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GM's new CEO meets with UAW leaders, says let's work together

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GM's new CEO meets with UAW leaders, says let's work together

David Barkholz

Automotive News -- September 2, 2010 - 4:23 pm ET

UPDATED: 9/2/10 4:47 p.m. ET

DETROIT -- New General Motors Co. CEO Daniel Akerson, in his second day on the job, said today in a Labor Day greeting to GM's 80,000 employees in the United States and Canada that he recently had a get-acquainted meeting with UAW President Bob King and the head of the union's GM department, Vice President Joe Ashton.

After the meeting at the UAW's headquarters in Detroit, Akerson said the leaders concluded that, “while we will not always see eye to eye on everything, GM will succeed to the extent that management and labor work together.”

The note was posted on GM's internal Web sites and distributed to the automaker's plants. It was directed at all U.S. and Canadian employees, including 52,000 hourly workers represented by the UAW.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson confirmed the authenticity of the letter obtained by Automotive News.

Akerson, 61, officially took the helm of the UAW yesterday, succeeding Ed Whitacre, who will retire as chairman by the end of the year.

GM won major concessions from the union as part of its government bailout last year. And the automaker faces master negotiations with the UAW next year when a four-year contract expires in September 2011.

King said recently that the union intends to restore some of those concessions as GM, Ford and Chrysler recover and become more profitable.

Akerson wrote the note to thank workers for their efforts. He especially saluted them for working through the summer when the automaker normally would shut down for model changeovers.

“Many in the U.S. worked through the traditional summer downtime to keep our momentum going,” he said.

Akerson, who mostly guided telecommunications companies during his pre-GM tenure, said he comes from a union family.

Wrote Akerson: “I know on a very personal level the good things that unions can do.”

GM CEO DAN AKERSON'S LETTER TO EMPLOYEES

GM Employees,

As Labor Day approaches in the U.S. and Canada, I would like to wish everyone at General Motors a safe, happy holiday weekend. I also ask that we pause for moment to reflect on what this day means as we celebrate labor's many contributions here and around the world.

Of course, labor's role in building up this nation and others is well recognized and rightly so. And, coming from a union family, I know on a very personal level the good things that unions can do.

I met recently with UAW President Bob King and Vice President-GM Department Joe Ashton at Solidarity House, and we agreed that, while we will not always see eye to eye on everything, GM will succeed to the extent that management and labor work together. I believe very deeply in that.

At GM, the devotion by employees to design, build and sell the world's best vehicles shines through every day. Around the world, we rely on the hard work of our designers, engineers, union represented employees, marketers and corporate staff in the most challenging circumstances. Many in the U.S. worked though our traditional summer downtime to keep our momentum going.

Please accept my sincere thanks for your commitment to General Motors. To employees around the world please know that your work is appreciated. To those in the U.S. and Canada, enjoy this three-day holiday. There will always be more hard work ahead of us, but because of your dedication, I have great optimism for GM's future.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100902/OEM/100909960/1178#ixzz0yPhOjoDJ

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Akerson thanks GM workers, has met with union leaders

Christina Rogers / The Detroit News

Detroit -- Daniel Akerson, General Motors Co.'s new CEO, issued his first statement to all GM employees today -- a Labor Day message noting that he's already met with union leadership.

In a letter posted to the company's internal websites and sent to GM plants, Akerson told employees he recently met with United Auto Workers' president Bob King and UAW GM Vice President Joe Ashton.

A copy of the memo was obtained by The Detroit News, and GM confirmed its accuracy.

"We agreed that while we will not always see eye to eye on everything, GM will succeed to the extent that management and labor work together," Akerson said.

"I believe very deeply in that," Akerson added, and noted that Labor Day should be a time to reflect on "labor's many contributions here and around the world.

"Of course, labor's role in building up this nation and others is well recognized and rightly so. And, coming from a union family, I know on a very personal level the good things that unions can do."

He wished GM workers a "safe, happy holiday weekend" and asked them to accept his "sincere thanks" for their commitment to GM.

"There will always be more hard work ahead of us," he said, "but because of your dedication, I have great optimism for GM's future."

Akerson, who was a GM board member, became CEO of the Detroit-based Wednesday, and will become board chairman at year's end.

He replaces former Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100902/AUTO01/9020490/1148/Akerson-thanks-GM-workers--has-met-with-union-leaders#ixzz0yPkvvRGd

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GM's new CEO Akerson: I'll work with our unions

By Chrissie Thompson

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Dan Akerson today told General Motors’ employees he believed in working with unions and appreciated the worldwide staff’s dedication in his first company-wide communication since becoming CEO Wednesday.

The note from Akerson, in honor of Labor Day on Monday, spoke of labor’s role in building nations. The CEO said he recently met with UAW President Bob King and Vice President Joe Ashton, who is the union’s lead GM negotiator.

“We agreed that, while we will not always see eye to eye on everything, GM will succeed to the extent that management and labor work together,” Akerson said in the note, obtained by the Free Press. A GM spokesman confirmed the note’s authenticity on the condition of anonymity.

Akerson is GM’s fourth CEO since 2009. The note said he comes from a union family and so knows unions can do good things. But some who know Akerson have said he may have difficulty working with the UAW, which will negotiate a new contract with GM next year and may ask to restore concessions granted ahead of the automaker’s bankruptcy.

Akerson, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, is known for urging subordinates to stop complaining and start working.

Akerson closed the note by thanking all employees for their hard work, including workers who built vehicles at nine of GM’s 11 U.S. plants during the company’s traditional summer shutdown.

“There will always be more hard work ahead of us,” he said, “but because of your dedication, I have great optimism for GM’s future.”

Read more: GM's new CEO Akerson: I'll work with our unions | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100902/BUSINESS0101/100902064/1210/BUSINESS01/GMs-new-CEO-Akerson-Ill-work-with-our-unions#ixzz0yPmVrE2S

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