Feb 9, 2009
On February 17, GM, Ford and Chrysler are supposed to report to Congress that the leaders of the UAW have agreed to help push the brutal concessions demanded by Bush in the loan agreement, backed up by the House of Representatives, and reinforced by Barack Obama’s call for worker sacrifices.
For years, the auto workers were the front line troops of the working class. When the working class moved forward, they were often at the head of the fights, pulling others after them. Their fights established the so-called “middle class” standard of living not only for auto workers, but for many others. This “middle class” standard of living was not given to anyone – it was won in struggles, many of them carried out in more difficult times than today.
It’s no accident that the whole Congress, along with the Bush and the Obama Administrations, lined up in a campaign to demand sacrifices from auto workers.
And it’s not an accident that the media beat the drums for bankruptcy.
It’s a political campaign, aimed at brainwashing the auto workers, trying to make them think they have no choice but to surrender.
This is a test of force, pitting the auto companies, backed up by all the forces of government and the media, against the auto workers.
And it is a preview of what every company intends to do to every worker. The attack being waged today is for nothing less than deciding who will pay the cost of the crisis.
Despite all the job cuts among auto workers, the 160,000 workers at Ford, GM and Chrysler still represent a stronghold of the working class, even today.
It’s obvious auto workers cannot depend on Gettelfinger and other top UAW leaders, who have already given away the horse before the barn door was open. But auto workers have shown before that they could gather together the strength that is in their numbers, and use their forces.
If the campaign against them succeeds, if the auto workers give in without even a hint of a fight coming from their ranks, it will be a setback for all workers. It’s important that workers who understand what is at stake try to organize resistance.