Chrysler recently reported a 4th quarter loss of $652 million. So what does a UAW majority owned company that is losing money do? How about a bonus for UAW workers?
Current Chrysler ownership breakdown puts the UAW at a 63.5% ownership stake while the US Treasury holds a 9.2% stake. Italy's Fiat currently owns 25%. Bonuses planned for UAW workers are estimated to average $750.
It is disturbing that at the same time Chrysler plans for UAW bonus distributions they are back asking taxpayers for more money. Reuters reports that Chrysler has applied for $3 billion in subsidized loans from the Department of Energy. Sean McAlinden, chief economist for the Center for Automotive Research, says that Chrysler expects "another really tough year and they need the money." It seems odd that the UAW would receive bonuses under these circumstances.
The auto bailouts, as orchestrated by the Obama Administration, demonstrate that the UAW will get their payoffs, by hook or by crook. Ford factory workers are to receive about $5,000 each in bonuses. GM is expected to announce their bonus plan after reporting earnings. UAW president, Bob King has made clear that the UAW expects to share in any profits attained by GM, Ford or Chrysler. In the case of Chrysler, it seems the UAW expects to benefit even in the absence of profits.
Based on the past generosity displayed towards bailed out automakers, it is unlikely that Chrysler's loan request will be turned down. It remains to be seen if Republicans that now control Congress have the courage to stand against the continued taxpayer funding and UAW favoritism that have arisen from the auto bailouts. The politically favored UAW continues to benefit at the expense of tax paying Americans. Disingenuous statements proclaiming that taxpayers are being paid back through appreciating GM share price neglect the facts that the taxpayers are losing money in other areas such as the $45 billion tax write-off given to GM by the US Treasury. Subsidized loans are yet another way for the Obama Administration to funnel money in to struggling, bailed out automakers. At some point, our representatives should say, "enough is enough."