UAW Looks Towards Clawbacks

I suppose this was to be expected, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing.

The WSJ reports that Ron Gettelfinger, the outgoing President of the UAW, said today that he expects that the resurrection of Chrysler and GM will prompt the union to bargain to claw back some of the concessions they made to help the companies survive. He did not specify what the union intended to seek to have returned.

Expecting the UAW to derive a lesson or two from their near death experience is probably as unreasonable as hearing Barney Frank admit that he had a causative role in the housing crisis. Unfortunately, Gettelfinger seems to be completely oblivious to reality:

Mr. Gettelfinger also defended his union, saying the bankruptcies were not the fault of the UAW but rather an unexpected spike in gas prices and a historic recession driven by the housing and mortgage crises.

“It was not the fault of the industry. It was not the fault of the union,” Mr. Gettelfinger told a group of reporters in Detroit.

Got that? In Gettelfinger’s world the domestic auto companies were perfectly capable of competing with the transplants despite significantly higher wages and benefits, crushing legacy costs, bloated and unpopular product lines and sclerotic management bureaucracies. No wonder he wants his bennies back. In his world there was never a reason to give them up to begin with.

Think you might take a flyer on the GM IPO? Be my guest.

About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

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