Stand behind U.S. Workers: Support the Auto Bridge Loan

Media 12.9.08

Recipient: U.S. Congress

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse coalition of civil and human rights organizations with nearly 200 member organizations, we write to urge you to support the auto bridge loan legislation this week. The auto industry and the many jobs it directly and indirectly supports are vital to sustaining millions of working families in the United States. In this time of economic crisis, these working families are ill-equipped to endure the consequences of the failure of this important American industry.

Without federal assistance, General Motors (GM) will likely be forced to liquidate by the end of this year, before the new administration is sworn in. The failure of GM would lead to the failure of Chrysler and of many of the thousands of suppliers for whom GM is a major client. With the decimation of the supplier base, the other “Big Three” auto manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, would likely also be unable to survive.

The collapse of these three companies would be catastrophic for the United States economy. As Mark Zandi of Moody’s testified on December 4 before the Senate Banking Committee, “The auto industry has among the largest economic multipliers of any industry. For every one lost job in auto assembly, another nine jobs are lost in other supplying industries.”

The Economic Policy Institute last week issued a report on the consequences of the failure of the Big Three, available at, which concluded up to 3.3 million jobs would be lost, not only at auto companies, but also at dealers and suppliers, manufacturers of steel, glass, plastics, textiles, tires and computer chips, and transportation providers, as well as at retail stores and restaurants, hair salons and local grocery stores. The closings and layoffs at thousands of companies will, in turn, lead to significant drops in state and local tax revenues, at a time when the demand for government services is rapidly rising.

The Big Three, through the contracts negotiated with the United Auto Workers over the years, have been the pathway to the middle class for millions of Americans. Countless communities across the nation have benefited from America’s auto industry. Working families in these communities will be severely endangered if Congress fails to act immediately to provide the bridge loan. Indeed, the case for protecting Main Street through the bridge loan is more compelling than that for rescuing Wall Street.

For these reasons, we strongly urge you to vote for the auto bridge loan legislation. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Zirkin at (202) 263-2880 or Paul Edenfield, LCCR Counsel, (202) 263-2852.

Wade Henderson, President & CEO
Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President