union-busting disguised as a rescue plan?

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Mike Whitney's "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" piece at CounterPunch (h/t: Rip Post) speculates that Washington's foot-dragging in rescuing Detroit's "Big Three" automakers (unlike the quick action on behalf of Citi and others in the financial industry) may be tainted by union-busting:

Could it be that the government is working out a secret deal with management to put the company through Chapter 11 (reorganization) just so it can crush the union and eliminate their pension and health care benefits in one fell swoop?

You bet. [...] The auto industry isn't going to be shut down. That's just more fear-mongering like the blather about martial law and WMD. Detroit is going to be transformed into a workers gulag; Siberia on Lake Michigan, which is why Paulson is withholding the $25 billion. It's plain old class warfare.

While the Big Three have been in the news, their workers have been the subject of many news stories about their alleged "gold-plated benefits" and $70/hour jobs; Eric Boehlert debunks the myths here at MediaMatters, observing that the $70 figure was manufactured by (dishonestly) adding the health and pension costs of retirees to the wages and benefits of current workers. Boehlert notes that "having the media echo conservative misinformation and bandy about urban-myth salary figures about allegedly high-on-the-hog GM workers does not constitute a careful review of the facts:

...what's obvious to me is that it's harmful to public discourse when the press, on such a central issue facing our country, fails to clearly state the facts and instead perpetuates misinformation with sloppy reporting -- reporting that seems to hold blue-collar workers to a different standard than their white-collar counterparts.

Is autoworker pay really too much of a hardship for Detroit's automakers to bear? The UAW reports the following:

The total labor cost of a new vehicle produced in the United States is about $2,400, which includes direct, indirect and salaried labor for engines, stamping and assembly at the automakers' plants.

This represents 8.4 percent of the typical $28,451 price of a new vehicle in 2006.

Remember: autoworkers aren't the ones flying around the country in corporate jets, and they didn't make the decisions that drove Detroit to the brink of bankruptcy.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on November 28, 2008 7:02 PM.

one more reason to celebrate Buy Nothing Day was the previous entry in this blog.

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