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Members of the United Auto Workers expressed extreme displeasure with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's comment that rather than bail out the auto industry, "we should have let Detroit go bankrupt." They said that Romney doesn't understand that the bailout didn't just save companies and jobs, it saved careers and families. They went further to say that when conservatives like Romney attack unions, what they are really attacking are working people.
The full press release:
UAW members reacted strongly to Mitt Romney's claim that "we should have let Detroit go bankrupt," when the economy and the auto industry were about to collapse.
"He's trying to rewrite history and attack President Obama and the UAW for successfully saving the auto industry," said UAW President Bob King. "He is misleading voters about the president's bold and decisive rescue of the auto industry and about sacrifices made by workers. But voters deserve the truth."
Even prior to the emergency rescue loans, UAW members made deep sacrifices beginning in 2005 to save the company, giving up pay increases, overtime pay, holidays, agreeing to a reduced pay and benefit structure for new hires, and other concessions. President Obama demanded additional concessions and shared sacrifice from both labor and management in exchange for the loans.
In return, America's carmakers retooled to create the energy-efficient cars of the future and repaid their outstanding loans years ahead of schedule.
Rescuing the auto industry saved more than 1.4 million jobs up and down the supply chain.
"There's not a person in Michigan who doesn't have a sister or brother or cousin or friend who is tied to the auto industry," said Stacie Steward, a UAW Local 1700 member and an electrician from Chrysler's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) in Sterling Heights, Mich. "Every Michigan citizen should be appalled by what Mitt Romney said."
"It's an attack on American workers," said Jeff Klayo, also of Local 1700 and from SHAP, which was scheduled to close before Chrysler received the loans. "We're out there trying to get the American dream. We're trying to keep our jobs, for a good wage for our family, put food on our table, pay our taxes, continue to work for the company and get the rewards.
"If the company's successful, we can be successful. If the company takes a downturn, we take a downturn with it," he added.
"The president's rescue loans helped the auto industry survive the darkest hour of its history and return to thriving operations today," said King. "These workers from SHAP are evidence. They, along with hundreds of thousands other workers who depend on the auto industry for jobs, were facing a very uncertain future, but today, they are making the Chrysler 200, one of Detroit's new, hot-selling models. UAW members completed negotiations with the domestic automakers this fall with a strategy to make the company successful and to share in its success. And that strategy paid off."
"Americans deserve to know the truth," King added. "The emergency loans worked. GM is once again the world's top carmaker. Its 2011 profit was its largest ever. The auto industry added more than 200,000 jobs in the last two-and-a-half years, and 2011 was the strongest year of industry job growth since 1994. Demand for their cars is going up, so GM, Ford and Chrysler are starting to run three production shifts a day at many plants. Added shifts and new facilities mean jobs for thousands more workers in Michigan, Ohio and other places across the country."
Romney seems to care more about appeasing his allies in the business community than helping out actual working Americans. Good to see that working Americans are fighting back against the lies that Romney and other conservatives are spreading about them.