UAW may offer concessions as Big Three face Congress

Cleveland Plain Dealer

If it means getting federal bailout loans for Detroit's Big Three automakers, union workers may be willing to give up longstanding benefits that pay some employees after their plants close, leaders said Monday.

"The membership recognizes the importance of sustaining the auto industry," said Dave Green president of the United Auto Workers Local 1714, the local that represents stamping plant workers at General Motors' Lordstown plant. "We've done what it takes in the past, and we'll do what it takes this time."

Ford, GM and Chrysler are set to deliver reports to Congress Tuesday that will spell out how they plan to use a proposed $25 billion in low-cost loans. GM and Chrysler say they need the loans to survive 2009, a year analysts expect to be dismal for auto sales. Ford said it may need help as well, but it has more cash on hand than its competitors.

Both Ohio senators said they were working to get federal funds for the companies.

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