Last night the US Senate gave up trying to pass a bill that would funnel cash to the Big Three auto makers, which are apparently on the brink of bankruptcy. There was not enough support from Republicans in the upper house -- specifically those senators whose states have auto plants from companies headquartered overseas.
The Honda, Toyota and other factories in Alabama, Tennessee and other southern and western states use non-union labor, and the GOP wants to bust the United Auto Workers, whose members work for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Senate Republicans circulated an email with instructions to "stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor."
Republicans in the Senate insisted that the UAW would offer concessions or there would be no deal. The average union auto worker, as we've noted, makes $28 an hour, not an exorbitant amount for skilled, monotonous labor, yet Republican leaders begrudge them this salary. I don't recall anyone asking that banks and other financial giants pay their brokers, accountants and lawyers less as a condition for receiving their $700 billion bailout.
Amazingly, it is the White House that seems to be on the more responsible, less ideological side of this issue.