UAW Blasts McCain About Daughter's Prius

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has come under fire from the United Auto Workers over his daughter’s Toyota Prius—and how exactly she paid for it. McCain originally told The New York Times that he had purchased the Prius for daughter Meghan, joking “I ought to know the name of it. I paid for it.”

But when questioned on a local Detroit television newscast, McCain backpedaled, saying that Meghan “bought it, I believe, herself.” When the reporter pressed him further on his daughter’s decision to buy an import—reminding him that several domestic companies produce competing hybrid lines—McCain went on the defensive. “I bought American literally all my life, and I’m proud. But the important thing is to make these automobiles (so that they) are competitive.”

McCain thinks that American carmakers have a ways to go before their hybrid options catch up with the Prius’s market share. That’s not earth shattering news. It’s even less surprising that the UAW—which has faced an uphill battle signing up workers at Toyota’s American plants—would seize upon the opportunity to attack McCain over the issue. The UAW has already officially endorsed McCain’s opponent, Barack Obama.

“At a time when manufacturers are struggling under the failed Bush-McCain economic policies of the last eight years, American workers and manufacturers need a president who will be straight with what he says and consistent in his support,” said the UAW in an official statement.

The McCain campaign has long trumpeted its support for hybrid and alternative fuel technologies. In June, McCain proposed a $300 million prize for any innovator who could develop “a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars.” Senator Obama favors a program of tax incentives and government vehicle purchases that would seek to put a million plug-in hybrid vehicles on American roads by 2015.

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  • Pablo

    Buying/driving anything that saves a lot of oil import, saves a lot of air pollution and saves global warming is patriotic. United Auto Workers should produce such things instead of getting irritated.

  • autobob

    The true hybrids that are being produced in this country are large suv hybrids, Tahoe, Yukon, Durango, Aspen. Then there is the Ford Escape the best of the lot. The large suv’s are not selling, because there to expensive We need to produce small fuel effecient hybrids that get good mpg and are affordable like the Prius. Detroit and uaw need to wake up and give the American people what they want. Stop the complaining do something about it and get off your collective rears.

  • sean t

    I think UAW bark at the wrong tree.
    Who keep auto manufacturing in the US lagging behind foreign counterparts (in hybrid terms)? Bob Lutz once said that hybrids is just a Toyota PR stunt. Stop complaining/criticising and start building better hybrids than the competition.

  • Samie

    Funny to see all the political games going on in this story. Don’t really understand why the UAW had to make a big fuss over this, last I checked Toyota builds cars here in America. If the UAW wants to make headlines talk about key issues they would like to see a Obama do, say like using the UAW to help retrofit government buildings w/ wind or solar or maybe support tax breaks on fuel saving cars.

    Can’t say I won’t bash McCain either I can’t stand how he and his party go around labeling themselves as “True Americas” Grow up people! Why did he have to retract or make something up to seem like he himself would choose a American company over a foreign one, was he afraid of being labeled as somehow not having good American values???

    McCain proposed a $300 million prize for development of some great battery. Please don’t get me started on this one that is a huge scam that’s been around for a LONG TIME. Americans don’t need science fair projects, they need solutions now. What would happen is some person from MIT would develop the battery and probably never reach any mass market or someone like Chevron would snatch it up. Let the Market develop the technology w/ government tools to help consumers and producers. Hope McCain changes his mind on that dump prize idea.

  • Joe_american

    I was loyal to American car brands all my life. Recently went to buy a small gas efficient car for my daughter to learn to drive in. All I could find was the Chevy Versa. What a slap in the face – a rebranded Daewoo – made in Korea. If all American car manufacturers can do is rebrand foreign cars and try to slip them under our noses, then I might as well go directly to the source. Anyone could have seen that gas prices were going to go through the roof and american SUV makers would be left with their butts hanging in the wind. How come they couldn’t see that? Why wont they sell their fuel efficient European products here in the USA? Screw them. I’m not worrying about buying from them any more. They deserve what they have coming to them. Sorry UAW, McCain was right to buy the Prius. I bought one too. UAW needs to pressure the auto MFRs to diversify their product lines with products that will keep them in the money no matter what the economic conditions are. The foreign car companies seem to have learned that.

  • Joe_American

    Oops. That’s Chevy Aveo (not Versa) in the above post. No matter what you call it, it’s a real POS.

  • rocky

    there may be some toyota plants in the U.S. but they are still forgien based. that means the money goes over there, not into our economy. that is why they will never be considerd “domestic”.

    Got patriotism? Buy American!

  • Peter

    “Got patriotism? Buy American!”

    Give me a break.

    I love my country too much to buy a gas guzzling, American SUV. The patriotic person will drive a fuel-efficient car, thereby limiting the effects of global warming on our American children. If the American car companies won’t build a car that gets over 40mpg then I’ll get a import! And drive it with pride!

  • Bryce

    O, and by the way, as odd as it sounds, the Cobalt is actually more efficient than the Aveo, atleast in EPA ratings. My only problem with the Japanese automakers is that they lobby their government to keep foreign automakers out of their market, while at the same time we let them sell as many autos as they like over here. If we did the same things they did, nobody would be able to sell anything over here. Kind of dumb, especially considering GM and Ford sell tons of vehicles in other markets like Europe, South America, Middle East, and Asia. (minus Japan) Really annoying. If the japs ever finally opened up their market, they would be swamped by Korean, Indian, American, and CHinese cars, and I am pretty sure it would kill them, which is why I figure they don’t let that happen.

  • steved28

    Ironically I went from my “American” truck, an F-150 which was made in Canada, to my “Foreign” Nissan, which was made in the U.S.

    I believe McCain and others before and after him fought so we could maintain our freedom. I guess that doesn’t include the freedom to make our own purchases.

  • What

    Unions are made to look out for themselves and not the companies and this why Toyota, Honda are kicking their butts. American car companies are not listening to the consumers like a Toyota. I would buy American, but gives what we want!`

  • Waltz

    Domestic vs Foreign more of a gray area if you ask me. Steve28 is right in the past our troops have stopped communism & fascism from invading our country. The world we live in today it’s allot harder to define who our enemies are. Along with solders protecting our freedom we better start reducing oil consumption drastically and reduce the national debt. So the point is does it really matter were the options come from?
    Changing industry needs government help not focusing on crackerjack prizes or magical domestic oil pumping solutions.

  • RKRB

    It’s shocking — shocking — that an American presidential candidate would support buying a car that would nearly eliminate our non-North American petroleum imports if everyone drove one. What kind of message does that send to the people who are accepting billions of our dollars selling us that oil, and to the people who are making the kinds of cars that burn so much of it?

  • David

    Likewise I got rid of my “American” Intrepid built in Canada and replaced it with a “foreign” Camry built in Kentucky. Worried about “all those dollars going overseas”? Well, MOST of those dollars went to Kentucky. And the money that went to the executives? Well, in Japan they FIRE incompetents. Here they promote them or, at the very worst, give them a golden parachute. No thanks!

  • Bryce

    RKRB, nice sarcasm again, but you really should throw some emoticons or something, it might be hard to catch for some. : )

  • MilwaukeeT

    Don’t forget Mr Obama drives a Ford escape Hybrid!

  • Mikes_hybrid

    I do buy American–I buy the best product at the best price–the American way of business. It’s UAW members such as yourself (you post on other boards as well) that have sunk manufacturing in this country. Domestic automakers must cut corners to produce a cost-efficient product in part because of your wage structure. Got patriotism–do what’s best for America and support fuel efficient offerings instead of your greedy contracts and taxpayer funded bailouts. Uneducated, manual labor workers are not worth what you make. Get an education and a real job because a lot of other Patriots like myself refuse to buy domestic autos anymore (3 Fords, 2 GMs for me, now 2 Hondas) because of substandard technology and quality and constant diatribes form self-righteous picket line lovers like you.

  • TD

    The US automakers problems are due to bad business decisions for the US market. The Detroit automakers are doing well with their overseas business. In the US they were riding high on SUV and pickup sales and consciously reducing the manufacturing of fuel efficient vehicles in favor of large ones. Which makes sense they get higher margins on SUV’s and pickups. However, this left them in a very bad position to adjust to high gas prices. In addition they have failed to invest in upgrades to their North American manufacturing facilities when they had the cash to do so. Now their biggest problem is they don’t have the cash or the credit worthiness to get the billions they need to retool the plants for small cars. These were management decisions not the UAW’s. You can’t blame the union for management’s failings.

    Japanese and German companies are all very heavily unionized yet they do not have the same problems as the US automakers. Blaming the Unions has been a red herring put out by the Detroit automakers whenever they come up short.

  • steved28

    Labor cost per hour, wages and benefits for hourly workers, 2006.

    Ford: $70.51 ($141,020 per year)

    GM: $73.26 ($146,520 per year)

    Chrysler: $75.86 ($151,720 per year)

    Toyota, Honda, Nissan (in U.S.): $48.00 ($96,000 per year)

    According to AAUP and IES, the average annual compensation for a college professor in 2006 was $92,973 (average salary nationally of $73,207 + 27% benefits).

    Bottom Line: The average UAW worker with a high school degree earns 57.6% more compensation than the average university professor with a Ph.D. , and 52.6% more than the average worker at Toyota, Honda or Nissan

    (Source: Forbes)

  • Bill

    With nitwits making comments like that, who’d want to be associated with that union.

  • Jerry

    A lot of agreement on this spin article.

    “When the reporter pressed him further on his daughter’s decision to buy an import—reminding him that several domestic companies produce competing hybrid lines””

    and those competing competing lines are…….oh they don’t exist

  • TD

    lies, damn lies and statistics

    Story about US automakers inflating the difference between US and Japanese wages.

  • steved28

    TD, So the union says the figures are false, GM says they are true, what a surprise. Your article didn’t refute anything as far as I could see. Looks like the union wants to negotiate from “absurdly overpaid” to just “overpaid”. Enjoy the layoffs.

  • TD

    Not trying to refute your argument that autoworkers may be overpaid just that the stats used may or may not be true and stats are typically used to push an agenda.

    Why not compare the wages and benefits, including health care and vacation, of autoworkers in Japan and Germany? We never hear about those because I’ll bet in terms of total compensation they are paid more than their US counterparts.

    Here’s some quotes from another newspaper article:

    “Others say executive salaries are determined by what companies are willing to pay for the talent. “There’s pros and cons to every bit of it. Do you want the job of being a CEO of a bankrupt supplier for nothing? The question becomes what’s the right amount of pay for the job that’s being rendered,” says Laurie Harbour Felax, auto industry consultant at Stout Risius Ross.

    Mulally defended his pay package to reporters last summer, saying, “All the skills required to run a business are market-driven.””

    Why is it ok for executives to negotiate absurdly high salaries and bonuses, but for workers trying to get more its just greed and we hear that it will ruin the business?

    If there’s one thing I have learned from working at various US corporations for the last 20 years is take all you can as soon as you can because the company won’t think twice about dumping you if they think it will help the bottom line.

    PS: PhD professors are notoriously under-payed for their education level. So why pick them as a comparable statistic unless there is an agenda behind the stats.

  • steved28

    Just a couple of things TD then I’ll shut up.

    College professors aside, 150K for a high school graduate assembler is so far above any industry pay scale it’s outrageous. It can’t be sustained in a world market.

    I work in the IT industry, and after 4 yrs of college and many more on the job, you may reach a 6 figure salary. But that’s not the point, it’s a global market, and some person in India who was educated in the US is more than willing to do it for less.

    Why do people think the auto industry is any different? I don’t know what German auto workers make, but last time I looked, German cars are fairly expensive. As more and more car companies learn to build it just as good, if not better, for less of a bottom line, the overpaid auto workers of N. America will have to accept that they are competing for their jobs globally. Or join their brothers and sisters in the unemployment line. The fact that it has gone on this long only shows just how much “fat” there is to trim in the industry.

  • Bryce

    With the new contracts negotiated, new workers at the factories will only get $14/hour starting as opposed to the previous ridiculous sums. That sounds more in line with a run of the mill manufacturing job. Given that and the switching of pension coverage to a trust fund run by the union, instead of payed for by the automaker (GM) GM’s worker costs will be inline with Toyota’s and the other asian auto workers within a year and a half. This is just a correction of the exorbitant wages handed to the autoworkers in the 60’s when times were good and GM didn’t know what do with itself and all of its dollars. lol, o how the times have changed. GM will be more competitive in the near future though… long as they survive that long. Hope they do, I want my Volt….or Cruze…….both seem attractive given their drivetrains and styling. (cruze definetly wins on the styling part though, lol)

  • jorene fagan

    To anyone who complains about the wages G.M. workers make,it is obvious that you have never worked in an automotive plant.If you had you would not be complaining.After a few years and a wornout body from repiticious work you would understand that they earn every penny they recieve!!!!!!Shame on you!

  • Bryce

    I’ll take the shame when their pay is lowered. : ) Wait, it has been, cuz even they realized they were bleeding the company dry. If they want to make a six figure income, get an education like the rest of us. Even then though, 6 figure income isn’t guaranteed, but I figure just being able to breath and lift things shouldn’t qualify anyone for such ridiculously high compensation.

    Shame on me…

  • RKRB

    -IMHO, both sides of the Union fence have good points, and the trick is making sense from each side’s good arguments. Supposedly — and I mean supposedly — the competitive free market eventually sorts the hyperbole and lets the most efficient side win.

    -This situation is definitely not helped by our Press, which gets away with stating its opinions as facts, and which has very little competition or safeguards. “Journalistic integrity” is as much an oxymoron as “friendly fire,” “non-traumatic surgery,” or “green cars.”

  • jorene fagan

    How would you know whether or not I have an “EDUCATION” as you put it? For your information I have been a white collar and a blue collar worker,and in the work force for 37 years! How foolish for anyone to think that to earn a good wage a person should first earn a degree! The real world needs all types of laborers and not all of them get to sit on their brains. Some jobs require physical labor as well as a brain.These people deserve the wage they make. If you will get an education on wages in American auto plants compared to other countries,you will find that the real fat that needs to be trimmed is corporate white collar wages.Their salaries,bonuses and benifits are outrageous compared to foreign countries auto plants corporate execs. In other countries the management pay is not an unrealistic amount above their hourly workers as it is in the U.S. If anyone needs to make a more realistic wage it is in management ,not the hourly workers who are the backbone of the company!!!!

  • David Bui

    Be an American, support freedom of choice. I would buy an American hybrid but there are none worth a damn. Before the Saturn Vue and Escape Hybrid, American cars were being misrepresented as hybrids, when all in fact there was a minor transmission belt doo hicky. The American car companies got what they deserve. It was only last years Saturn Vue could it be called a true hybrid.

    What a bunch of morons that the UAW are, so what. I did not hear them gripe about Al Gore’s pot smoking speeding son and his Prius.

    UAW are a bunch of hypocrites. I am not a McCain lover either.

  • David Bui

    I have seen unions given too much power and money for their lack of education and skills. That is why they are so screwed when they are laid off because those skills are not transferable. There is not incentive to learn the most you can like in the business world. The worst in case in my industry is the grocery unions. There are sales people that have to setup displays in stores, such as those displays for sweets or seasoning you see near the meat dept. Funny thing is they have to ask the unions for permission for the final ok or they call up their union rep and make a fuss. The day my employees tell me what to do, I would shut the business down.

    Unions today represent the entitlement of our society. “Honest pay for an honest days of work” is a bunch of crap. More likely how do you put in the minimum amount of work and get the most pay. I have worked in a union place, the post office one summmer. What a bunch of social rejects some of them are. You have to be caught stealing to get fired there.

    Where is the philosophy that built this great country of working hard and

  • DB

    How much do your union executives make?

    Also white collar jobs are based on what the market will bear, so if they quit or can leave for a higher paying job based on the market. Their wages are supported by supply and demand.

    The unions jobs are based on an artificial inflated base because of the ability to organize and put companies on the fire pit. Trust me if it was a fair world without government labor backed meddling, the companies could and should offer up those jobs that employees walked out on to the general workers for replacement people without the fear of unfair labor practices.

    A job is yours if you show up for work, it is not entitled to you. That is why I do not believe in handcuffing the companies. Jobs should be opened to those who are willing to work, not reserved for strikers who think they are worth more. If people are worth more, go on the open market, they do not because there is no way in hades they would get paid the amount of money they are doing. Most people can learn those union jobs, it is not a technical barrier.

    Just saying, not trying to be harsh.

  • RKRB

    -All the back-and-forth about unions, relative wage scales, etc. reminds me of a story I heard when I was a resident.

    -A prominent oral surgeon’s sink developed a slow leak that was driving his wife crazy. “OK, I’ll get to it, dear,” is what he said. But, being a busy man, he never did. Finally, after a couple of weeks, his wife decided that was enough, and she called a plumber. The plumber came, spent about ten minutes fixing it, said he would have to charge for two hours of work because he drove out, and left. The sink worked fine, but a couple of weeks later there came a bill of $300.
    Needless to say, the oral surgeon was outraged. He immediately called the plumber and went into a long tirade. At the end, he told the plumber, “Sir, I am an oral surgeon. I have had four years of undergraduate work, four difficult years of dental school, and six years of residency training where I worked like a horse for 80 hours a week with no time off. I have to spend forty hours a year on continuing education and I am constantly updating my skills. You are making $150 an hour. I only make about two thirds of that.”

    -There was a brief pause on the other end of the line, and then the plumber said, “Yep, that’s about right. That’s about what I used to charge when I was an oral surgeon.”

    -Hope this helps. Think how much our politicians and reporters make for doing even less work, with less integrity, and with greater damage to the system!

  • Bob_C

    I think that unions are very important in the check and balance system of our labor market. As a management employee, I know that I am at the mercy of our greedy evil executives because BOY! have they been sticking it to low level mgmt the last couple of years. I do know though that the company will always be pressured to keep mgmt wages above those of a union employee. If there wasn’t a union then non-mgmt wages would be much lower and therefore low level mgmt wages would be much lower as well.

    That said, I think that the UAW wages are grossly higher than wages of other unions. I am in a telecommunications company where the top craft title has a $60K / year salary before OT. Do those average UAW wages include overtime?

  • jk


  • jk


  • Bob_C

    Looking at those numbers I just noticed that the hourly rate is factoring in benefits. In my company that is what is referred to as the loaded hourly rate. That number can be skewed by a company in any number of directions. Does anyone know what the non-loaded hourly rate for a normal 40 hour work week?

  • Kirk J Nason

    it is ironic that the UAW are complaining about McCain and his daugthers Prius. The choice for a Hybrid is weak from US automakers. Hopefully this will change with the Volt, but this is two years out.

    Rather than waffle on who bought the car, he should promote GM, Ford and other US automakers to setup research and production of Hybird, PHEV, EV and HEV vehicles and become leaders in the world again.

  • qwert

    If we buy a Prius, the profits go to Japan and less of money we spend on oil goes to the Middle East, Venezuela, and Russia.
    If we buy a Chevy Pickup, the profits stay in th US and more of the money we spend on oil goes to the Middle East, Venezuela, and Russia.
    Figure out which is better for the US.
    The UFW believes in socialism, so we already know their pick.

  • Bryce

    I am going to get a Volt or a Cruze. Solves both the problems with one fuel efficient stone.

  • Old Man Crowder

    I’d be cautious about statements such as “buy a Chevy and the profits stay in the US”.

    The company may be headquartered in the US, but many models and many components are produced in Mexico, Canada or overseas. That means the majority of your car buying dollar is still leaving the country.

    And similarly, many “foreign” models are locally made. I know the Prius is not, but I believe there are many other models that are not shipped over.

  • Bryce

    Money sent “over there” by a domestic car maker in production costs is most certainly not a majority. The components in a car make up most of the cost. (i.e. metal and what not) For those looking to support their “home country” you should be buying domestic brands. It is that simple. Not that I condone that. You should pick cars based on your personal preferences and by what you think will serve you best. The market will determine which companies stay viable. Besides, just looking at the domestic car market and saying GM or another domestic is losing hides the underlying fact that they are blowing the competition out of the water in other markets. It is a global market now, so just enjoy the race, cuz it will be interesting.

  • ideaGuy

    My 75 year old uncle bought a Prius so he could (in his own words he could) “stick it to the man!” This is a realistic point of view given our elected politicians cashing in on the industry and an automotive industry ignoring (for too long) the demand for hybrid or all electric vehicles.

    Now I’m looking down a 50 mile commute and think maybe I should trade in my VUE for a Prius. There is no question on the quality of the car or customer satisfaction. I’ve invested a lot to keep my VUE running.

    In the article, McCain might have gotten a bounce if he’d turned the conversation to argue that the automakers should make it a priority to build fuel efficient cars instead of changing his mind on what he said. Instead he was caught in a lie, saying one thing to one group then turning around and saying the opposite to someone else. It reminds me of the 2004 quip, “…he voted for it before he voted against it.”

  • thomatt12

    It doesn’t necessarily mean that if the car brand is Japanese that all the profit goes to Japan. Of course being an American, it is always good to choose the US brand when it comes to using super gas savercars, but at the end of the day it is still up to the consumer which car he chooses to drive.

  • Ed

    I always bought American cars until a few years ago. They lost me when they pushed those gas guzzlers on us. It isworse than my parents’ generation. Its not all bad though because I can out-accelerate and out-handle those SUVs while using less gas too.

  • Bryce

    push them on u……were u at gun point?

  • joe

    yeah right, like the american people really belive that.

  • blah

    do you proof your post before you click submit..? …. lol

  • Brooklyn

    Hahahaha 🙂

  • Brooklyn

    So is it ok to buy a foreign car if America’s not supplying one (sorry i can’t sit here and read ALL that ^)

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