GM workers, dealers ponder what's next to save company

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramMarch 31, 2009 

President Barack Obama's decision to provide further U.S. government aid to General Motors while management comes up with a better restructuring plan helped soothe raw nerves among GM employees and dealers, but only a little.

Fort Worth area United Auto Workers union leaders and GM Arlington plant employees said Monday they were relieved that the government was continuing to aid the company but were left wondering what else would have to be done to meet the restructuring requirements. Both workers and dealers said they felt that ousted GM CEO Rick Wagoner was a fall guy, that Obama and Congress were required to show constituents that someone was being held accountable for GM's problems.

"I hate to see somebody get the ax. But somebody had to go," said Paul Papan, a 25-year employee at the Arlington plant.

Dealers aren't thrilled that the uncertainty over GM's future will carry on for 60 more days, saying it won't help lagging consumer confidence and car and truck sales.

"I was kind of looking forward to getting this behind us and going forward," said Tom Durant, owner of GM dealerships including Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine and Classic Buick-Pontiac-GMC in Arlington.

But workers and dealers alike said it was reassuring that Obama said: "We will not let our auto industry simply vanish."

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