With its newly-negotiated contract with General Motors being voted on this week, following the once-rejected Fiat-Chrysler contract last months, the GM contract’s ratification by the United Auto Workers’ rank-and-file members is looking more and more likely.
In a scathing piece, Socialist writer Jerry White accuses the United Auto Workers of using “economic blackmail” to cajole the union’s members into accepting the “sell out” deal.
The UAW’s tectics, according to White, include threatening members that, if the deal is rejected, members would have to strike, as well as GM may close its U.S. plants and move them to Mexico.
With thousands of General Motors workers voting on a tentative agreement signed by the United Auto Workers for a new four-year labor deal, the UAW is mounting a campaign to break the resistance of rank-and-file workers and ram the sellout deal through.
Both UAW International and local union officials, having barely survived a rebellion by Fiat Chrysler workers, are telling GM workers that the contract on offer is the best that they can get, and that to press for more would only lead GM to shut its US plants and shift production to Mexico and other low-wage countries. A strike, they claim, would gain nothing and only hurt workers financially.
The UAW, which owns nine percent of GM’s stock, is opposed to any struggle that would upset its lucrative relations with its corporate “partners.” Instead, the union is collaborating with GM to use economic blackmail to force through a “transformational” contract that will establish a permanently lower wage and benefit rate throughout the auto industry.
In the first ratification vote on Saturday, workers at the Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, which has 3,230 hourly workers, defeated the deal by a two-to-one margin. After the stunning rebuke, UAW vice president Cindy Estrada held a conference call with local union officials at GM facilities across the country. She gave the local bureaucrats their marching orders: tell workers that GM will give them nothing more, and if they want a strike the UAW will put them on starvation rations, doling out $220 a week in strike benefits from its $600 million strike fund. [Emphasis added.]
Of course, all negotiations—and especially labor negotiations—involve some form of economic blackmail and tough choices, the socialist writer gives greater detail on the antics the UAW is using to sell members on accepting the deal.
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