Sunday, December 14, 2008
UAW says working to prevent "run" on GM, Chrysler
By David Bailey
DETROIT (Reuters) - United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger on Friday blamed Senate Republicans for the collapse of the auto bailout bill and said the union was ready to do its part to prevent creditors from forcing General Motors Corp or Chrysler LLC into bankruptcy.
"We're going to work tirelessly to make this happen and realize that there's going to have to be restructuring," Gettelfinger told reporters.
Gettelfinger said the key now is to prevent suppliers from stopping shipments to GM or Chrysler or demanding payment in cash up front -- a situation he likened to "a run on the bank."
"We need to satisfy the suppliers that there is going to be a tomorrow," he said.
Without immediate federal help now by the White House through the $700-billion fund for the banking system, GM will not be able to make it out of December, and Chrysler's own dire cash position is similar, he said.
"If we worked for nothing, it wouldn't help them limp into January," Gettelfinger said.
Senate negotiations over a $14 billion package to extend emergency loans to the auto industry broke down late Thursday. That came after the UAW balked at requirements from Senate Republicans that would have forced the union to agree to sweeping concessions on the spot.
"We wondered, quite frankly, if we were just being set up," Gettelfinger said.
The UAW has been a stalwart ally of the Democratic party and worked hard for the election of President-elect Barack Obama.
Gettelfinger said some Republicans, particularly from southern states like Alabama, saw the bailout negotiations as a way to cripple the union while aiding the Japanese, South Korean and German automakers that have located plants and supply operations in their home districts.
"They thought perhaps they could have a twofer here maybe -- pierce the heart of organized labor while representing the foreign brands," he said....More