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Workplace Issues Today: Questions about where the auto industry is headed start to come up

Congress begins to consider the plight of the U.S. auto industry this week as the first of the American ‘Big Three,’ General Motors (GM) teeters on the brink of collapse. Although President-elect Barack Obama has made his intention to aid the auto industry clear, automakers and the United Auto Workers fear that his help may not come soon enough – Detroit leaders are pushing for immediate federal intervention even as the lame duck Congress waits out the weeks until January. The failure of GM would result in the loss of approximately 100,000 manufacturing jobs, roughly equivalent to the number of factory positions already cut this year. Even more, the failure of any of the Big Three has the potential to disrupt the industry at large, including parts manufacturers, suppliers, etc. Some industry experts are placing their faith in foreign automakers, saying that foreign companies such as BMW or VW, are ready to make up the difference, and can expand their own production in the U.S.

See “If Detroit falls, foreign makers could be buffer,” by Louis Uchitelle, The New York Times, Nov 17 2008 (JKW)

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