The UAW, international union for the automobile, aerospace and agricultural implement workers of America, has endorsed President Barack Obama ahead of the Nov. 6 General Election.
UAW’s endorsement comes as no surprise—it’s as predictable as seasonal flu.
However, the letter UAW sent to members contains some very misleading information about Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney.
The most misleading claim repeats Obama’s false claims about Romney’s approach to the auto bailouts begun by President George W. Bush and enhanced by Obama.
The letter cites the skewed headline The New York Times assigned to an opinion piece Romney wrote on Nov. 18, 2008. The NYT, seizing political opportunity, titled Romney’s essay, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
Romney wasn’t proposing a shutdown. Romney correctly pinpointed the need for a restructuring of the Detroit manufacturers. He correctly pointed out the need to negotiate “new labor agreements to align pay and benefits to match those of workers at competitors like BMW, Honda, Nissan and Toyota.” Romney also correctly said “retiree benefits must be reduced…”
Retiree benefits currently add approximately $2,000 to the sticker price of a car, an actual “cost penalty.”
Romney also proposed new management. Obama agreed with that apparently, because his car czar, the scandalized Steven Rattner, booted the GM CEO.
Furthermore, Obama’s team put the manufacturers through controlled bankruptcies and hired more new management. Thousands of dealerships were put out of business, but most media downplayed the significance of those job losses.
Obama claimed Romney wouldn’t have offered federal help. Obama was wrong as numerous fact check groups on both left and right pointed out the next day.
Romney didn’t just target reform of benefits; he targeted reform of executive perks like executive dining rooms and other costly practices. The governor also stressed the need for research:
No more focus on quarterly earnings or the kind of short-term stock appreciation that means quick riches for executives with options. Manage with an eye on cash flow, balance sheets and long-term appreciation. Invest in truly competitive products and innovative technologies — especially fuel-saving designs — that may not arrive for years. Starving research and development is like eating the seed corn.
The Heritage Foundation pointed out Rattner’s folly in organizing the plan which dismissed bankruptcy law and will end up costing taxpayers billions. It goes without saying another auto bailout will probably be needed. No corporation can dedicate approximately $70 an hour [Heritage Foundation] to every worker without losing in the long run, not if it’s public.
The UAW endorsement letter also misleads by criticizing the budget Rep. Paul Ryan introduced in the U.S. House, but Romney isn’t following the Ryan budget because the Romney campaign has its own plan.
Obama has made much of keeping lobbyists away from the White House. However, today’s organized labor sector is a de facto lobby group any way you look at it. Take a look at the UAW website, a virtual love fest for Democrat candidates, and you’ll see what I mean.
The reality of the bailouts is this. The problem hasn’t been solved—it has simply been postponed.
As is the standard for politicos, Rattner denied any wrongdoing.
In my opinion, the UAW endorsement deserves a 'Pants on Fire' rating when it comes to truth.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Oct. 26, 2012)