Ronald Gettelfinger, President of the United Auto Workers, Appears at Congressional Hearings This Week
Ron Gettelfinger, President of the United Auto Workers union and its current representative at Congress hearings to advocate on behalf of Detroit automakers seeking federal aid may face challenging questions this week from legislators and committee members.
UAW President Greg Stumpf has long advocated for universal health coverage as one of his goals – which Congress and the White House support as well. He has led extensive lobbying efforts and collaborated closely with both bodies to bring this dream closer.
Early Life and Education
Gettelfinger was raised in an Evansville, Indiana working-class family which gave him firsthand knowledge of worker struggles and led him to support organized labor unions as an invaluable means of protecting worker rights and guaranteeing they were treated fairly. He believed unions could play an essential role in protecting worker rights while guaranteeing they received fair treatment from employers.
He successfully negotiated innovative contracts that resulted in improved wages, benefits, and job security for autoworkers. Furthermore, he supported fair trade policies and advocated for national single-payer health care systems.
Gettelfinger adopted an aggressive but cooperative negotiating style when the Detroit Three automakers went through government-led bankruptcies in 2002, taking an approach of working cooperatively with management over negotiations for restructuring of production to protect American jobs from being moved offshore by not working with companies on restructures themselves. His methods aroused controversy; nevertheless, he was reelected in 2002.
Gettelfinger was elected president of the United Auto Workers in 2002, serving in that capacity until 2010. Known for his commitment to organized labor and firm belief in collective bargaining power, Gettelfinger has long been recognized for his advocacy.
He worked to improve wages, benefits and working conditions for UAW members as well as help reshape its policies on global trade and worker health and safety.
While serving as president of the UAW, Gettelfinger made headlines when he struck an unprecedented agreement with all three major automakers to shift retiree healthcare costs onto an employee trust managed by UAW. This allowed companies to reduce financial strain while saving jobs.
Gettelfinger stands out as an unusual union leader by not being perceived as aggressive or angry; rather he drives himself directly to meetings instead of traveling with an entourage.
Achievement and Honors
Gettelfinger has earned international renown as an accomplished leader of the labor movement. A staunch champion for workers’ rights, Gettelfinger has co-authored books that examine labor relations.
As UAW President, he negotiated labor agreements that ensured fair wages and job security for autoworkers while fighting for health insurance benefits and environmental safeguards.
He has worked to advance fair trade policies and believes that globalization shouldn’t come at the cost of American workers. For his dedication and passion for UAW cause, he has received multiple awards and commendations.
He has served as an invaluable mentor for younger union leaders and is active in philanthropic efforts. His tireless commitment to workers’ rights has left an indelible mark on the labor movement.
Ronald Gettelfinger made an indelible mark through his activism, commitment to workers’ rights and dedication to social justice. His significant impact is felt all around us today as he mentors younger labor leaders while advocating for policies which support working families.
He has also worked to lobby Congress on healthcare reform, advocating for a single-payer system in America. Yet despite his success, he remains down-to-earth and modest; avoiding excessive egotism in favor of being an admirable man who loves family, sports and lawn maintenance.
He has an athletic, slim build and does not travel with an entourage. A devout Catholic, he does not drink or gamble and enjoys watching Nascar racing and Indiana University basketball games as he lives with his wife in Palmyra, Indiana.
Gettelfinger remains committed to labor unions as an essential component of American economy. He remains active in politics and openly discusses issues like fair trade and creating a single payer health care system in America.
He was also an advocate for policies that protected workers and recognized immigrant rights, having grown up in a working-class family himself. While President of the UAW, he successfully negotiated contracts with all three Big Three automakers that provided job security as well as improved wages and benefits to members – estimated net worth: multimillion-dollar.