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Wednesday AM May 20th, 2009

Unions, business leaders and politicians sponsored a “teach-in” on Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers about the impact of the auto industry in their constituencies. Ed Mayberry reports.


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Lawmakers taught effects of auto collapseCommunities with auto manufacturing industries are seeing thousands of paychecks affected by the troubled economy, especially when considering health care and retail jobs that rely on the overall auto supply chain. Chuck Rocha is the political director for the United Steelworkers.

“It’s more than just auto suppliers and parts, but there’s mom and pop coffee shops, there’s restaurants, there’s service, there’s federal jobs at the Post Office. You can’t walk down Main Street anywhere in America and not see a business that will be affected if we do not do, make sure that we have a vibrant North American auto industry. We want to make sure that there’s some kind of a bailout plan or some kind of a stimulus plan, that we’re taking American taxpayer’s dollars and reinvesting it in North America manufacturing.”

Rocha says the Teach-In supports the more than 7.2 million jobs related to the auto industry, but also the overall manufacturing industry.

“The Teach-In is a culmination of a week-long bus tour all over America. We were in 12 different states and 44 different stops talking about the importance of the domestic auto industry and those jobs that are vital. We came through Texarkana, Arkansas, we stopped in Longview, Texas, and then we ended the tour at the assembly plant in Arlington, Texas. The new plan by GM to bring them into profitability is something that we’re very much against because they’re doing away with some 15 plants in North America. That would include the plants in Arlington, and it would affect parts and manufacturing all over Houston and Dallas.”

The United Steelworkers, the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the Mayors and Municipalities Auto Coalition participated in a “Keep It Made in America” campaign that began May 11th, culminating in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill. Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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