Obama 'Auto Advisor' a former steelworker's negotiator

Rick Moran
They aren't calling him an "Auto Czar." But the likely nominee for the president's representative to the auto companies, Ron Bloom, has extensive experience as a labor negotiator with the United Steelworkers union and has a track record of saving union jobs :

His main achievement has been to provide the union with an understanding of corporate finance and investment banking that is often superior to the corporate managers' he's dealing with," said Marco Trbovich, former assistant to the steelworkers' president and the labor director for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.

The steelworkers' union is one of the nation's most muscular, helping to deliver Pennsylvania and Ohio to Mr. Obama, pushing for Buy America provisions in the stimulus package and pressing politicians to renegotiate the Nafta trade agreement. With 800,000 members, it is larger than the U.A.W., representing not just steelworkers, but paper, aluminum, oil, chemical and rubber workers.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Bloom, who graduated from Wesleyan University, was co-founder of the boutique investment firm Keilin & Bloom, He specialized in transactions on behalf of major unions, including the steelworkers, auto workers, Air Line Pilots Association and International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Bloom is respected by many corporate executives because he appears to be able to understand their problems. But is he the right man to deal with the auto unions?

"I found him first of all very, very pragmatic, not overly ideological," and "a very, very good negotiator," Mr. Ross said.

He added that Mr. Bloom, who has moved seamlessly between labor and corporate finance - was not one to make lopsided deals.


Mr. Trbovich, the former steelworkers' official, said that once when Mr. Bloom was negotiating with Mr. Ross, "he laid out a whole different way to look at a financing proposal than the one that was under discussion."

"Ross listened attentively, and when Ron was done, Ross said, ‘The force is with the young man,' " Mr. Trbovich said.

Mr. Gerard, the union's president, said Mr. Bloom would represent not the U.A.W.'s members, but the Obama administration in seeking to assure a future for the nation's automobile industry.

Those who wanted someone who would stand up to the UAW and get them to take the kind of wage and benefit cuts that would make Detroit competitive again will probably be disappointed. I think this presages a virtual takeover of the auto industry by a government-union partnership with the companies having much less freedom to design and market cars. It probably won't be obvious but the result of any agreements signed by the companies for more federal bail out dollars will be the end of the US auto industry as we know it.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky






 



They aren't calling him an "Auto Czar." But the likely nominee for the president's representative to the auto companies, Ron Bloom, has extensive experience as a labor negotiator with the United Steelworkers union and has a track record of saving union jobs :

His main achievement has been to provide the union with an understanding of corporate finance and investment banking that is often superior to the corporate managers' he's dealing with," said Marco Trbovich, former assistant to the steelworkers' president and the labor director for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.

The steelworkers' union is one of the nation's most muscular, helping to deliver Pennsylvania and Ohio to Mr. Obama, pushing for Buy America provisions in the stimulus package and pressing politicians to renegotiate the Nafta trade agreement. With 800,000 members, it is larger than the U.A.W., representing not just steelworkers, but paper, aluminum, oil, chemical and rubber workers.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Bloom, who graduated from Wesleyan University, was co-founder of the boutique investment firm Keilin & Bloom, He specialized in transactions on behalf of major unions, including the steelworkers, auto workers, Air Line Pilots Association and International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Bloom is respected by many corporate executives because he appears to be able to understand their problems. But is he the right man to deal with the auto unions?

"I found him first of all very, very pragmatic, not overly ideological," and "a very, very good negotiator," Mr. Ross said.

He added that Mr. Bloom, who has moved seamlessly between labor and corporate finance - was not one to make lopsided deals.


Mr. Trbovich, the former steelworkers' official, said that once when Mr. Bloom was negotiating with Mr. Ross, "he laid out a whole different way to look at a financing proposal than the one that was under discussion."

"Ross listened attentively, and when Ron was done, Ross said, ‘The force is with the young man,' " Mr. Trbovich said.

Mr. Gerard, the union's president, said Mr. Bloom would represent not the U.A.W.'s members, but the Obama administration in seeking to assure a future for the nation's automobile industry.

Those who wanted someone who would stand up to the UAW and get them to take the kind of wage and benefit cuts that would make Detroit competitive again will probably be disappointed. I think this presages a virtual takeover of the auto industry by a government-union partnership with the companies having much less freedom to design and market cars. It probably won't be obvious but the result of any agreements signed by the companies for more federal bail out dollars will be the end of the US auto industry as we know it.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky