Ronald A. Gettelfinger (born August 1, 1944) is the current chief president of the industrial union United Auto Workers. He has held the position since 2002.
Gettelfinger started his union involvement in 1964 in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Louisville Assembly Plant run by Ford Motor Company while working as a chassis line repairman. The workers at Ford's Louisville Assembly plant elected Gettelfinger to represent them as committeeperson, bargaining chair and president. He was elected president of local union 862 in 1984. In 1987, he became a member of the Ford-UAW bargaining committee. Afterwards, he held other positions: director of UAW Region 3 and the UAW chaplaincy program. For six years he served as the elected director of UAW Region 3, which represents UAW members in Indiana and Kentucky, before being elected a UAW vice president in 1998. Gettelfinger was elected to his first term as president of the UAW at the 33rd Convention in 2002. He was elected to a second term on June 14, 2006, at the UAW's 34th Convention in Las Vegas. On March 19, 2009, Gettelfinger announced he intended to retire at the end of his term and would not run for reelection in 2010.
Gettelfinger is an outspoken advocate for national single-payer health care in the United States. Under Gettelfinger’s leadership, the UAW has lobbied for fair trade agreements that include provisions for workers’ rights and environmental provisions; and the union has loudly criticized what it calls "the corporate global chase for the lowest wage which creates a race to the bottom that no workers, in any country, can win". He has spoken against offering any additional worker concessions until the current contract expires in 2011. Some analysts contend that this stance contributed to the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler.