For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Auto Solutions: * Green Jobs * Nationalize GM
Thompson, a retired worker at American Axle in Detroit and former president of UAW Local 235, is helping organize a caravan of auto workers to D.C. There will be a rally seeing the caravan off on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Metropolitan Center for High Technology in Detroit, and it will arrive in D.C. on Monday morning.
She said today: "Weakening auto workers' benefits and contracts will not save the auto industry. Autoworkers have already made billions of dollars worth of concessions to the Big Three in recent contracts. Giving further concessions will not strengthen the industry, particularly when labor costs for UAW-made cars remain below 10 percent.
"Obviously there's a problem with transportation and environmental concerns. Instead of closing plants, we need to convert them. Just like in World War II when auto plants were changed overnight to produce material for the war effort, we should convert plants today for alternative energy sources. We should be building mass transit systems. Right now, we're importing heavy wind turbines from Germany; we should be manufacturing them here. The automakers are not moving in such directions. The government needs to take the lead, and people need to have a greater role in such government decisions.
"Instead of scaling back healthcare for autoworkers, we should have a single-payer system like they have in Canada, basically expanding Medicare to include everyone. Similarly, instead of scaling back autoworkers' pension plans, we should expand Social Security so it provides enough for all retired workers to live on."
Editor of the Multinational Monitor, Weissman just wrote the piece "Nationalize GM -- Or At Least Think About It," which states: "One must note the awesome disparity in treatment for the auto industry and Wall Street. Government agencies have thrown literally trillions of dollars at the financial sector, with very light conditions, and virtually no discussion of industry salary structures (aside from limited restraints on top executive compensation). By contrast, there has been endless fulmination about supposedly excessively generous wages for unionized auto workers, and much more severe financial and oversight conditions proposed for an industry bailout. ...
"General Motors now has a market capitalization of $2.8 billion. Ford's market value is $6.1 billion. These are relatively small amounts compared to the $25 billion the companies are requesting -- and they are likely to come back for more later."