In a restructured GM, no new role for UAW

Kansas City StarMay 29, 2009 

Don't expect United Auto Workers chief Ron Gettelfinger to be at the wheel of a remade General Motors.

With GM workers set to approve a concessionary contract today, the UAW’s retiree health-care trust will own about 17.5 percent of the common stock in a restructured GM. All parties involved are hoping a new GM — freed from its money-losing operations — will emerge quickly from a likely bankruptcy filing on Monday.

UAW members at GM’s Fairfax plant, which has about 2,300 hourly workers, approved the agreement Wednesday.

The union’s health-care trust, called a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association or VEBA, expects to have one representative on a 12-member GM board, just as the union’s retiree trust at Chrysler will have a seat on a nine-member board. (The trust at Chrysler will own 55 percent of Chrysler after it emerges from bankruptcy.)

Nevertheless, a remade GM is not expected to translate into a remade role for the UAW, which will represent 40,000 GM hourly employees after downsizing eliminates 21,000 more jobs by the end of next year.

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