The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

UAW Sells Lies to Workers

Oct 6, 2003

As usual, before auto workers voted last month on the UAW’s proposed national contract, they got only a selected summary of the contract to read.

One of the items noted was a giveback to the companies of 2 cents an hour of each quarter’s COLA (cost-of-living) raise. The giveback means that at the end of the 4-year contract, workers will have lost 30 cents an hour. Each worker will by then be giving back to the companies about $600 per year, each and every year into the future.

The contract summary justified this give-back by stating, "Negotiators addressed the ‘legacy costs’ with a COLA diversion of 2 cents per quarter that will secure pension improvements for current retirees and surviving spouses."

After the contract was approved, a business reporter at the Detroit Free Press asked auto company executives about this provision.

Dennis Cirbes, vice-president of labor relations for Ford, said, "the UAW focused on improving the position of all the domestic auto-industry participants. We certainly appreciate that approach ... (the money is) diverted to Ford Motor Company. It’s not earmarked for any special purpose."

A spokesperson for Chrysler also told the reporter that the 2 cents are not to be restricted to any particular use. That is–it’s not going into the pension funds.

The UAW bases its labor relations policy on the idea that workers and bosses are in a "partnership." But in this case the "partners" didn’t even bother to provide cover for the union leadership’s lie.