The UAW and Chrysler are once again embarrassed as Chrysler workers were caught on camera for the second time in 10 months smoking pot and drinking beer before heading back to work.
This time a Fox News affiliate in Detroit filmed the workers partying in front of a UAW hall prior to returning to finish their shift. Americans should be outraged that the billions of dollars of taxpayer money that was spent to bail out Chrysler and General Motors has partially gone to protect the jobs of those in the politically powerful UAW who would reward the favor by brazenly getting high and drunk in public.
The Obama Administration and its Auto Task Force had made clear throughout the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy process that UAW members would be given preferential treatment over other, less politically favored, classes. Perhaps this presidential message has emboldened some in the UAW to think that the protection shown would carry forward to pardon them from accountability for such irresponsible and illegal behavior. At a time when many Americans who are out of work would welcome a job that carried the benefits of UAW membership, the workers who display such conduct show a total disregard for the opportunities afforded them by those who sacrificed to enable the continued employment of Chrysler and GM plant workers.
Workers at GM and Chrysler will need to do their part if the auto bailouts are to have a chance at success. Chrysler and GM have had a reputation for below average quality in the past. Just this year Consumer Reports rated the overall quality of automakers and placed Chrysler in last place with GM getting the next to last spot. It’s hard to imagine that quality will improve if some of the people building the cars are getting high and drinking before assembling the vehicles. While it would not be right to condemn all of the workers at the UAW, I really have to wonder if this type of behavior is happening at non-unionized automakers. Do the UAW members have a feeling of entitlement bestowed upon them by President Obama that encourages such behavior? One thing is certain; taxpayers have not gotten a great return on their investment.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.