Hundreds of auto workers rally downtown

LOS ANGELES Passing motorists honked horns in support of the workers, who waved signs saying "Support the bridge loan" and "All I want for Christmas is a job," the Los Angeles Times reported.

"We are not just rallying for auto workers but for all working families and communities across this country," said Jim Wells, United Auto Workers Region 5 director, in a statement. "We're taking a stand for all American workers by fighting to save these middle-class jobs."

The rally, made up of union electricians, nurses and janitors, was organized by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

"If the Big Three go down, we all go down," Francisco Estrada, 45, of United Auto Workers Local 179, told The Times.

No major incidents were reported and no one was arrested, said Officer Jason Lee of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Democratic congressional leaders agreed late Friday to a compromise that would give General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler $14 billion in to keep them from going under.

Under the measure -- which still needs backing from some Senate Republicans and the White House -- the money would come from an existing fund set up to help carmakers build vehicles that are more fuel-efficient.

In a sign of a deepening recession, about 533,000 people lost their jobs in November -- the highest number of jobs lost in 34 years.

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