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!
Bankruptcy and restructuring will not necessarily lead to the demise of the domestic automakers. It will give them a chance to actually be competitive afterward. Perhaps ineffective management will be thrown out as a result?
Subsidies can occur for any big company, if they move into an area that wants them, so that isn’t considered a bailout.
It’s considered by some to be a smart strategy for the locality, which will bring in more jobs to the area.
It was the UAW and management at the big 3 that brought this about, and they can handle it the same way other companies who are not smart with their money can handle it, through bankruptcy.
It’s against the law for a union to agree to re-open a contract? Oh, please.
I would like to see our senators and representatives with brains and balls hold a press conference and explain to the country that folks making big bucks and big benefits are unwilling to take a pay cut to help keep their jobs and would prefer to fleece their fellow Americans instead.
Speak for yourself Bailout Boy.
The bailout was never about saving the auto industry, it was about saving the Unions hide.
The auto industry if it wanted to save itself would have simply said this to the government:
We need to file Chapter 11, we are concerned however if we do, people will stop buying our products. So, can you please do the following.
As part of our Chap 11 filings, guarantee our warantees, so if we go out of business (which if we restructure we really should not have to, but just in case we do, to assure consumer confidnence) you will guarantee our warrantees.
If we don’t go out of business it costs the government nothing and if we do wind up out of business, the cost will be minimal to the government for trying to help.
Game, Set, Match. Of course that option doesn’t preserve UAW contracts, which was what this bailout was about from the get go.
After reading your silly ramblings, it is obvious why GM is in trouble. If you are representative of the management of GM, then I can see there is NO hope for GM.
I just looked up how many total union members there are in the U.S.
16 million workers, all of whom we're told have great pay, benefits, etc. So why don't THEY come to the aid of their union "brothers and sisters"?
Let's assume just half the $14B is for labor costs. If each of those union members contributed a measly $450...VOILA!...problem solved. I might even support the other half coming from taxpayers if I saw such a move by unions.
Whatever happened to SOLIDARITY?
Got a quick question. As a GM employee would you and your fellow workers be willing to work for minimum wage right now to get the company back on it’s feet with the promise that the company would repay you the difference in wages in the future?
If yes then I will support the bailout, if not then hell no.
I’d be happy to just as soon as Citi, Aig, Goldman employees do this. We have already taken a pay cut by the way. You know your statement is a nasty one...God don’t like ugly as my dear sainted Mother used to say. You might just end up working for minimum. We all might if the big three collapse.
After your silly name calling ramblings, it is obvious why you can not muster a decent argument...no brains.
I speak for some of my neighbors...who have stated this. I also heard it on the radio and in every newspaper so we’ll see. Tennessee has many tourist attractions. My kids enjoyed it very much. We won’t be going back anytime soon if ever. As for speaking, the voters will speak in 2010 and more importantly 2012. You won’t like what they have to say...I fear.
THAT is going to change...my next car will NOT be made with UAW labor.
That is my choice and I hope the democratic minions at the UAW end up in bread lines!
Won't ever go to that cesspool called Detroit.
Losing our last large manufacturing sector puts us at risk economically and in terms of national security. It is a grave loss and only people suffering from Union Derangement Syndrome would want this to happen...it’s always the unions blah blah. Try to remember when the words ‘country first’ meant more than a campaign slogan at a McCain rally.
As for it being a good thing for conservatives, this is absolutely not true. It would mean the election of Democratic presidents for years and lead to socialism...if you stop with the union hatred and look at the electoral map, you would notice that we can not win without the Mid West.
You are free to buy any car you want...If the big three went away, I doubt you or anyone else could afford a car. Of course you don’t need a car to stand in bread lines or eat in makeshift soup kitchens.
It against the law for the head of the union to agree to changes in the contract without a vote...this takes time to arrange. The good Senator from Tennessee did not ask the union to reopen the contract, he wanted to change it without any sort of authority to do so. This was their way of killing the bill.
You need a better class of neighbors.
Tennessee has many tourist attractions. My kids enjoyed it very much. As for speaking, the voters will speak in 2010
Seems to me they spoke just last month, too. How did that whole John McCain "bailout" thing work out for the Republicans again? How many Congressional seats did they pick up?
You wont like what they have to say...I fear.
It won't matter. You and your bunch of UAW thugs will threaten riots again no matter which Party is running things. Nice negotiating technique you got there. "Give us money or we bust the joint up."
Tell me just how you differ from your standard issue Mafia extortionist again because from where I'm standing I don't see much difference.
IF the big 3 had anything worthwhile, they would be bought by a foreign manufacturer...no buyer=no value.
Bankruptcy does not work for manufacturers because of supplier issues (they would all go bankrupt;many would not survive) and the stigma attached to this sort of thing. If it could be quickly handled perhaps...but this would take by conservative estimates three to four years. Chapter 11 could become chapter 7 in a matter of days-best case scenario weeks. We need an auto manufacturing sector...unless you really believe a financial sector that chops up mortgages and leverages themselves 40-1, and never caught on when one of their own stole 50 billion can really pull us out this whole. The service/consumer economy is a failure and should be relegated to the dustbins of history. We need to bring back more manufacturing-not kill the last remaining sector.
This is your opinion...
I lived in Georgia. My sister and sister-in-law both live in Georgia. My wife’s family is from Virginia...Albermarle Country near Charlottesville. I have spent many enjoyable weeks at Fairfield Glade (timeshare resort) and Sapphire valley (timeshare resort). I’ve been to Dollywood and all the other attractions in this area. I went to the aquarium in Tennessee-excellent attraction.
Nope, I’ve been all over the South including other southern states. I won’t spend leisure dollars in states that have -best case scenario-representatives and not the citizens who hate the Mid West and Michigan in particular with Ohio following a close second. I also won’t buy cars from transplant nation even if the big three goes away.
There was no attempt to reopen the contract. The GOP caucus merely demanded this-knowing it would not be possible. What people don’t understand is that this - as it was worded- could have included legacy as well in these wages. Perhaps you have hear of contractual law? When you sign a contract, you can not break it at will. As for the productive economy...I don’t what you are referring to after listening to the financial news this morning...doesn’t seem to be one. We are in deep trouble-adding millions more to the unemployment roles would be incredibly stupid.
It’s a shame the Senate GOP played politics with our nation in one of its darkest hours. I don’t know if I can vote for them anymore. I held my nose and worked for and voted for McCain. But, I am questioning whether they are fit to lead now. It may be third party for me.
But you see, without a bridge loan, the big three will go out of business. They can not survive a bankruptcy. So if you truly want to retain this industry, you got to have the loan.
The UAW is nothing more than an extortionist organization and will fail under it’s own weight. If they hold strong, they will be unemployed. A new contract ordered by the bankruptcy court will save the jobs and make the future a little brighter for the manufacturing base.
You obviously don’t believe the high costs and outlandish work rules placed on these companies by your beloved UAW has anything to do with the economic conditions the Big 3 face.
Feel free to enjoy the dying state of Michigan. Many will follow the opposite of your lead by not buying UAW produced cars and staying away from Michigan businesses.
Your dear sainted mother didn’t raise you too well did she. For example you as a kid see bigger kids shoplifting items from a store you therefore think it is your right to shoplift items as well.
That is pretty much your argument about the financial bailout. Mom the big boys at Citi and the other banks got money then I deserve it too.
Never mind that most Americans thought that the first bailout was a bad idea and that we just wasted 700 billion with little result. You want another bailout for the auto industry and frankly I see nothing that tells me that it will be any more successful than the first bailout.
Now I and other Freepers has suggested that if we bailout the auto industry instead of direct payments to the automakers like direct payments to the banks we give the consumers a tax credit to buy an American car. By doing so you increase demand, it helps not only the automakers but the car dealers, the local and state governments, the shippers of vehicles, etc.
Explain to me how paying 50 billion directly to the auto industry increases demand? Frankly I don’t think it is about paying their suppliers either. If you have tons of unsold finished goods the last thing you need to worry about is raw materials to make more unsold cars. If it is the suppliers the big Three was worried about they would have the bailout go directly to those suppliers.
This is all about meeting payroll isn’t it? It is all about paying the UAW what the automakers owe them.
Never mind that there is absolutely no way the automakers can pay the taxpayers back or not require more loans in the future.
I lived and suffered through the farm crisis of the 1980’s when even with government help there was widespread economic depression in the rural areas. Those areas still vote Republican. I have seen the Railroads and the Steel Industry decline, etc. No industry has been indispensable for the country in the long term.
Stop thinking short term or else find another job. What do you prefer another pay cut or no job in the future? I want to see a long term solution rather than just paying money out because it’s “fair”. I have heard not a single good reason why this bailout is going to turn the companies around and save the industry.
Another thing is you complained about southern states offering incentives to Toyota and others to build plants there. Why the hell didn’t GM take advantage of the offer as well? Most of their plants are located in high cost areas and is not as efficient as these newer plants. Be it the UAW not wanting them to move to Right to Work states or the inept management they have problems.
A new contract ordered by a car czar will avoid a ruinous bankruptcy which will certainly result in liquidation. I tire of saying this but the Union wages are already in line...it’s the legacy costs that matter. As for health care. The union already pays for and administers this plan for the rank and file. As for work rules. This is the most important concession and it’s been done in my plant at least. I know this for sure.
Look, I’m tired of hearing about how evil the union is; they are just working people with families like you unless you are one of the wealthy types. Many of my guys served in the military. They liken the GOP behavior in this matter to a generation of soldiers being called baby killers in the 70’s...they are being kicked in the teeth by other Americans and the GOP after serving their country bravely.
All you union haters think it’s 1955, and you don’t know anything about this matter. This is not a political issue, but rather an American issue. These union people are taxpayers, some are vets and more importantly all are Americans...so those of you who wish ill upon them...I hope it slaps you in the face instead. You deserve it; they don’t. The globalists have made the union the bogeyman to hide the truth...their policies are disastrous to our country and have brought this country to bankruptcy. I say this as a GM manager who works with the union and knows them.
Many of the guys will be laid off in December and are trying to make it to the next year...it’s a sad situation, and for those of you who glory in their misfortune for political reasons, I say you are not a patriot and do not deserve to be called an American.