Autoworker chief pleads for government aid

Financial Crisis Posted on

The head of the United Auto Workers made a public plea Sunday for government help for U.S. carmakers as the Big Three put the final touches on stabilization plans to submit to Congress.

"We cannot afford to see these companies fail," said Ron Gettelfinger, the UAW chief, calling on Congress to approve the aid during a special session the week of Dec. 8.

Gettelfinger said a $25 billion rescue plan for the carmakers is "not a bailout, this is a loan — a bridge loan — that will get us through until we can take a longer-term look at exactly what needs to be done in the industry."

Democratic leaders are demanding blueprints from Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. before they will schedule votes on any new federal aid. The plans, due Tuesday, are to be scrutinized at a Senate hearing Wednesday and a House hearing on Friday.

If lawmakers like what they see, Congress may reconvene the following week to consider the auto bailout.

Members of Congress remain deeply divided on the aid, with many in both parties wary of supporting another costly government rescue on the heels of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

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