Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gettelfinger: Big Three are 'posturing'

Saturday, June 23, 2007
Gettelfinger: Big Three are 'posturing'
UAW head dismisses talk that union must cut worker pay by $30 an hour.
Sharon Terlep / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- UAW President Ron Gettelfinger disputed U.S. automakers' claims that they must cut workers' pay and benefits by $30 an hour to compete with foreign rivals.

In an online chat Friday with United Auto Workers members, Gettelfinger dismissed the figure as "posturing" and said he will not debate the issue in the press.

"Unfortunately, the newspapers keep repeating that the auto companies 'need' a $30 reduction in hourly wages and benefits," Gettelfinger said in the morning chat. "In our opinion, this is nothing more than posturing by the auto companies."

The Detroit automakers are expected to press for deep concessions from the UAW when negotiations on a four-year national contract begin this summer.

The automakers have stressed cost disadvantages compared with Toyota Motor Co. and other foreign companies with U.S. plants, which pay hourly wages similar to the domestic companies but don't have the high health care and retiree costs.

Informal contact talks have begun, and formally begin on July 23. The contract with the automakers expires in September.

© Copyright 2007 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


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