fresh voices from the front lines of change







I pledge that soon I will buy a new, fuel-efficient car—built in America by United Auto Workers members.

I’m asking YOU to take this pledge with me and get others to do so, too.

If enough Americans take this pledge—and pass it on—we can revive our country’s auto and manufacturing industries. And we can give a big boost to the workers and communities—and to our country—that depend on those crucial industries.

Click here to take the American auto revival pledge. On that page you can pledge that:

  • Your next car will be manufactured in America.

  • It will be more fuel-efficient than my last one.

  • It will be made by UAW workers.

  • You will only consider foreign cars built in the U.S. if the UAW represents their workers.

You can also pledge to sign the Petition for Auto-Supply Chain Jobs sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the Mayors and Municipalities Automotive Coalition, and the United Steel Workers.

In this disastrous economic meltdown, the workers in the auto and supplier plants and dealerships of our country are losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands. And the proud UAW has made painful yet patriotic wage concessions in an effort to save America’s most important industry.

I want Barack Obama’s plan to save the industry and revive manufacturing to succeed—so I’m stepping up to do a small thing: I pledge that my next car will be made in the good old U.S.A.

Now, I know that for some of us, buying American may feel like a sacrifice. But a Malibu matches the quality of a Honda these days. And even Americans lusting after a BMW will be amazed at the performance of today’s small Cadillac. And the Ford Escape hybrid gets mileage comparable with the Prius. If we all do this together, we can make American cars cool again—and give American companies the time to invest in a new generation of fuel-efficient competitive automobiles.

This recession is a national emergency—as serious as 9-11. Back then no one was asked to do anything—except our soldiers. This time, it is our economic future that’s at stake.

GM, Ford and Chrysler sold 6.3 million domestically-produced cars and light trucks in 2008, two million fewer than in 2007. Auto analysis expect that sales will drop to 4.4 million this year.

A typical assembly plant can build about 250,000 vehicles and will employ about 2,500 workers. If we collectively bought 1 million additional vehicles this year, that would save the equivalent of about four assembly plants and the jobs of 10,000 workers.

In addition, every job in Big Three domestic auto assembly creates an additional nine jobs in supplier industries and communities. So, if 1 million new buyers purchase domestic vehicles, it would create or save an estimated 100,000 jobs, based on data from the UAW and independent research groups.

We all have to step up. If you agree, take the pledge, and then, if enough of us do it, we can revive America.

After a nationwide bus tour, a Capitol Hill Teach In on Auto Jobs on May 19 will feature national economists, labor and business leaders, Members of Congress, local elected officials and everyday workers. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz will lead off discussion of principles for revitalizing the auto industry by supporting American jobs and communities. To learn more about how the auto manufacturing industry impacts local communities, visit

A personal note: At 6 a.m. one day last week I was sitting in the DMV auto inspection line, hoping my 1990 Plymouth Laser would make it through one more inspection. Other people in the line complained about how slow it was moving. They’re laying people off here too, one guy explained. And those layoffs, as in every city and state in America, are due to lowered tax revenues due to growing unemployment and the deepening recession.

As I sat idling in the DMV line I knew that, even if it passed inspection, my old car (which has no air bags or anti-lock brakes), was putting more carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air than it did when it was new. I realized that my frugality in nursing along this old car (which has served me well) was not only likely to kill me, it was helping to kill the planet and the economy.

Amazingly, my old Plymouth passed. But I drove to work that morning grateful to have a job to go to—and resolved that it was time to buy a new car. And the car will be made in the U.S.A.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t make the decision out of altruism. Like most Americans, I really enjoy getting a new car. Some of my green friends try to pretend they don’t need a car. But they all have at least one, maybe more. And most of us—even the greenest of greens—really enjoy driving a new car, especially when circumstances push them over the edge. Many of my friends with kids who have left the nest, for example, have been thrilled to graduate back from their minivan to anything that doesn’t feel like driving a bathtub. Like them, I had just handed myself the excuse to start car shopping.

As many of us who can, let’s pledge to buy a new, fuel efficient car made by the UAW.

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