Yesterday, United Auto Workers president Ron Gettlefinger announced he would be retiring in 2010, laying to rest rumors that suggested he would be seeking a third term in office. Obligated by UAW law to retire from office at age 65, Gettlefinger, now 64, will be ending his 7-year reign next year in the middle of an unprecedented crisis within the auto industry. Although the list of Gettlefinger’s possible successors is certainly nothing to scoff at, many fear the change in leadership will cause the UAW to lose footing with automakers. Hoping to tie up any loose ends before abandoning his throne, Gettlefinger said in an interview that he hopes to conclude negotiations and leave the union on relatively solid ground by the time he departs.
Unfortunately, many experts doubt the problems currently plaguing the auto industry as a whole will be resolved by June and many more still lament the future loss of Gettlefinger’s courage under fire. “He’s guided the union in the toughest times — not the toughest times since, the toughest times period,” remarked University of California-Berkeley labor historian, Harley Shaiken. “He’s had an unusually steady hand in very rough waters.”
Source: Detroit News
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