Until a contract is actually signed a GM retiree would be foolish to
believe that they would not be paying more for health care.
UAW negotiator: GM retirees won't pay higher health care fees
FLINT -- The United Auto Workers' top negotiator on its General Motors
Corp.'s bargaining team vowed that retirees won't have to pay more for
their health care in the next national contract.
"I can tell you one thing, we are determined not to put any more costs
on retirees for their health care," said Cal Rapson, UAW vice-president,
during a Saturday afternoon speech given to hundreds of UAW members,
retirees and their supporters, at the Sloan Museum. Rapson, and UAW
president Ron Gettelfinger attended the opening of a labor exhibit at
the Flint museum.
The UAW is in talks with GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC to replace
labor contracts that expire Sept. 14. Rapson said he and Gettelfinger
had been in contract negotiations Saturday morning in Detroit and
intended to bargain throughout the Labor Day weekend -- a sign contract
talks were heating up.
Retiree health care is a key issue in the negotiations. The Big Three
automakers have repeatedly said the current billion-dollar costs of
retiree health care is crippling them against their foreign competitors
and the next UAW contract needs to bring massive relief to those costs.
Retiree health-care liabilities totaled $64 billion at GM last year.
GM wants the union to take responsibility for retiree health care. Last
month, GM officially asked the UAW to take over the administration of
health care benefits for more than 1.5 million current and retired
employees and their families. The automaker proposed making massive,
one-time cash payment to create a UAW-managed fund that would free the
automakers from future responsibility for retiree health care.