The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Michigan State Employees Stabbed in the Back

May 18, 2009

On Friday, May 15, officials of the UAW International, led by Ron Gettelfinger, went behind the back of State of Michigan workers and the majority of local union leaders to sign a concessions deal with state administrators.

Workers were denied their right to vote on contract changes.

This backroom deal allows the Local 6000 UAW contract to be violated. Six unpaid furlough days will be imposed – spread out between June 19 and September 4, 2009.

This is not just a technicality about when furlough days are scheduled.

UAW local 6000 had contract language that requires furlough days to be consecutive, which means that if you’re furloughed for 6 days, you can collect unemployment. This new agreement blocks that possibility.

Instead, the unpaid furlough days will rob workers of roughly $1000 or more.

State politicians lie that they are “fiscally responsible” – something they certainly are not! In reality, state politicians have been draining the budget like a sieve. How? Primarily through ruinous tax breaks for big business. If you add up all the tax breaks given out in Michigan in 2008, it comes to $33.6 billion in lost revenue, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

The UAW International agreeing to this latest backstabbing deal, is helping cover this up. State workers are losing money so that tax breaks for the rich can continue.

The state expects that by scattering furlough days, they will force state workers to kill themselves to get 40 hours of work done while only being paid for 32 hours. After this dirty deal, the state leaders may find themselves disappointed.

Demands for concessions from state workers are just beginning. This backroom deal was meant to send a signal to state government that the UAW International will give the state whatever it wants.

It also sends another message. If workers were okay with this deal, the conniving backroom dealers could have put it out there for a vote.

Workers will make themselves heard yet.