In defense of autoworkers

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Original article, a comment by Greg Shotwell, via Socialist Worker (US):

THE CEOs of the three Detroit automakers will return to Congress December 4 to request some $36 billion in loans from the federal government. As a condition of receiving that aid, the automakers were told to provide Congress with a plan for “restructuring” their companies that will include plant closings, elimination of tens of thousands of jobs, and cuts in benefits.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) is prepared to accept this. In a December 3 press conference, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger announced that the union would allow the companies to defer payments into a trust fund that covers retiree health care and to eliminate the “jobs bank” program that provides pay and benefits for laid-off workers.

Gregg Shotwell, a recently retired GM/Delphi worker and a founder of the Soldiers of Solidarity network, challenges the efforts by employers and politicians to blame the auto crisis on union workers:

Keep in mind: This is class warfare we’re faced with.  It is the monied class (the bankster frauds, bosses, financiers, politicos) and their wannabes who are going after the working class.  It’s the wannabes who are are the most disturbing.  They’ll happily take their 40 hour work week with medical coverage, while doing their best to rid workers of the results their hard earned struggles.  Throw the 30 year loyal worker to the street if it protects the bottom line.  America can only compete with the third world if they force their companies to pay third world wages.  To the wannabes: Be careful what you ask for, you might just find that your job is in line for the same treatment.

IF YOU had an opportunity to address Congress about the auto bailout as a rank and file UAW member, what would you say? Would it go something like this?:

I am not testifying before Congress today to request that American taxpayers loan Detroit automakers $25 billion so they can close factories and permanently lay off thousands of workers. I am not here to support the Detroit automakers’ intention to import half the vehicles they sell in the United States, as do foreign competitors like Toyota, Honda, Kia, Nissan, Volkswagen and Mercedes. I am not here to advocate that American workers compete for the lowest wages in the world. Quite the opposite. I think we should compete for the highest.

Read the rest of the article.  See if you don’t agree with Shotwell that the US should be striving to have the strongest economy in the world, with the workers expanding the middle class once again.  It’s time we support the working class, not only for their rights to a good living, but to our rights to a good living.

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  1. good money. I grew up in a GM plant town, even with good health and safety regulations it is a not an easy job building cars and don’t you want the people who make your vehicle to be well paid?

    The problem is that not enough workers in this country are unionized, ordinary people have no collective voice in these shaky times but the heads of the big three have the ear of Congress.

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