GM $51 Thousand-Million Short at the Table
GM, UAW Move Closer to Health Care Deal
By TOM KRISHER
The Associated Press Sunday, September 23, 2007; 4:44 AM
DETROIT -- Negotiators in lengthy contract talks between General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers were due to return to the table Sunday amid optimism that they were close to a settlement.
Two people who have been briefed on the talks said Saturday that bargainers reported progress toward an agreement on the linchpin of the talks, GM funding a union-run trust that would take over much of the company's $51 billion unfunded obligation to pay health care costs for retirees.
Walter Reuther swung some pretty good deals for health care and retirement in the days when American cars actually meant something.
But now Walter is under some concrete somewhere and GM is under a mountain of their own making. Any actuary (had they been asked) could have predicted with stunning accuracy how high that mountain w…