UAW chief urges $25 bln in U.S. auto health care support

DETROIT, Nov 6 (Reuters) - United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger on Thursday urged the U.S. government to provide another $25 billion in loans to struggling U.S. automakers so that they can meet their health care obligations to over 780,000 retirees and their dependents.

“The U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve can help immediately by taking steps to provide liquidity to auto manufacturers so they can get through the difficulties caused by an across-the-board decline in auto sales,” Gettelfinger said in a statement released by the union.

Gettelfinger joined the chief executives of General Motors Corp GM.N, Ford Motor Co F.N and Chrysler LLC in meetings on Thursday afternoon in Washington with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to plead the case for urgent aid to the embattled auto industry.

Gettelfinger called those meetings “constructive.” He said the UAW looked forward to meeting with President-elect Barack Obama “in the near future” to discuss the same issues. (Reporting by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)