His retirement will mark the completion of his second term as UAW president, a position he has held since 2002. Putting to rest earlier reports that Gettelfinger may try for a third term, the UAW president stated that his retirement would occur on June 30th of 2010, "in accordance with the policy of the UAW".
Gettelfinger has held one of the most difficult posts in the auto industry, serving as a negotiator between disgruntled unions and flailing auto makers. His attempts to protect worker rights but still keep the Detroit 3 in business has seen the UAW change significantly, however, certain analysts believe that Gettlefinger's lack of cooperation with the Detroit 3 in terms of greater concessions may just be their undoing.
In an interview with CNNMoney, Gettelfinger wasn’t willing to offer any speculation as to who may replace him but simply stated that “politics” wasn't a factor in the situation. The UAW president also said the crisis affecting the auto industry and the UAW means that "nobody is thinking who is going to be the next president of the UAW - and if they are, they don't need to be in the job they are in."
Gettelfinger also mentioned his belief that Chrysler could stand up on its own two feet should a deal with Fiat not materialize, a view that many have contested but one that is echoed by Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli.