by the autoworkercaravan
No further loans to GM and Chrysler without stopping the flow of jobs performed by U.S. autoworkers to countries overseas - whether they’re employed by the OEMs or their suppliers. Why should U.S. taxpayers be made to subsidize the industry while the CEOs are eliminating jobs and hurting the U.S. tax base? Restructuring must be aimed at saving jobs, not just corporate profits.
Expedite the production and marketing of the electric car for mass consumption – The Federal Government must subsidize the introduction of the electric car so that it is widely affordable at $10,000-$15,000/vehicle and give consumers tax credits for converting to electric or hybrid automobiles. This will put workers back to work, and help reduce the carbon footprint escalating global warming.
We must convert our industrial capacity, and the auto plants specifically, for green products of the future, be they energy components like wind turbines or solar panels, components for mass transit, etc. The emergency represented by (a) global warming, (b) massive autoworker unemployment, and (c) “peak oil” requires that this conversion be initiated with the same approach as was used at the beginning of World War 2 when the auto plants were converted overnight to war production.
Single payer universal healthcare: US industry, and especially the “Big 3,” has been crippled by their own blindness when they insisted 60 years ago that the unions negotiate company by company to win health care benefits for union members. They got their way in the 1950s but we now live in a globalized economy where many other nations support their industries by providing nationalized health care. The logical solution for the auto industry, autoworkers and retirees – and the rest of the nation – is single payer, “everyone in,” national health care per Congressman John Conyers bill, HR 676. Today mounting health care costs are the #1 reason for personal bankruptcy. By extending Medicare to all, administrative costs and high CEO salaries will be curtailed. We will have better health care that will not be dependent on where we work.
Employee Free Choice Act: It is no coincidence that, as unions declined from 35% of the workforce in the 1950s to less than 8% in the private sector today, so has the “middle class” vanished. The attack on unions has been the tool used by the corporate elite as part of a massive “redistribution of wealth” upwards, distorting the US into a country of a tiny handful of mega billionaires and millions of the working poor. The financial crisis we face today is, in part, a direct result of the rich starving the rest of us. Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act needs to be enacted immediately as another part of the stimulus to get the economy going – so that union organizing and union bargaining can begin to put money in people’s pockets.
Explore other options to bankruptcy: There is an alternative to companies seeking reorganization through bankruptcy court – a tactic aimed at breaking up union contracts and taking back what workers have earned. There is a powerful argument for creating a public trust to take ownership of the companies that have so badly mismanaged the industry. Why shouldn't all those directly affected be able to participate in setting the priorities? .
Strengthen the “safety net:” This crisis is not going to be undone overnight. Workers in high unemployment areas must have guaranteed extensions of their government-provided unemployment insurance as they – and the country as a whole - struggles to readapt to the changing industrial landscape. This especially applies to autoworkers who are losing negotiated unemployment protections (including the JOBS bank and Supplemental Unemployment Benefits-SUB) at a time of accelerated layoffs. And while we are at it, why – during massive layoffs and rapidly rising home foreclosures - shouldn't there be a cap on credit card and mortgage interest rates?
See http://autoworkercaravan.org/ for response to Obama’s viability plan: