The Spark

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

GM-Chrysler merger:
Not one layoff!
Not one job cut!
Not one wage cut!

Nov 3, 2008

The merger of Chrysler and GM is said to be all but necessary and inevitable. The companies and their apologists claim that U.S. vehicle sales have dropped too far to support all of the existing auto makers. They claim their only hope of survival is to eliminate “duplication” – that is, to wipe out factories, dealerships, suppliers, communities, until their previous corporate profitability is restored.

Either that, they say, or they will go into bankruptcy.

No matter what they do, their plans will darken and deepen the black hole already developing in the economy. Today, they openly admit that they want to eliminate at least 200,000 jobs, counting all those who work in the dealerships, the factories and the offices – of the two companies.

Michael DiGiovanni, GM’s head of global marketing and industry analysis, said, “Once we start growing again, productivity will be greatly enhanced.” Meaning, that GM already assumes workers will accept a dramatic degrading of their lives, their wages and conditions.

A large part of the current economic crisis was prepared by job cuts, restructurings, and profitability drives.

Too many unemployed workers cannot buy goods. Too many underpaid, two-tier, temporary workers cannot buy cars and trucks. Too much profit was sucked out of production and development so that executives and investors could gamble it away on the stock market – and on even more obscure financial speculations!

The auto companies want us to let them do the whole thing over again, only worse. NO! Their methods, used by every company in the country, have already sent us hurtling toward a choking of the economy on a scale we have never seen, a scale worse than what our grandparents and great-grandparents told us about.

If the auto companies get away with their latest plans, workers all through the economy – in steel, glass, rubber, plastics, electronics – will lose jobs and no longer be able to produce or consume.

How can an economy run without production and consumption? How many decades of hard times will be required before a recovery? When the 1929 Depression started, auto production that year was just over five million units. It did not recover to that level until 24 years later – 1953.

The only answer to this looming catastrophe is to stop every single layoff. Whatever Chrysler and GM are going to do, there must be no layoffs, no wage cuts, not on any worker in any affected company. Whatever the banks do, there should be not one more foreclosure.

It’s outrageous that workers should be asked to pay the cost of this crisis. We didn’t create it. We didn’t get wealthy out of it.

Forget about protecting corporate profits. Protect our ability to build and buy what we need.