EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally appeared in the Jan. 27, 2014 issue of Automotive News. It is being republished here as part of Crossroads 2015, our look at this year's contract negotiations.
DETROIT -- Perhaps nothing did more to damage the reputation of the UAW -- and the U.S. automakers that employed its members -- than the Jobs Bank, a program that paid excess workers to do nothing all day.
Created in 1984 to deter automakers from downsizing, the Jobs Bank became nationally known as a symbol of Detroit's broken business model and backward thinking. Stories spread about thousands of workers whiling away months of downtime playing checkers, watching movies or even taking naps.
"There is no other business in this country where that would be tolerated," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said during the congressional bailout hearings in November 2008.
The UAW agreed to end the Jobs Bank five years ago this month to help General Motors and Chrysler meet the terms of the initial government loans they received before filing for bankruptcy protection.