Has there ever been a more blatant attempt to smash a workers’ union like what the Senate Republicans are doing during the current negotiations with the U.S. automakers? In recent blog entries, I have addressed the blue-collar bias and the distinct anti-Northern prejudice of the Senate through out this whole affair. The union busting tactics of a few US Senators is simply disgraceful.
Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker has taken the lead in attacking the United Auto Workers Union as the cause of all the ills of the American auto making industry. According to his master resuscitation plan, the union should agree to wage concessions, bringing them to levels comparable to non-union auto workers’ wages by March 2009. UAW President, Ron Gettelfinger, has agreed in principle to address wage concessions, but he wants the concessions phased in over time allowing for its gradual implementation from lower starting wages and the retirement of older higher paid workers.
Senator Corker is having none of it. He wants wages slashed and he wants it done now. As a result of his intransigence, General Motors is teetering on the verge of collapse, threatening over 3,000 UAW jobs in his home state. (There is a non-union Nissan plant in Tennessee with a VW plant coming soon)
Today, the White House acknowledged that it would step in should the Senate not be able to pass a bill for the automakers’ loan, leading Corker to whine that such a move undercuts his negotiating position with the UAW.
It appears that Senator Corker and his anti-labor Southern cohorts will not be happy until domestic automakers adopt Wal-Mart like labor practices. Or better yet, why not move GM, Ford and Chrysler to China? We could then have the windshield wiper blades made and installed in the Northern Mariana Islands thus allowing the finished automobile to carry the “Made in America” label.