Dec. 20, 2008
For decades after its founding in 1935, the United Auto Workers stood as a powerful model for the American labor movement, an influential organization that historians credit with uplifting living standards for all working Americans.
But with the announcement of the federal loan deal yesterday, the union found itself being forced into concessions that some described as tantamount to surrender.
The $17.4 billion federal loan agreement does keep the domestic auto industry alive. But the terms of that loan also insist that the wages and benefits for union workers be lowered to "equal" the average of nonunion workers, specifically, those at the U.S. plants of Nissan, Toyota and Honda.