The United Auto Workers did not appear before a congressional oversight panel, drawing the ire of Rep. Jeb Hensnarling (R-Texas). The panel, which is in charge of reviewing how TARP funds have been spent to bailout General Motors and Chrysler, heard testimony from Ron Bloom, the head of the White House auto task force. Hensnarling also was upset at the absence of both GM and Chrysler’s CEOs, who sent their treasurers instead to testify. But it was UAW’s Ron Gettelfinger’s absence that provoked Hensnarling:
The UAW’s absence was a significant issue for Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who sits on the TARP oversight panel. Hensarling expressed concern that the decision to put the interests of the union-run retiree health care trust funds ahead of those companies’ secured lenders could have “chilling and far-reaching consequences” for commercial lending.
The lone member of Congress on the panel chastised UAW chief Ron Gettelfinger for ignoring the panel’s invitation to testify.
Besides his concerns about placing the union’s interests ahead of the auto companies’ secured lenders, Hensnarling ripped the union for pleading for a bailout but declining to show up to the inquiry:
Hensarling, who has urged the panel to include the UAW in its inquiry, said the union “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.”
After conceding so much to help keep General Motors and Chrysler afloat, I suppose it’s too much to ask for a modicum of accountability from the UAW.