GM/UAW Health Care Battle

By: Nick LaFave
By: Nick LaFave

GM, the world's largest auto maker, posted a first quarter loss of more than one billion dollars. Now, they want the UAW to reopen an existing contract - not set to expire until 2007 - to negotiate health care cuts.

GM won't say how much they want to cut, but the Detroit Free Press says it could be as much as two billion dollars over the next two years.

UAW Local 602 president, Art Luna says it shouldn't be the union's responsibility to bail the GM Corporation out of it's financial mess.

The union's chief negotiator, Richard Shoemaker says reopening the contract is unlikely... but the union may be willing to work within the existing contract - which may mean higher co-pay and prescription drug costs.

But, that scenario may only cut GM's health care costs by five percent... from a health care budget likely to rise 12 percent this year.

If the existing workforce doesn't agree to health care reductions - some say by the end of the month - GM may be forced to cut retiree's benefits. A move GM does not need the union's permission to do.


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