we are happy , hourly retirees from G.M. are getting what was promised , the bosses get screwed , it's about time..........
George from Pasadena

Glen Burnie, MD

#10 Jul 16, 2008
This is another example of a single employer pension and benifit plan gone bad. As a retired Union worker I enjoy a multi employer pension and benifit plan. The companies cannot get their greedy little hands on the money and the little guy(me) is protected by a board of trustees. Most salaried workers are not Union and so they do not have this type of protection. It doesn't always work right. The union workers at Bethlehem Steel, or should it be called STEAL were screwed from the get go because the Company was allowed by the Union to handle the money. Such is the danger of a single employer pension plan. Look for the Auto Workers at Ford and Chrysler to get screwed too. The plan money needs to be held in trust and administered by responsible trustees from both sides.
George from Pasadena

Glen Burnie, MD

#11 Jul 16, 2008
Jim as a fellow Union Brother I hope it all works out for you. Remember the dangers of a single employer plan and always hold your Union Officers accountable for the monies. Good luck in your retirement, I'm enjoying mine.

George from the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local #10
Stephen

Chicago, IL

#12 Jul 16, 2008
Sounds like a bunch of jealous whiners in the comments here.
George from Pasadena

Glen Burnie, MD

#13 Jul 16, 2008
To you misguided people out there who are taking this opportunity to bash Unions, shame on you. I am proud to be UNION. You had your choice same as me. I chose the Union path and have no regrets. LIVE BETTER WORK UNION.
Dave

Hyattsville, MD

#14 Jul 16, 2008
Let me get this straight, Mr. Miller retired from GM in 1985 and is currently 77 years old. My math shows he retired at the age of 54 with a good pension and medical benefits. Not bad, hope I can do that. Mr. Miller is getting $300.00 more a month from GM to help him with Medicare supplemental coverage so what is the problem. Mr. Miller is probably not paying the highest rate for Medicare coverage. What about Ms. Miller, does she get a retirement and health care benefits from a former employee? Did Mr. Miller work after leaving GM, or just stay home. If it sounds like I am against the Millers, I assure you that is not the case. I just think the SunPaper used this couple to enhance their story line. I think a lot of older retirees feel that they are "entitled" to a free ride after they retire. Plenty of older American work into their 80's and don't sit back crying about how they might have to spend $50.00 more per month for insurance, etc.
Charm City

Bethesda, MD

#15 Jul 16, 2008
I don't know, if I spent my entire life working for a company, joined a union, negotiated a contract that included benefits, I'd be a little upset if that contract was abruptly broken. Particularly if I was 77.
Back in the day, folks like Charles Miller were loyal to their employers -- partly because the company rewarded that loyalty with pensions, insurance, etc.
I know it's different now -- we're all "free agents" in a competitive world. But these folks are from a different era and did what was expected of them. Penalizing them at this point in the game is immoral.
Keys

Baltimore, MD

#16 Jul 16, 2008
George from Pasadena is still living the dream. Hopefully he won't get the cold water wake up like these guys at GM or the guys at Beth Steel. Unions are as much a business as the 'evil' companies they tussle with. The biggest house in my neighborhood - and it's huge - is owned by a transit union big wig. Sure he has the right - but I don't want to hear any "I'm down with the working man." crap from the likes of him. Union shops are dying because they can't compete globally. China and India will NEVER give unions the kind of power they have had here.
ann

Bedford, IN

#17 Jul 16, 2008
The Millers are simply riding a coming tidal wave of the future. First, it's the automakers (and in a round-about way that is understandable) but soon many other industries/companies will be making these announcements. Anyone sitting back thinking they are secure and this could not happen to them is in for a rude awakening. It's scary.
Rowdy

Pleasanton, CA

#18 Jul 16, 2008
Like trees, businesses do not grow to the sky. For years, union leaders were judged by how many concessions they could wring out of companies---extorting infinite commitments without allowing for the possibility of changes in the business environment which would make those commitments impossible to keep. But no one has anything if the company fails. By the way, has anyone ever seen a skinny union boss?
Leviticus

Baltimore, MD

#19 Jul 16, 2008
Biggest mistake this country ever did was to adopt the 19th century 65 year old retirement goal. None of the old coots made it back then. Raise the retirement age to 85 for men and 95 for women. Abolish all government handouts and Eureka this country budget is,once again,balanced. The young would not be perpetually paying for the old.
Ellis

Prince Frederick, MD

#20 Jul 16, 2008
Mike Baltimore wrote:
Talk about CRYING, you people were making $30.00 an hour. You got paid while the company changed models. You were able to stay at the same job, with good benifits, for over 30 years. You paid less than $20,000 for your home, which has been paid off for 20 years. I ENVY you crybabies.
Well said!
Methuselah

Pleasanton, CA

#21 Jul 16, 2008
Leviticus wrote:
Biggest mistake this country ever did was to adopt the 19th century 65 year old retirement goal. None of the old coots made it back then. Raise the retirement age to 85 for men and 95 for women. Abolish all government handouts and Eureka this country budget is,once again,balanced. The young would not be perpetually paying for the old.
What about me? Do I have to work until I'm 950?

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