Auto workers worry about health benefits

December 3, 2008 7:23:32 PM PST
Many auto industry employees and retirees are worried about what may happen to their healthcare and other benefits, either due to the possible bailout or if the United Auto Workers union renegotiates the terms of its contracts.

For one General Motors retiree, the healthcare cuts have already come.

Eduardo Morales says he found out just last week that his cousin's 80-year-old husband would lose his GM health benefits at the end of this month.

"I mean if he knew this when he was working that he would not have this benefit it would've figured out how to do it himself but right now he has no choices really," Morales said.

Morales says his cousin's husband, as a non-union employee, has no recourse except to go on Medicare.

Bailing out car companies that built gas guzzlers may be politically unpopular, but members of Congress will be weighing that against the consequences of not providing the money.

"Americans have to understand how important this industry is and that there are huge federal liabilities for pension plans and health care of these individuals should these companies go bankrupt," Rep. George Miller said.