December 10, 2008

Pt 1: Auto Union Concessions - We started this segment with a clip from Ron Gettelfinger, the head of the United Auto Workers union. And what he said tells you a lot about how much trouble the Big Three North American auto makers are in.

Read more here

Pt 2: Happy Birthdy Terry Documentary - The global economic crisis has left a lot of people wondering about the future ... specifically, whether their pensions will be enough to deliver the golden years they've been counting on. Terry Martin lives in Halifax and he's been wondering about his pension and his future.

Read more here

Pt 3: Undercover - You've probably heard the stories coming out of Washington over the last few years. High-priced lobbyists working for dubious clients ... selling access to powerful people in the hope of furthering personal, corporate or national agendas. The stories intrigued Ken Silverstein, so much so that he decided to take a first-hand look at how lobbyists do business, especially when they're working for authoritarian regimes.

Read more here

It's Wednesday, December 10th.

Michael Ignatieff will be the next leader of the Liberal party.

Currently, in a phone call... secretly recorded by the Conservatives... Bob Rae can be heard chuckling... "Wow, glad I dodged that bullet."

This is The Current.


Auto Union Concessions - UAW

We started this segment with a clip from Ron Gettelfinger, the head of the United Auto Workers union. And what he said tells you a lot about how much trouble the Big Three North American auto makers are in.

The White House and U. S. Congressional Democrats are said to have reached a tentative agreement on a 15-billion-dollar loan package for the industry, one that would give the U.S. government extraordinary power to restructure the industry with the appointment of a special car czar.

But that deal is probably just the beginning of a long and difficult future for the industry. And that puts the unions in a tough spot. Concede too much, and they betray their membership. Don't concede enough, and the industry disappears.

And for her thoughts on whether he's struck the right balance between defending the union's membership and supporting the industry that employs them, we were joined by Tiffany Ten Eyck. She's a contributor to the non-profit magazine, Labor Notes and she was in Detroit.


Concessions Panel - Canada

But if the United Auto Workers Union is ready to deal, the mood among Canadian auto-workers is a bit different. According to Ken Lewenza, the National President of the Canadian Auto Worker's Union, union concessions aren't the solution. But Dennis Desrosiers isn't buying that argument. He's an auto industry consultant and he was in Toronto. And Sam Gindin was the assistant to the last two CAW Presidents. He's now the Packer Chair in Social Justice at York University. He was in our Toronto studio.

 

Listen to Part One: 

 

 Happy Birthdy Terry Documentary

The global economic crisis has left a lot of people wondering about the future ... specifically, whether their pensions will be enough to deliver the golden years they've been counting on. Terry Martin lives in Halifax and he's been wondering about his pension and his future.

But his story is different from most. His pension comes in the form of Old Age Security ... a part of the federal pension plan that makes sure the elderly have at least some income. The CBC's Bob Murphy has produced a documentary about Terry Martin and he joined us from Halifax.

 

Listen to Part Two:

 

Undercover

You've probably heard the stories coming out of Washington over the last few years. High-priced lobbyists working for dubious clients ... selling access to powerful people in the hope of furthering personal, corporate or national agendas.
The stories intrigued Ken Silverstein, so much so that he decided to take a first-hand look at how lobbyists do business, especially when they're working for authoritarian regimes.

So he posed as a representative of Turkmenistan -- a tightly controlled country in Central Asia, a former Soviet Republic run by a quirky, but brutal authoritarian regime. Then he put out word that he was interested in hiring some Washington help to cleanse the regime's abysmal reputation. The ruse worked.

But there was outrage when Ken Silverstein published the results of his sting in Harpers Magazine, much of it coming from other journalists ... who questioned the ethics of what he'd done.

Ken Silverstein is the Washington Editor of Harpers Magazine and the author of "Turkmeniscam: How Washington Lobbyists Fought to Flack for a Stalinist Dictatorship." He was in Washington.

Undercover History

Now, Ken Silverstein's undercover investigation is controversial. But tactics like his aren't unheard of here in Canada. So for some current and historical context, we were joined by Cecil Rosner. He's a Managing Editor for Television and Radio at CBC Manitoba. He's also the author of Behind the Headlines; A History of Investigative Journalism in Canada, and he was in Toronto.

 

Listen to Part Three:

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