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Auto Workers, Suppliers, Dealers Show Relief

Dealers, manufacturers and other businesses with a stake in the auto industry are breathing a collective sigh of relief today.

Annette Sykora, chairwoman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said the auto rescue effort will help restore consumer confidence.

"When you have the government declaring its confidence and commitment to U.S. auto manufacturers, it helps reassure the American public that domestic automakers will be around for the long term," Sykora said in a statement. "This sends a clear message: Consumers can now consider any car from any manufacturer with confidence."

John Engler, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the nation's largest industrial trade organization, said the auto industry accounts for about 20 percent of the country's manufacturing output as well as more than a million jobs, including people working for suppliers.

"This action will give the automakers time to develop plans for restructuring their businesses to ensure they are more competitive in the future," he said in a statement. "Further, today’s action will shield the American people from another harsh economic blow at a time when the economy is especially vulnerable. The President’s decision is a critical component in the overall effort to restore confidence to consumers and investors, and stabilize the economy."

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said the union is reviewing the documents released today. "All stakeholders -- management, directors, bondholders, suppliers, dealers, workers -- will have to participate in shared sacrifices to help the industry move forward," he said, noting that UAW members have already made substantial sacrifices to help make the domestic auto companies more competitive.

"While we appreciate that President Bush has taken the emergency action needed to help America's auto companies weather the current financial crisis, we are disappointed that he has added unfair conditions singling out workers," said Gettelfinger, referring to the stipulation that union workers' rules and wages must be competitive by the end of 2009.

"These conditions were not included in the bipartisan legislation endorsed by the White House, which passed the House of Representatives and which won support from a majority of senators," he said.

--Kim Hart

By Kim Hart  |  December 19, 2008; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Mr. Gettelfinger doesn't seem to realize that the union wages and benefits were the main reason the US-3 started outsourcing American jobs. Unfortunately, it was easier to eliminate the outside suppliers than to have to fight the union lawyers in court so countless non-union jobs disappeared first. That didn't do anything to force the US-3 to deal with the true union problem - it just moved it to somewhere else. Now the bailout money should be used to bring those jobs back and there also needs to be an adjustment to union costs.

Posted by: TedRyfiak | December 19, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

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