UAW applauds statements by White House and Treasury; urges immediate action to release funds for auto companies
[UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said today that UAW members and workers throughout the auto industry “appreciate the positive statement released by the White House this morning that they are considering all options, including use of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to assist the auto industry.”
The union urged immediate action by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson or the Federal Reserve Bank “to use their authority to prevent the imminent collapse of the automakers, and the devastating consequences that would follow for millions of workers and retirees across our nation, and for our economy as a whole.”
Action by the executive branch, Gettelfinger said, is “the only remaining option” after a minority of Republican senators blocked a bipartisan agreement in Congress to provide emergency bridge loans and begin a long-term restructuring process for the auto industry.
“Our union has recognized that the industry is in a restructuring mode, and we have done a lot of hard work to assist these companies,” said Gettelfinger. UAW members accepted negotiated concessions in 2005 and in 2007, and last week, UAW delegates from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors local unions voted to suspend the jobs bank and make additional sacrifices in response to the current emergency.
In addition to these steps the union has already taken, Gettelfinger said, the union “went the extra mile” Thursday after receiving a call from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R- Tenn. The union agreed to negotiate with Corker with the aim of reaching a bipartisan compromise that could win approval in the Senate.
“We reached a tentative agreement with Sen. Corker,” Gettelfinger said, “with the understanding he could win approval from the Republican caucus in the Senate. Unfortunately, he was unable to do so.”
The tentative agreement reached with Corker, Gettelfinger said, would have required bondholders, as well as the independent trust established to provide health care for UAW retirees — the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) — to exchange a large portion of their claims for stock in the companies….]
So they even agreed to exchange their claims, to which they are entitled right now, for company stock; they are betting on their future.
Here is the UAW’s talking points:
Contrast that with:
“Senator Corker was at pains to tell the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Friday, December 12, that the “union wage issue sank the auto plan.” For all intents and purposes he could have given this interview any time after 9:12 a.m. Wednesday, December 10th. The trumped up “wage issue” was going to “sink” the talks before that ship ever left the dock. Coupling the “Action Alert” distributed by his party’s leadership with the timing of his interview with the Chattanooga newspaper indicates that his services as an ‘honest broker’ in political negotiations were highly suspect from the onset.”
.I Own My Vote, PUMA, The Denver Group, The New Agenda