Skip to comments.UAW Was 'Solely' to Blame for Collapse of Auto Industry Bailout Negotiations, Says Sen. Coburn
Posted on 12/15/2008 5:44:50 AM PST by SJackson
United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger holds up a document during a news conference in Detroit, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008. A relieved Gettelfinger said he's happy that the White House appears poised to step in and rescue the beleaguered auto industry, and he accused GOP senators who blocked emergency loans of trying to "pierce the heart" of organized labor. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)(CNSNews.com) - The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is solely to blame for the collapse of negotiations on a $14-billion auto bailout deal that stalled in the Senate Thursday, Sen. Tom Colburn (R-Okla.) told CNSNews.com on Friday.
But UAW President Ron Gettelfinger in a press conference Friday morning blamed Republican senators, who he said resented his organization.
The auto bailout bill, which passed the House in a 237-170 vote on Wednesday, was defeated in a 52-35 procedural vote in the Senate late Thursday night after negotiations between automakers, the UAW, and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) fell apart.
As far as the failure of last night, it solely lies on UAW, Coburn told CNSNews.com. All we asked was, Just give us a date at which you will have competitive wage rates. We will put it in and thats what you will have to meet. They would not move. They would not renegotiate their contract with GM as far as wage rates.
Coburn was referring to an amendment crafted by Corker that would have required the auto makers to reduce their labor costs to a level equal to the salaries paid by non-unionized foreign auto companies operating in the United States, firms such as Nissan, Toyota and Honda.
Gettelfinger, however, blamed senators like Coburn who opposed the bailout.
Corker admitted to our people on the ground that they [concerns about pay] were largely about politics within the GOP caucus, said Gettelfinger. There is no question that the UAW has demonstrated leadership in this process. There were some in the Senate, who, we felt, resented that.
Gettelfinger also said that since financial workers were not asked to make concessions in the $700 billion bailout, senators were applying a double standard to the UAW.
Before Thursdays vote, Coburn told CNSNews.com that he thought the domestic auto companies would never be viable without the kind of sacrifices called for in Corkers amendment.
Coburn, however, also said that he does not blame unionized labor for the financial difficulties of the automakers.
I dont put the blame of their long-term troubles on the UAW, Coburn told CNSNews.com. I put it on the management of the auto companies who signed ridiculously expensive contracts with the UAW.
But Dan Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the free market Cato Institute, told CNSNews.com on Friday that the UAW is, in part, to blame.
UAW contracts have played a big role in pulling automakers into the crisis they now face, said Griswold. Those contracts are the single biggest difference between domestic and foreign-owned competitors operating on U.S. soil.
Griswold also said that it was the UAWs adversarial attitude in the bailout negotiations that caused the talks to collapse.
In Thursdays Senate vote, three Democrats sided with 31 Republicans in opposing the bailout.
Coburn is my favorite.
They probably assume under a new administration serious compromise will be unnecessary. At worst, they’ll get a far better deal.
The bail out is for the UAW and its very attractive pensions. Congress is telling the rest of America they are not worth spit, but the UAW and its political clout (i.e., it’s in bed with the Dems) are sacred? Give me a friggin’ break! I will NEVER buy another vehicle from the Big 3. Toyota or Honda, here I come!
“But UAW President Ron Gettelfinger in a press conference Friday morning blamed Republican senators, who he said resented his organization.”
That $450 billion in campaign contributions from the unions to the Democrats might have swayed the Republican feelings.
WATCHING FOX NEWS SUNDAY (Fox Network): Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn
Corker said UAW would NOT negotiate with Senate because they KNEW GWB would bail them out with no concessions, as with GWB Pelosi bill.
the Union Lay Bull...”
AND BUY SOMETHING WITHOUT IT.
Why wouldn’t the UAW want this “federal welfare check” delayed until they have the people in office who they paid millions to their campaigns. The UAW will get paid well for their Democrat support.
Anyone here ever read the political leftist propaganda in a UAW newsletter it hands out to it’s members? I have. It’s like visiting the Democratic Underground.
Is it now time for for the American people to have a reality check? There is no free lunch. If the federal government injects a trillion dollars of unearned money into the economy it will drastically devalue your and mine EARNED money.
Do you think these union people are fair and honest brokers? Park your American made Honda in a GM employee parking lot once. Sure, they have security cameras for the parking lot, so what?
Same here. I’m boycotting UAW. The transplants make far better cars using hard working Americans.
Based on the figures I've been seeing as regards their pay and benefits, if they've 'made concessions' I'd hate to have seen what the cost was before.
Frankly, I blame the unions AND management for the mess the auto companies are in.
A 52-35 Nay vote doesn’t sound like it all came from the Republican side. If the UAW gets a bailout I will never buy another big 3 car.
“If the UAW gets a bailout I will never buy another big 3 car.”
I agree with you. There are many others I have heard say teh same thing. I think these pompous fools in D.C. are going to be surprised when the sales for UAW produced vehicles falls even further. I and many others will never buy from them again.
I live in the Mid West. As some of you know, I work for GM in management. The union was asked to do something it legally could not do-contractual law. This was a GOP plan to kill the bill...a car czar with the proper powers can break the contract and will;the union expects this. It’s a matter of complicated law and has to be done in this context.
As for not buying GM cars. It’s your choice. We in the Mid West will come back and will not buy cars made in transplant states-nor will we spend our tourist dollars there. This will hurt these states in ways that will become apparent in the years to come. Our feeling is the foreign manufacturers already received a bailout courtesy of taxpayer money (subsidies to lure them to these states which in some cases included federal money). So if you buy one of these cars, you are already buying into a bailed out industry in many ways. The financial channel reports that it cost about $100,000 per worker in order to get this business. Of course Toyota pay $1500.00 bonus for any car sold in the US- this is subsidy and perhaps could be seen as a bail out by the standard used for the big three. By the by, those of us in the business have heard that while Tennessee (very uncertain in the economic slow down) might still get another transplant, Georgia is out of luck. The foreign plant will not be built. Also, there is a push to make sure that no federal money is used in these transplant deals. Too bad you bet on the foreigner company Gov. Barnes and didn’t offer anything for the Doraville GM plant in way of incentives-your lose.
Of course the Mid West will play its significant card in 2012 as our voters will vote overwhelmingly democratic thus dooming the election of any GOP presidential candidate. I will go third party myself. But as I pointed out in my vanity a couple of days ago...anger against the GOP is almost palpable here. Some chimed in on the thread about their Mid Western states. I live in Ohio, but an Indiana poster said it’s worse in his/her state. Some messaged me not wanting to get flamed by big three haters. The big three may very well disappear. I still do not see how anyone thinks losing industry is a good thing. However, the GOP will be severely damaged by this in the end. It’s a sad day for the party and for America.
I hear what you are saying. I don’t want to see any companies go down or anyone lose their job, but the writing is on the wall. One or two of the big 3 will cease to exist, either sooner or later. If we put this off till later, it will only be worse. Might as well get it over with now.
We need to put if off until later because if it happens now it takes everyone down. No American auto maker will survive. Also, the economy can not withstand such huge job losses across really 50 states. So it would be better if it happened after the economy improves somewhat.
As if you did anyway. That's a laugh. You have probably never been to a 'southern state'. You know that can work both ways.
Why would anyone want to buy a car from a company where the union runs things (as in bankrupt)?! For someone in 'management' you sure have a lot of time to post on FreeRepublic defending the UAW.
That is pure BS and to force people to agree to a bailout!