The Detroit Rescue Terms

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President George W. Bush, in giving the auto companies a financial reprieve, presented President-elect Barack Obama and the new Congress the choice of putting another nail into organized labor’s coffin, or starting off the Democratic era with a decision that will rile most of the American people.

Left for the Democratic president and even more Democratic Congress — both more pro-union than their predecessors — is the knotty question: Should the government insist on conditions for an auto bailout that could put industrial unions even closer to the endangered species list by reducing their value to the membership?

The Bush bailout that provides cash for the auto makers to keep them operating through March, leaves it to the new administration and Congress to find a long-term solution to the problem, but the bailout contains provisions that require the United Auto Workers by the end of 2009 accept a pay and work rule package roughly on par with the one in place at nonunion, foreign car plants in the South.

The Obama White House and the Democratic Congress have the power to change that requirement once they take over.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal

Date published: Dec 21, 2008

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