Change coming at UAW

Janet Babin Jun 12, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: The people who work for the big US automakers are having some tough times. GM and Ford are cutting jobs by the tens of thousands and closing plants all over the country.And they’re asking the unions to accept some pretty big changes to health insurance and other things.

Today, those union employees are getting together for a convention in Las Vegas. The president of the United Auto Workers says the UAW is gonna have to bite the bullet and accept all this change. More now from Janet Babin.

JANET BABIN: UAW president Ron Gettelfinger says the union should use a more collaborative approach when hammering out contracts with automakers. He blamed rising health care costs and bad management decisions for the industry’s problems.

Bob Schulties runs the Web site Cars, Cars, Cars. He says automakers should stop complaining and start selling/

BOB SCHULTIES: They keep saying that the health benefits are costing x amt of dollars per vehicle, and while that’s true, I don’t think it would be an issue if Detroit wasn’t at about 53 percent of the market share. Their product is not catching the interest of consumers.

Last week might have been an example of the UAW’s new style: The union reached and agreement with auto parts supplier Delphi. The deal would offer workers payouts of up to $140,000 if they retire early.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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