2014

An Open Letter On the Auto Industry Bailout From Top U.S. Labor Leader

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- With Election Day fast approaching, Americans are looking for leadership that will create jobs at home and support an economy that is competitive in the global marketplace.  As a member of the President's Export Council, I've had the privilege to witness firsthand how President Barack Obama's policies in his first four years have already helped save and create new jobs in the American auto industry, one of the cornerstones of our economy. 

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121024/CG99701)

With the last Presidential debate finished and the end of the campaign season approaching, Republican candidate Mitt Romney is desperately trying to walk back his position to "let Detroit go bankrupt" and minimize the President's successful rescue of the industry.  It's important to set the record straight and not allow such misrepresentations to persist.

The truth is that President Obama saved the auto industry when his administration made the commitment to provide government financing to General Motors and Chrysler while they went through a crucial restructuring.  President Obama's commitment paid off—every penny of government money has been repaid, and American automakers are now enjoying an incredible resurgence. 

According to the Center for Automotive Research, the government-assisted restructuring saved over three million jobs, and since the restructuring in 2009 the industry has created nearly 250,000 new jobs.  Those jobs aren't just for the automakers themselves; they also belong to parts manufacturers, dealerships, and many related companies that would have failed too if the carmakers had not been saved.  In 2011, all Big Three automakers (GM, Chrysler, and Ford) posted profits for the first time in seven years.

These facts are undeniable, and they are a credit to the courage and foresight President Obama showed in rescuing the auto industry in the face of many critics, including Governor Romney, who famously explained in a New York Times op-ed that the government should "let Detroit go bankrupt" and that the car companies should rely on private financing in bankruptcy rather than accept government help.  What Romney failed to mention is that "private financing was all but nonexistent in the frozen credit markets of late 2008 and early 2009," according to the Detroit Free Press.  For Governor Romney now to suggest otherwise is either extremely naïve—or extremely deceptive.  Even AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson, a former Romney supporter, called Romney's opposition to the auto industry rescue "truly reckless, detached from reality, and dishonest.''

Even worse, at the final presidential debate Romney failed to tell the truth about what his position had been on the auto rescue at the time it was happening.  In the debate, Romney said that he supported "government help" as part of the bankruptcy, but at the time he specifically rejected providing any government assistance to the automakers at all.  It's another example of Romney misrepresenting his record in order to gain votes now that it's clear Obama's policy of providing government help to the carmakers has been successful.

While President Obama's decision to save the automakers has been a great success, that is not all he has done to support the American auto industry.  He has also signed trade agreements in his first term to help make sure American cars are sold all over the world in places like South Korea.  These agreements help ensure that American manufacturers are competing on a level playing field, and have strong enforcement provisions to prevent unfair competition.

President Obama's policies for the auto industry have led to great successes, and with a second term, I am confident he will show the same leadership in other industries to provide good jobs to Americans and help American enterprise compete on the world stage.

From: William P. Hite General President, United Association

Founded in 1889, the UA is a multi-craft union whose members are engaged in the fabrication, installation and servicing of piping systems. There are approximately 340,000 highly skilled UA members belonging to more than 300 local unions across North America.


Media Contact: Rick Terven United Association, 410-269-2000, RickT@uanet.org



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SOURCE United Association




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