• Jan 2nd 2008 at 2:58PM
  • 9
Rick Wagoner may be Motor Trend's most powerful person of the year, but Ron Gettelfinger deserves significant props for what he achieved over the course of the last 365 days. Automotive News has named the president of the UAW its Person of the Year, which is a fitting choice considering that Gettelfinger somehow managed to broker a compromise between domestic automakers and his union workers that satisfied both parties.

On one side of the equation, you had armchair analysts claiming that the UAW would force the domestic automakers into bankruptcy with its high legacy costs that add thousands of dollars to the bottom line of each vehicle sold. On the other, there are thousands of currently employed and retired union workers who don't want to pay an arm and a leg to get their arms and legs fixed. It wasn't easy, as strikes against both General Motors and Chrysler were required to get the deals done. But as 2007 came to a close, new four-year contracts with each of the Big 3 were in the books that would see most of the financial responsibility for retiree health care transferred from the automakers to the union itself, with significant concessions granted that will also reduce labor costs in the short term. The automakers got what they wanted, and in turn the union will keep many of its workers employed who would have otherwise been lost to plant closings and outsourcing. Good job, Ron.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd, Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      And Time named Putin.

      ...So what? Does this make any difference at all, other than encouraging these people to behave like they already are?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually Time magazine has always made it clear that the "Person of the Year" is not an award but rather a recognition that the person has affected the world at large (be it positively or negatively). This is the same reason why Hitler and Stalin were also at different points Time's "Person of the Year". So they are not encouraging them to keep acting the same way.

        Don't know what Automotive News' intent is, so can't comment on this award.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I work hard for my money I`m sure most people will say they do to. I earn my bennys. It would be ignorant of me to say someone else in a different career don`t deserve what they make.
      At the end of the day I bet working on a assembly is pretty taxing on the body. But I don`t know because I never done it.
      As long as we continue to sell our soul to foriegn countries our standard of living and wages must go down to both compete with prices and accomodate lost wealth. We been for sale for a long time in the name of greed. The UAW must adjust as they have been.
      Its not my choice I can`t buy an American television. Years from now most will forget it was an American invention.
      Don`t blame the working man!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ok, I have to say it, I'm really sick of bloggers putting their "funny" word bubbles in pictures. Stop it. Just because you think you're funny doesn't mean you are. This epidemic is spreading through the blogosphere. Or maybe it's just here, but I haven't read one funny word bubble. Keep to what you do, that's reporting auto news, and I'll go to the funny sites for the funnies.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Motor Trend is the Time magazine of the auto world.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think Ron should send a letter to every UAW member detailing his personal compensation, which he gathers at their expense.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah, Ron did a good job even though many on here had slammed him because he is the head of a Union. I was surprised how well he did too.

      I guess we shall see if Buzz Hargrove in Canada can work the same type of deal. So far he sounds pretty dumb for a guy that now has the highest manufacturing costs to produce a vehicle in North America...
      • 7 Years Ago
      He is everything that is wrong with unions. It is pretty sad that anyone thinks positively of him, with the obvious exception of the members of the UAW who enjoy the benefits they don't deserve.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Totally agreed. If I recall, Gettlefinger was the one UAW bargainer that felt a strike against GM was necessary. A deal was all but in hand. Maybe he will take a que from International Harvster and realize the UAW is expendable.
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