GM's Wagoner: No need to cut benefits to retirees

NEW YORK (AP) - General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner says the automaker can remain viable long-term without cutting benefits to retired workers.

Wagoner made the remarks on a TV show where he was joined by United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger. The two are preparing for contract negotiations designed to hammer out labor concessions, as required by the federal government's $13.4 billion loan package.

Wagoner says he is confident both sides will reach an agreement on changes needed.

Wagoner also says changes made to the Detroit-based automaker's labor agreement in 2007 will allow GM to continue operating without major cuts to retiree benefits. He also says the estimated $10-per-hour wage difference between General Motors Corp. factories and factories owned by foreign automakers in the U.S. is overstated.

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