Thirty-six members of the U.S. House — Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives — recently wrote to President Obama asking him to stop the White House Auto Task Force from taking actions that are harmful to American autoworkers, auto dealers and the states and communities impacted by plant and dealership closings.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, organized the effort with Ohio Republican Steven LaTourette in response to the administration’s approach to the Chrysler bankruptcy and bailout.
But it now takes on new significance as the administration’s approach to the General Motors bankruptcy and bailout — a much larger endeavor — parallels the bad strategies of the Chrysler deal.
Here is the text of the Chrysler letter, which was sent late last month:
The Honorable Barack ObamaThe PresidentThe White HouseWashington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to express our concern over events that have occurred and will soon occur in the U.S. Automobile Industry. We are grateful to you and your Administration for the leadership demonstrated. However, decisions being made by the Auto Task Force and in the bankruptcy proceedings in New York are more than troubling.
In your announcement on Chrysler on April 30, 2009 you indicated that: “It will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or live in communities that depend on it.”
While we know that was your intention, events following your announcement have made that impossible.
1.) Members of the UAW voted on April 28-29 to ratify a contract agreeing to significant concessions. Sadly, approximately 9000 auto workers at 8 Chrysler facilities went to vote on that contract without knowing that their jobs would be terminated. For example, 88% of the members of Local 122 in Twinsburg, Ohio voted on April 29th for the agreement, celebrated your announcement on April 30th, and discovered for the first time that their plant would be shuttered on May 1st;
2.) As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, those 9000 workers have been given to only May 26th to determine if they want to accept a buy out package terminating all rights of their employment;
3.) On May 4th in those bankruptcy proceedings, Robert Manzo of Capstone, Chrysler’s consultant, testified that the Auto Task Force, after first suggesting that Chrysler not be permitted to spend any funds on advertising, begrudgingly agreed to permit them to spend half of their advertising budget;