Thank you Richard for this very good article on the UAW members rejecting the bad contract. Voting the contract down is a big step forward. But as your article makes clear this leaves negotiations still in the hands of management and the union bureaucracy to come back with another contract. We all know this will also contain concessions.
This is so because both the bosses and the union bureaucracy believe in the so called team concept and also believe that the bosses must be allowed to make a profit. I feel that the next step after rejecting this contract is to reject the managements right to make a profit. The company can be taken over and run under public ownership and workers control and management. Take a leaf out of the Air France workers book if necessary. See the article on this Blog where the Air France workers physically attacked the bosses, tore the clothes of their backs and chased them from the building. The Air France workers no longer accepted the bosses right to rule. There is no reason why the bosses and their profit addiction has to be allowed to run the show at Chrysler either.
But there is more. As well as rejecting the bosses insistence that they must be allowed to rule and to make a profit the battle must be taken out of the hands of the union bureaucracy. The best step forward would be for the union membership to come together in their workplaces, come together throughout the entire company in a mass gathering, and through democratic discussion come up with a proposed contract and mass direct strike action tactic to win this contract. This contract to contain no concessions of any kind and in fact make up for what was taken away over the last years.
Such a mobilization should push aside the union leadership. At most let them have the same rights of any other union member. The same time to speak at a meeting on the shop floor, the same time to speak at a mass gathering throughout the entire company workforce. If it is allowed to stay in charge this union leadership will choke any movement of the members. It must be set aside. Mass direct strike action is needed. The the rank and file union membership must elect a new fighting leadership. Call mass meetings in every plant now. Elect new leaders in every plant now. Vote for and implement a company wide strike and occupation of every plant under this new leadership.
Existing leaderships should be disqualified from running for any position. They have proven themselves unable to lead. They have proven themselves to only be capable of making concessions to the bosses. Their record is there for all to see. It is an open and shut case. If there is the odd exception to this the workers in the plant will know and make this exception but overall an entirely new leadership has to be put in place. While doing so the wages and benefits of the existing leadership must be immediately reduced to that of the membership and as part of this the big salaries that these union leaders have paid themselves in the past which were over and are over that of the average membership must be repaid back to the union. This will help with the strike fund. You may think these are desperate measures. But Brothers and Sisters these are desperate times.