With the purchase this week of Chrysler Group by Cerberus Capital Management, the proverb “Let the buyer beware” should be replaced with one that reads, “Let the workers beware.”
The fact that Cerberus is run by John Snow, Bush’s former treasury secretary, is unfortunately only one of the reasons autoworkers are now worrying.
Daimler Chrysler, the seller, and Cerberus, the buyer, have both said from the beginning that any deal would have to include major concessions from the union. The 65,000 Chrysler workers, of course, want to see their jobs and benefits protected.
Cerberus, named appropriately after the satanic three-headed hound who guarded the ancient underworld, has a history of “saving” troubled companies but doing so always at the expense of the workers.
If Cerberus lives up to its past it will seek job cuts just like the 13,000 cuts Daimler Chrysler made when it shut a Delaware plant last February.
If Cerberus lives up to its past it will pressure the union to make substantial cuts affecting its present workers and it will go after prescription and health benefits for the 84,000 retirees now covered.
If Cerberus gets its way, autoworkers at Ford and GM face a huge battle when their contracts expire this fall.
Let the workers beware!