Expert Insight: Gilmore's Daily Jab
By Dan Gilmore
Date: Apr. 30, 2009

Supply Chain Comment: Health Care Costs for Manufacturers Gone Amuck


Hard to Believe Who Will Be Dominant Shareholder in New Chrysler-Fiat

It doesn’t matter what your views are on how to revamp the US medical system – single (government) payer system, private insurance disconnected from employment, or anything in-between – all of us should agree something needs changed.

I say this as I read of a pre-packaged bankruptcy for Chrysler that is supposed to be announced Thursday.

Beyond the just amazing bad shape the US (and to a large extent the global) auto industry is in, here is what is amazing to me: by far the largest shareholder of a new entity that will combine Chrysler and Italy’s also struggling Fiat will be…

The US government? No.

The Chrysler bond holders? No.

Fiat? No.

It will be a union retiree health-care trust fund, which will hold an astounding 55% of the new company.

Is this not almost surreal? The retiree health care fund is far and away the largest shareholder?

This is the result of many things, including now obviously silly contracts Chrysler and the other OEMs signed back in the day, but this is just insane. Will the healthcare fund dominate the board, name the CEO, start approving car designs, and more?

Who knows. Part of it, of course, may also be that the pro-labor government used its now enormous clout to keep the union from also getting an additional haircut (the UAW is reducing labor costs for Chrysler as part of the deal), but nevertheless, this is simply bizarre. 

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Dan Gilmore is the editor of Supply Chain Digest.

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Will the healthcare fund dominate the board, name the CEO, start approving car designs, and more?

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