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UAW Chief: 'Imminent Collapse' of Big Three Looming

United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger hit back against Senate Republicans who blocked the $14 billion in emergency loans to Big Three automakers last night, saying lawmakers are asking the union for too much and everyone else for too little.

As a result, Gettelfinger gave a dire warning.

"The only options are for Treasury Secretary Paulson to exercise his authority to use the TARP funds to provide assistance or for the Federal Reserve to take action, and the United Auto Workers calls on Secretary Paulson or the Federal Reserve to use their authority to prevent the imminent collapse of the automakers and the devastating consequences to follow," Gettelfinger said.

Gettelfinger was asked by reporters if there is anything else his union can do to help the struggling Big Three.

"We could work for nothing and it wouldn't help GM make it to January," Gettelfinger said.

There are some rumblings that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and other members of the Senate Republican caucus are using last night's defeat of the autos bailout loans as a way to deliver a crushing blow to the UAW. Shelby and a number Southern lawmakers represent "right to work" states, home to factories of foreign automakers and non-unionized workers.

Gettelfinger read from an e-mail he obtained this week -- which already had the sender and receiver names redacted -- that he said was from Republican congressional staff.

"This is the Democrats' first opportunity to pay off organized labor after the election... Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot and stand against organized labor instead of taking their first blow," the memo reads.

To be fair, this statement represents more closely a long-held Republican position on labor unions rather than a sub-rosa attempt to destroy them once and for all.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 12, 2008; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Ford, GM, UAW, automakers  
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Comments

Republicans, who have almost devastated this country with their economic and foreign affairs policies and judgement, are now trying to blame the workers of the UAW for the auto melt-down. Those workers makes less than the foreign car workers in, for instance, Sen. Shelby's state of Alabama where you have Mercedes Benz, Toyota, and Honda. That's who he's protecting; he wants the US auto makers to fail and he wants to punish American workers because they've been able to get the wages and benefits that ALL Americans should have, including good health benefits and retirement benefits. Shelby and his fellow Republicans who voted down the auto bailout bill will earn an extra $20,000 starting Jan. 1-09. These GOP senators are corrupt, and in the case of Shelby, he'd probably vote to bring back slavery if he thought he could get away with it.

Posted by: proteusdecision | December 12, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

How much does this UAW guy make and why is he relevant? The fact that he is relevant just shows how much of a chokehold they have to inhibit innovation and optimization in companies; which is bad enough because inertia is often such a inhibitor in large corporations alone. Bankruptcy has to happen so GM et al can get out from under these UAW cronies and hopefully, all their managment. GM et al need new blood at the helm, and no, at the 60,000 ft level, it doesn't have to be from the car business.

Posted by: NovaMike | December 12, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

How much does this UAW guy make and why is he relevant? The fact that he is relevant just shows how much of a chokehold they have to inhibit innovation and optimization in companies; which is bad enough because inertia is often such a inhibitor in large corporations alone. Bankruptcy has to happen so GM et al can get out from under these UAW cronies and hopefully, all their managment. GM et al need new blood at the helm, and no, at the 60,000 ft level, it doesn't have to be from the car business.

Posted by: NovaMike

-Thanks for the token Republican troll view Mike. It's nice to know you saw an article title mentioning Unions and you decided to comment without reading without feeling the least bit embarrassed.

Posted by: theobserver4 | December 12, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

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