GM, UAW deal changes landscape

Detroit Free Press

General Motors Corp.’s landmark deal with the UAW on Monday to dramatically cut union health care expenses could reshape the benefits all of Detroit’s auto companies offer workers.

The deal to trim $1 billion in cash from GM’s $6-billion annual health care bill is the largest single cost-cutting initiative ever announced by the company. It sharply reduces the automaker’s health care costs for 750,000 hourly workers, retirees and dependents, GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said.

The deal is part of a broad plan revealed by the automaker to try to cut costs and become profitable. It reported a massive quarterly loss of $1.6 billion Monday.

The GM agreement paves the way for Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Group to seek similar cost-savings plans with the UAW.

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