St. Louis Public Radio News
5:36 am
Tue December 9, 2008

Unions watching proposed auto bailout

St. Louis, MO – Local unions are carefully watching the news of a proposed bailout for the American auto industry.

As outlined in news reports, the deal would create an "auto czar" to distribute the $15 billion in federal aid, and oversee the industry's recovery plans.

Members are relieved that federal aid will apparently reach the struggling auto industry, said Chuck Brodell, the recording secretary for the union representing workers at the recently closed Chrysler minivan. But they're worried about who will be in charge. "I have reservations about putting someone there that doesn't have intimate knowledge of how things are, how they operate, how business goes," he said.

Brodell says the upheaval in the auto industry isn't unusual, because all manufacturing has gone through a similar period.

"Ten years from now we're going to be looking back at a different auto industry, there's no doubt about it," he said. "Now whether it's the Detroit Two, or the Big Three, that remains to be seen."

The rescue funds would come from an earlier loan approved to help automakers revamp their plants to build fuel efficient cars