With the heads of the Big Three automakers in Washington asking for financial assistance, local United Auto Workers union members are encouraging Congress to approve loans for the companies.
At a UAW rally at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Local 862 President Rocky Comito said if Ford, GM and Chrysler go under, it would bring chaos to the entire industry.
“The parts suppliers that supply parts to us are the same ones who supply them to Toyota, Hundai, whoever,” he said. “So it’s not just the big three, it’s all the automotive industry.”
The Big Three are requesting up to $34 billion in bridge loans. They say the funds are necessary to stay afloat in the recession, with new investments needed to produce fuel-efficient cars.
Retired UAW worker Joe Dennis attended the rally. He says his pension and health benefits also depend on the loan.
“I put 35 years in,” he says. “I’m like everyone else – you like think that’s a guaranteed income, but it’s not. If something happens to this company or the big three, I’ll lose everything I work for.”
Kentucky Truck Plant Chairman Scott Eskridge says the loans are crucial to the Big Three’s survival.
“If we don’t get this bridge loan, GM ain’t going to make it to the end of the year. They’re not going to have the money to pay their suppliers and employees to the first of the year,” he says. “Unfortunately, bankruptcy is the only option.”
Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville also spoke at the rally. He says there may not be enough votes in the Senate to approve the loan until the new Congress is sworn in next year.