By on January 6, 2009

At first glance, this makes no sense: the head of the United Auto Workers (UAW) telling the world that GM and Chrysler are done feasting at the bailout buffet. “If we can get by without more money, that’s what we want to do,” Big Ron Gettelfinger told Automotive News [AN, sub] in an interview at Solidarity House. And if I could convince my Lexus dealer to give me a new IS-F with a handstand, that’s what I’d want to do. Clearly, Ron Gettelfinger is promising someone a rose garden– while he’s painted the ailing automakers into a corner. Ish. First, this is what car salesman call an “if then” close. Second, Ron told AN that “how well the money holds out will depend on sales volume this year.” Gettelfinger is hopeful that “sales will not dip more than 1 million units below 2008’s depressed 13.1 million.” So, IF U.S. new car sales DON’T dip below 12.1m per year, THEN GM and Chrysler recover without any more federal funding? Nonsense. Make no mistake: Ron’s statement is part of a calculated plan to avoid making any concessions during the federally-mandated negotiations to reduce his members’ pay and benefits. In other words, the UAW doesn’t need to make concessions because everything’s going to be alright. It is, in fact, Ron’s opening gambit. And it’s not bad. But shame on AN for swallowing the union boss’s bait; hook, line and sinker. I mean, what is this…

“The $13.4 billion earmarked for GM may be sufficient, said a source close to the company. When asked directly if GM plans to ask for money beyond the $13.4 billion, the source answered, ‘no.’

‘We’ve got enough’ money from the loan, the source said, ‘in terms of what our downside scenario is.

‘The downside was 10.5 million, which is where most people are. What happens if that downside gets worse? That’s anybody’s guess.'”

I swear AN’s making that shit up. And if they’re not, someone else is. And if someone else is, AN should know enough not to hoist themselves with someone else’s petard. To paraphrase California’s governor, they’ll be back.

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18 Comments on “Bailout Watch 321: UAW Boss: “GM, Chrysler May Not Need More Bailout Bucks”...”


  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    We have devised a brilliant “private market” plan. GMAC will now be “lending” them all the money they need.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Don’t you know? GM and Chrysler and Ford all have plenty of money. They have it buried in an undisclosed location. Or something.

    I do wonder WTF Mittelfinger was thinking dragging out nonsense like this now. I know the UAW always likes to pretend that the gravy train can keep going and that there’s a second set of books to enable that to keep happening.

    But even a meatpuppet like Ron should know when to sitdown and STFU. Now is the time Ron. Really.

  • avatar
    BMW325I

    You mean management is selling off 1 of their 5 homes each to fund the company?

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    This head of the UAW didnt get to run this empire by making sense did he? Its sort of a weak defence in my mind and I agree with Robert on this mode of operation, not too well planned imho!

  • avatar
    vitek

    I realize Ron probably has 8×10 glossies of Rick and Bob with the neighbor’s cat, but is it even a little over the top for him to be telling the world what decisions the companies (not the UAW) will be making?

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Ron’s statement is part of a calculated plan

    Like Baldrick’s cunning plans?

    (Not sure who will “get” this over there in the USA, but I float it anyway as a test).

  • avatar
    Tommy

    Delusional much? The UAW is in the best position to help (more than the bailout bucks, I’d argue) and yet they won’t do a thing? Talk about the parasite killing its host – this is wackier than fiction.

  • avatar
    golf4me

    “If we can get by without more money, that’s what we want to do,” Big Ron Gettelfinger told Automotive News. Ummm who’s “WE”??? Is he now a CEO of a major automaker? Or, is he subconsciouly telling us that all those billions were really directly for the UAW brass and their cheezy-mustache minions…?? I wonder…

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    GM share price up again today. Maybe the UAW are selling having bought at $3 bucks. Pump and dump?

  • avatar
    GS650G

    It IS fun to watch them duck responsibility for the mess while simultaneously making no concessions that make any difference.

    Masterful bullshit at it’s finest, there is a reason Ron Pulmyfinger is the head of this union.

    Why not make him Car Czar and CEO of all three so we can cut out the middle men and just send our tax dollars directly to the Union Hall Fund for Golf Studies.

  • avatar
    beller

    it is not called the “if then” close. it is the “if I could would you” close. you would be surprised on who it works on

  • avatar
    kars

    “Make no mistake: Ron’s statement is part of a calculated plan to avoid making any concessions during the federally-mandated negotiations to reduce his members’ pay and benefits.”

    that’s right – Ronny is doing his job – he is playing his cards to give him the best shot at success – why would you expect any less?

  • avatar
    Packard

    Gettlefinger is being dishonest with his own people. He’s pretending that they have a future. They haven’t.

    His problem is that he can’t bring himself to choose. He has all of those retirees for whom there are pots of gold at the end of the retirement rainbow, and which are a huge part of GM’s problem. GM can’t be productively profitable as long as it is paying those people who are totally unproductive. May not be fair, but it certainly is true.

    On the other hand, if Gettlefinger doesn’t dump those old folks, there’s going to be no company at which the the current members will be employed.

    Gettlefinger is basically hoping that the government will socialize the company. He doesn’t care what it produces, or if it produces. He only cares about not having to chose between current and past UAW members.

    In other words, he wants his cake and to eat it, too.

    Only the government can afford to pay that bill, so he’s going to pretend that none of this is in any way the UAW’s doing, stonewall and stall, and eventually expect the government to take over the entire company, in fact, if not in name.

    The one thing that every GM president since Harlowe Curtice has failed to do is break the union. When GM had the money to take a strike, it didn’t feel the need. By the time the need was evident, it didn’t have the money to afford a strike that would actually win them something.

    Wagoner deserves a lot of the criticism he’s received. But, a lot of what he’s failed to do is a function of what others failed to do before him. Both Gettlefinger and Wagoner have failed to think imaginatively. But, given the cultures of their respective organizations, it’s doubtful that it would have mattered.

    Roger Smith tried to think outside of that culture, and was crucified for it, both from within GM and by the UAW rank and file.

    That was GM’s last chance.

    The UAW’s, too.

  • avatar
    esg

    How does someone like Gettelfinger look in the mirror (especially when only wearing underwear, perhaps while shaving-except for that porn mustache) and admire what they see? I guess the only thing Gettelfinger may admire in the mirror is that fake bulge in his underwear. I just don’t see how lowlifes get to a position of authority like he has. I just don’t get it.

  • avatar
    nonce

    Their worst case scenario was 10.5 million? Aren’t we at 10.4 million already? Bueller?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Pete,
    I actually saw some blackadder even before I went to Canada. I got a bit tired of it by they time they hit the 1st world war though.

  • avatar
    Luther

    The UAW is a government created (Via the Fascist 1934 Wagner Act…UAW created in 1935) and protected (Via gun-backed laws and jails) criminal mob…It is the government’s mini-me.

    Gettelfinger is a lying thieving mobster no different than Clinton/Bush/Obama…He IS the government’s “car czar”…Note how Gettelfinger speaks as if he owns 2.801…The UAW controls 2.801 using threats of government violence but the shareholders (rightful owners) actually own 2.801.

    2.801 is bankrupt…With goonish parasites like Gettelfinger, what would you expect? What competent Executive would ever work in a unionized industry? Wagoner is the best you will get.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    Kinda ironic that the UAW is a spawn of FDR’s New Deal.

    This is just a delaying tactic till Obama is President. And really so much worry about a few tens of billions that will be hardely noticed in the trillion dollar stimulus package.

    The Obama New Deal like FDR’s New Deal is sure to favour unions.

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