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UAW’s Gettelfinger Gives Union Take on Auto Deals

As GM moves closer to a reorganization plan, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger gives the union's perspective on the recent plans to boost the struggling auto industry.

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    The union's rank-and-file members began voting for a potential deal today struck with the government and automaker. It comes with plenty of pain and more layoffs.

    G.M.'s union workforce, now down to about 60,000, is expected to shrink by another 20,000 next year.

    The deal calls for giving the union's health care trust for retirees a substantial stake of the new G.M., totaling 17.5 percent of the company initially, and accounting for nearly half of the money that G.M. promised to pay the trust back in 2007.

    Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, spoke with United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger in Detroit today about the deal, which also limits the number of G.M. cars manufactured in China and sold here.

    PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour economics correspondent: Ron Gettelfinger, welcome.

    RON GETTELFINGER, United Auto Workers president: Well, thank you, and thank you for having the UAW on your program.


    What is the G.M. deal as of now?


    Well, we're in the process of ratification. It's a concessionary agreement. And we basically mirrored what it was that we did at Chrysler.

    And, you know, it's an agreement that changes a lot of work rules within the plants, but it also takes away holidays. It takes away performance bonuses and et cetera. Cost of living is now gone. So it's pretty dramatic from a standpoint of our membership; there's no question about that.

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