At their convention today in Detroit, the United Autoworkers Union will elect a new president, ending the eight-year tenure of Ron Gettelfinger. Gettelfinger led the union through one of the most difficult periods in its history. The UAW was once one of the largest and most influential unions in the country, but these days its membership is the smallest it’s been since the end of World War II.
General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson has been asked to step down only eight months after taking the helm of the embattled automaker. The announcement came following a GM board meeting on Tuesday. For the past eight months Henderson and GM have been dogged by questions about whether a man who had spent the past 25 years of his career with GM was really the "change" that the company needs. Will Marcum is a GM line worker who says that Henderson's resignation will be bad for morale at the struggling company, but that many auto workers agree it is time for some new blood at the top. Micheline Maynard covers the auto industry for our partner, The New York Times and is the author of "The Selling of the American Economy: How Foreign Companies are Remaking the American Dream," She says the move came as "a shock, but not a surprise."
Incivility in the workplace is an unfortunate side effect of the recession, where jobs are scarce and everyone is aiming to hold on to whatever work they have. Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner says there are ways to stay in-the-know without being a gossip at work. We also talk with Will Marcum, a former GM plant worker of 20 years in Pontiach, Mich., to hear about his story of office politics during the economic downturn.
"Nine times out of 10, politics – not the best person – is going to be promoted. And this, I think, is what's killing America and killing the workforce right now."
—Will Marcum, former GM plant worker in Pontiac, Mich., on why politics should not play a role in workers getting promoted