Bruce Raynor, from Unite Here, sheds some more light on the parity fallacy:
[Senate Republicans] claimed that they couldn’t support [the rescue package] without specifics about how wages would be “restructured.” They didn’t, however, require such specificity when it came to bailing out the financial sector. Their grandstanding, and the government’s generally lackluster response to the auto crisis, highlight many of the problems that have caused our current economic mess: the lack of concern about manufacturing, the privileged way our government treats the financial sector, and political support given to companies that attempt to slash worker’s wages.
When one compares how the auto industry and the financial sector are being treated by Congress, the double standard is staggering. In the financial sector, employee compensation makes up a huge percentage of costs. According to the New York state comptroller, it accounted for more than 60% of 2007 revenues for the seven largest financial firms in New York.
At Goldman Sachs, for example, employee compensation made up 71% of total operating expenses in 2007. In the auto industry, by contrast, autoworker compensation makes up less than 10% of the cost of manufacturing a car. Hundreds of billions were given to the financial-services industry with barely a question about compensation; the auto bailout, however, was sunk on this issue alone.
So Republicans have no problem throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at Wall Street bankers and CEOs, but they won’t help assembly line workers making $50,000 a year. And then they complain that those auto workers make too much money.
It’s more proof that, if you’re a middle-class American, the Republican Party just doesn’t care about you.
UPDATE: And then there’s this exchange between CNN’s Larry King and Bill Ford, the Executive Chairman of Ford:
KING: What about the UAW in all of this?FORD: Well, the UAW obviously has been our partner through all of this. Have they made mistakes and have we made mistakes? Of course. The UAW has come a long way. I think their leader, Ron Gettelfinger, is an excellent leader and he really understands our business. In this last contract, he gave up a lot. He’s also indicated they’re willing to come to the table to do more. And so for anybody to blame the UAW as the sole reason for this is frankly wrong.
One other thing is, when I look at the people who work in our plants, I don’t think of them as UAW. I think of them as Ford employees, Ford employees who take tremendous pride in building quality and safety into our products. If you ask someone in our plant, where do they work, they say I work at Ford. To me, everybody who works in our plant is part of our extended family.
(h/t John Cole)
So the auto companies don’t have a problem with the UAW, but right-wing ideologues like Bob Corker and Richard Shelby do.
This is just proof that the GOP’s attacks on the UAW have less to do with making cars and more to do with right-wing grandstanding and union-bashing.