UAW requires GM employees to work after contract expiry
a reporting group for the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter
September 14, 2019
The United Auto Workers Union announced Saturday night that it will allow the contract for 46,000 General Motors workers to expire at midnight and keep workers at work, even though GM is ahead with demands for health benefits, shutting down plants and increasing the number of temporary workers workers and contract workers.
UAW's fraud flies in the face of the 96 percent strike mandate from GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) workers. With autoworkers prepared to exit by midnight Saturday, UAW is deliberately working to demobilize and disorient them while working with corporate management to introduce a new pro-company contract.
The fact that the UAW leadership did not call a symbolic strike is an indication of how frightened it is that it can quickly lose control over even a limited act and unleash the strength of the working class. UAW wants to announce a settlement while workers are still in the factories for concern that when workers first come out, they will not be able to get them back to work.
The union fears that a strike ̵
This underlines the urgency of autoworkers taking the execution of the contract battle out of the hands of the UAW by organizing rank-and-file factory committees and preparing a battle to mobilize all 158,000 GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers. UAW and companies must not be allowed to defy workers' will again and push through a contract that will have devastating consequences for autoworkers, their families and future generations of workers.
On Saturday night, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes sent a letter to GM's local trade union presidents, store presidents, finance and other local officers announcing that UAW would continue negotiations to reach an agreement by the deadline and that "no decisions or actions will be taken" The IEB [International Executive Board] meets at midnight and the National Council meets at 10 a.m. Sunday. ”
In comments addressed to ranked workers who are about to be kept in the dark for several weeks the status of the negotiations, or even what requirements the UAW puts forward, Yours that "some progress has been made." He said, however, that "significant differences between the parties remain on wages, healthcare, temporary staff, job security and profit sharing. "
The fact is that UAW and the companies reached an agreement a long time ago and the" negotiations "are nothing but strategy sessions to determine the best way to implement the agreement in the face of mass opposition among the workers. Even if you were to take Yours & # 39; comments at face value, it means that UAW is forcing workers to remain on the job in circumstances where GM has not moved an iota from its demands.
UAW International Executive Board, created by President Gary Jones, Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry , Vice Presidents Terry Dittes (GM), Rory Gamble (Ford) and Cindy Estrada (FCA) and nine regional directors meet at midnight tonight, and the same body held a contentious meeting yesterday demonstrating the union's contempt for workers by voting to keep Jones in power, though he has now been involved in a scheme where UAW officials spent more than $ 1 million in union money for golf trips, luxury villas, champagne and other luxuries. [1 9659005] On Sunday, the UAW GM Council will hold a private meeting at 10am at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel, followed by a press conference. The agency, which consists of local union officers from GM plants across the country, will decide what measures to take. The UAW peaks are far from the mood of shop floor workers, hoping they can get a sound of the situation from the local union offices, while giving them their marching orders to keep the lid on the opposition.
The UAW may still feel that it must call for a limited strike or some other stunt to release steam and regain a certain measure of credibility among workers. However, such action will be designed to have as little impact as possible on the bottom line of the companies, while also creating better conditions for pushing through a pro-company agreement. A three-day walkout at GM and a six-hour strike in Chrysler in 2007 were followed by the introduction of the hated two-tiered pay system.
Workers are determined to fight GM, which has made $ 35 billion in profits in just the last three years, while spending more than $ 10 billion on share repurchases for wealthy shareholders since 2015.
It The same is true for Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers. On Friday, UAW extended its contracts with other car manufacturers to share autoworkers, even as Big Three companies work together to introduce additional concessions. Trade union officials and team leaders scattered the plants to tell workers not to go out tonight.
A Fiat Chrysler worker at the Sterling Heights assembly plant told WSWS Autoworker Newsletter “A lot has been taken away from us. If we all stood up, right now and walked out, the companies would lose millions in the first hour of the strike. The people of the United States should shut down the entire country. We are ready. Everyone would be more powerful than the billionaires. Production is connected all over the world, and we work with the same products as workers in Canada and Mexico. That makes it an international match. "
" I worked Crew [swing shift] on SHAP for the last five years. People are so tired that there are many accidents with the crews trying to get home. You can talk to any doctor and they will tell you how bad that shift is for your health. I overheard top management saying Chrysler will never give up Crew because it's too profitable. "
Like the other global automakers, GM has cut tens of thousands of white collar and manufacturing jobs at its operations around the world, closing five factories in the United States and Canada, including the iconic Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant and its only assembly facility in Detroit.
The plant's closures, announced late last year, are part of the GM and UAW collection strategy to use job threats to push through even deeper concessions. Lately, UAW and automakers have announced so-called "plant-saving" agreements that include "competitive pay structures" and other concessions, including staffing of factories with predominantly lower-paid second-tier workers, along with temporary workers and contract workers who have to pay UAW fees, but can be hired and fired at will.
Autoworkers have seen this game plan before and are determined to prevent it from happening again. They know that the whole "negotiation process" is a scam because those who claim to negotiate for them have been exposed to bribes working for management.
In order to defeat this corporate UAW conspiracy, workers must take control of negotiations and the contract struggles out of the hands of UAW by building ranked factory committees. Workers will hold meetings in the factories and on social media to select these committees, formulate their own requirements and prepare to intervene directly to counteract all UAW decisions affecting workers and their families.
What is needed is a real fight to mobilize all 158,000 GM, Ford and FCA workers and much larger sections of the working class. This includes reaching out to GM and other autoworkers in Canada, Mexico, Korea and other countries and creating a common struggle to defend jobs and living standards.
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