The UAW strongly supports the bipartisan compromise to provide emergency bridge loans to the U.S. auto industry, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said today.
"The bipartisan compromise between congressional leaders and the White House provides critical support for Main Street manufacturing and sets in motion a process for restructuring our industry for the future," said Gettelfinger.
"We applaud the efforts of everyone on both sides of the aisle who has worked long and hard to develop this emergency legislation. We urge Congress to act without delay to pass this legislation to avoid devastating consequences for the entire U.S. economy."
If Congress fails to act this week, Gettelfinger said, one or more automakers will be forced to liquidate operations, due to the dramatic drop in auto sales caused by the current recession and the global credit crisis.
"Investing in America's manufacturing base makes sense," said Gettelfinger. "Otherwise, 3 million jobs are at risk, along with pension and health benefits for more than a million retirees. Thousands of businesses that supply the auto industry would be forced to close, and government at all levels would lose hundreds of billions in tax revenues -- far more than the assistance being requested."
The UAW supports the tough conditions included in the bipartisan legislation, including limits on executive compensation, a prohibition on dividends, an equity stake to protect taxpayers and ongoing federal oversight. The proposed bill also requires automakers to develop restructuring plans for long-term viability, which will involve shared sacrifice from all stakeholders, including management, directors, bondholders, shareholders, suppliers, dealers, UAW members and other company employees.
The initial source for the emergency bridge loans will be the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program. This green technology fund was created by Congress in 2007 to promote retooling of U.S. manufacturing facilities to build highly fuel-efficient vehicles of the future.
"The next Congress must replenish the green technology fund as soon as possible," said Gettelfinger. "We need emergency legislation today to keep America's factories up and running -- and we also need a long-term strategy to build the high-mileage, low-emission vehicles of the future here in the United States."