An urgent plea from the United Auto Workers asks people to call Congress in support of the Detroit auto industry.
“The auto industry needs help in Congress right away,” the UAW said in a statement. “And if we don’t get it, the jobs and benefits of hundreds of thousands of our active and retired members and millions of other Americans are at risk.”
Callers are asked to phone 877-331-1223 to reach their senator or representative, or e-mail their sentiments through a Web site link here.
The UAW supports the companies’ bid for a quick infusion of the $25 billion loan package, initially set aside to reimburse automakers for new technology. The union also refuted criticism that auto workers have exorbitant wages and benefits.
“Active and retired UAW members have already made enormous sacrifices in the 2005 and 2007 collective bargaining agreements,” the union said. The latest pact calls for two tiers of wages and a shift of health care responsibility to the UAW starting in 2010.
The Detroit Big Three are also unfairly criticized for changing too slowly, the union said. Besides a major effort to make more fuel-efficient vehicles, the Big Three were hurt more by an overall drop in auto sales this fall, and the credit and economic woes nationwide.
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