DETROIT (AP) — For the first time, General Motors Co. could have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors.
UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June.
The move, which would be considered common in Europe, is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade. Before that, the UAW battled with the company over wages, benefits and work rules, squeezing out as much as it could for members regardless of GM's finances. Now, the two often work together to boost quality and control costs, with workers getting a slice of company profits every year.
If elected at the company's annual meeting in Detroit on June 10, Ashton would replace former GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as the trust's voice on the board. Girsky, now a paid adviser to the company, has been nominated by the GM board to stay on with a different seat.
After the election, GM would have 12 board members, 10 from outside the company.
The Detroit automaker made the announcement Friday in its annual proxy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.