The Obama administration’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler has already reached a staggering $110 billion. But even that is not enough money to undue the damage big labor has done to the industry. Tucked inside H.R. 3200 is yet another $10 billion in bailout cash. The Detroit Free Press reports:
Antilabor forces say it’s welfare for the UAW and Democrats’ union allies. Labor supporters say it falls short of what’s needed as tens of thousands of union members are pushed into early retirement as employers cut back health care coverage.
They’re both talking about a $10-billion provision tucked deep inside thousands of pages of health care overhaul bills that could help the UAW’s retiree health-care plan and other union-backed plans.
It would see the government — at least temporarily — pay 80 cents on the dollar to corporate and union insurance plans for claims between $15,000 and $90,000 for retirees age 55 to 64.
Big businesses with union workers are twice as likely to offer retiree benefits as nonunion ones.
Labor advocates say even more funding may be needed.
“It is not enough money,” said former U.S. Rep. David Bonior, a Mt. Clemens Democrat who chairs the board at Washington, D.C.-based American Rights at Work, a labor advocacy group. “That will have to be supplemented to fill the gap.”