During the hearing held yesterday by the Senate Banking Committee into government assistance for the automotive industry Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) commented on the "scapegoating of the men and women of organized labor" in the auto industry. He also called the false claim about autoworkers making $70/hr a deliberate lie being perpetrated on the American people.
CASEY: I have to say also, with regard to the labor concessions -- Mr. [Ron] Gettelfinger [UAW president], I wanted to review some of those. Because I am stunned by the kind of -- when you hear the talking heads on television and when you read what some people say in this town and across the country about the mythology that's out there about how we're -- how we got to this situation. And, frankly, the scapegoating of the men and women of organized labor, and in particular, autoworkers.
Point number one: In 2005, cuts in wages for active workers and health-care benefits for retirees -- point number one. I'm reading from your testimony. Cuts for new workers, bringing the wage level down to 14 bucks an hour. How many industries are doing that? Reducing the company's liability for retiree health care by 50 percent. And I realize these have been in the record before, but it is very important.
And wages and benefits. You said yourself that they're about 10 percent -- 10 percent of the budget? You would think listening to some of the people talk out there, some of the so-called experts, that wages and benefits were 70 percent of the cost. So there's a lot of mythology, a lot of myth generally that has been put on the record.
In 20-- since 2003, downsizing by the companies has reduced their workforce by 150,000 people. That doesn't get said very often. The labor-cost gap with foreign transplant operations will be largely or completely eliminated. OK? So, it's -- I think it's important to put this information on the record for this hearing. And then we've heard this garbage about 73 bucks an hour. It's a total lie, and some people have perpetrated that deliberately in a calculated way to mislead the American people about what we're doing here. It's a lie, and they know it's a lie.