Union Chief Vows To Fight Sale Of Chrysler

Ron Gettelfinger said shareholders should remember that Chrysler is doing better than General Motors and Ford.

The president of the United Auto Workers union vowed April 18 to fight the sale of DaimlerChrysler's loss-making U.S. unit. "We're going to do our very best to keep Chrysler under DaimlerChrysler," UAW chief Ron Gettelfinger said. "I personally think there is a lot of value in keeping it together right now."

This was the first time Gettelfinger has publicly said he was prepared to fight the sale first proposed in February when chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche said "all options are on the table" when it came to restructuring the Chrysler unit.

Since then, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, Canadian auto parts supplier Magna and two investment firms, Cerberus, and Blackstone and Centerbridge, have expressed interest in buying the Chrysler group.

Gettelfinger described the equity firms hovering around Chrysler as "strip and flip artists" and said he had "some concerns about these equity companies coming into the industry."

Gettelfinger confirmed he has been approached by various potential buyers but after listening to their proposals he said he was "focused on the opportunity to get back and talk to the supervisory board and make the case for keeping Chrysler in the DaimlerChrysler family."

"There is a lot of support on the supervisory board for keeping Chrysler," he added. Gettelfinger said frustrated shareholders ought to remember that Chrysler is still doing much better than General Motors and Ford and that Chrysler has made significant contributions to the broader DaimlerChrysler group.

It would be better to focus on building better cars and trucks than trying to find a buyer for the loss-making unit, he said, adding, "We just don't need the aggravation of doing that."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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