Policy: Labor

Big Labor quiet on Treasury sale of remaining GM stock

By |
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.

View article comments Leave a comment