December 12th, 2008
01:54 PM ET

Should the United Auto Workers Union have accepted wage cuts to save the bailout?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The fate of the U.S. auto industry is still unknown. The $14-billion bailout bill died in the Senate after a dispute over union wage cuts.

Senate Republicans said the bill wouldn't do enough to put automakers back on their feet. They wanted the Auto Workers Union to accept a lower pay and benefits package similar to what employees make at U.S. factories where Japanese cars are produced. The union balked.

In an unusual move, Labor and Industry representatives met with lawmakers at the Capitol last night to try to make it work. But eventually the union walked away unwilling to comply with the demands.

The industry still needs cash to avoid collapse.

General Motors said today they will cut 250,000 cars from their first quarter production schedule by closing 20 factories.

President-elect Obama asked the White House to intervene and the White House Press Secretary said all options are under consideration, including the possibility of dipping into the $700-billion Troubled Assets Recovery Program.

So our question is: Should the United Auto Workers Union have accepted wage cuts to save the bailout?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

And we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment

Filed under: Auto Industry
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Ed from White Plains, NY

    Yes. Taking GM as an example, if it files for bankruptcy, it can reject all union contracts and most probably will lay off many more workers than it would lay off with the government's bailout. If the UAW wanted to do the best for its members, it would consider the interests of the many against the interests of the few. But management also needs to make concessions if this is going to be equitable.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  2. Dee in Florida

    Yes, they should have accepted wage cuts. The sheer arrogance of the union is unbelievable.

    Of course, the arrogance of the corporate CEOs and other upper level management at the "Big Three" is also staggering.

    Can those folks not take a look around and see the dire circumstances in which our country finds itself? It is the greed of such people that has brought this country to the brink of disaster.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  3. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Perhaps the long-term answer to the dilemma is for Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama to quit subsidizing the foreign automobile manufactures and restore American manufacturers to parity. For now it makes sense for the government to subsidize the Big Three Greed to the extent of the fringe benefits their employees receive over and above the non-union, state-supported, foreign-government supported makers.

    An interesting investigation would be one which traces the foreign automakers money from consumer to . . .. to senators? Governors?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Conor in Chicago


    No. This is a ploy by Republicans to destroy organized labor in the United States. The UAW has already given all kinds of concessions that the media sees fit to ignore and it wasn't about to go down any further. And if you think allowing one of the strongest unions in the United States to go down and their industry crumble while the bankers get $700 billion and don't have to even take a pay cut you are going to see chaos in the streets. And my hope is that the UAW brings this chaos down south to the states who are voting to destroy the north. This is economic warfare and trust me-us Yanks are up to the task. Careful what you Republicans down south wish for.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  5. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    the UAW has shown his good will in trying to do their part. BUT with certain members of the Republican party, especially the ones with Foreign Automakers in their States, they just want to bust the Union. The Southern States that have Foreign Automakers have given 10 times the amount the Auto Makers are asking for a loan but they got tax breaks. By killing this deal the Republicans can look forward to severe reductions in their numbers in the House, the Senate and even State Governors. People realize they are just acting like a spoiled little rich kid.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  6. Mark in OKC

    Of course not, Jack. It makes much more sense to refuse to work for less money and fewer benefits, force your company to go broke and then stand in the unemployment line. Who couldn't see the logic in that?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  7. Ray Lawson from Danville, VA


    December 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  8. bill m

    Well the auto co. need help sure if those leaders in DC will also take a cut in there pensions an pay because the country in no better shape then auto company's an they put us there

    December 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  9. John

    As far as I am concerned not a damned bit.
    Pampa, TX

    December 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  10. odessa

    No! ..the united auto workers union shouldn't accept wage cuts to save the bailout..all union workers work hard for the money so they can take care of their families and themselves..why does the big ceos cut their salaries anyway?;because they want to be greedy..uaw members are worrying about people having their jobs and it just shows to you that the gop only care about themselves not the people..the uaw better continue to fight this battle because if bush can give away 700 billion to wall street, it's time for them to take care of mainstreet meaning union workers as well all working people..

    December 12, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  11. Anna

    This is outragous that our government would not require car makers and bankers to sell their jets and cut executive perks that are worth hundreds of miilions but require auto workers to cut their salaries that are less then 100 thousend dollars per year. We are not buying cars because we make too much money but we are not buying cars because we do not make salaries that would afford us to buy new car. We are competing for the lowest wages with this global economy. If we cut auto workers salaries then who is going to buy cars that they produce. Maybe Oprah can buy million cars and give them away on her show.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  12. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The United Auto Workers Union are showing they value themselves more than their jobs by not accepting a wage cut. So I say let their values hit them in the you know what on the way out the door.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  13. Rose in Az

    By all means, something is better than nothing. I am not trying to take anything away from the workers but they do receive a pretty good hourly wage. UAW is not helping at all!!!!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  14. Allen L. Wenger

    I forget Jack, tell me again how much the wall street execs gave up (or gave back) from the millions that they received?

    Mountain Home ID

    December 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  15. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Why would the UAW accept wage cuts when this bailout deal is already thumbs up with the Democrats? The union is looking for their payback for their political support and don't think for a minute it won't happen. The decision isn't about what is right; it's about back scratching politics as usual.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  16. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    NO WAY! The republicans are again trying to strongarm and intimidate to get their way. The only reason they're balking is because none of the big three are a factor in their states and they're trying to blackmail the country.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  17. Vinnie Vino


    Sure, maybe to save their jobs the auto union should offer to work for free also to win the support of Senate Republican for the bailout plan...

    C.I. New York

    December 12, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  18. Kris

    The veteran workers who are currently earning on the backs of the new workers should have accepted a pay cut, but not the new workers who are only earning $14.00/hr.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  19. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Jack, the UAW should be willing to make some concessions just as management should be willing to makes concessions on management (funny, no GOP members included those in discussions in the Wall Street bailout). What is concerning to me, is the unpatriotic behavior of the Southern Senators, who are killing the American Automobile industry in the service of their foreign masters.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  20. LF Oneto

    Smaller pay check is a lot better than an unemployment check. The autoworkers are among the best paid bluecollar workers in the US.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  21. Dave Waterloo Ont.

    I think you can have an auto industry or an auto union but not both. If the entire industry is not unionized than the part that is unionized is at a disadvantage and will eventually fail.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  22. Linda Wellman

    This scandal is just another distraction so that the middle class will not pay attention to what should be important to us. We need to unite and demand that the fat cat politicians give up their benefits that would really save tax payers money.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  23. B. Sutaria

    From Cleveland, OH – Yes, UAW should have accepted more wage-cuts but that is not the true issue. At this time, number 1 focus has to be on jobs! Chapter 11 for large companies and sectors at this time would collapse the economy completely. Most of the objections I have heard come from purist ideologues, regionalists, or people looking for political advantage – not those who truly are focused on best interest of the majority. Further, the collapse will not be just in auto-industry. The investment already made by US economy in schools, infrastructure, utilities, real-estate, etc. in all of Mid-west will materially decline in value and impact on about 25% of the population would be devastating. In senate the people opposing these measures do not represent even 30% of the population (look at the total population of the states they represent)!

    B. Sutaria

    December 12, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  24. LaTreetha E. Sharpley

    No the UAW is not the cause of the disaster. It was the greed of Wall Street, and now the worker has to pay. The wages of the UAW, were hard fought for through strikes, lay-offs and difficult working conditions. My grandfather left the south to work for $5 a day at Ford Motor Company. The years of fighting for wages and benefits that many now recieve did not cause Wall Street to collapse. It was their greed. The southern Senators that now want to break the union are only looking out for themselves. They want the foreign auto makers in their states to have nonunion shops. These workers do have complete medical coverage or retirement benefits. Each of the states these plants are in give big tax breaks to the company, that is a subsidy.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  25. Chuck in Warren,Ohio

    If anyone needs a wage cut it is the GOP Senator's. This whole mess only shows why they lost the election and now some want to cause problems for Obama. I think Palin and Corker will make a great team for 2012. Both are out of touch. I'll still vote for President Obama.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  26. Sam Pendergrass, Scappoose Or

    Union support does not mean the downfall of your employer. It is like cutting of your nose to spite your face. Yes, concessions must be found if the auto industry in America is to survive.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  27. Terry in Hanover County

    Where are the wage cuts for AIG's executives? Where are the wage cuts for many Wall Street executives? Why should the middle class and poor keep paying for the mistakes made by the rich and well connected?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  28. Erik

    Yes, they should have accepted wage cuts. However, they shouldn't have to sacrifice any more than what the executives cut from themselves. I feel that if an exec is only willing to take a 10% cut, then the workforce should only take a 10% cut. It's easy to place all the blame on the unions, but they are not the only people at fault. The unions were merely doing the same thing that CEO's have been doing, looking out for their own best interests.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  29. grandma lorraine

    The executives of the companies should have taken a pay cut!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  30. Treena, Pensacola,FL

    No, Jack Why is it that they want the people who make the least in the companies to take the cut and not the ones who make the most? Those republican senators should take a pay cut. Why don't they try making a decent living on what they think is good enough for the auto worker? The auto workers and the union are not the ones who made the big desicions not to keep up with the changing economy, that was the executives who kept designing the gas gusslers and mismanaging their budgets by continuing to give themselves million dollar bonuses. The worker worked hard to produce what the execs had them make, they did nothing wrong. The union has already made concessions so that it's people could keep their jobs but it seems as though the republicans want them to go back to barely being above a living wage with bad healthcare coverage and below living wage retirement. If this standard of living is what they (the republicans) think is good enough for others then they should cut back their pay to match those of the auto workers and then maybe they wouldn't be too fast about asking them to live on such wages

    December 12, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  31. jyll from TEXAS

    hey Jack, a cut in salary would be better than NO paycheck...don't ya think?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  32. Larry in Florida

    Somethings better then nothing Jack. I've thought for years that people who work at auto factories were pricing themselves out of work. Maybe that day has come. It's been greed from CEO's all the way down to the people who assemble them. They deserve a good wage and benefits but it's time to buck up and save their jobs.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  33. Randy

    Jack, That was only a ploy to both leave Obamawith a bigger economic mess to try to deal with in Januaury: and the deep south Rebulicans hate the UAW with a greater passion then their customary hatred of gays and homosexuls. The cloture rule should be changed to 55 when the new Congress meets in January. In 1975 it was 67 and the Dems changed it to 60 where it stands today. It can and should be altered to stop the vitriolic nonsense from the Republican side.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  34. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    It is my understanding that some money is better than no money. If the money's not worth it, find another job. While I understand that the guys in the factory aren't making the same amount of money as the guys on the board, that doesn't mean they aren't ridiculously over paid.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  35. Vernis Robertson

    I think the workers should take some kind of pay cut , but with guaranteed their jobs. If Congress would have did the same thing with Wall Street . We must protect the Autoworkers because those are the last of the Manufacturing jobs left. I am suprise that we did not ship these jobs overseas.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  36. Jay-San Antonio

    Of course; what everyone fails to understand is you can be paid less or not be paid at all. The workers can make their own choice.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  37. Rob , NYC

    thats a hard one-they are making more than their competition and thats still a great salary. . I guess if it means the difference between a job and unemployment–the answer is real simple. give it back now and when things are better ask for more

    December 12, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  38. Ken @ Charlotte

    They did accept wage cuts. They just wanted the wage cuts to kick in after they had a chance rearrange their personal finances so they could survive them. They first asked that the wage cuts not take effect until their contract expires in 2011, then offered a 2009 date. No dice! The Senators from the southern states with foreign car makers saw a chance to take down the UAW and the domestic auto industry and gleefully took it. To hell with the 3 million American families they would destroy. Despicable low life!!!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  39. Bob In Baltimore

    This was pretty much a calculated gamble and win for the GOP. They demand the wage cuts knowing the posture of the UAW. If the UAW accepts, well and good and the Union is in the weak position for future negotiations. If the UAW stood their ground and did not accept the consessions, the GOP can claim the failure of the deal is on the UAW taking the heat off themselfs then patting themselves on the back for getting a sneaky win without much backlash.

    Classic old time politics in a 21st century environment. I don't know who they are trying to fool, I'm not!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  40. Karen - Nashville

    Certainly, but how could they justify inflated salaries for the union organizers if they did such a thing?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  41. Michelle, MI

    Yes they should have been willing to compromise. The alternative (no bailout) is going to create a massive ripple affect that will be felt throughout both our economy and the world economy. The UAW has become just as corrupt as GM management. Although I am not for handing over my tax money to the private sector to fix problems they created, I also am realistic that if they collapse, there will be several more problems that will arise from it.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  42. AndyZ Fairfax, VA

    Most emphatically NO! Why should they be the only ones taking a pay cut? We are on the verge of the biggest fiscal disaster in history. Let them keep every penny they earn. They'll need them to pay for food in the not to distant future.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  43. Audrey Fryer

    Should the Senior and Middle management have accepted a pay cut? Should the Senior and Middle management forego any bonuses and/or stock options? I am sorry, but how much more can you take from the workers – this is starting to sound obscene – especially from those Southern Republican Senators.

    Vancouver Island

    December 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  44. dlk

    Yes, of course. Our paycheck was cut drastically in order for the comopany to "exist" in these trying times, I believe the auto workers would much rather have a job than being on unemployment

    December 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  45. wally Ruehmann las vegas nv

    NO, ive noticed who's voted for the down fall of the auto bailout, the right to work, non union supporters. i hope they stand there ground and ALL other union member's in our country joins in with them, put the country on strike..walkout support your brother's and sisters or you'll be next...

    December 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  46. pete in hamilton ontario

    yes, i may be wrong on this, but i feel its better to have a job with lower wages, than not to have a job at all.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  47. Gary Dekko

    The UAW should buy out the Big Three and see how long they can last with there present pay. For the last 10 years both management and the union have slowly killed the industry. The end is near and bankrupy is the only answer now

    December 12, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  48. Kevin -CA

    The Union already has and did accept concessions and cuts. In the end, Senator Shelby, et al, wanted to kill the loan regardless. Senator Shelby has however, failed to explain how the Hyundai, Honda & Mercedes auto workers in his own state are going to be competitive with Chinese auto workers making 1/10 th the hourly wage. The first Chinese auto's are scheduled to start arriving in 2009/10.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  49. Conor in Chicago


    The UAW needs to start pointing out three things fast:

    1) The bankers in the $700 Billion bailout had to do no such things when the government came to their aid and continue to pay millions to their CEO's while cancelling x-mas bonuses for their employees (see AIG)
    2) The Big 3 were on track to being more financially viable and competitive and had credit still been available to them they would have likely weathered this storm and came back strong. It was when banks, the same banks bailed out by our Washington folks; stopped lending to everyone when their crisis exploded to the point it is at now.
    3) And for my southern brethren: The death of the UAW means that the foreign auto makers have no incentive to pay you wages that are commensurate with union wages. If you folks want to start making $15.50 an hour within 2 years by all means-oppose the bail out of the Big 3. Your Republican senators and your CEO's from afar are counting on your support-I assure you.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  50. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    If that's what's killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, then yes. The union has to make concessions too. As much as I dislike the reason for the republican holdout, I agree with them. Bring the wages and benefits down to, or just above, those of competitors Toyota and Honda. They make a superior product to US automakers, without a payroll that is out of proportion. What's wrong with this picture?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  51. JayW in Austin

    No. This bill shows that the GOP is still the lackey of the corporations. Instead of going after the CEO's and their $40 million salaries, they target the blue collar workers with the $40,000 salaries.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  52. don williamson

    before asking for wage cuts for uaw members try this. Have an investigative reporter find out how much it costs to build a vehicle from start to finish. Not as much as one might think.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  53. Terry, St. Clair Beach, Ontario.

    Jack...It is absolutely breathtaking to listen to the ignorance of those southern senators. The monies they spent to bring Mercedes, Honda, BMW into their states speaks volumes. ...and to think they call themselves American Leaders. These Southern States should be boycotted by those Yankee tourists that have supported their economies and these gentlemen can experience how well that goes down.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  54. Bryan from Colorado Springs, CO


    Absolotely, They promised congress they would and then when they got to the bargaining table to hammer out the details they said no and
    they still want the money. I the Dems in congress should be ashamed of themselves for backing these fat cat unions. We know why the president wants this is for his legacy. The big three and these
    unions want taxpayer money with no strings attached its obviuos now.
    Merry christmas to all and to all a good night.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  55. John

    The governor of Illinois issues pail in comparison to senators offering a half a million dollars in tax relief to foreign companies to put plants in their states that will reduce wages for those workers and American workers. Although there is no illegal quid pro quo where do these senators get off in exchanging their possible campaign contributiions from foreign nationals or national entities. Do we need to investigate what they got for their efforts and where are these super patriots coming from. Why are they so avid in lobbying for lower wages for the middle class?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  56. Stansel Harvey

    On a sinking ship sitting in the dining room demanding dessert. I think it would be wise for the unions to grab a big bucket and bail.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  57. Jasmine in Germany

    Yes, I think so. Raising wages can take place again after the automakers get on their feet again. The question is: "Would you rather take a temporary wage cut or be out of a job and worsen our and the world's economy?" The UAWU is supposed to protect its workers, not gamble with their lives. The UAWU leaders all make too much money. It's greed again, Jack...just greed, and not seeing the forest through the trees.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  58. Chris

    The Autoworkers Union should have accepted wage cuts to help save the bailout. Maybe they should also consider dropping the cost of union dues and then ask themselves the question, why are the manufacturors that are not unionized seem to be getting through these tough times easier than the ones the union "represents" ?

    CHRIS, Niagara Falls

    December 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  59. Kev - New Jersey

    Yes! It takes two to tango! But as unions go, they're greedy and cut their nose off dispite their face. It's amazing how when someone first starts working they work hard and take pride, but once in the union, become complacent. They don't care about the product, or even take pride in the matter. It's all about $$$. Also, if Bush bails them out? Well he's even a bigger idiot than I thought before. By the way, why are were we even thinking of bailing out a PRIVATE company like Chrysler. I guess we all can get in line now.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  60. Patrick Lo

    Sure the UAW should have stepped up to save the bailout, but there just isn't enough time to hammer out the "Right Deal" All these issues need to be resolved by the appointed Auto Czar,. By voting "No" the senate again is showing the country their total disregard to the lunch bucket workers. It is irresponsible for them to add fuel to the fire with the current economic climate. These GOPs should be kicked out when their terms are up.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  61. Daniel W. Williams

    The only way to save Detroit auto businesses is for the unions to be required to give up all of the ridiculous portions of the labor agreement, along with a 30% wage give-back. The companies should have to forego any management bonuses, cease all advertising campaigns, and submit to being merged into one entity a la Amtrak for a period of at least 3 years, after which they could be spun off separately if they are in a condition to. The fact is, the companies have cannibalized one another for decades and now they face the final consequence of internecine warfare.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  62. Stan

    The union has already accepted many cuts in pay and benefits. It apparently was willing to do even more if management and others were willing to do likewise. However, the Republicans who voted against the bill seemed to be focused only what the workers were getting, as if that was the cause of the problems. Detroit's problems are largely the result of the credit crunch, for which it can not be blamed. It is the Wall Street crowd that should be blamed for Detroit's problems, but we seem perfectly willing to bail out Wall Street. Our economy will not be fixed as long as we continue to believe that it should be fixed from the top down, rather than from the bottom up.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  63. Ralph, Corpus Christi

    Nope, the bail out may still be coming their way through a last ditch effort from the White House. Wait and see, the Big 3 will get to have their cake and eat it too.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  64. Annie, Atlanta

    Not until the automobile Execs and the Senators who oppose the bailout (who work only about 1/3 of the year if we're lucky) do. Until then, absolutely not.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  65. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    No, they better get all the money they can now because it won't be possible for them to save the US auto industry anyway. They will fail and it will be even worse within 6 months because we can only borrow so much money from China before they call in their note and then the US will file Chapter 11.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  66. Jane (Minnesota)

    I think they should but there should be concessions from all the other involved groups – Creditors (ESPECIALLY if they have received other bailout assistance!!!!) , Suppliers and we can't forget the current Mangement. It was a group effort that got the industry into the mess they are in – they all should make concessions – and in reality there should be new Management teams in place that actually make the needed efficiency improvements or we'll be right back to this discussion in the near futeure – AGAIN!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  67. John, Fort Collins, CO

    With General Motors and Chrysler only weeks away from insolvency, I find it unbelievable that the UAW leadership refused to agree to parity wages for their members to save their jobs. This is just another example of how far out of touch the big three labor leaders and company management remain. With the current economic crisis only getting worse, they can no longer live in their fantasy world of the past. This time around, the American consumers and taxpayers are going on strike.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  68. Conor in Chicago

    Should the CEO's of AIG and all the others taken wage cuts when they were given MY TAX DOLLARS? They didn't. And these same banks are refusing to lend the money I LEANT THEM to help keep the Big 3 afloat. No Jack they shouldn't have had to take a pay cut-they are fighting to keep the middle class of this country alive and far too many people don't seem to understand that.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  69. Jay in Atlanta

    yes....but the Union workers should have thought of the consequences of demanding more than their company could produce a long long time ago. Too late now. At their most hopeful, it appears workers will become wards of a broke government.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  70. don williamson

    no! if they do though i am going into the hat business right away because they will all need one to put in their hand when they go grovel to their friendly banker.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  71. Anthony Smith

    Yes, a good paying job is better than NO job like the millions out there suffering right now. Along with that, all executives and CEO's should be fired. The industry needs new ideas, new technology, and new leaders!

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    December 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  72. Irv Lilley

    Jack, The first people who should have accepted wage cuts sould have been everyone of the grossly overpaid execs. If theyhad maybe
    it would be fair to ask ramk and file employees to sacrifice a little.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  73. Lady T

    In these type of situations, whenever the greater number of people affected are minorities, they are asked to take pay cuts, shut up and be happy. Well, why weren't the crooks on Wall Street asked to make personal sacrifices before receiving billions?. Or better yet, why aren't the banks obligated to give 'so much' back to the communities in exchange for that money?

    December 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  74. Leo Wozniak

    They already gave concessions Jack. The better question should be how
    much tax payer money did Toyota, Nissan, VW, Honda and Benz get to locate in the Republican South? And why do the Republicans hate the American worker so much?

    December 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  75. joe tn

    No. As you can see, I live in TN in the town that has opened its arms to Nissan headquarters..Bob Corker (R- TN) and the rest of them have no business demanding that Union Workers accept wage cuts in order to be more in sync with foreign carmakers in their states (TN, AL, SC and KY.) These Southern Republican Senators are among the 'conservative crowd' always complaining about jobs going overseas and here they are, pandering tax payer money in their own states to foreign car companies. Hypocrites.
    p.s. By the way, 15 or 20 years ago, GM came calling in this area with their Saturn plant (union workers). The GM plant caused this 'sleepy Southern town' to become a boom area and now that GM is in trouble they're ready to dump them in favor of foreign car makers.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  76. Mark Rothschild

    Yes, the UAW should have accepted what were reasonable and necessary conditions for the bail out.

    Like the crew of the Titanic, the UAW is steering a course that will lead to the death of the ship that carries them.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  77. KrumDog

    Senator Corker,
    In 2006 the top 37 executives at Toyota earned a combined $21.6 million in salary and bonuses. While at Honda, the top 21 earned $11.1 million, combined, in salary and bonuses. So I’m sure you will agree in order to be competitive the top 10% of each auto Company should take a 50% salary cut, Pay for their own health benefits and fund their own retirements. After all there is this huge competitive gap between the US auto top executives and the Asian auto top executives.

    Even though the CEO’s have agreed to reduced salaries the top 10% of executives at each auto Company have not and that’s not leaving us competitive with the Asian executives. I’m also sure you have taken in perspective, executive perks like stock awards and options, clearly the CEO’s won't exactly be hurting for cash and this too could leave us at a competitive disadvantage with the Asian auto executives, so you may have to eliminate this as well.

    Good Luck and stay competitive.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  78. Ed Reed

    Despite what we have heard, the Union base wage is only $2 to $3 an hour more than the base wage of auto workers in the south. The $70 an hour rate bandied about includes the health insurance and pensions the Big 3 pay to retired workers. This morning a Union representative said they had offered to cut their wage by the $2 to $3 but the Republican Senators still said "No deal." There's an unusual amount of lying going on in the Senate right now.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    December 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  79. KarenB, Florida

    it's probably better to have job with lowerpay than no job.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  80. lynn. vancouver

    By the same logic, anyone in Congress that voted for and continues to support the Iraq invasion immediately take a 50% pay hike, give up their health benefits and the pension benefits until the war is over. This war was mismanaged, lives and money has been squandered due to poor management.

    I hope your show today will for once clearly outline exactly what the UAW has already given up. The states that the Republicans are from have given billions in tax money to foreign auto companies to locate there. It would also be interesting to know how much these companies have donated to these politicians.

    It would be nice to hear some objective, factual reporting instead of hearing some often ill informed pundits arguing with each other. Isn't your job to inform??

    December 12, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  81. Dan, Massachusetts

    Absolutely not. The politicians that have opposed the bailout should make concessions, after all we're 11 trillion in the hole, much worse than both, all of Wall st. and certainly U.S auto manufacturers. If the U.S auto industry had a level playing field with it's foreign counterparts we wouldn't see a disparity in wages, however, as long as our competition, international FREE traders, provides universal healthcare to all it's non U.S workers and subsidizes the industry, because they know how important a National automobile industry is, coupled with union busting, anti-labor politicians, we don't have a chance.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  82. Mary - California

    The Auto Workers should have accepted a wage cut in order to save their jobs. It is such a tragedy, when you have CEO's running an industry just for them and not for the employees.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  83. Kris Koliwad

    NO, Jack. The foreign companies building automobiles here are well subsidized by the states and their workers' wages are under reported always. The senators who blocked the Bush/Pelosi deal are from those states. It is more political than driven by ideology. Unions should moderate their demands but not take cuts to match the under reported wages of the foreign auto companies. The workers of America need protection and unions help them. Thanks.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  84. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    No. The GOP is merely trying to bust unions and holding the entire industry hostage until they get their way. These are the same politics that have gotten us into a global economic mess, and it's time to put these crybabies on time-out.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  85. robert

    no. but i think these southern senators need to take a pay cut, loss their health care and take no pension. after all the u. s. goverment is in much worst shape than the big three, bob in florence or.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  86. Steve Clark

    Jack the persons from the party that is obstructing needed help do not have a leg to stand on. They are looking to get a 5K increase in their wages and want the average person to give up wages that are earned honestly. They have not told the public the truth about wages earned, by the big 3's competition or about the tax incentives they have given to the foreign car manufactures. That old Republican saying "DON'T DO AS I DO AS I SAY", people are not going to follow them, we saw that i the last two elections. Have a GREAT Holiday and keep up the good work .
    The Clarks Norco, Ca.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  87. Jim from Chicago

    The unions were right to hold their ground. The Republican filibuster was nothing but a power play to try to bust the UAW.

    The southern senators who spearheaded this effort to kil the agreement are all from states that harbor foreign auto makers. They have been promised more plants in the future. Forcing the unions to accept lower wages immediately would have taken away any future leverage the UAW would have to try to unionize these or other plants.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  88. Kev - New Jersey

    Yes, but we all know they won't. The UAW President has already been on blaming everyone except the car makers and their greedy selves. So if he gives nothing, they get nothing. And someone ask the UAW President if he wants some Cheese with that WHINE!

    December 12, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  89. Chryssa

    Either way, I bet they're all wishing they'd put that extra $3 or $4 an hour into savings.

    Boise, ID

    December 12, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  90. Billy G in Las Vegas

    any rational worker will accept a pay cut in this day and age to keep their company going BUT management can NOT then pay themselves an outrageous bonus for "lowering our labor costs". I've seen that happen too many times in the past.

    this time everyone involved has to be AT RISK if the company fails. NO "golden parachutes" or "performance bonuses" for management until the workers and investors are made whole.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  91. Yuni - Alabama

    I think everybody that makes over 1 million dollar/year in the auto maker should ABSOLUTELLY cut their sallary but NOT the labor that only makes fraction of the upper level.
    They are suffered enough for all this emotional roller coaster hopping that they will not lay them off.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  92. Mary, Atlanta, GA

    Absolutely, should we be the only hard working Americans taking wage cuts, possibly losing our jobs, cutting expenses to finance a bailout for those who aren't committed to sacrifice also. Here's a news flash, not too many cars will be needed to be assembled as the rest of us folk CAN'T afford them.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  93. Nuria

    I think everyone in that industry should take a pay cut if it will help keep them afloat. CEO's make millions of dollars that could go back into the company. Let them take a pay cut as well.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  94. Ruthie, Stone Mountain, GA

    Was anyone on Wall Street asked to take a pay cut to get their bailout? How did Wall Street get to DC to ask for their bailout? How was the bailout money used? Wall Street is the cause of the meltdown of the economy not the car companies and the union workers.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  95. devil dog palos park ill

    if they cut there wages will upper cut theres?????/ no they will not like the airlines did they gave them self a raise do you remember that
    they say they will work for 1 a year if you beleave in that i got the bridge

    December 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  96. Eugene

    Not a cut wage but a stand still. And Like Jenny Rome say the Union serve they purpose. I Wish I'm making $25.00 or more a hour. I live on minimum wage most of my live.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  97. Don

    Yes, absolutely the union members should accept wage cuts, Times are bad: You want to keep working, take a cut and join the rest of the real world!

    December 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  98. linbit-Greensboro, NC

    No! The UAW has already made many concessions. I live in a right-to-work state, but I've seen in a company I used to work for use union busting techniques to stiff workers. A union was voted in to the trucking division of our company. As those workers left for one reason or another, they simply were not replaced, until finally the trucking division was dissolved. The company started using small independent truckers who had to bid on the jobs. Therefore, no wage restrictions, no pension benefits to pay, no health care for the independent truckers, most of whom were owner/operators. No more union. Simple.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  99. Keith

    I’m a retired union worker from a major railroad. I worked for the same railroad for 38 years.
    I think the railroads are the same as all major corporations:

    They have executives that are over paid and get big bonuses.
    They are over loaded with middle management. (most of them are far from qualified).
    They hire people fresh out of collage that have no experience, rather than promote someone from within that understand how the company operates.

    I see these big corporate buildings and skyscrapers with hundreds workers. I often wonder how many people working in them really know what their function is. When I was working I knew very few that did.
    I think that’s where the money is wasted.

    Haslet, TX

    December 12, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  100. Peter

    Yes, if they dont want to join me at home job searching all over the internet.



    December 12, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  101. Pat,Clearwater Florida

    No No No, Shelby and the rest of Republicans are just coddling
    the foreign car makers in their state. Maybe Obama should look
    into money changing hands in Alabama. The southern governors
    are just Union Busters, and believe in unsafe standards in
    the work place and slave labor!!!!!!

    December 12, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  102. Terri from Mississippi

    Was it the Union who didn't accept lower wages or Union members (the workers). Besides Union members, how many people are employed by this the Union?
    Also, I thought the market was going to crash when this didn't pass??? It is up 40 with one hour of trading left???
    Just like the 700 billion bailout, back in October, would crash the market if it didn't pass. It passed and the market still crashed??? Wonder why most of us Americans do not trust ANYONE in Washington or Wall Street.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  103. Laura; Orlando, FL

    Its ridiculous that people are retaining hope for the auto industry. We need to cut our losses, and yes times will be tough, but we're obviously not understanding or adhering to the capitalist economic model we pride ourselves on. If an industry is not working, it deserves to fail and be replaced by something that will work.

    The union agreeing to a pay cut will only lead the workers into more difficult situations. The cost of food rose with the cost of oil. Oil has plummetted, but the price of food remains the same. On top of that, in most areas, wages earned are a far cry away from a living wage.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  104. Ben

    Yes, if we get rid of the CEOs and get new ones that will work for stock shares. And make stock ownership available to all the employees.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  105. Dennis, Fairfax, VA

    In the US, the average auto worker's salary is $30 to $40 an hour. Great for the workers, good for the unions; but not so good for the automotive industry when we're competing against foreign manufacturers who are paying their workers $3 to $4 dollars a day. Not to mention the fact that international trade agreements put outrageous restrictions on US auto manufacturers trying to expand to foreign markets. Honestly, it amazes me that the US auto industry has survived as long as it has.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  106. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    As I understood it, the UAW had already accepted a need to renegotate contracts as part of the corporate restructuring. The senators demanding "wage cuts" as a condition to a short term loan package, seem to be doing so to make the unions the "bad guy" in this. Perhaps we should ask the senators, "Since the country is such debt, and there is so much unemployment, whould you take a wage and benifit cut?" Any guesses as to what their reactions would be ??????

    December 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  107. Peter M

    No. This is not about exploiting workers. The CEOs are taking away too much money. Workers need to be paid enough to live their current standard of life and to be able to afford to drive the cars they make! We are in this mess because the CEOs became too greedy and selfish. If anything, it is the CEOs who need to be squeezed.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  108. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    This entire issue reminds me of what "Whimpy" used to say, "If you'll bail me out today, I'll gladly repay you Tuesday." Yet Tuesday comes and it's the same story again. They cannot regain their strong hold in our economy with the same song. When, not if, they fail it will work out to the better as the lousy CEO's running these companies will be out of work, rich, but out of work. It's long over due for the Unions to go away in our country.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  109. Kyle- DuPont, WA

    Let's see,.. accept a wage cut, get a bail out and keep your job or kill the bail out by not accepting a wage cut and lose your job when the company goes bankrupt. Hmm. This ain't rocket science here. Of course, some in the U.A.W. make as much as rocket scientists so I guess they must be smarter than me.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  110. mac from traverse city Michigan

    Unemployment benefits, Workmans comp insurance, Medical benefits, pensions, overtime regulations, vacation pay etc. These are all battles the union fought and won that workers, union and not-union enjoy today. The prosperity of the last fifty years and the middle class in this country was built by union labor and now it seems the masses have turned on them. Be smart Gefflefinger (sp?) take the cuts and live to fight another day when you have the leverage on your side. The country will need you again.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  111. Veronica in Virginia

    it looks like GM was a gonner away. The worker's have done so much to save their jobs. I think the CEO should get fired & those who think like them should be fired. Leave it too those republicans, they want all Americans to be out of a job, sorry we couldn't fire more of them last month.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  112. Barb @ the beach

    Of course they should. They are the last community to get inflated pay checks and benefits. Most businesses in the US don't get near the benefits the auto industry makes. Would they rather be out of a job? Or take a cut to keep working. Duh...eliminate the layoff bank - they get laid off and receive severance pay that pretty much equals their regular check. Compromise or loose.

    Virginia Beach, Virginia

    December 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  113. Ed

    Even if the auto industry gets bailed out, or the union workers take a pay cut, the effects will not last long. The world has stopped consuming. The stockpile of cars is at near all time highs. The auto industry will have to shut doors and stop producing to match the rates of consumption.

    You can lead they people into the stores, but you can’t make them buy anything.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  114. John

    JacK: No, the working families have already lost $2000.00 in wage value due to the Bush Administration. If George W. Bush wants his approval rating to go up he can authorize the $14 billion loan. Remember it is a loan not a bailout like AIG or the Wall Street Gang. The Republicans only support the big bank boys not the working public. I hope Senator Shelby retires.


    December 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  115. Brad in Wichita, KS

    Even as a democrat, I have to say yes. The so called "concessions" that the Union's would make would bring their current compensation structure from excessive to par, not sub-par. The sense of entitlement by the exhibited by the UAW is extraordinary. This "always fight back" mentality has worked for them in the past, though, and will likely work for them today...even if it means bypassing the legislative process. Even though they'll get their money, it's doubtful that any amount would bail them out in the end.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  116. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I don't think trying to corner the union into wage cuts are going to save American automakers. I think this was an act by a group of republican senators who are against unions and had a chance to get even for their support of the democratic party. They would rather put their own feelings ahead of all the American people that will lose their job because of their decision. There are many reasons why American automakers are going bankrupt that wages are only a small part of it and should not be singled out by a group of republican senators. We need to keep these people working first and foremost with stipulations that applied to management and labor on how they do business in the future.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  117. Cynthia

    As I see it if someone were to come to me right about now about taking a pay cut it would really be hard because my lifestyle is based on the amount of money that I make with just a little bit extra.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  118. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    No. Should every CEO and their respective boards and management of the Big 3 resign to save the industry? Yes. But does the Senate (especially the Republicans) demand that condition? No. Has management of GM, Chrysler and Ford failed to direct the design and production of quality cars that Americans wanted to buy over their foreign competitors? Yes, they failed. Did the auto workers of these companies have the responsibility to manage GM, Chrysler and Ford or were they compensated tens of millions of dollars to do so over the past 30 years since gas line first appeared? No. So, let's get real and hold the right group of people responsible here.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  119. Howard M. Bolingbrook IL

    I think the union members must do what is necessary to keep their jobs. If it means reduced wages, it's better than no job at all. That wage reduction process should also apply to every level of management.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  120. Jason

    hi jack this is jason from ohio i was a gm employee i took the buyout in 06 the uaw has given enough it is time for the execs and the bond holders to start given. when things get bad it is always the worker that is at fault. the execs make millions but the worker that makes 20.00 an hour is at fault. lets remember we build what they tell us to build. the republicans want wage cuts maybe we should CUT THERE WAGES or lay them off . everybody is quick to judge the big three and the uaw but the people who said no to this loan would probly sing a different tune if it was there job. dont think if you drive a toyota it will not effect you if the big three goes down trust me it will. by the by jack did you know the toyota truck plant has uaw workers. you dont see the republicans say anything about that do ya.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  121. Rolman SC

    Accept pay cuts, but quid-pro-quo. Shareholders forgoe dividends, all managment accepts salary equal to that of Toyota, Honda; sell corporate limo's and luxury jets, eliminate executive dining rooms along with their chefs and staff. Oh yes, remove all state incentives and tax breaks given to those foreign car manufacturing plants in SC, AL, TN, and KY, just to help level the playing field.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  122. Ann in NH

    I think it should be too down. In the end everyone should give up a little to save their jobs.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  123. Glen T. Moore

    Yes, but that would be like asking government employees to reduce the number of paid holidays, sick leave days and vacations...why should they as they know money will be forthcoming.

    My Ford Taurus was made in Canada, my Dodge pickup was made in Mexico, so to buy an American vehicle, I have to buy Honda, or a foreign named as most all so-called American cars are in name only.
    Chelsea, OK

    December 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  124. bob barton

    no the workers have give up a lot all ready why dont the gop senator drop there wages to $14.00 a hour to help save the economy as for as the american car ihave a 1989 mercury bought it used with 12,000 miles on it . it now has 89,000 and all ive had to do is put tires on in and gas .i give ford 35 years and think there doing real well with there cars. bob fron indianapolis in.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  125. Steve

    Yes the workers should take pay cuts. Everyone involved has to take a cut. Everyone wants to make more money but some jobs just pay lower than others. If the workers want to make more money, they should look for another job in another industry.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  126. Marti

    The pay cuts should start at the top and continue through the union employees.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  127. Jason VA

    Absolutely, we MUST get it together and be more like japanese enterprise. Company sometimes has to come first. NOT execs tho, company itself. I think many execs should get the ax and the others huge pay and benefit cuts.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  128. Monroe W. DeVos

    Absolutely! Take some of these workers to foreclosure sales, homeless shelters, unemplyment lines and then let's see how they feel.

    I'm unemployed and it ain't pretty!

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  129. Kim

    Of course they should if the alternative is no job at all, or eight dollar an hour workers having to support those making much more like the auto workers earn. I come from a line of union activists, so this pains me to speak these truths. The fact is, we are not guaranteed cushy, benefitted jobs all of our lives. Wake up to reality auto workers. There is a whole underclass under the working class no one worries about. Many workers came to work with hangovers, and some even sabotaged the cars. I sat with some who bragged about putting ball bearings in frames to freak owners and mechanics out later. Foreign companies have figured out how to make reliable, efficient vehicles. We haven't. We made our own beds here. I might feel more sympathy if these workers had struck to force the building of efficient vehicles instead of hummers.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  130. Tomar in VA

    In my opinion it would be in their best interest to take a pay cut rather than to see the company they work for have to file for bankruptcy. That would potentially result in most or all of them losing their jobs and no one would win. If that were me they could cut pay, suspend raises, whatever is necessary in order for me to have a job in 5 yrs. Its seems as though they are thinking short term rather than long term.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  131. Dan

    Absolutely not. Why should they be punished for the mistakes of management? Furthermore, why should the American taxpayer, who did not share in the profits of these companies when they were rushing SUV's off the assembly lines, share the burden of their loss?

    December 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  132. Steve

    Yes, but that is only one step.

    Any auto bailout should be accompanied more than a plan for profitability. It should include provisions that reform the entire process for buying a car.

    Honest, set prices would eliminate the reality that the experience of buying a car is one few people look forward to. It shouldn’t take a twenty-minute visit to the manager to determine the real price; the sticker should list the actual fair market cost for the car. Sales people should work for wages, not commissions. Selling financing should not be the end game. Build cars that come the way they should; not with that extra undercoating or floor mats. Even if the companies build quality, green cars but still do business as usual they don’t deserve our tax dollars.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  133. Howard Flynn

    Should they take a pay cut?? If they want to borrow my money to stay in business the answer is yes. And the pay cut should apply to everyone – managment, workers, supervisers, union managers, whoever.

    The unions are part of the problem here. Working an assembly line for a living is a respectable job but the wages they're earning are out of line with the demand for those skills.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  134. Ricky667

    I think the auto manufactures aka the big 3 should be allowed to go bankrupt and then the republicans can figure out how to put millions back to work, or figure out how to run the government without the taxes from them.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  135. Jeffrey Davis Florida

    YES ! The UAW has destroyed the auto industry. We cannot compete is a global market where wages are know where near ours. How many americans would be glad to go to work for one of the big 3 for 1/2 what their current employees are making. Unions are going to destroy this country. AND GET RID OF NAFTA !!!!

    December 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  136. Colleen Springfield MO

    YES and along with pay cuts for line workers every management employee from the top down should take the SAME percentage cut in pay and benefits. The boat has a hole in the side of it...water is pouring it....this is a swim or sink company.....either everyone start bailing or get thrown overboard.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:49 pm |