A new Civil War is breaking out when it comes to automaking in America, and it was evident in the lineup yesterday of senators for and against bailing out Detroit. Japanese, Korean, and German automakers are now building 18 auto assembly plants in the United States, none of which is unionized. Kentucky (home to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell) already has Toyota's biggest auto assembly plant outside Japan. Tennessee (home to Senate Rep. Bob Corker, who came up with the "chapter 11" bailout amendment which was the basis for an attempted compromise yesterday) houses Nissan's North American headquarters. Alabama (Senate Rep. Richard Shelby) hosts a range of foreign automakers.It's nice to be validated, but the real shame here is that our little tiny blog was pointing this out days ago; and as respected (or infamous) as Reich is, his piece is being published not in The Times, but on the blogs, whom still don't play to much more than single digits of the electorate-at-large.
There's no reason to suppose the good citizens of Kentucky, Tennessee, or Alabama are particularly excited at the prospect of handing over their taxpayer money to competing firms and their workforces, especially since almost every one of these states already gave foreign firms big tax-payer supported inducements to come and create jobs there.
Besides, southern Republican are not particularly enamored with the UAW, which has steadfastly bankrolled Democrats who have taken on Republicans. (The new Congress will have at least six new Democrats from formerly Republican districts, all of whom received at least $40K from the UAW.)
Corker's compromise -- which he'll push again in the new Congress -- would force the UAW to match the wages of foreign, mostly non-unionized autoworkers in the South. This would essentially make the UAW irrelevant. Why have a union if you can get the same deal without one?
I do have one little disagreement though:
But Republicans also know that the Big Three and their suppliers are spread out over the battle-ground states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Minnesota. Republicans don't dare give up these states or alienate their citizens. So here's where political compromise comes in.What about this campaign of political violence has suggested this?? The GOP in this fight has done nothing but denigrate unions and union membership for the past 4 weeks of the auto bailout drama. Any unionized worker in these rust belt states that votes for a Republican in the future should be ashamed of themselves.