According to GM’s vice chairman, the carmaker will wait until its next round of labor talks in 2015 before negotiating with the United Auto Workers about the automaker’s U.S. blue-collar pension obligation.
GM’s pension obligation to UAW-represented workers in the United States was $71 billion at the end of 2011, the last time the Detroit company detailed its blue-collar pension obligation. That exceeds GM’s current market value by about $20 billion.
“There’s a lot of education that needs to go on to execute something like that,” Steve Girsky told Reuters in an interview. “For the UAW to pull the trigger on that, it would seem to be something that big and visible would probably have to occur around bargaining.”
A GM spokesman said there were no ongoing talks with the UAW over the pension obligation and the last ones were back in 2011, and now the automaker wants to wait at least up until 2015 before starting new discussions on the matter.
Analysts said options likely include allowing UAW-represented retirees to voluntarily take lump-sum cash payments in exchange for giving up pension claims. Another solution would be to spin off GM’s blue-collar pension obligation to a third party. GM took that approach last year when it hived off its U.S. pension obligation to 118,000 white-collar retirees to a unit of Prudential Financial.