Back against the wall, the UAW has announced that it is willing to renegotiate its contracts with the Big Three. That apparently includes letting go of the jobs bank:
As for the jobs bank program, which provides many laid-off workers with most of their pay and benefits, Mr. Gettelfinger said the program has shrunk dramatically, but remains a “lightning rod” for critics of the domestic auto industry.
“Jobs bank has become a sound byte that people use to beat us up,” he said. GM and Ford have reduced their jobs banks by nearly 80,000 workers in recent years. The Detroit Three auto makers currently have 3,500 workers in the jobs bank.
That’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. Labor contracts have also burdened the Big Three with mounting buyout costs as they try to shrink their workforces to keep pace with falling demand. Product commitments and work rules have hindered their efforts to adapt to the market. A bailout would strengthen the UAW’s hand in future negotiations and remove pressure on them to make further concessions.
Maybe that’s why Gettelfinger has launched a pro-bailout ad campaign:
He also said the union will run a television ad in Maine, Kentucky, Indiana and Minnesota to put the faces of union workers on the controversy over the loans. The ads presumably are designed to pressure Congressional opponents of the loans.
As long as we’re getting outraged over symbolic wastes of money, why isn’t this on par with the corporate-jets fiasco? Speaking of which, the execs are driving to DC — one pictures them all crammed into one Ford Focus — and they say they’re ready to accept an annual salary of $1 if Congress would only save their jobs. It’s almost like in order to get help from Congress, you have to grovel and pander and suck up like… a member of Congress!