General Motors is set to resume negotiations with the United Auto
Workers union this week and believes everything should be open for
discussion, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.
I'm encouraged to reengage with the UAW at the bargaining table.
I'm one of those people who believes that everything should be on the
table so long as it leads to GM's viability, Fritz Henderson told
reporters after meeting with congressional officials.
GM, a recipient of $15 billion (10 billion pounds) in federal
bailout funds, is up against a government-imposed June 1 deadline to
cut debt, reach union concessions and restructure its operations or
face likely bankruptcy.
Henderson said if GM were to seek Chapter 11 protection, like its
rival Chrysler did last week, the matter would be handled as
expeditiously as possible. Chrysler hopes to step out of bankruptcy
within 60 days.
Although Henderson cited some similarities between restructuring
efforts at Chrysler and his company, the two have different challenges.
My business card doesn't say Chrysler, Henderson said. We'll deal with the realities of General Motors.
Retiree health care and UAW concerns about GM's restructuring
proposal, specifically about plans for overseas vehicle production,
would be key topics for discussion with the UAW.
You have to listen to each side to find common ground. That's what
we'll do, said Henderson, who took over the top job at GM just over a
The UAW wants the government to reject GM's latest restructuring
plan, saying it would cut domestic factory jobs and clear the way for
increased imports from plants in Mexico, South Korea and China.
On healthcare, Henderson said Chrysler's deal with the union on
restructuring payments on retiree health care was similar in design to
what GM wants to do to help restructure its own debt.
Henderson said the U.S. Treasury was continuing to review its
business plan, which includes a proposed bond exchange to reduce $28
billion in debt.
The Treasury will continue their evaluation through the month,
which is fine. But we're not waiting, we're implementing. The bond
exchange needed to be launched when we launched it, Henderson said.
Now we'll have to see.
GM bondholders believe it has a small chance to succeed in a way that would avoid bankruptcy.
GM shares gained 3 cents, or 1.65 percent, to close at $1.85 on the New York Stock Exchange.