Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Automakers pay workers to not work

Now they want you to pay them for not working. Washington Post's Economy Watch blog Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) decided to shift the focus off the heads of the Big Three automakers during the Senate Banking committee underway right now to whip up a little on the United Auto Workers. Corker told Chrysler chief Bob Nardelli that one of his lobbyists told him the previous day that, even if a Chrysler plant is shut down, Chrysler still has to pay wages to its union employees. How can you come before us, Corker directed to both Nardelli and UAW chief Ron Gettelfinger, and ask us for $25 billion if you're asking taxpayers to fund this sort of activity? Corker's question prompted an odd scene in which Nardelli was forced to explain to Gettelfinger, as both sat at the witness table, that what Corker meant was the following: When Chrysler plants are idled because they are not making vehicles, Chrysler is still required to pay its UAW workers 95 percent of their wages. Gettelfinger stumbled a bit and offered that those wages are actually the workers's "unemployment."

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