Monday, February 16, 2009

Ron Bloom To Loom Over The Auto Industry

Apparently Ron Bloom will be “a” if not “the” key adviser to Barack Obama’s auto task force. He brings to the table Wall Street experience, labor ties, and innovative approaches to the government restructuring of both General Motors and Chrysler. Mr. Bloom was a former investment banker who had worked with the United Steelworkers Union since 1996. He will have the ear of Timothy Geithner (Treasury Secretary) while the tweaking process, involving the corporate duo, cautiously unfolds leaving billions in taxpayer loans (Washington likes to call them government loans) precariously hanging in the balance. Andy Kramer, Washington attorney, has sat on the opposite side of a bargaining table from Ron Bloom. He shared, "He's not someone who brings just a conventional, cookie-cutter approach. He's going to force people to think about new ideas." Another Bloom enthusiast is Mark Glyptis, president of USW Local 2911 in Weirton, West Virginia. According to Mr. Glyptis, "He brings a unique perspective from Wall Street but can also relate very well to the steel worker, to the man on the shop floor," "He should be given a tremendous, tremendous amount of credit for restructuring, and I believe saving, the American steel industry." In 2005 Lazard Ltd., Bloom's old firm, was employed by the UAW to review GM's finances when GM wanted relief from its extensive health care costs. Paul Krell, UAW spokesperson, called him "an old friend of the UAW." One of the major obstacles in negotiations will no doubt be between the UAW and General Motors over payments into a trust fund earmarked for retiree health care expenses. Bloom is extremely knowledgeable in that area since he helped establish the voluntary employees beneficiary association, (VEBAs) with other companies. Joseph O'Leary (Boston attorney) has worked with Bloom and stated that Mr. Bloom has actively pushed for board membership for the Union and profit-sharing workers. When a representative of Business Week asked if he didn't trust management...he dodged the bullet and responded with, "We're not going to save this company and then go back to the old ways of doing things." Now, I will leave you with one other tidbit...he was a top aide to the steelworkers union's president. Supposedly, the Obama team is forgoing a "Car Czar" and choosing to go with a "Rod Squad". All I know is that Bloom is key, so I'll wait and see!


May God bless America...and may America deserve it!

Zanne Booker 02-16-09