Considering the enormous amounts of cash that the federal government has hurled at the auto industry since the start of the financial crisis, recipients of government largess in Detroit should at least have the common courtesy of telling taxpayers what they’re doing with their money. Unfortunately, United Auto Workers boss Ron Gettelfinger doesn’t seem to think that applies to him or his union. So kudos are in order to Rep. Jeb Hensarling for calling out Gettelfinger and the UAW on this:
The lone member of Congress on an oversight panel reviewing the use of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program criticized the decision of the United Auto Workers union not to testify at today’s hearing in Detroit on the auto industry bailout.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who is member of the Congressional Oversight Panel, said the UAW refused to testify at today’s hearing at Wayne State University.
The panel confirmed that it sought the testimony of the UAW. Alan Reuther, the UAW’s legislative director, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Hensarling said he was “disappointed” that UAW President Ron Gettelfinger did not accept invitation to testify.
“He was able to rearrange his schedule to come and ask for TARP money,” he noted.
“The UAW came before Congress and pleaded for billions of taxpayer assistance. Their ownership stakes in Chrysler and GM look suspicious at best and like sweetheart deals at worst. It’s outrageous they would benefit from the taxpayers’ money and then refuse to testify about it,” Hensarling said in a statement before the opening of today’s hearing.
It’s beyond outrageous; it’s disgraceful — especially in light of the preferential treatment the union has gotten from the government vis-a-vis other bondholders. Even more disgraceful is the fact that the White House and Congress are unlikely to do anything about it. At least now we know what the UAW thinks of the rest of us.