Monday, September 24
Edwards: Will He or Won't He Walk the Line?
In August, before the Daily Kos convention, John Edwards walked the line with striking hotel workers in Chicago. With 73,000 of the UAW striking against General Motors, the question is, will Edwards join them too?
Earlier this month in Des Moines Edwards is quoted as having said, ``I want to be the president who walks down the White House lawn and says the word union, who walks down the White House lawn and makes certain that America understands the importance of the organized labor movement in the history of America.'' Edwards also said he has shown his support for labor and ``over 200 times over the past few years I have walked picket lines, worked personally in organizing campaigns, worked with employers to get them to open the process of union organizing in their personal business.''
Mr. Edwards, the UAW is calling.
UPDATE 9/24: Today, Senator John Edwards released the following statement in support of the striking UAW workers:
"I offer my strong support to the striking auto workers and look forward to a fair and speedy settlement that will improve the lives of these hard-working UAW members. And I call on General Motors to do what is right and realize that it has a responsibility to negotiate fairly and move quickly to settle a contract that respects the health, safety and economic security of the auto workers and their families. I also salute the courage of the auto workers to go on strike. Their fight for fair wages, safe workplaces, affordable health care and a secure retirement helps raise standards for workers all across America.
"Sadly, the issues on the bargaining table between General Motors and the United Auto Workers are not unique to Detroit - they represent the larger failures of Washington and public policies that have weakened unions and the middle class. The truth is now, more than ever, it's time for America to go in a new direction and start doing much more to strengthen America's unions and protect the rights of working Americans."
9/26 UPDATE: Elizabeth Edwards Walks UAW Picket Line.
9/26 UPDATE: STRIKE OVER - The United Auto Workers and General Motors Corp. tentatively agreed Wednesday to a contract that ends a two-day strike — the first nationwide walkout against the automaker in 37 years — and puts responsibility for retirees' health care into the union's hands.
Union members were told to begin reporting to work Wednesday. UAW officials said they hoped to begin talks with Ford and Chrysler even before GM workers vote on ratifying the pact.
News of the settlement sent GM shares more than 4 percent higher in morning trading Wednesday as Wall Street interpreted the deal as a win for the automaker.
GM and the UAW confirmed that the deal creates a GM-funded, UAW-run trust to administer retiree health care. The two sides gave no other details, but two people briefed on the contract told The Associated Press that it also would give workers bonuses and lump-sum payments and would pay some newly hired workers at lower rates.
The people requested anonymity because the details of the contract haven't been released publicly, including whatever concessions GM may have made over job security, which was the reason the UAW gave for walking off the job.
The union said the agreement with the nation's largest automaker was reached shortly after 3 a.m. The UAW canceled the strike about an hour later.