Friday, February 10, 2006

We hate Gettelfinger's mustache

UAW Chief Courting Oblivion With Inflexible Stand: Doron Levin

Most labor leaders try to ensure the well-being of workers and the survival of their unions. Not Ron Gettelfinger, president of the United Auto Workers union.

He's about to ensure that his union will have little or no importance in the future of the U.S. auto industry as he pushes the world's No. 1 automaker and employer of tens of thousands of workers toward bankruptcy.

Gettelfinger ought to be explaining to UAW members at General Motors Corp. (and Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG) the hard truth -- openly and plainly -- that above-market wages and lavish benefits were great while they lasted, but have come to an end. Trying to hold on to them to the bitter end will only cause companies to fail and lead to massive job losses.

He could explain the unpleasant reality that reducing pay and benefits will save companies and many jobs. Resisting the inevitable is futile, since judges can and will void union contracts.

Instead, the UAW leader asserted this week that the union is done granting concessions to faltering GM, which is just coming off an $8.6 billion annual net loss and whose bonds are rated as junk.

Last year the UAW agreed to revisions to its health-care plan. And the union may let GM pay workers to quit. GM, on the other hand, can forget about phasing out its ``jobs bank,'' a company-sponsored welfare program that pays hundreds of millions of dollars annually to laid-off workers.


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