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UAW rank and file speak up

Sept. 6, 2011 at 5:19 PM

DETROIT, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Rank and file United Auto Workers members say the union accepting contract concessions is what turned around the U.S. auto industry.

"In my eyes, us employees, us line workers, are the one that bailed this company out," said Jason Hrelja, an hourly worker with the Ford Motor Co, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.

"We took such a hit financially, and now that we are profitable. I feel like we are supposed to get at least the cost-of-living and our raises back," said another Ford employee, Robert Brian Hollifield, who works at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant.

UAW President Bob King has said many times that it is time for the big three automakers to share more of the profits with either raises or a new formula for profit sharing.

General Motors and Ford have posted profits of $10.7 billion in the first half of 2011, and Chrysler Group LLC would have profits on the books if not for the payments associated with its federal bailout loans.

The UAW is involved in contract negotiations with all three automakers, and King has described the talks several times as going well.

On Sunday, he said, "I think the discussions that are going on are in-depth and there is an understanding of each others' issues."

King also said President Barack Obama "saved our jobs."

"Our members know there would not be an American auto industry today without Obama's leadership," he said.

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