The Spark

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

"Do anything, anytime, anywhere."

Oct 10, 2005

DaimlerChrysler Corporation (DCX) held a press conference celebrating the first of its two new engine plants in Dundee, Michigan. But DCX was really celebrating its total defeat of traditional union safeguards for workers.

Connections with Chrysler's present workforce were broken. The UAW agreed there would be no transfers of other DCX workers into the new plant.

Traditional job descriptions and protections have been discarded for a "flexible" workforce. The Dundee plant manager said, "anyone can do anything, any time, anywhere." To emphasize the point, workers are required to wear uniforms. The manager did not say what would happen to workers who become unable to "do anything, anytime, anywhere."The 8-hour day is history. Ten-hour days, four days a week will be standard. Limited to 40 hours a week, this isn't necessarily so bad. But when overtime is required? Workers can expect that the standard will become 10-hour, 5- and 6-day weeks, as enforced at DCX's Warren (MI) truck plant just a few years ago.

The two new plants, known as GEMA (Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance, because they also will make engines for Mitsubishi and Hyundai) will eventually employ 550 workers. But only 250 will be unionized as Chrysler workers! One hundred fifty will be salaried and 150 will be suppliers' employees working inside the plants – a fragmented, weakened, three-tier workforce.

A United Auto Workers' Vice-President said, approvingly, "GEMA is just the beginning of what the UAW is going to do.... This footprint will be carried on."This brutal footprint on the necks of workers, that is.