When my grandfather started as a General Motors dealer in our community in 1918, GM made him a promise. The corporation agreed to provide him with quality product at a fair price with reasonable margins. GM did, and over the years he prospered.
Then at a point along the way, GM's managers made a second promise. They promised to pay themselves and the other workers exorbitant wages with unaffordable pension and health care benefits. After all, they would be there only a short time and they also would benefit.
Then came the foreign auto companies, and they knew that they couldn't make the second promise. If they did, it would threaten the jobs of all their people.
GM, because of its high costs, could not compete, so it has eliminated thousands of jobs or moved them overseas, priced vehicles out of reach of the average American, and cut profit margins for suppliers and dealers.
Now, 85 years later, that second promise threatens to derail GM's original promise.
GM knows what must be done. No longer can it promise what cannot be given financially. I have a fourth-generation family member in the business, and I don't want him to have to deal with broken promises.