Audio – Gettelfinger still sees buyout firms as “vultures”

November 20, 2007

gettelfinger.jpgUnited Auto Workers union chief Ron Gettelfinger still has difficulty in saying nice things about the private equity business.

Sure, he accepts that Cerberus kept its commitment to the union to largely stay out of labor talks over the new contract with Chrysler after buying the automaker and he is prepared to see subsequent job cuts as understandable adjustments given the weak U.S. autos market. But at the Reuters Autos Summit in Detroit on Tuesday, he still had time to rip into the behaviour of the buyout firms.

“Private equity firms, a lot of them, they’re vultures, a lot of them are strip and flip. I think that can be said as a matter of fact, there are some of those folks that I almost feel dirty when they leave a room after I have met with them,” said Gettelfinger.

Still, with Chrysler, he said, there really wasn’t a viable option to a private equity buyer. Gettelfinger, does though, understand the contradictory nature of his comments.

“People said I am talking out of both sides of my mouth, maybe I am, I don’t know,” he acknowledged.

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