Governor Riley responds to UAW condemnation

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A lot of fingers have been pointed during the congressional hearings on a potential $25 billion bailout for the "Big Three" automakers, and at least one was aimed directly at Alabama and it's incentives to bring foreign car companies to the state.

United Automobile Workers President Ron Gettlefinger's openly criticized Alabama's auto manufacturing industry, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (R) who opposes a Detroit bailout, and the state's aggressive industrial recruitment efforts like incentives packages and a workforce development program.

"We can help the financial industry and give incentives to let foreign automakers compete against us," Mr. Gettlefinger told the New York Times, "but at the same time we're able to walk away from the industry that is the backbone of our economy."

Now, Governor Bob Riley is reacting to Gettlefinger's claims saying:

"Alabama's automotive assembly plants are models for efficiency and cost effectiveness for rest of the nation and the world - and we are proud of that. Every state I know of, including Michigan, has incentives to attract major economic projects, so that's obviously not the issue.  The real reason companies keep locating in Alabama is the quality of our workforce and the exceptional products they make. With all due respect to Mr. Gettlefinger, great workers making great products is a proven recipe for success in Alabama - and it doesn't require a bailout."

Finger pointing aside, the ultimate fate of the three manufactures is still on the line.

NBC news is reporting that Democrats and Republicans from auto-manufacturing states announced Thursday a compromise to save American automakers from bankruptcy.

It's basically the Bush plan: loan them the $25 billion Congress already set aside for updating factories instead of dipping into the financial rescue funds.

But top Democrats say that deal doesn't have enough support and they want automakers to explain up front how they'll repay.

"Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"We're prepared to come back into session the week of December 8, but only if they present viable plan that show Congress, taxpayers will be well served," said Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid.