The Spark

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

Gettelfinger:
Workers signed a blank check

Dec 3, 2007

In a recent speech to a Reuters auto industry conference, Ron Gettelfinger, president of the auto workers union, let the cat out of the bag. He said that UAW negotiators are still deciding exactly which jobs will be paid at $14 an hour.

When auto workers voted on the recent contracts, how many understood they were signing a blank check, pre-approving decisions yet to be made?

Gettelfinger also said in his speech that once the low-wage jobs are decided, buy outs are coming. “I’m sure it will come up at all three [auto companies].”

Workers are sure about this. This lousy 2007 contract – with its low wages for new hires – gives the companies a big incentive to push workers out the door. Buy outs will be “scare outs” and “drive outs.”

Gettelfinger also said the union probably won’t re-open contracts before 2011: “I think this contract will live out its life. There have been a lot of major changes made in this agreement.”

“Major changes”? You bet – enough to make workers decide to reopen the contract themselves!