The Spark

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

GM Workers Say No!

Aug 2, 2010

In Indianapolis, Indiana, GM is demanding that workers at a stamping plant take a 50% wage cut, so that GM can sell off the plant to supplier J.D. Norman.

On May 26, the Local 23 membership voted to deny authority to any union leader to re-open their contract or to negotiate with J.D. Norman. The vote was 384 to 22 – the workers left no room for doubt!

Nevertheless, International UAW officers like regional director Mo Davison are trying to cut deals behind the workers’ backs. And there has been intense pressure from the governor, the mayor, and GM honchos threatening the workers that if they don’t accept the pay cuts, the plant will close.

But the workers of Local 23 have seen this play before. Indy Stamping itself once employed 6,000; now only 651 workers remain. Many of these are so-called “GM gypsies,” veterans of previous plant closures that forced them to transfer to Indianapolis from other cities. They have seen too many corporate lies, tricks, and false promises.

The workers’ existing contract provides transfer rights to other GM facilities in case the plant closes. Workers see no reason to give that up, let alone to allow a further 50% wage cut on top of concessions already given. Greg Clark, the local bargaining chairman, told reporters, “We don’t want it. We simply felt right now that we’ve given enough back to GM. Enough’s enough.”

He added, “There’s no sense in us setting a precedent and taking a wage cut. We’re not in this just for ourselves. The decision we make here affects not only Indianapolis. If we give in, the company will go after the people in the plants in Marion, Flint, and Parma for the same thing.”

That’s right. Workers have to take a stand, and it’s what they are doing: at Ford, Delphi, amongst workers in the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the state of Michigan.

More workers in more workplaces are beginning to refuse concessions.