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