The controversial jobs bank system, which pays laid-off workers nearly full salary and benefits packages will come to a temporary end as the UAW works with the Detroit carmakers to reach a solution to the current financial crisis. Other concessions include revised payments into the union's health care trust fund and potential contract modifications.

An emergency meeting held by UAW president Ron Gettelfinger and union local representatives arrived at the new plan to help the carmakers survive the short term. At the same time, the union will begin rallying grassroots and popular support for the proposed Congressional loans package, reports The Detroit News.

Though the UAW is reluctant to reopen the entire contracts settled in tough negotiations late last year, the jobs bank suspension can be effected without doing so. Similar alternations have been made in the past without a wholesale re-opening of contract terms, so the operation should be no different in this case, according to the UAW.

One thing not yet being discussed is the possibility for wage and benefit adjustments. Keeping pace with U.S.-based plants of foreign carmakers, which tend to benefit from state-run subsidy programs and a younger overall workforce - devoid of retirees to support - is a difficult task for the UAW, even if they do put wages and benefits on the table.

Chrysler, GM and Ford are all in Washington this week to discuss the matter of emergency bridge loans, and the UAW concessions are likely to be worked in as part of the overall package.