The Spark

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

The game against Delphi workers goes into another inning

Jun 12, 2006

On the very eve of the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) Constitutional Convention in Las Vegas, Delphi, GM and the UAW leadership produced an expanded buy-out program. All 24,000 UAW workers at Delphi are now eligible to apply for lump-sum payments in exchange for giving up their jobs, their medical coverage and full pensions. (Of course no one has suggested to the workers what they might do to find jobs to live on, with benefits, when their lump sum payments – after taxes – are used up!)

In cooperation with Delphi, GM and the UAW, the judge overseeing Delphi’s bankruptcy case adjourned (delayed) the hearings on the case until August 11. This same judge previously said he would not grant such a delay. (Even judges’ statements aren’t worth much!)

Could the timing – just before the UAW’s convention – be a coincidence? Perhaps – and pigs do fly!

Delphi’s sham bankruptcy, and the UAW’s policy of retreat in reaction to it, has created a vast amount of unease and anger among Delphi workers themselves, and also among other UAW workers. It’s clear that some of this anger could make itself heard – even on the convention floor in a Las Vegas casino. Delphi’s new offer gives the UAW leadership another weapon against the workers.

At the convention, officers can argue that their policy is making headway and that they are improving prospects for a “better” outcome. In the membership, the offer shifts the focus away from the need for united action, toward forcing each individual to make their own personal decision based on their own personal resources and prospects. On both fronts, the game is planned to attack the morale and resolve of those who understand the need to fight back and who are proceeding accordingly.

But if there is one lesson workers can take from these new developments, it is this: when workers made the officials and the bosses just a little afraid, they came up with more.

The higher-ups have demonstrated what they can produce when motivated by a little fear. The workers’ job is to make them even more afraid – and see what more they will produce!