Other Editorials

Wagoner's Goal

Jim Dollinger
Friday, January 6, 2006

How will you feel when they take your pension? GM employees/retirees specifically, and Americans in general, had better wake up and stand up before the elitist international bankers take most everything. I am firmly convinced Wagoner is nothing more than a puppet. He was fast tracked to the top without any merit and has been dismantling GM since he got there.

No one loses so much money, market share and capitalization without having a plan and purpose. In my opinion, this is what "Red Ink Rick" is up to. This is why he refuses to listen to common sense, and allows GM to decline steadily year after year. Trust me, he's not that stupid.

Tower asks court to reject union contracts, modify retirees' benefits

By Greg Migliore
Jan. 06, 2006 12:24 PM

Tower Automotive Inc. has moved to reject its union contracts and modify retiree benefit packages in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York City.

On Wednesday, the supplier filed a motion seeking to cut active union workers' wages and benefits and to eliminate future retirees' benefits, said Joel Weiden, a Tower spokesman. He said the motion could be ruled on by the end of February. A hearing was scheduled for Friday.

Current retirees would lose their health care coverage under Tower's proposal. The supplier would establish a trust to help cover some of its retirees' health care and would contribute $5 million to it initially, Weiden said. In court documents, Tower said it has about 1,800 retirees who would be affected.

In corporate documents, Novi-based Tower called its retiree benefit obligations staggering. The auto supplier pegged those obligations at $178 million, of which $133 million is estimated for current retirees and $45 million for future retirees.

Tower said in court documents it wants to cut unionized wages to the prevailing market rates of the areas where its plants are, and its proposals vary by site.

Weiden said the first round of negotiations began in October but stalled in the past two weeks around the holidays.

Honestly, we would have liked to make more progress than we did. & We seriously hope that a consensual agreement can be reached, he said.

A message Automotive News left with a United Auto Workers spokesman was not returned immediately Friday morning.

Tower, a supplier of structural components, assemblies and suspension modules, filed for Chapter 11 protection last February, listing assets of $788 million and liabilities of $1.31 billion.
Tower ranks No. 45 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with 2004 original-equipment sales of $3.2 billion.

>From Automotive News