UAW to ask Obama to reverse "unfair" loan conditions

DETROIT (Reuters) - The United Auto Workers union termed the conditions in the auto bailout deal “unfair” and said it would work with the incoming Obama administration to ensure they are removed.

“While we appreciate that President Bush has taken the emergency action needed to help America’s auto companies weather the current financial crisis, we are disappointed that he has added unfair conditions singling out workers,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement.

“We will work with the Obama administration and the new Congress to ensure that these unfair conditions are removed,” he said.

President George W. Bush offered $17.4 billion in emergency loans on Friday to the carmakers in an attempt to save General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC from failing but imposed conditions that included requiring automakers to wrangle steep labor-cost concessions from the UAW.

The concession targets include making half of company contributions to a retiree health care trust in stock, making UAW wages competitive with foreign manufacturers by December 2009 and eliminating the union jobs bank, which pays laid-off workers, sometimes for years.

Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Editing by Brian Moss