TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Lisa Napoli: Well, the United Auto Workers strike against GM is over. The union held a news conference about a couple hours ago to announce a tentative agreement. I talked to GM spokesman Tom Wickham about it.
Tom Wickham: Well, the national agreement covers benefits including pensions, health care, wages. And there were a lot of issues discussed, from job security to other matters, and including investments in our facilities. And what we are looking at here is an agreement that is going to help us close the fundamental competitive gaps that exist in our business.
Napoli: Can you explain what you mean by that?
Wickham: The competitive gaps deal primarily with the fact that we work at a disadvantage versus the transplant operations. And with this agreement, we will be able to make our operations more competitive, which will benefit all our employees and customers.
Napoli: Can you give me maybe one specific about the contract that makes it look like an off-shore kind of facility, or is it . . .
Wickham: Well, what really stands out about this is the tentative agreement includes a memorandum of understanding to establish an independent health care trust. And that is very similar to an account in which money is deposited and earns interest and returns, and that is used to fund the benefits.
Napoli: And that’s not like anything the UAW’s had with you before?
Wickham: That is correct. This is a major step forward for both of our organizations to improve our competitiveness and, you know, provide security for employees and retirees.
Napoli: That’s GM spokesman Tom Wickham, speaking this morning from Michigan.
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