Feb 1, 2010
Now that GM, Chrysler, and Ford have closed over 1000 dealerships, sold off brands, wiped out parts and assembly plants, and pushed a vicious speed-up that eliminated most of the 800,000 auto-related jobs lost in the last ten years, the UAW is dramatically protesting – Toyota!
In January, the UAW brought members from their California GM/Toyota plant to the Detroit auto show. They protested Toyota’s plan to close their plant, a joint venture with GM known as NUMMI.
The UAW avoided mentioning that GM had already doomed the plant. GM used its taxpayer-funded bankruptcy as an excuse to bail out of the plant.
But the UAW decided to condemn ... only Toyota. After the auto show, top UAW leaders protested at the Japanese embassy, and released press statements calling Toyota “a danger to America” and “betraying U.S. auto workers.” The statements claimed that the 4,700 jobs from the California plant would be lost to Japan.
In fact, most of the plant’s work will be shifted to Mississippi, Texas and Canada – to non-union plants. Plants the UAW has failed to organize in part because its “nationalist” stance has always been felt as an attack by the workers at the transplants.
In 2009, GM, Chrysler, and the government colluded in corporate “bankruptcies” that imposed on workers shorter break times, wage freezes, fewer benefits, impossible attendance rules, precarious retirements – and a no-strike clause! Not only did the UAW leadership not fight then. It smoothed the way for these atrocities, just as it did for others in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Today, that same leadership tries to divert workers with “Japanese-bashing.”
If anyone has “betrayed U.S. auto workers,” it is the UAW leadership working in an unholy alliance with the auto companies, their banks and the government.
In November, Ford workers said “Enough of this!” and voted overwhelmingly to reject the last package of concessions the UAW leadership had tried to cram down their throats.
The fight is not overseas, but right here at home against ALL the corporations – GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, etc. – that relentlessly squeeze more and more profit from an ever-shrinking work force.