Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Union's ad criticizes Chrysler plant closing

WASHINGTON -- Workers at a Chrysler minivan plant marked for idling later this year have taken their fight with the company to Washington.

An unsigned ad criticizing Chrysler LLC for halting production at the St. Louis minivan plant ran in the Hill newspaper Tuesday. The text of the ad questioned why Chrysler chose the St. Louis factory instead of the minivan plant in Windsor when the company sells far more minivans in the United States than in Canada.

"Before you ask Congress for any favors, do America a favor," the ad stated. "Be a real American car company -- keep St. Louis open!"

The ad was bought by UAW Local 1760, which represents workers at a parts plant that supplies the minivan factory.

Darin Gilley, president of Local 1760, said the union wanted to grab the attention of lawmakers beyond Missouri. The UAW local at the St. Louis plant held a protest at Chrysler headquarters last week.

"We're hoping by putting that info out there that the fair-trade lawmakers will see this as just another abuse of the lack of an industrial policy," he said.

The UAW and Detroit automakers have been lobbying Congress to approve money for a direct loan program to help cover retooling costs.

While many interest groups use such ads in Washington, D.C., newspapers like the Hill to lobby Congress, fewer do so in August, when members and most staffers leave town to vacation or campaign.

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