Auto Unions: A loss or a win
The UAW has failed to unionize the US-based Japanese factories. Those workers have seen what has happened to Detroit. They know that the UAW is bad for them. Unions are pushing to do away with secret ballots, in the hope of using intimidation. While they're still trying that "stick" approach, they now want to spin their GM defeat into a "carrot".
Health Care Fund: GM will put money and some of its stock into a fund. The fund will take on all future health-care cost. Moving the money from one legal entity to another cannot increase it. Why did GM want to pay it out now? Because chances were that the liability would keep increasing. In a sense, the workers get less this way; but, GM going belly up would have been far worse. The fund puts a firm number on the liability, caps it, and cuts it off from GM.
Here's another twist: A while back, Wagoner, GM's CEO, suggested that the government should pick up part of the tab. Ten years from now, if there isn't a National Health Service, and if the fund is falling short, it will be a 100,000 person union asking the government for help.