Disgruntled Autoworker
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Disgruntled Autoworker # 26   March 06'

Ford Retirees Fight for Benefits

I must begin by apologizing for plagiarizing Disgruntled Autoworker # 24. However, I felt it was necessary because the message is almost the same. The only difference is Ford retirees’ pensions are being threatened by Ford and the UAW International, whereas # 24 dealt with GM retirees. And odds are I’ll be plagiarizing this letter yet again for DaimlerChrysler retirees in a week or two.

On February 24, 2006 the UAW’s lawyers asked a federal judge to approve its deal with Ford to cut health care for retirees, spouses and dependents. Just like they did for GM, the UAW’s lawyers went before the judge with a hand full of carefully selected retirees who claimed to speak for all Ford retirees. And just like they did for GM, the retirees in question were ex-union officials, appointees and the usual assortment of ex-do-nothings who don’t have a clue about unionism.

The UAW International Executive Board does not have the right to represent retirees, which is why they had their lawyers file lawsuits against GM and Ford. Their main objective is to get a judge to grant them the right to represent the retirees. On the surface this sounds like the UAW is looking out for retirees, but if you read the fine print of the Settlement Agreements, you’ll find that both GM and Ford are picking up the tab for the UAW’s Law Firm of Stember Feinstein. That, in and of itself, should tell you something very fishy is going on here. It should also be noted that Stember Feinstein is the same Firm that represented Bethlehem Steelworkers, whose retirees lost their pensions.

According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, “Legal experts immediately suggested that UAW Leaders took such an unusual step to keep disgruntled retirees from challenging the union’s right to negotiate concessions and tying the deal up in years of litigation.”

“They’re worried about being sued by retirees for changing benefits,” said Brian Johnson, a lawyer and auto industry expert who advises investors for Sanford Bernstein. “They’re seeking to make sure they don’t,” Johnson added. If successful, the UAW’s actions will set a precedence that will open the door to future retiree concessions, not only for GM and Ford, but for DaimlerChrysler autoworkers as well.

Attorney Mark Baumkel represents retirees who object to the UAW/GM and UAW/Ford Settlement Agreements, he believes the UAW, GM, and Ford overstepped their bounds with the Agreements. “As a factual matter, the UAW does not represent retirees. They represent existing workers. You can’t just eliminate retiree benefits just because you’d like to,” Baumkel said in a Detroit Free Press article about the UAW/GM Agreement.

The UAW’s Reps have been in a concessionary mode with the corporations for way to long, and it’s the membership that has paid in the loss of a million members, multi-tiered wages, and a continuing decline in working conditions and benefits. But to side with the corporations and assist them with stealing retirees’ hard-earned benefits, while they themselves give up nothing, is an all-new low.

The same stipulation that applied for GM retirees, applies for Ford retirees, and that is “Any member of the Class who does not file a written objection as this Notice Specifies shall be deemed to have waived his or her objection(s) and shall be forever barred and precluded from making any objection to the fairness or adequacy of the proposed Settlement Agreement.”

Therefore, if you or someone you know is a Ford retiree, spouse or dependent who disagrees with the UAW/Ford Settlement Agreement, fill out, sign, date and mail the following Objection Form to Judge Arthur J. Tarnow, using the address on the form. And then cc a copy of the form to all three addresses listed at the bottom of the form before the April 26, 2006 deadline.

In solidarity, Doug Hanscom




PS: Copies of Objection Forms are available in Microsoft Word Document by request. Send a blank email with the words Objection Form in the subject title to;













Case No.:  05-74730

Hon. Arthur J. Tarnow


Objections to Proposed Settlement Agreement.

The undersigned FORD/UAW hourly retiree or retiree spouse objects to 2/24/06 proposed settlement reducing retiree health care benefits.


X_____________________________(signature—print name and address below line, and fill in date, and mail before 4/28/06  to addresses as set forth below)



City, State, Zip______________________________________


Signed this _____ day of _____________, 2006


Sent before 4/28/06 by First Class U.S. Mail to:

Clerk of the Court

United States District Court for Eastern

District of Michigan, Southern Division

Theodore Levin United States Courthouse

231 W. Lafayette Blvd.

Detroit, Michigan 48226.

Copy also sent to each of the following: postmarked by April 28, 2006:

John Stember

Stember Feinstein

1705 Allegheny Building

429 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Michael F. Saggau

International Union UAW

 8000 East Jefferson

 Detroit, Michigan 48214

Stephen Kulp

Ford Motor Co.

Legal Counsel Office

1 American Rd.

Dearborn, MI 48126


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