General Motors and Chrysler are tasked with gaining concessions from debt holders and organized labor by February 17. If major cuts aren't achieved, the struggling Detroit automakers risk having to pay back the $17.4 billion in government loans that have helped keep the companies solvent. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger told Automotive News that any concessions won't include wage cuts. The Ron points out that Toyota workers at Georgetown average $30 per hour in wages and bonuses, or $2 more than tenured UAW workers. Though the union's $28 per hour wage is likely safe, generous blue collar health care benefits may not be. Pension costs are likely to decrease as well, as part of the loan agreement calls for half the retiree health care trust to be paid for with equity instead of cash.

Gettelfinger has recently questioned whether it was possible to agree to concessions in time for perceived February 17 deadline, but now he sayst that he fully expects the UAW, GM, and Chrysler to have "laid out ground work" to satisfy its portion of the loan deal.

[Source: Automotive News, subs req'd]

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