The Domestic Auto Manufacturers Submit the Following…

By December 2, 2008Economy, Labor Unions

A look around at the coverage:

Reuters, “U.S. automakers rush to finish plans for Congress“:

DETROIT/WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) – U.S. automakers rushed to submit restructuring plans demanded by Congress before lawmakers reopen debate on a $25 billion bailout the industry says it needs to survive.

Under fire for fighting fuel standards for years, the Detroit-based automakers are expected to present plans that call for them to build more fuel-efficient cars, ax unpopular brands, cap executive compensation and restructure their agreements with the United Auto Workers union.

Associated Press, “Auto Workers to hold emergency meeting on bailout“:

NEW YORK (Associated Press) – Local United Auto Workers leaders from across the country will hold an emergency meeting in Detroit on Wednesday to discuss concessions the union could make to help auto companies get government loans.

UAW leaders called the meeting Monday night in an e-mail, obtained by The Associated Press, to local union presidents and bargaining chairmen.

Among the subjects to be discussed at the meeting will be the possibility of restructuring the union-administered health care fund so that the automakers can delay payments to the multibillion-dollar fund, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The union leaders will also discuss potentially eliminating the jobs bank, in which laid-off workers keep receiving most of their pay.

Finally,  Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne pounds the class warfare drums in his op-ed today, “Crunch Time for the Big 3,” making the comment, “A hideous class bigotry has disfigured this debate.”

You can’t have bigotry without bigots, and to Dionne those bigots are the people who have criticized the UAW and organized labor for exorbitant contracts.

Look, there’s enough blame to go around here, but you sure shouldn’t exempt organized labor from criticism, and criticism does not equal bigotry. Consider the UAW e-mail cited above: “The union leaders will also discuss potentially eliminating the jobs bank, in which laid-off workers keep receiving most of their pay.” Job banks?

Dionne’s comment is even more distasteful when you look at the sentence that immediately precedes it: “If saving our auto industry means moving GM workers ever closer to Wal-Mart wages, the bailout isn’t worth doing.”

Implicitly demeaning Wal-Mart workers as so unworthy that just moving “ever closer” to their wages — what, 1 percent, 2 percent closer? — justifies shuttering the Detroit automakers is as good of an example of “hideous class bigotry” you’ll find in this debate.

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