Your Bailout Tax Dollars At Work – The UAW’s Gold Plated Golf Course

Money pit: The UAW’s gold-plated golf course

By Michelle Malkin  •  December 16, 2008 06:58 PM

President Bush and the Democrats are happily hammering out the final details of the UAW bailout. The union fatcats are laughing all the way to the…golf course. Their gold-plated golf course. Oh, wait, President Bush forgot to mention it.

And while everyone’s blabbering about “concessions,” here’s a question: If the auto CEOs have to give up their jets, what about the UAW brass and their posh resort?


Black Lake Golf Course

“Owned and operated by the United Auto Workers union, Black Lake is a public course that provides UAW members and retirees substantial discounts from the regular greens fees. But even at regular rates of up to $95 per round, Black Lake is worth the price. Tee time reservations are accepted up to 14 days in advance for UAW members, and three days in advance for public play.”


Black Lake Golf Club is the newest addition to the UAW’s Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center, situated on 1,000 heavily forested acres along the southeast side of Black Lake, one of Michigan’s largest inland lakes near Onaway, Michigan.

Black Lake Golf Club complements the Center’s recreational facilities, which now include a beautiful gym with two full-sized basketball courts, an Olympic-size indoor pool, and exercise and weight room, table-tennis and pool tables, a sauna, beaches, walking and bike trails, softball and soccer fields and a boat launch ramp.

The UAW selected one of golf’s most acclaimed course architects, Rees Jones, to design an environmentally responsible, championship caliber course. It was a challenge eagerly embraced by Jones, Golf World Magazine’s “Architect of the Year” in 1995.

Like everything else we’re subsidizing, it’s a money pit:

Down a lonely country road far from the interstate hangs a banner at the UAW’s golf course: “Public welcome.” But a review of the golf course and adjacent education center’s financial statements indicate that not enough people have been visiting.

The UAW International’s golf course and education center operations on 1,000 acres near Onaway have together lost $23 million over the past five years, independent audits obtained by the Free Press show. Both are run as for-profit corporations, according to paperwork filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, and the UAW has been propping them up with loans.

“There’s a lot of debate over what to do,” said Arthur Wheaton, a union expert from Cornell University. “They’ve been having trouble there trying to get enough people to go through there to justify the expense,” he added.

…While the UAW International has a huge reserve of money, the union filed financial records with the federal government stating that it spent about $2.7 million more than it took in during 2007 — the third time over the past five years that the union spending exceeded receipts, records show.

“All you have to do is look at the membership trends and realize that there was a golden age when they could easily support the education center,” said Hal Stack, director of the Labor Studies Center at Wayne State University.

“It could be that either things turn around or they sell it,” he added.

From a peak of 1.5 million members in the 1970s, the UAW ranks have dropped to just 465,000 regular members, according to its most recent federal filings.

In 2007 the UAW had receipts — union dues, fees and other income — of $327.6 million and it spent $330.3 million. While losing members, the UAW International, since at least 2000, has been able to hold fairly steady in the amount of money it brings in and spends, according to federal records. It has $1.2 billion in net assets.

Gregg Shotwell, a UAW activist, is not troubled to learn that the education center is losing money. “When you are educating and training union members, that’s the business of the union. That’s never a loss,” Shotwell said.

But the golf course is a different story to Shotwell. “We should be running a union — not a country club,” he said.

The DC Examiner lambastes the UAW and its enablers: Make UAW Sell its Championship Golf Course Before a Bailout




$17 Billion Dollars of Taxpayor Money for Two of the “Detroit 3” – General Motors and Chrysler are to receive $17 Billi0n Dollars in Taxpayor money. Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Company of American, Hundai USA, KIA USA, Honda of America, Volkswagon of America, nor any of the other Automobile Manufacturing Companies in the United States will, as a group, receive nothing in support of their activities in this Country.

What are GM and Chrysler doing for this $17 Billion Dollars?

Here is what they are not doing: They are not scheduling meetings with the UAW to work out a “NEW BUSINESS PLAN” that will allow the Companies to survive and prosper. They are not scheduling discussions with their supplier chain or sales and distrubution networks. They are NOT USING THE TIME TO FINALIZE THE SHUT DOWN OF THE “JOBS BANK PROGRAM” – THE PROGRAM THAT PAYS WORKERS NOT TO WORK, FOR UP TO 4 YEARS.

What are General Motors and Chrysler doing with your tax dollars – they a re closing their plants and shutting down production for 30 days – USING YOUIR TAX DOLLARS TO PROVIDE THEIR EMPLOYEES A 30 DAY PAID VACATION AT TAX PAYOR EXPENSE.

I wonder if you cab double dip – collect your “Job Bank Pay” not to work and get your 30 day paid vacation at the same time. I’m sure the UAW would consider that reasonable.    

Let your Congressperson know how you feel about this use of taxpayor dollars.

The UAW & The Detroit 3 – A Dysfunctional Relationship That Bankrupted The American Auto Industry

Just 12 months ago – after record setting losses by the “Detroit 3” ……….

UAW Puts Chrysler on Strike Notice


 UAW Strikes Chrysler!


UAW workers just walked out of Chrysler assembly plants.

UAW On Strike Against GM

DETROIT, Sept. 25, 2007

(CBS/AP) Thousands of United Auto Workers walked off the job at General Motors Corp. plants around the country Monday.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said the union launched the strike after “one-sided negotiations” failed to reach an agreement.
If you’re looking to buy a car, you’re not going to notice this strike, reports CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason. GM has a two-month backlog of inventory that will keep it in business for a while.
“The bargaining involves complex, difficult issues that affect the job security of our U.S. work force and the long-term viability of the company,” he said. “We remain fully committed to working with the UAW to develop solutions together to address the competitive challenges facing GM.”

Just weeks after GM announced a $38 Billion Dollar loss in the third quarter of 2007 ………

UAW’s Gettelfinger: General Motors “Pushed Us Into a Strike”


 Indeed, it will hurt GM. It will cost hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when GM’s turnaround is just beginning to take hold, but remains fragile. It will hurt GM sales at a time when GM has had some sales momentum in specific areas, like the Saturn division and the crossover segment. And GM is on the eve of launching some critical new models, specifically the Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac CTS.

The 1998 strike was debilitating to GM. The automaker lost money and market share — share it never regained.

GM has to stick to its guns for its survival. No way will GM CEO Rick Wagoner sign a deal like the one former GM Chairman Bob Stempel did more than a decade ago. That one still reverberates on GM’s balance sheet.

In those 1990 negotiations, Stempel, so as not to bear a strike, was seen as caving to the union on issues of job security, and the Jobs Bank that pays people in full when they are displaced from their jobs but maintains pay and benefits, like health care coverage and pensions for active workers and retirees.

Subsequently, a boardroom coup led to the ouster of Stempel and GM President Lloyd Reuss, with the union contract at the top of the list of their transgressions.

GM is still paying for that contract today.

Lengthy UAW Strike Could Cost GM Billions, September 25, 2007 · In calling a strike against General Motors Corp., the United Auto Workers took a bold gamble that it could get a stronger contract by shutting down an already weakened company.

Monday saw 73,000 UAW members at about 80 U.S. facilities walk off the job, citing concerns over job security and health care. The dramatic move came after 20 days of negotiations. The talks continue.

If the strike does drag on, it could take a huge toll on both sides.

If the strike lasts longer than a week or two, it could cost GM billions of dollars and stop the momentum the company was building with some of its new models, industry analysts said.

A strike lasting close to a month or more would cause GM to burn up $8.1 billion in the first month and $7.2 billion in the second month. They are losing money every day the strike takes place. Very shortly it will paralyze their Canadian and Mexico operations,” Shaiken said.

“They are losing money every day the strike takes place. Very shortly it will paralyze their Canadian and Mexico operations,” Shaiken said.

But the longer the union stays on the picket lines, the more it could encourage GM to ship more jobs abroad.


Steven Pearlstein                                                                                                                                                                                       Washington Post Columnist
Wednesday, September 26, 2007; 11:00 AM

You raise an interesting question though: suppose a company’s wages and benefits have got way out of line, with serious consequences for the competitiveness and profitability of the company. Its losing lots of money. If you are a worker, you can bitch and moan and say, “Why should I have to take a $12 pay cut?” just to use your hypothetical. Getting your pay cut is a lousy thing to have happen to you. Or you can say, “Look, we obviously got way above market for my set of skills, I had a good run at above market wages, and now I have to decide if I want to work for a market wage, which is less, or try to earn more by looking for a new job. But I understand that if I don’t agree to cut my wage, there won’t be a company left to work for for very long, or it will file for bankruptcy reorganization and I’ll be paid $12 less anyway, only my pension will be seized by the creditors.” So this is the reality. You chose to see it only through the narrow lens of the worker, and come up thinking its unfair. But tell me: was it “fair” that, for all those years when the Big Three owned the US market, that people paid more for their cars (on a quality adjusted basis) than they should have so these workers could earn twice what other American workers did with the same skills, working under the same conditions? The harsh truth is that, in business and economics, fairness in that sense doesn’t have much to do with things.

Strike 2: UAW shuts down Chrysler

More than 32,000 workers start second nationwide auto strike in less than two weeks, this time hitting No. 4 U.S. automaker.

By Chris Isidore, senior writer

NEW YORK ( — More than 32,000 members of the United Auto Workers union struck Chrysler LLC on Wednesday, after marathon labor talks between the union and the money-losing automaker failed to avert the industry’s second strike in two weeks.

The strike affects 18 manufacturing plants and 30 other facilities, spread across 14 states.

The new CEO of Chrysler is Robert Nardelli, who was ousted as the CEO at retailer Home Depot (Charts, Fortune 500) after a dispute over his lucrative pay package, coupled with that company’s poor stock performance.

The union’s members at Chrysler get $28.75 an hour in straight wages, according to Chrysler. That comes to just under $59,000 pay when calculated for a 52-week, 40-hour a week year. Overtime pay and other adjustments generally takes the pay even higher.

But the total labor cost is far above that hourly wage when the cost of health care for both active and retired employees, as well as pension and other benefits, are factored in. Chrysler estimates it pays $75.86 an hour in total hourly labor costs. That’s not only significantly more than the $46 an hour average at the U.S. plants of Asian automakers, but it’s also higher than GM and Ford have been paying.

GM’s labor costs came to $73.26 an hour even before the latest cost-saving labor deal, while Ford was paying $70.51.


UAW strikes American Axle                                                                                                                    March 28th, 2008

The strike sends 3,650 American Axle workers in Michigan and New York to the picket lines and threatens to snarl truck production at General Motors Corp., the parts maker’s largest customer.

UAW on strike at GM crossover plant in Michigan                                        Thu Apr 17, 2008


DETROIT (Reuters) – A local unit of the United Auto Workers went on strike on Thursday at a General Motors Corp (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plant that builds fast-selling crossover vehicles, adding to disruptions caused by the union’s walkout at American Axle & Manufacturing, a major supplier to the automaker.



Members of UAW Local 602 who work at GM’s Lansing Delta Township plant near Lansing, Michigan, walked off the job just after 10 a.m. ET after the automaker and local union leaders failed to agree on work rules and other issues.


shed: Mar 07, 2008 12:30 AM

Modified: Mar 07, 2008 02:41 AM

DETROIT – General Motors shut down another plant Thursday …..

GM temporarily idled its Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant after it ran out of parts from American Axle. The plant employs nearly 2,000 people and makes the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express vans.

About 3,600 UAW workers at five American Axle plants in Michigan and New York walked off their jobs Feb. 26.

GM said that including the plants that are set to close Monday, about 19,000 manufacturing workers have been affected by the shutdowns, or nearly a quarter of its North American manufacturing work force.

As Talks Drag, American Axle Strike Enters Third Month  

 Although the two-month-old strike at parts-maker American Axle (AAM) has shut down 30 General Motors plants and idled more than 40,000 GM workers, the United Auto Workers appear unable or unwilling to make use of their leverage to reach a settlement.





Wednesday February 27, 2008, 8:43 PM

“What was once the model (GM) spin-off is now the highest-cost supplier in North America,” Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor said Wednesday. “It’s sad to see. It’s not a good signal for Michigan once again.” 

In a statement, American Axle Chairman Richard Dauch said the company isn’t competitive at its current wage-and-benefit level.

The total cost of wages and benefits is more than $70 an hour, Dauch says, while competitors such as Dana Corp. are paying $20 to $30 an hour in total wages and benefits. American Axle did post a profit of $37 million last year, but the earnings were an anemic 1 percent of sales.

In its 2007 annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Feb. 21, American Axle said it’s working to diversify its products beyond truck axles. But the company said its ability to compete for new business “may be adversely impacted” if it is unsuccessful in cutting labor costs in a new UAW contract.

GM: Strikes will cost it $2B pretax in 2Q




With this dysfunctional history why should the Detroit 3 and UAW be trusted with $34 Billion in taxpayor funds? How can anyone be surprised that these Companies are Bankrupt!
DETROIT — General Motors’ (GM) stock fell almost 5% Friday after the company reported that strikes at some of its own plants and parts supplier American Axle (AXL) will cost the automaker about $2 billion before taxes in the second quarter. GM also expects to produce 230,000 fewer vehicles during the quarter due to the nearly three-month American Axle strike, which crippled its production of large sport-utility vehicles and pickups. The other strikes will cost it 33,000 vehicles. “We anticipate only a portion of this lost production will be recovered, due to the current economic environment in the United States and to the market shift away from the types of vehicles that were impacted by the action at American Axle,” GM said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. GM’s shares fell 83 cents to close at $17.60, after touching $17.38 earlier in the session, their lowest level in nearly 26 years. The last time GM traded below $17.46 was Oct. 6, 1982, when it was at $17.32, according to the Center for Research in Security Prices at the University of Chicago.


Strike at American Axle ‘not a good signal’

by Rick Haglund | Press News Service


According to GM’s website, some 3,300 hourly workers were employed at the plant at the end of April 2007.


GM also faces another possible strike by a UAW local unit at 10 a.m. ET Friday if the company and local leaders at a Warren, Michigan, transmission plant cannot reach agreement.

American Axle strike shuts GM truck plant

Posted by Associated Press February 28, 2008 17:44PM

American Axle strike shuts GM truck plant

Posted by Associated Press February 28, 2008 17:44PM

Categories: Breaking News, Business

DETROIT — General Motors Corp. says it has temporarily shut down a Pontiac pickup truck plant because of a strike at a parts supplier.

GM spokesman Tom Wickham says the Pontiac Assembly Center stopped making trucks when the first shift ended Thursday afternoon. He would not speculate on when the factory might reopen.

The plant employs about 2,500 hourly and salaried workers who make the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. Other plants that make the trucks are still open.

Hummer H2 plant to shut down because of American Axle strike

Mar 3, 2008 at 5:37 PM EST



ST. JOSEPH CO. — The Hummer H2 plant in St. Joseph County will shut down production sometime Tuesday, meaning 400 local workers will be temporarily off the job.



Employees leaving the plant Monday afternoon were preparing themselves for the long haul.

“We might be laid off a long time,” said Victor Miramontes, who works at the plant. “Some people [are] talking until September.”

“We all get affected by it,” said Clarence Bibbs, a non-union employee. “We’re going to lose production, and we’ll just find other things to do.”

Bibbs blames the American Axle workers for the shutdown.

“There’s an alternative solution, rather than going on strike,” Bibbs said. “Nobody wins when you go on strike.”

American Axle strike causes GM to shut Toledo plant

2nd April 2008
By Staff Writer

General Motors has shut down its Ohio-based Toledo plant, which will be the 30th plant the company has closed following a strike at American Axle & Manufacturing, an automotive parts provider, reported Bloomberg. This is reportedly the second time the company has shut the Toledo plant, which employs around 1,663 people, in a matter of four weeks.

According to General Motors’s (GM’s) website, the 30 plants that have been affected employ a total of 43,911 people, which is almost half of the carmaker’s North American manufacturing workforce.               




GM has already been forced to at least partly idle about 30 North American plants because of parts shortages due to the UAW’s more than seven-week strike at American Axle.

Billions In Auto Bonuses While Singin The Bailout Blues

First – The problem with the Detroit 3 is not new nor is it temporary. It is long term and systemic. It will not be solved by a bailout. Why are the “Detroit 3” looking for a bailout? It is not because the economy is in recession. It is because the Detroit 3 are badly managed and have been badly managed for so many decades that they cannot now obtain financing on the open market. The “international business marketplace” refuses to invest in the ‘Detroit 3″ so they are looking for a “public handout”. A “Bailout” with public funds will provide the UAW and Auto Exces one last chance to divide up one last “Big Payday” before they go under. Only after a bankruptcy and a wholesale change in both Mangement and Union Leadership will the Detroit 3 have a chance to survive.  

Secondly, to imply that GM, Ford & Chrysler LLC, are the “American” Auto Industry is disingenous. With global investing GM, Ford & Chrysler are no more American than Honda, Toyota or Hundai. Any American can invest in the “New American Auto” Industry as  the Wall Street Journal calls it – but Americans cannot invest in Chrysler LLC – it is a privately owned company and no one knows who actually “owns” Chrysler LLC because Cerebus Capital Management’s ownership is a closely guarded secret.

The largest investors in GM and Ford are Capital Management firms, hedge funds and Mutual Funds. There is no way to determine whether the individuals who have invested in those firms are “American” or from “Communist China”. Communist China controls a significant interests in many of the remaining “American” banks and investment firms.                                                   {C8B110EC-2538-4461-97C8-0FD7F1CAEF15}&dist=hplatest                                    

Why do writers insist on calling these companies “American”. We don’t know who owns the stock or who the investors are. As for GM and Ford, either could be bought by a foreign corporation tomorrow the same way Chrysler was purchased, first by Daimler then by Cerebus. 

CHRYSLER LLC – CEREBUS Capital Management

Chrysler is owned by a private equity company – CEREBUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT – Cerebus is named after the mythical three three headed dog that guards the gates of hell–ID__112328–/free-co-factsheet.xhtml?cm_ven=PAID&cm_cat=INK&cm_pla=CO1&cm_ite=cerberus-capital-management )

Cerebus is a private capital investment firm that owns shares in companies all over the world. Cerebus was formed in 1992. It has its own bank, a Japanese Bank not an “American” bank, named Aozora.

Cerebus’ Chairman is none other than former Vice-President Dan Quayle.

But who owns Cerebus – no one knows – it is a “private” and “unregulated” company. “It has come to this. A firm that made its name, and its fortune, feeding off companies in their death throes is demanding a government bailout.” 

No one knows if Cerebus is anymore of an American Company than Daimler was or the China Investmant bank is.                                                                                                                         

The US government can’t own shares in Chrysler LLC and the Cerebus Investors have extremely limited liability for any bailout money we put in their pockets, “Chrysler is 81% owned by Cerebus Capital Management and 19% by Daimler AG. It is not a public company and you cannot buy or sell its stock. (It was a public company until last year when Daimler sold most of Chrysler to Cerebus.) An LLC is a corporate structure that limits the liability of its stockholders, similarly to a corporation.”

Cerberus is headquartered in New York City with affiliate and/or advisory offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Baarn, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Osaka and Taipei.

Cerebus was described this way, “Cerberus Capital Management is the very real private equity firm — one of the bidders in play for the Chrysler Group — that guards the privacy of its dealings almost as jealously. USA Today takes a look at the firm and reveals a company with a “fierce reputation” and “a combative, take-no-prisoners style.”The list of companies that are either owned by Cerebus or which the company has majority stakes include: Alamo and National rental car, Fila, Blue Bird yellow buses, Rafaella clothing, GMAC, Aegis Mortgage, auto suppliers CTA Acoustics and GDX Automotive, Remington Arms, Bell Canada, Tower Automotive, banks, mortgage companies, and property managers.” When it bought Chrylser, Cerberus instantly doubled its annual revenue, but revenue isn’t the prime concern for private equity firms — return on investment is. The issue is that no one knows how Cerberus would go about increasing return from Chrysler.”                                                                                                                                                               

Now we know how they plan on increasing the return – a taxpayer subsidized bailout. “The UAW and the Canadian Auto Workers have publicly opposed the sale of Chrysler “to Cerebus or any other private equity group.”
In 1984 Chrysler employed approximately 80,000 workers. (1984-09-01, Chrysler Corp. completed its 4-year employee stock ownership plan by distributing 1,661,691 shares of common stock to more than 80,000 employees, including 63,000 members of the United Auto Workers union.)
In October 2008 it was estimated that Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep combined employed 49,000.;_ylt=Ak0_ss1oGMILRC6Sai7xc3KmN3wV?p=Chrysler+LLC+Employees+2008&fr=att-portal&toggle=1&cop=&ei=UTF-8                                          
Chrysler is only a very small piece of the Cerebus pie. Why should the American taxpayers “bailout” a huge, private, mulitnational firm with hundreds of Billions of dollars in assests and dozens of companies under its control?
Cerebus would like to sell Chrysler, but Chrysler is so dysfunctional Cerebus cannot find a buyer.  If Chrysler is a bad bet for Daimler and Cerebus, it is a bad bet for the US taxpayer.
General Motors Corporation
For those who argue GM is the victim of a sudden economic downturn, let me remind you that GM’s largest individual shareholder at the time. Kirk Kerkorian, was reported to have said this in January 2006. “General Motors Corp must cut its dividend, executive salaries and brand structure if it hopes to return to profitability”. Jerry York, an adviser to investor Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp, said GM is currently burning through 24 mln usd per day, Agence France-Presse reported. He said the automaker must change its mindset to operate in ‘crisis mode’ and recognize the challenges it faces in the coming months. But unlike a number of analysts who have warned that GM is at risk of bankruptcy, York expressed confidence in the automaker’s ability to create shareholder value even after its shares fell more than 50 pct in the past year.
Lets see; near bankruptcy, lost 50% of stock value in the last year, “must act in crisis mode”, and this situation wasn’t new in January 2006, GM had been facing the same issues for at least 8 years running. In November 2006 Kerkorian sold his GM stock, see below.  
As to General Motors, which is in business with Cerebus as joint owners of GMAC – what are they doing to improve their economic performance – stripping out their valuable subsidiaries and setting them up as private companies, “GMAC, the money-losing finance company, sold a reinsurance business to Maiden Holdings Ltd and plans to sell two insurance units to the Bermuda-based company, to bolster capital and add liquidity. Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP owns 51 percent of Detroit-based GMAC, while General Motors Corp owns 49 percent.”
Who is running “Maiden Holdings” – former GMAC executives. The same Executives who led to these types of problems, “GMAC is shedding profitable assets after suffering $7.2 billion of losses in the seven quarters ended June 30. The lender has been hurt by soaring credit losses at its Residential Capital LLC mortgage unit and by write-down of leases on sport-utility vehicles that drivers no longer want. GMAC’s credit ratings have fallen deep into junk status.”
Who owns GM? Just two years ago Renault & Nissan offerred to buy a “significant minority interest in the carmaker. Kurt Kerkorian, the Billionare American Investor, who owned 9.9% of GM through his Tracinda Corporation publicly favored the partnership. GM would not consumate the deal. In November 2006 Kerkorian announced he would sell 14 Million shares in GM, in a “private transaction”, at $33 per share. Later that month, Kerkorian “dumped” his remaining GM shares at $28.75 per share.
It was reported that Bank of America purchased the stock. It was unknown if Bank of America retained the shares (9.9% of GM) or re-sold them. Morgan Stanley owned 5% of GM in 2006. Morgan Stanley and Bank of America were, in turn, partially owned by the China Investment bank. 
Three months prior to Kerkorian dumping his GM stock in November 2006, two other “Investment Firms” dumped GM stock in August 2006. The news reports stated, “Two Major Investors Sell Blocks of GM Shares”, “California-based investment firms that rank as the second-and third-largest institutional investors in General Motors Corp. have sold big blocks of the automaker’s stock, according to regulatory filings. Capital Research & Management Co. of Los Angeles, GM’s second-largest investor, sold 19.2 million shares, or 24% of its holdings in the company, according to second-quarter reports filed this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company’s third-largest investor, Brandes Investment  Partners of San Diego, sold 2.4 million shares, or 4% of its holdings. Neither company would comment, saying they do not discuss their investments.”
These firms also guard the identity of those who control the money they are investing. This article went on to note that, “Credit Suisse bought 11.5 million shares to become the sixth-largest investor in GM” at that time.  Credit Suisse is a Swiss Bank/Holding Company.   
The point is, there is no way to tell who “owns” GM. Many of the shares are “held” by Banks, Investment Firms, Hedge Funds and Capital Management firms, but “who” owns the money invested by those firms is unknown. Investors from all over the globe are free to deposit their money with these firms.
If GM is a bad bet for Kirk Kerkorian and the International Investment Community, it is a bad bet for the American taxpayer. 
GM, the largest of the “Detroit 3” may employ as many as 123,000 or as few as 74,000 at present.  Analyst state GM needs to downsize by half. (Retaining 40,000 to 60,000 workers). Optomistic analysts report GM has already reduced its headcount to 74,000 after announcing 4 more plant closing and the elimination of an additional 10,000 workers in June 2008.
These cuts follow 30,000 job cuts in 2005,
34,000 jobs in 2006,
and 30,000 more in 2007. In February 2008, after posting a $38 Billion Loss, Business Net noted the 2007 job cuts and stated, “After cutting more than 30,000 employees in the last round of restructuring, GM is now offering buy-outs to all 74,000 staff.”
During this same time period, “foreign automakers have built or announced plans to build five U.S. assembly plants, he said. In 2007, foreign auto companies employed 113,000 people in the U.S., a number McAlinden projects will rise to 152,000 by 2011.”
International Financial analysts have stated that GM’s future, even given a “bailout” looks bleak,  “An analyst forecast their price would fall to zero, saying that even if there is a government bailout of the auto giant, shareholders would not benefit. “We are lowering our target on GM equity to zero dollars,” the Deutsche Bank report said. “Even if GM succeeds in averting a bankruptcy, we believe that the company’s future path is likely to be bankruptcy-like,” it said.”
Ford Motor Company
“Financier Kirk Kerkorian is pulling out of the stake he took in Ford Motor Co. just six months ago, selling 7.3 million shares at a fraction of his purchase price.” “Kerkorian announced in April that he had bought 100 million shares for an average price of $6.91. He then announced a tender offer under which he paid $8.50 a share for an additional 20 million shares. In addition he bought another 22.3 million shares between late April and mid-June at an average price of $6.54 a share, giving his total investment an average price of just over $7 a share.” “I don’t know if Ford’s North American operations are even going to profitable by 2010,” said Kevin Tynan, auto analyst with Argus Research.

Kerkorian sold his shares for a little more than $2 a piece, losing almost $5 a share and taking a Billion Dollar plus loss. If Kerkorian was willing to take a Billion Dollar loss to get rid of his Ford shares, why is Ford a good bet for American taxpayers?

Art Hogan, chief investment strategist at Jefferies & Co., said that Kerkorian signalling that he wants out of the auto industry is yet another nail in the industry’s prospects in the eyes of investors.”Do you need a good excuse to pull out of Ford? What you need is an excuse for getting in in the first place,” said Hogan. “It’s been in demise for a decade.”

“GM, Ford stock sell-off contributes to Dow’s drop”, GM lost half of its value — or $2.7 billion — and Ford has lost 60 percent, or $7 billion. [The combined value of the Detroit 3 is estimated at 9.2 Billion, $2.7 Billion for GM, $4.7 Billion for Ford, 1.8 Billion for Chrysler]    

“Ford to sell $500m in new stock”, In an effort to secure more capital and reduce debt, Ford plans to sell $500m in new stock. Ford will use the cash infusion to buy bonds from Ford Motor Credit, which has been strugling with the slow economy and nation-wide credit crunch. Goldman Sachs is handling the stock sale, and Ford has given no timetable for when the stocks will enter the market. Ford has already exchanged debt for equity to the tune of $927m in the past year. With shares of Ford stock at under $5 per share right now, anybody can own a share of the Blue Oval for the price of a value meal.”  

Unfortunately, there were no takers, the International Investment Community is just not interested.  


In September Ford announced plans to close nine plants by 2008 and another seven plants after that, more than half of its U.S. hourly employees recently agreed to take one of the various packages to leave the company in the coming months.


The New York Times reported, “Highly Rated Auto Plants Set to Close”, Some of the most productive automobile factories, as rated by an influential study released Thursday, are closing down or losing large numbers of jobs in the motor industry’s upheaval. “Among the factories scheduled to close are a General Motors minivan plant in Doraville, Ga., and the Ford Motor Company’s midsize pickup truck plant in St. Paul, both of which ranked first in their segments in this year’s Harbour Report on automotive productivity. The top-rated full-size pickup plant, a Ford factory in Norfolk, Va., closed a year ago, showing that even the best-run plants are not immune to cuts. Two of the top three large S.U.V. plants are closing, as is the second-ranked midsize S.U.V. plant. The plant that ranked fourth over all, where Chrysler builds compact cars and crossovers in Belvidere, Ill., recently lost one of its three shifts. G.M.’s plant in Orion Township, Mich., ranked last in the midsize-car segment, taking 65 percent longer to build each vehicle than the top performer, while its plant in Moraine, Ohio, ranked second in midsize S.U.V.’s. But this week G.M. said it would add a third shift in Orion and close the Moraine factory.”

Plant closings are negotiated with the UAW.


Ford Motor Company Happy With Profit                                                                Australian News.Net
Friday 25th April, 2008                                                                                      
The Ford Motor Company in the US has posted a US$100 million profit for the period from January to April. Most companies reported losses for the first quarter of 2008 due to the economic slump and the subprime mortgage crisis, but Ford has attributed its success to its job reduction scheme in North America and triple earnings in Europe.

Chrysler leaders get millions                                                                  Automaker defends payouts amid looming bailout talks                                      As Detroit’s crumbling auto industry asks Congress for a bailout, Chrysler is in the awkward position of paying about $30 million in retention bonuses to keep top executives while the company cuts thousands of jobs.


DEARBORN, Mich., May 4 – Philip Caldwell, the chairman of the Ford Motor Company, today defended the large bonuses paid to auto executives last year …..


To some people, the decision of General Motors and Ford, the two largest automobile makers, to pay record bonuses to their executives while enjoying protection

More UAW workers bankrupt                                                                                                     Autoworkers who used to thrive on overtime now find it tough to keep up their lifestyles. Oscar Gray achieved the good life during 28 years of hard work at Delphi Corporation — a six-figure income, a nice home in Holly and two vehicles. But as Michigan’s auto industry tanked in recent years, the forklift operator lost huge amounts of overtime pay and gradually sank into financial ruin. Saddled with $469,000 in debt, he declared bankruptcy last month. Gray didn’t lose his job. His health isn’t failing, and he is not going through a divorce — the typical reasons many declare bankruptcy. Gray has been losing overtime. His gross pay was cut $16,000 one year, sliding to $87,000, and may dip again …. Despite the loss of time-and-a-half pay, some Michigan autoworkers continue to live large. Many bankrupt autoworkers own two homes — one is usually up north — which means multiple mortgages. Most have two or more cars and sometimes a boat or snowmobile payment, according to information culled from cases filed by autoworkers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Michigan.

At the time this article was written, the median annual income (half above/half below) in Michigan was just under $40,000. The article doesn’t address the increases in Michigan’s personal and property tax rates that now make ownership of two homes extremely difficult ….. not only overtime been cut, but taxes on both income, sales and property taxes on homes have gone up. Michigan’s tax rates are not “consumer” or “business” friendly – rather than address those issues the proposed solution from the Michigan Politicans is for the rest of the Country to come up with a “Public Bailout” ………..   

Ford workers get $733M in profit-sharing checks.

DETROIT, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co., is considering paying bonuses to managers for 2006, despite record losses and massive job cuts. Ford reported a record loss of $12.7 billion for 2006, during which its U.S. sales fell 8 percent and it announced plans to close 16 plants and cut over 40,000 jobs in a bid to restore profitability to its North American operations by 2009.

Apparently, absenteeism at GM’s North American plants is such a huge issue that the automaker has to offer more than just a paycheck to get workers to show up. The new labor contract the General signed with the UAW includes an incentive for workers that go a full year without missing a day. Their reward is to be entered into a drawing that gives five lucky employees $15,000 to put towards a new GM car or truck. While the idea of offering an incentive for employees to do their job might be a surprise to the rest of us working stiffs, the auto industry’s hourly workforce has one of the highest annual absenteeism rates in the U.S. A 2004 study showed that about 10-percent of workers aren’t manning their positions during any one point in the year – three-times higher than other industries. Naturally, this has a massive effect on labor costs and quality control.

“New” Auto Industry Plants Pay More Than “Detroit 3” –

UAW Losing Pay Edge: Foreign Automakers’ Bonuses Boost Wages in U.S. Plants as Detroit Car Companies Struggle – February 1, 2007 – The UAW is losing its edge in pay compared with non-unionized U.S. assembly plant workers for foreign companies, even as Detroit automakers aim for deeper benefit cuts to trim their losses. Workers for a foreign automaker for the first time averaged more in base pay and bonuses than UAW members working for domestic automakers, according to an economist for the Center for Automotive Research and figures supplied to the Free Press by auto companies. Toyota Motor Corp. gave workers at its largest U.S. plant bonuses of $6,000 to $8,000. Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are not far behind Toyota and UAW pay levels. Comparable wages have long been one way foreign companies fight off UAW organizing efforts. bonuses_boost_wages_in_us_plants_as_detroit_car_companies_struggle.aspx


You may have read this headline, “Citigroup to cut another 53,000 jobs”, “The company said total headcount is being reduced by 20 percent from its peak of 375,000 at the end of 2007; the company had already announced in October that it was eliminating about 22,000 jobs from those levels. The total workforce reductions include thousands of jobs that will be lost when Citigroup completes the sale of Citi Global Services and its German retail banking business.”;_ylt=AvI.vrNuJO1e5AeczxKJB2Ks0NUE

Even after making these horrendous cuts, Citi will still employ 1 1/2 times the number of employees currently under contract to all of the “Detroit 3” combined. After the cuts Citi will employ approximately 325,000 to approximately 200,000 employees at the “Detroit 3”.

The Detroit 3 are not the only companies dealing with the economic slowdown, all business and all employers are forced to deal with this economy.

Throwing good money after bad at the Detroit 3 is no solution. The “Detroit 3” only accounts for 1/2 of 1 percent of the Gross National Product, slightly less than that produced by the “New Auto Industry Plants”.  The current combined “value” of the entire “Detroit 3” is something under $10 Billion Dolllars. Prior to the election Congress passed a $25 Billion bailout targeted at “retooling” at the ‘Detroit 3″ and the production of “green agenda autos”. That money is currently tied up in the Energy Committee in Congress. Detroit is now asking for an additional $50 Billion Dollars for a  total of a $75 Billion handout. $75 Billion is 7 1/2 times the current value of three companies combined and is equal to a payment of $375,000 for every employee under contract to the “Detroit 3”.

From a business point of view this proposal makes no sense. If the proposal is passed, it will be the biggest political payoff in the history of the Country.

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