Carhaul Drivers' Families March for Justice at Auto Show

Jan 15, 2010, 19:58 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Wives, children ask Fiat/Chrysler not to leave their husbands and fathers unemployed

DETROIT, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This evening, 75 women and children whose husbands and fathers deliver new cars for a living marched on the charity preview of the North American International Auto Show to ask Fiat/Chrysler not to destroy the jobs that support their families. Some children held signs that read, "Fiat/Chrysler is Uncharitable."

Fiat/Chrysler received $14 billion in the taxpayer-funded auto bailout that was meant to help the economy and save jobs. However, they are moving work away from the professional carhaul companies that have delivered their vehicles to dealerships for many years. The loss of this work could put these carriers out of business, leaving thousands without jobs and health care.

"I'm a housewife and a student and it took a toll on us. I had to stop school to try and help and we had to turn to government assistance as well," said NeQueesha Coleman, whose husband is a carhaul driver who has been laid off. "We didn't have healthcare either. I have two kids. Our finances really decreased. We are used to working. I think it's good to help people that are in need, but we need jobs too."

In addition to layoffs, many other carhaul drivers have already accepted major economic concessions. Some have seen wage cuts up to 17.5 percent.

"Don't give me a handout. Give me a job," said Theresa Fitzpatrick, the wife of another laid-off carhaul driver. "The people in the auto industry who are attending the charity preview need to really think about what they are doing, because the people they are giving charity to are the same people whose jobs they have taken away. These guys and gals, including my husband, have worked really hard to obtain the American dream. In one swoop Chrysler took all of that away from them. Now we're living through an American nightmare. We fought for these taxpayer measures so that they could continue producing in America and then they turned around and stabbed us in the back."

Outside the Cobo Center families also handed out leaflets to auto show attendees that read, "Fiat/Chrysler Hurts Kids."

"After Fiat/Chrysler received so much taxpayer money, it is disappointing that they would treat its longtime carriers with their thousands of drivers in this manner," said Teamster Carhaul Division Director Fred Zuckerman. "In this economy, America cannot afford to lose even more good jobs with good benefits. I don't think this is what taxpayers had in mind when they supported these bailouts of the auto industry."

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was founded in 1903 and represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters