General Motors recently announced that, thanks to federal efforts to keep the American auto industry from going under, it would be able to rehire 483 workers at its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to manufacture “three variants of Ecotec four-cylinder engines.” The $438 million arrangement will start producing engines for the Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC models by 2011.
As auto blog Jalopnik reports, the plant recently held a ceremony to welcome back the new workers to begin production of the Ecotec engines. Attending the ceremony were three local Republican legislators, Sens. Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Ironically, all three of these lawmakers opposed the plans to save General Motors and other U.S. auto companies. This didn’t stop Corker from taking credit for the federal rescue, anyway. At the event he claimed he “contributed to strengthening the auto industry in this country.” Jalopnik reports that “irony of the Republican lawmakers’ presence wasn’t lost on the workers who attended the ceremony; they booed Tennessee Republican Bob Corker”:
Happy days came back Friday to Spring Hill, Tenn., when General Motors announced it would rehire 483 laid-off workers to build four-cylinder engines. On hand to cheer the news: Three Republican lawmakers who opposed the bailout that saved GM.
As part of its $50 billion bankruptcy arranged by the Obama administration, GM shuttered the Spring Hill plant’s assembly line last year, shedding 2,000 jobs in the process, but kept building four-cylinder engines. The new plan calls for $483 million in spending to upgrade the engine line, pending a deal on state incentives.
The irony of the Republican lawmakers’ presence wasn’t lost on the workers who attended the ceremony; they booed Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, and one UAW official made clear from the stage that the union still remembered which politicians had voted to rescue Wall Street but opposed an auto industry bailout.
Jalopnik goes on to note that when the auto industry rescue was being negotiated, Corker was speaking very differently about federal efforts to revive GM. At the time, Corker said that the Obama administration “has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies. … This is a major power grab.”