Angry UAW members lack the intellectual honesty to examine their own role in the Big Three’s plight
Posted by Liberty on December 13, 2008
“Festering animosity between the United Auto Workers and Southern senators who torpedoed the auto industry bailout bill erupted into full-fledged name calling Friday as union officials accused the lawmakers of trying to break the union on behalf of foreign automakers.
The vitriol had been near the surface for weeks as senators from states that house the transplant automakers’ factories criticized the Detroit Three for management miscues and bloated UAW labor costs that lawmakers said make them uncompetitive.”
Senators Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby and Bob Corker took a stand against the Big Three bailout and now find themselves in the cross-hairs of the union assassins. These three Senators come from southern states [McConnell from Kentucky; Shelby from Alabama; Corker from Tennessee] that are home to auto manufacturing plants for the Big Three’s foreign-owned competitors and they are all Republicans. Union hack Ron Gettelfinger [UAW president] has misrepresented these Senators’ position on the bailout, seeing perhaps a non-existent conspiracy on behalf of the [profitable!] foreign automakers.
‘”They thought perhaps they could have a twofer here maybe: Pierce the heart of organized labor while representing the foreign brands,’ UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said at a Friday morning news conference in Detroit.”
I don’t think that was the aim of these Senators at all. We’ve just grown so accustomed to politicians that don’t care at all about putting taxpayers on the hook for billions in debt that it’s odd when one of them actually puts the constituents first.
“But lawmakers and their spokesmen said the criticism is off base. Jonathan Graffeo, Shelby’s spokesman on the Senate Banking Committee, said the senator has consistently opposed taxpayer-funded bailouts.
“He opposed the Chrysler bailout in 1979 when there were no foreign auto manufacturers in Alabama, and he opposed the recent $700 billion bailout of the banking industry,” Graffeo said.
“Bailouts generally don’t work, and this is a huge proposed bailout, and I fear it’s just the down payment on more to come next year,” Shelby said on the Senate floor Thursday night. “These companies are either already failed or failing, and that’s a shame. These aren’t the General Motors, Ford and Chrysler I knew.”
Corker said the alternative he tried to develop would have provided federal money in exchange for restructuring the companies’ debt and making the UAW more competitive in wages with workers at U.S. plants of Japanese competitors.
“Our members wanted to know that the UAW was willing to be competitive,” Corker said.”
That’s right, UAW. When the question is raised as to why the Big Three can’t compete, look in the mirror.
Incidentally, Senators McConnell, Corker and Shelby, thank you. We’re going to need to see a lot more of this kind of action in the next few years. Thanks for showing a little backbone.