Since June 2009, Michigan has added more than 32,000 auto industry jobs, and the Center for Automotive Research estimates that the industry will add a total of 15,000 jobs in Michigan in 2012. This remarkable resurgence was a result of bold political policy and unprecedented collective bargaining partnerships. I am glad that this incredible victory for working families received its due in primetime at the Democratic National Convention tonight.
President Obama believed in and revived the American auto industry at a time when it was far from a popular decision. Many people said that it couldn’t be done. But the president provided the resources necessary so that workers and management could come together, find cost savings, save jobs and even bring jobs back to the U.S. from other countries.
In Michigan, we will never forget or forgive Mitt Romney’s plan to “let Detroit go bankrupt.” 21.8 percent of Michigan’s workforce is supported by the auto industry. We can’t afford to support a politician who claims to be a businessman, yet would have pulled the plug on our most important source of family-sustaining manufacturing jobs.
Tonight’s DNC video featured the story of Ohio autoworkers whose jobs where saved when President Obama took decisive action to rescue the industry. But I would strongly encourage Michiganders to familiarize themselves with their local recovery stories and the important role that collective bargaining has played in the comeback. Click here to watch a recent testimonial from autoworker Stacie Steward.
In spite of Republican obstruction, the Obama administration has done many things to get our economy back on track. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act saved or created nearly 3 million jobs; the historic Affordable Care Act is helping families receive medical care without going bankrupt; and Wall Street reform will help ensure that the American people won’t have to bailout bloated banks again.
But by far the auto industry rescue had the most visible and immediate effect on the Michigan economy.
That alone is enough to justify four more years.