Tags: mack | oust | uaw | head

Rep. Connie Mack Urges Obama to Force Out UAW Head

Thursday, 09 Apr 2009 04:29 PM

By Mike Tighe

What’s good for GM should be good for the UAW, according to U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., who says President Obama should demand the resignation of United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger.

If Obama heeded Mack’s advice, the action would echo the president’s March 29 action in which the White House demanded the resignation of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner before the company could receive any more federal bailout money beyond the billions it already had been given.

The resignations of both the company's head and the union's head would be only fair in efforts to shore up the auto industry, Mack said in a recent news release from his office.

Mack, a strident critic of Washington’s efforts to bail out and nationalize businesses, said, “For decades, U.S. automobile executives have made one bad choice after another and led their companies down the path toward ruin. But at the same time, union bosses share equal blame for failing to act responsibly to achieve long-term stability and prosperity for their members, consumers and the auto industry as a whole.”

Mack, a member of the House Budget Committee, said the UAW’s Gettelfinger “deserves particular blame for his failures to modernize the UAW, for organizing and threatening labor strikes that have heavily contributed to the demise of the U.S. auto industry, and for refusing long-term concessions that would help General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford create cost savings and preserve jobs.”

If the president “is willing to fire the CEO of General Motors because of his failures, then he should be even-handed in demanding Ron Gettelfinger’s resignation for his equally egregious failures,” Mack said.

“Sadly, the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before, will instead do all it can to pick America’s winners and losers regardless of the consequences to the free market and the American way of life,” he said.

The UAW was mum on the issue, with a union spokeswoman telling CNSNEWS.com: “The UAW has no comment on stories about Ron Gettelfinger stepping down.”

The editorial director of Automotive News didn’t hesitate a bit, though, as Peter Brown penned this volley in his “Off the Wall” blog: “Connie Mack, who must be about 150 years old now after a long lifetime in baseball, is acting his age. His dementia is showing.”

Despite that barb, Mack and Brown both seem to be criticizing Gettelfinger, albeit from different vantage points. Brown wrote further: “Why would a U.S. rep want to fire the UAW president who has reversed 70 years of wage hikes and benefit increases and who has a) given back half of the Detroit 3's health-care liability for retirees and is about to give back half of the remainder; b) accepted two-tier wages, slashing pay for new hires; c) eliminated the Jobs Bank; d) given back wage hikes; and e) mortgaged his own house to lend GM $100 billion of his own personal money? (OK, I made that last one up.)”

And Brown was just getting revved up, adding, “Mack is one of the self-aggrandizing rum-dums in Congress who a) don't want to help solve any difficult problems and b) want to see their names in the paper.”

The headline on Brown’s blog item said: “Connie Mack takes a swing at Gettelfinger, and whiffs.”

Just when you think Brown’s baseball-linked comments are, indeed, off the wall, and he had hit a foul ball at that, he adds a parenthetical note to let you in on his baseball joke: “(Note to Rep. Mack's constituents: Your congressman from Fort Myers is not really the great baseball manager. You voted for the wrong guy.)”

That’s because Mack actually is the great-grandson of the original Connie Mack, legendary owner and manager of the Philadelphia A’s, who took his baseball team to Fort Myers for spring training in 1925.

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