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.