January 26, 2009
Obama dances the merry tailpipe with California and friends
See, e.g., the coolly named blog “It’s Getting Hot In Here: Dispatches from the Youth Climate Movement”, BREAKING: Obama Lets California and 13 States Regulate Global Warming Pollution from Cars and Trucks,
BREAKING NEWS: President Barack Obama will grant California and 13 other states the authority to regulate global warming pollution from cars and light trucks, setting standards that would require cars and trucks sold in those states to achieve higher fuel efficiency. …
…as the Post reports, the waiver allowing California and 13 other states to move forward with regulations on CO2 emissions from cars and trucks may do more to accelerate increased vehicle fuel economy than the federal CAFE standards….
, and CBS News, California Cheers Obama’s Emissions Push–CBS Evening News: State That Pioneered Battle With Auto Industry Chimes In On President Obama’s Proposals,
In its drive to crack down on air pollution, California has waged a four-year battle with Washington and the auto industry. Now, it just might win, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports.
“For too many years Washington has been asleep at the wheel. Now we have an ally.” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger [sic--apparent omission]
California has wanted permission to set the most stringent standard in the nation on tailpipe emissions to reduce pollution. …
I can hear the polar bears cheering already.
January 9, 2009
UAW chained to no-strike law as loan condition–outrageous!!
See the Detroit News, UAW strike would kill auto loans: Auto rescue terms raise stakes in deal mandating changes in pay, benefits,
General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC would be in default of up to $17.4 billion in federal loans if the United Auto Workers or another union engaged in a strike or work stoppage, a loan provision that essentially strips the union of a powerful negotiating tactic it has used several times in recent years.
The provision is buried deep [surprise, surprise--ed.] in the Loan and Security Agreement between GM and the U.S. Treasury Department governing the use of up to $13.4 billion in short-term loans that prevented the automaker’s collapse, according to documents filed Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. …
and Detroit Free Press, UAW strike would kill auto loans: Auto rescue terms raise stakes in deal mandating changes in pay, benefits,
…The union has not threatened a strike, but a work stoppage is one of the strongest levers it has to resist terms with which it disagrees in negotiations. …
The deal requires the UAW to accept by Feb. 17 a plan to lower wages and benefits for workers to match those of employees at foreign-owned U.S. plants by Dec. 31. …
Harry Katz, dean of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, doesn’t see the strike-default provision impacting the negotiations between GM and the UAW but questioned whether such a provision that could bar a strike is legal.
“Workers have the right to strike guaranteed under the National Labor Relations Act,” he said. “It’s maybe there symbolically.”
The articles also note that the UAW is not barred from striking at all–just, uh, if they don’t want to destroy their companies through loan default)–, and that this all ironically may let the UAW have a “nuclear option” (by striking, they can…cause their employers to default!).
But still, obviously, this is disgraceful. It’s a slap in the face to the UAW and labor in general, it may be illegal, and, of course, it may make it harder to strike. (Note also the wage reduction that lets the companies of foreign powers effectively dictate American workers’ wages…)
What can you do? Well,
You can go to Change.gov and make comment,
You can post on this yourself,
You can post this to any Daily Kos or other blog “labor list” or “lists” that there is/are, and
you can also work to censure the administration that would pull some trick like this; Bush posed as the Santa Claus of the auto industry when Corker Congress wouldn’t give a loan, but he put a lump of coal in the American worker’s stocking, sure enough.
So contact Russ Feingold, thru his chief of staff, Mary Irvine, by simply clicking Mary_Irvine@Feingold.senate.gov, or call her at (202) 224-5323; here’s a sample script,
[e-mail subject line: "Censure Bush/Cheney, finish the job Russ"]
Dear Mary Irvine:
I’m a Democratic voter and would like Russ Feingold to lead the Senate to censure George W. Bush and Dick Cheney before they leave office. Torture, Iraq, wiretapping, and now the Bush administration’s disgraceful attack on the American worker by preventing the UAW from striking unless they want the auto industry bailout loans to default, are all reasons to condemn the administration in the strongest terms possible. Thank you,
And feel free to send copies to your own congresspeople too, and/or to Harry Reid via chief of staff Gary Myrick, at Gary_Myrick@Feingold.senate.gov.
But whatever you do, do something. American labor, and the American people suffering under the Bush administration, could use your voice. Thanks and have a great weekend.