DETROIT (UPI) -- United Automobile Workers said they would rather bend than break, offering concessions to U.S. automakers on the eve of bailout hearings in Washington.
Executives from General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC were scheduled to appear at Thursday hearings to ask for about $38 billion to get them through tough times.
Meeting in Detroit Wednesday, union leaders said they would suspend the controversial "jobs bank" that pays laid off workers 85 percent of their salaries, The New York Times reported.
Union president Ron Gettelfinger also said the union would allow automakers to postpone payments to a multibillion-dollar healthcare plan for retirees.
But Washington Democrats said critical votes for a bailout were still lacking.
"It's going to take (President George) Bush and (President-elect Barack) Obama calling people," a Democratic aide told the Times.
With new business plans in hand, auto executives have said they would make further production cuts, eliminate some brands and focus on more fuel-efficient cars.
Federal assistance should be based on "a realistic plan for how we're going to make these companies viable over the long term," Obama said.
What the Unions need to do is cut back on workers as well as cutting back on the huge wage that isn't helping the company any. It's bad enough that the top three have to find ways to make their vehicles more tempting by offering delayed payments and more incentives.
Other car companies have a good car where in some cases at half the price then those offered by anyone else. How is a company going to compete if that's where the starting point is and the top three others are in dead last place. I beleive they need to fail and file for bankruptcy so that they have to be forced to sit down and trim down what they have so that they can at least have a decent run in this future vehicle race.