The Spark

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

UAW:
Saving Jobs
– or Diverting Blame?

Jun 8, 2009

For months, top UAW leaders have been organizing and participating in petition drives and rallies throughout Michigan and around the country urging people to “save American jobs” and “buy American” – and to “Keep jobs in the U.S.”

In recent weeks they were backed up by local union leaders, like Bill Parker at Chrysler’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, who called on Chrysler to close plants in Mexico and Canada instead of in the U.S.

What could be more outrageous and cynical than UAW leaders who just agreed with the auto companies and the government that more factories will be closed as part of the concession agreement? Or who agreed to let auto companies junk work rules – which will cost many thousands more jobs. Suddenly they pretend to be concerned about saving “American” jobs!

And what could be more of a lie than to suggest that the problem is that auto workers in Canada or Mexico are taking the jobs of American auto workers? Yes, the number of jobs at Ford, Chrysler and GM has been drastically reduced. Over the last decades, most of these jobs have not been shipped outside the U.S. Some have been lost to speed up and changes in work rules, squeezing more work out of each worker, with the companies taking all the benefits of the increased productivity. Some jobs have been shipped to small parts plants INSIDE the U.S., where workers make half the wages or less.

The jobs that GM, Ford and Chrysler workers used to do were first outsourced to Delphi and Visteon and Mopar, where wages and benefits were reduced. Then Mopar and Delphi and Visteon outsourced work to even smaller parts suppliers, most of them in the U.S., at even lower wages. This has been going on for years with the acceptance of the union leaders. In fact, in some of these deals, the UAW got the right to represent the workers at these low wages plants and to collect their union dues!

Today the jobs are being lost to an economic crisis – caused by the insatiable drive for profit of the whole capitalist class, which owns not only companies like GM and Chrysler, but the big Wall Street banks. But the government and the companies demand that workers pay the cost. And top UAW leaders agree!

Where did the jobs go? They disappeared in the drive for concessions – in the companies’ drive to amass profits at the workers’ expense.

Workers can’t let themselves be fooled by these rallies and petitions diverting us away from the real problems – and organized by some of the same people who told us we have no choice but to accept concessions.