Auto bailout could save local jobs

December 12, 2008 6:25:45 PM PST
The crisis in the U.S. auto industry is now having a ripple effect in the Bay Area. One of the biggest parts producers locally said Friday that it's being forced to shut down temporarily, throwing hundreds of people out of work.

We spend a lot of time explaining the auto bailout debate in Washington D.C., but the impact is being felt all across the country. In the Bay Area some 2,000 people are employed making parts for General Motors and Toyota cars and trucks, and those people are feeling it.

Injex Industries in Hayward employs 500 people making among other things, door panels for GM's Pontiac Vibe. The Vibes are assembled at the NUMMI plant in Fremont. That plant is cutting production and so is Injex.

"I think it's going to be like three weeks," says machine operator John Medina who sends money home every month to his family in Mexico. "There is no way that I can send money right now."

Maintanence supervisor Steve Lake has explained to his family their budget is going to be tighter.

"Not spending as much money as we'd like on our children and all the Christmas gifts that's going out; everyone has to cut back," says Lake.

Plant manager Ebi Mogharei says Injex really didn't have any choice.

"Right now there has to be some immediate help for the big three not to go under. It has to be immediate," says Mogharei.

Five hundred jobs directly affected by what is happening with the auto industry bailout in Washington, D.C.

"I think 99.9 percent chance they're going to get the money," says San Mateo congresswomen Jackie Speier, a Democrat.

Speier says the Bush administration signaled Friday that money from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will be made available to GM and Chrysler. The only difference, says Speier, is the level of oversight.

"The accountability measures are not going to be as strong, so the taxpayer protections are not going to be as strong," says Speier.

Speier praised the deal that had been worked bout by Democratic members of Congress, but Senate Republicans killed that deal Thursday night saying that the United Auto Workers Union was unwilling to set a date for a pay cut.

] "We offered any date in the year 2009 -- any date," said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, a Republican.

] But at the Injex plant in Hayward, the plant manager believes it had more to do with breaking the union.

"It's a show in some respects and that's an unfortunate thing, meaning that people's lives are at stake and a lot of people are going to get hurt if somebody wants to make a point," says Mogharei.

In the election, the UAW did support Barack Obama and many union members believe the Republican Senate vote was the the GOP's way of saying, "thanks for nothing."


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