The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Lear Corp.:
Legalized extortion

Apr 1, 2002

Lear Corp., the world’s fifth-largest auto supplier, is closing a plant in Romulus, Michigan, that made seats for Ford’s Mercury Cougar. 170 jobs will be taken away.

Lear offered the workers a small severance package. But it was more of an ultimatum than an offer! Lear told the workers to take the offer – or else the plant would close in two or three days instead of in August.

Could Lear shift production that fast? Maybe, but it seems unlikely. Lear simply pointed a gun at the workers’ heads and forced them to choose their poison.

In this situation, workers did vote yes on the so-called offer. But a large 44% still voted no. They refused to give in to extortion.

Lear is a huge company. It has over 300 facilities spread over 33 countries. Last year’s sales were 13.6 billion dollars. And it is linked with Ford, a company wealthy beyond description.

Since Lear and Ford together took those workers’ livelihoods, let those companies pay the workers until they find equivalent jobs.

An agreement signed looking down the barrel of a gun is no agreement at all.