UAW responds to Senate Republicans


The Detroit Free Press carries this statement:

“The UAW is deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have blocked the bipartisan legislation that was agreed to by President Bush and congressional Democrats.

“In an effort to work out a compromise, the UAW was prepared to agree that any restructuring plan should ensure that the wages and benefits of workers at the domestic automakers should be competitive with those paid by the foreign transplants. But we also recognized that this would take time to work out and implement, using attrition programs to allow the companies to hire new workers at the lower wage and benefit rates. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans insisted that this had to be accomplished by an arbitrary deadline. This arbitrary requirement was not imposed on any other stakeholder groups. Thus, the UAW believed this was a blatant attempt to make workers shoulder the lion’s share of the costs of any restructuring plan.

“The UAW has recognized from the beginning that all stakeholders will be required to make sacrifices to ensure the viability of the domestic auto companies. We were prepared to do our part. But we could not accept the GOP demands to treat workers differently from all other stakeholders, and to subject them to different requirements than other groups.

“Now that the legislation has been blocked by Senate Republicans, the UAW calls on Secretary Paulson to use his authority to provide TARP funds to provide emergency assistance to the domestic auto companies. The ball is squarely in his court. He has the power to prevent the imminent collapse of the companies, and the disastrous consequences that will follow for millions of retirees and workers and for the economy of our entire nation.”

Update: Link to press conference