Tuesday, October 6, 2015

UAW: Go to Hell Sergio. Rank and file reject Chrysler deal.

Steve M who contributes to this blog made this comment in response to the previous article about the French workers at Air France.

The Air France strike shows again that when the French workers move into action there are no holds barred. They are not held back by fear of (bourgeois) public opinion, and moreover, pay no heed to the moderating calls of trade union bureaucrats - they just take matters into their own hands. Taking bosses hostage is a frequent tactic in France - its called "boss-napping" If there was any country in the world most inclined to proletarian-direct-action, it is France.

In fact, it is an irony of France that the proportion of the workers organized in unions has always been traditionally smaller than other countries, but that is no barrier for the non-union workers to move into action, they just move independently, throwing up ad hoc fighting committees. In 1968, the revolutionary crisis begun by the students was taken over by 10 million workers in a movement which swept up from below through ever-widening wildcat strikes. In France, revolution can suddenly break out even when conditions might make it seem unlikely. France is the place where we can all be taken by surprise - "watch this space"

Greg Shotwell's piece below gives  account of the developments taking place around the Chrysler UAW contract and the anger it has aroused. Voting the contract down is a positive step.  But more and more it becomes clear that the way the rank and file of the UAW and all unions can dislodge and replace the stifling bureaucracy with its class collaboration approach is through increasing rank and file power in the workplace.  Fighting rank and file committees on the shop floor with a program for jobs, a shorter workweek more control of production and increased security and benefits, this is what will help build solidarity in and outside the plants.  These rank and file committees reaching out to the workers at the non union foreign plants will have a different affect on them than recent organizing drives have shown. It is my guess, that workers in those plants recognize that the benefits of a union led by the present clique are not worth it.  It is the pathetic approach of the present leadership to organizing that "no" votes are a response to in my opinion---not an opposition to a union that the rank and file controls and that is willing to fight. 

This is what we have to do to replace the rotten bureaucracy and its army of staffers atop the UAW and organized labor. We have the powoer in the workplaces of America, not the labor hierarchy. Admin.

Chrysler/Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne: took home $1.4 mil a week in 2014
 Go to Hell, Sergio

By Greg Shotwell

VW lies, GM lies, Toyota lies, Ford fibs, Nixon was not a crook, Clinton didn't have sex, but the UAW doesn't prevaricate. No, the UAW simply has a "

In 2011 the contract information "Highlights," which the UAW uses to inform members,
promised to restore a twenty-five percent cap on the number of two-tier workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [FCA]. That promise led workers to believe that many of them (roughly half of all present second tier workers at FCA) would gain top-tier wages in 2015.

The promised cap also meant that more second tier workers would grow into the top-tier as new workers were hired. But UAW-Vice President Norwood Jewell insists the real contract never included a promise to cap two-tier, and thus, promote a path to equality and solidarity.

The real contract? . . . The bullshitter didn't blink when he revealed publicly that what he tells members at a contract information meeting, and literature the UAW distributes to sell members a contract, is worth less than a pimp's promise.

“The 25 percent cap will be reinstated at the end of this contract,” said a
front page letter in the 2011 contract "Highlights" from then UAW President Bob King and UAW-VP General Holiefield. “All workers in excess of the 25 percent cap will be [sic] begin receiving the same wages as traditional Chrysler workers.”

Well, there was a typo, and hence the [sic], but the fact of the matter is that Jewell publicly admitted that the UAW couldn't be trusted at the same time he was hustling to sell a deal that proposes to move work to Mexico, does not secure production jobs in UAW plants, and blows malodorous smoke about a health care co-op which is sure to eat up raises with high deductibles, co-pays, and budget busting premiums.

This tentative UAW contract, which members soundly voted down, multiplies tier-wage
divisions and forever decimates solidarity. Instead of cost-of-living-adjustments which compound and accrue, workers' fortunes are tied to the tail of the profit sharing kite, a delight as predictable as the wind in Michigan.

The "Highlights" are so bad that dissidents don't even feel compelled to write the "Lowlights." The flaws are brass band blatant. Where will it end?

Retirees live on fixed incomes, but the pensions of top-tier workers at FCA were fixed in 2009 before they even got to retire. Second tier workers, unable to compensate on cut rate wages for the abandonment of pensions, are fixing to work till they die, or limp away on SSDI — government funded disability income.

The policy of dumping injured workers onto government rolls amounts to socialism for
corporations and broken dreams for Americans.

In 2011 Sean McAlinden from the Center for Automotive Research [CAR] said "job promises in the new contracts were largely misread by the 113,000 UAW workers covered by the agreements." In 2015 there are no job promises to read. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is still shuffling the deck with the calm confidence of a dealer with four aces in his sleeve.

Union officials like to use the small pie analogy as they dish out excuses, but workers can see the optical illusion for what it is: a fat lie. Sean McAlinden, CAR’s Executive Vice President of Research and Chief Economist, told conference attendees in June 2015 that labor costs at the Detroit Three are "
less important than in the past."

Labor costs at FCA
have been reduced $2396 per vehicle since 2007. Where's that slice going?

"In the U.S. auto industry,
real wages have declined 24 percent since 2003," according to CAR. Marchionne took home $1.4 million a week in 2014 and that doesn't include his expense account. You can bet he doesn't even pay for cigarettes.

Back in 2011 CAR admitted that
"white-collar labor costs in the United States will exceed their blue-collar labor costs". The gap is expanding and workers bear the brunt of the load.

Speed-up, reduced break time, no sick days, and alternative work schedules that eliminate over time pay exacerbate stress. Corporations treat workers like robots— except humans don't get fixed when they break. They get scrapped and replaced.

Last year at the UAW Constitutional Convention the Administrative Caucus raised dues
purportedly to shore up the strike fund. Dave Barkholz at the Automotive News reported, "A UAW strike of Fiat Chrysler could cost the Detroit automaker close to $1 billion a week in lost revenue and would quickly lead to a shortage of several hot-selling vehicles."

But UAW President Dennis Williams is backpedaling on strike talk. Insular bureaucrats float so high above life on the shopfloor, they don't have a clue how whipped up workers are.

Life in the auto factories is harder and meaner and uglier than ever. Linda Heberlie, who works at the FCA plant in Belvidere, Illinois told me. "I get up at 5:38 a.m. and go to hell."

I cannot attest that this resistance at FCA is organized, but it has reached a fever pitch. UAW members are exclaiming to union leaders, corporate heads, and politicians what workers everywhere want to yell to the bosses of the world. "Go to hell!"

Gregg Shotwell, retired UAW-GM member, and author of Autoworkers Under the Gun

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