Saturday, May 02, 2009

First in line

By Creature

In December I argued--maybe not on the blog, but definitely with my office-mate--that the auto industry must not fail while George Bush was still in power. Whether they were viable or not, at least let's get them through Bush's reign and into Obama's. I think this is a good example of why:

DETROIT — Labor unions usually dread bankruptcy, and for good reason. Their pay, benefits and pensions typically suffer significant cuts, as airline and steel workers can attest.

But for the United Automobile Workers union, Chrysler’s Chapter 11 case, which began in New York on Friday, could turn out to be — if the company survives and thrives — the Cadillac of bankruptcies.

The U.A.W., for example, has received upfront protection from the Treasury Department for its pension plan and the fund that will take over responsibility for retiree medical benefits.

Moreover, that fund, called the voluntary employee beneficiary association, or VEBA, will control 55 percent of the equity in the new Chrysler once it emerges from bankruptcy, and hold a seat on the Chrysler board.

Under George Bush the American worker would have been at the back of the line getting mugged by the banks all the while, at least under Obama they were at the front and protected.

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