The Spark

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

Auto contracts ratified - and the truth comes out!

Oct 20, 2003

"It was good to learn that the one billion dollars in business for Delphi was a complete mirage. I think we knew it all along, but it was good to hear from GM that was the case." So said a spokesperson from UBS Warburg, one of the big Wall Street brokerages, after GM reassured brokers that its new agreement with the UAW, which promised work to Delphi, didn't tie its hands at all. The work was "already in the pipeline."

GM executives couldn't keep themselves from gloating about the contract as it talked in a conference call with the big financial houses on Wall Street. Investment bankers learned that GM expects to save "billions" in lower wage, cost-of-living, health care and pension costs. A GM vice-president, Troy Clarke, let Wall Street know that the agreement to replace the tens of thousands of auto workers who will leave during this contract won't mean much new hiring – if any.

All the auto companies had begun to crow about how much they had squeezed out of this contract – practically as soon as the workers had ratified it.

Ford officials let it be known to the media that they expect to get rid of many more jobs because of work rule changes. A Detroit News auto analyst reported, "Privately, Ford officials are lauding the more flexible rules as a game-changing coup. Publicly, they have been careful not to trumpet the changes as a victory over the UAW." At least until after the contract was ratified!

Nor could these big companies stop bragging about how much profit they were making this year – Ford 1.3 billion dollars and GM 2.3 billion dollars. These are the same companies that have just been crying poor during negotiations, insisting they couldn't "compete."

Arrogant – that's what they are!

They're not worried about the workers' reactions. They think they've housebroken us. They think they can be kings of the hill for the next four years.

They could be very wrong!