Auto news briefs: UAW chief may run again

March 19, 2009

 

Auto news briefs: UAW chief may run again

 

FREE PRESS NEWS SERVICES

 

UAW chief may run again

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger may seek a third term as the head of the auto industry’s largest union, an automotive blog, the Detroit Bureau, reported Wednesday.

"Word is circulating around Detroit that Gettelfinger is quietly testing the waters to see if it’s feasible for him to claim a third term as UAW president," the Web site said, without citing its sources.

Gettelfinger was re-elected to a second 4-year term in 2006 but is considering the third term at this delicate time when politicians and others are pushing for more concessions from autoworkers.

UAW policy has traditionally barred officers from re-election after age 65; Gettelfinger turns 65 in August.

"That’s been a pretty firm principle within the union," said Harley Shaiken, a labor expert from the University of California-Berkeley. "That isn’t in the UAW constitution. That is the policy of the administration caucus, but they’ve held with it pretty firmly. If they were to loosen it there, there would certainly be strong pressures to loosen it for the regional directors and other officers as well. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t afloat or couldn’t happen."

Nevertheless, Shaiken said the idea of allowing Gettelfinger to seek a term beyond age 65 is possible, considering the current troubles surrounding the union.

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