Baucus, Tester insist on meeting with GM top dog over Stillwater mine
Montana Senators “Outraged” Over Recent Decision to Reject Montana Contract
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today “strongly” insisted on a meeting with General Motor Corporation CEO Fritz Henderson to discuss the rejection of a contract between the auto giant and Montana’s Stillwater Mine. It’s the second time in as many days Baucus and Tester have contacted the auto maker chief to express their outrage after a court ruled the company could nullify its contract with the nation’s only Palladium mine.
After filing for bankruptcy earlier this year, General Motors voided its Palladium and Rhodium Supply Agreement with Stillwater- choosing instead to enter contracts with foreign palladium providers.
“We’re not alone when we tell you this is a deeply offensive decision,” the senators wrote. “When GM accepted billions of dollars in money to keep its doors open, it was with the intent to save American jobs. This repugnant decision flies in the face of the spirit of the auto rescue, mere weeks after the agreement was reached.”
If not reconsidered, the decision could hurt the nation’s only palladium mine. Palladium is a crucial component of automotive catalytic converters.
Currently, Stillwater Mining Company, which is headquartered in Columbus, Montana, employs 1,322 people. In 2008, Stillwater’s auto contracts represented 42.8% of its revenue. These long-term auto sales contracts are critical to Stillwater’s stability. GM’s rejection of its contracts will cost the company nearly $500,000 per month.
GM accepted billions of dollars in taxpayer funding to keep the company doors open.
“Representing the hundreds of thousands of Montana taxpayers,” the senators wrote, “we request a face to face meeting to discuss General Motors use of taxpayer funds and reconsideration of its contract with Stillwater Mining Company.”
Letter included below:
Mr. Frederick (Fritz) A. Henderson
Dear Mr. Henderson:
As part of the recently completed bankruptcy proceeding, General Motors Corporation nullified its Palladium and Rhodium Supply Agreement with Stillwater Mining Company. In your continued efforts to restructure General Motors Corporation using American taxpayer dollars, we must strongly insist that we discuss General Motors’ decision to reject its contract with Stillwater- one of the largest employers in Montana.
We are deeply disturbed with General Motors decision to reject the contract, which will have a significant effect not only on Stillwater Mining Company and its more than 1,300 employees but also on many Montana communities. Stillwater Mine is the sole American producer of palladium, which is used to make catalytic converters in vehicles. In 2008, Stillwater’s auto contracts represented 42.8% of its revenue. These long-term auto sales contracts ensure sustainable pricing floors, and are crucial to the viability of Stillwater’s business. General Motors’ rejection of its contract with Stillwater will result in company losses of approximately $500,000 per month.
Rejecting this contract is outrageous and almost certainly will mean the loss of countless good-paying American jobs. It’s a move we find completely unacceptable. Rather than continue its relationship with Stillwater Mining Company, General Motors is now choosing to contract with foreign suppliers for future components in its automotive catalytic converters. We are not alone when we tell you this is a deeply offensive decision. When GM accepted billions of dollars in money to keep its doors open, it was with the intent to save American jobs. This repugnant decision flies in the face of the spirit of the auto rescue, mere weeks after the agreement was reached.
Representing the hundreds of thousands of Montana taxpayers, we request a face-to-face meeting to discuss General Motors use of taxpayer funds and reconsideration of its contract with Stillwater Mining Company.
U.S. Senator Max Baucus
U.S. Senator Jon Tester