The nation’s automakers are preparing to ask for wage and benefit concessions from their workers in early January to meet the conditions of a $17.4 billion federal aid package, but labor officials say they will seek to renegotiate the terms of the bailout rather than make those sacrifices.
The remarks by union leaders have set up yet another contentious battle in the auto industry.
In agreeing to provide federal assistance to General Motors and Chrysler, the White House demanded the companies cut worker compensation to the levels paid at the U.S. divisions of Toyota, Nissan and Honda. But Ron Gettelfinger, president of the United Auto Workers, said this week that he would seek to remove the wage-reduction provision of the loan, calling it “an undue tax on the workers” who have already made “major” sacrifices for the benefit of the auto industry.
Gettelfinger said what is being asked of the autoworkers — who agreed to concessions in 2003, 2005 and 2007 — is “unrealistic.” He has said he wants to work with President-elect Barack Obama to remove the wage provision.
The White House defended the terms of the auto bailout, saying that every stakeholder in the car companies would have to make sacrifices for the companies to survive.
The Unions didn't hold that Democratic/Union Rally in Chicago during the campaign for nothing.