In bid for loans, Detroit auto makers outline plans for drastic downsizing

(8 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Original article, by Jerry White, via World Socialist Web Site:

The CEOs of Detroit’s Big Three auto companies are appearing before the Senate Banking Committee today to present plans for the restructuring of the US auto industry as they seek federal loans to avert bankruptcy. The plans involve the destruction of the jobs and living standards of tens of thousands of auto workers and factory closures that will devastate communities across the country.

If we bail out the auto industry, and I think we should if only for strategic reasons (would the automakers, if owned by the Chinese Red Army, mobilize to build tanks should we go to war with China?), we should make it clear that we expect that the money will go to rebuild the US auto industry. The company(ies) which take the money should agree to sell off or spin off all foreign parts of their companies (this would include Canada, Mexico, etc.). Not a single penny should go toward the companies should they continue to manufacture cars outside of the US.

That sounds rather nationalistic, doesn’t it? In a sense, yes. However, why should US taxpayers be paying for company improvements overseas? We are in this economic mess due, to a large extent, to the deindustrialization the the US economy. Good paying jobs are needed to rebuild our economy. If the companies refuse, no money.

Oh, and as for the UAW?

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger announced the agreement after a meeting with local union presidents and bargaining officials that was timed to precede the congressional testimony by the auto executives.

Far from protecting the jobs and living standards of UAW members, Gettelfinger was shameless in making clear that the union leadership is willing to hand back the gains won by previous generations of auto workers in return for government loans to the companies. “We’re in a race to the bottom,” Gettelfinger told reporters. “I used to cringe at the word ‘concessions.’ Now I say, why hide from it? That’s what we did in ’03, ’05 and ’07.”

It’s time that the autoworkers consider another union. If the union refuses to fight for it’s workers, it shouldn’t be a union. Needless to say, it will be the workers who will bear the brunt of any cost cutting from the formerly Big Three. Grrrrr….

The working class is not responsible for this crisis. Auto workers have absolutely no say in the financial, investment and production decisions of the firms for which they work. On the contrary, the root cause of the crisis is private ownership of the auto industry and the means of production as a whole, the subordination of social needs to private profit, and the economic dictatorship exercised by the corporate and financial elite. Their incompetence, greed and single-minded drive to increase the “shareholder value” of the big investors and banks have played a major role in driving the auto industry and the entire economy into the ground. Now they turn on the workers, blame them for the crisis and demand that they pay the cost through the destruction of their jobs, wages, pensions and health benefits.

Perhaps it would be best for the formerly Big Three to go into bankruptcy and have the US government BUY the companies then. The companies could then be turned over to the workers themselves. Management and executives would be paid no more than a skilled laborer. What’s more, the workers would then have a say in how the company is run, all the way down to the models of autos which are being produced. The bosses have had their chance, and there’s no reason to think that they won’t have another epic fail should they remain in charge.

The entire article is quite good and well worth the read.

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    • aakks on December 5, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    And we shouldn’t support any bailout where the plan involves layoffs. Frankly, I don’t give a crap about the car companies. I care about the people they are employing. Why bail them out when they’re just going to layoff large chunks of those people anyway?

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