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Domestic autoworkers get the day off to vote

November 06, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • Workers at Chrysler's Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio, got the day off Tuesday to vote. It's in their contract.
Workers at Chrysler's Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio, got… (Jeff Kowalsky / Bloomberg )

The Mitt Romney campaign isn’t going to like this news.

Virtually of the people who work for the three domestic auto companies have Tuesday off as an election day holiday. The automakers want their workers to vote.

Having election day off was negotiated into the autoworkers' collective bargaining agreement at least three contracts ago and has been extended to all hourly and salaried workers. 

That can’t be a good thing for Romney in states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the Republican presidential nominee was making a last-minute effort to gain votes. There’s been much antipathy between the automakers' union workers -- and even their top executives -- and the Romney campaign.

For the last several weeks Romney has been sparring with the industry over campaign commercials that implied that General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group planned to move U.S. manufacturing jobs to China.

Both automakers, beneficiaries of the federal bailout policies of Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, have been adding jobs in the U.S. since the recession and their respective bankruptcy restructurings. Senior management of the companies have spoken out, refuting Romney’s claims.

Though it's true companies are ramping up production in China, they're doing so to make vehicles for the local market, which is the practice in the industry. For example, import brands including Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all make car parts and assemble vehicles in the United States.  

But not all workers at those plants will get the day off. A Toyota spokeswoman said its workers get “flexible hours” to vote but not a paid day off.

ALSO:

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Suzuki files for bankruptcy protection

Hyundai inflates mileage claims, EPA says

Follow me on Twitter (@LATimesJerry), Facebook and Google+.

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