By Jeff Bennett/ Bloomberg
Michigan: The president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), Chrysler’s largest union, said he plans to ask fellow members of DaimlerChrysler AG’s supervisory board not to sell the money-losing U.S. automaker.
UAW president Ron Gettelfinger is one of 10 labor representatives on the 20-member supervisory board of Stuttgart, Germany-based DaimlerChrysler. The board’s composition is set by German law.
“There is a lot of value in keeping it,” Gettelfinger said in an interview on 19 April. “They have synergies and they have buoyed DaimlerChrysler up in the past,” he added. Daimler-Benz AG acquired Chrysler Corp. in 1998.
Gettelfinger’s remarks were the strongest since DaimlerChrysler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche revealed earlier this month that sale discussions were under way, after Chrysler posted a $1.5 billion (Rs6,328 crore) loss in 2006.
“It seems to me that things are moving forward and we just don’t need the aggravation,” the Detroit-based union chief said. “I may be the only one on the supervisory board that says this, but I believe that we are better off to stay where we are.”
Ruediger Grube, a DaimlerChrysler management board member who oversees corporate strategy, met with prospective bidders Magna International Inc., Cerberus Capital Management LP, Blackstone Group LP and Centerbridge Capital Partners LLC last week in New York, people familiar with the talks have said.
Gettelfinger said he opposes any sale to a private equity firm. He said their “strip and flip” mentality hurts union workers.
“I have a grave concern about these equity companies,” Gettelfinger said. Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. made a $4.5 billion cash offer for Chrysler on 5 April, the only suitor to announce a bid so far. Magna said on 13 April that it is reviewing “potential alternatives” for the future of Chrysler.