Topics: Labor Unions

Big Labor quiet on Treasury sale of remaining GM stock

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Treasury,Analysis,Auto Industry,GM

When Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced the government's sale of its remaining GM stock, the news was delivered with a rather defensive tone. And no wonder: The sale meant that taxpayers were losing $10 billion, so some extra justification was necessary. GM officials have taken a similar stance even as they say they are glad to be out of receivership.

One group that was noticeably quiet was Big Labor, which was a major backer of the 2008-2009 auto industry bailout. In fact, they don't appear to have said anything at all. Neither the United Auto Workers nor the AFL-CIO has issued a press release on the sale. A survey of major news outlets -- the Washington Post, the New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg -- could not find a story quoting a union official.

The AFL-CIO and UAW did not respond to requests for comment. They have vigorously defended the bailouts in the past though. In a July 2012 USA Today op-ed, UAW President Bob King called it "the right call" that is "helping to lead our nation's economic recovery."

In an October 2012 Huffington Post column, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka praised President Obama for having "stuck his neck out to rescue those ailing giants and the workers."

Those comments were made during a presidential election that would, in part, confirm whether Obama made the right call, at least politically. It was also before everyone knew definitively how much the bailout would cost taxpayers.

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