The Spark

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

From Gary Walkowicz

Jun 9, 2014

What follows is a leaflet put out on the opening day at the 2014 UAW convention by Gary Walkowicz and his supporters.

“For more than a decade, some of us have argued that the UAW should fight rather than accept the corporations’ demands for concessions. We insisted that concessions would not save jobs; they would only decimate the standard of living of our members. This is exactly what has happened.

Today this union is facing a huge crisis, brought on by past policies.

  • Concessions did not save jobs. Today our membership is 200,000 less than when concessions began in 2005.
  • We have a hard time organizing the transplants because many unorganized workers don’t see the reason to join a union that is giving up concessions.

Instead of addressing the crisis, the current leadership proposes a dues increase!

  • This increase is opposed by a large majority of our members. To pass this increase against the wishes of the membership will only weaken our union.
  • Any dues increase should be decided by a vote of the entire UAW membership.
  • If a dues increase is brought to the floor of this Convention, I will vote “No”!

We need to turn this union around, away from the failed policies of concessions!

  • We must end 2-tier. Today’s generation is facing a future worse off than their parents. We cannot get rid of 2-tier by small increases, or by false promises of moving people into the first tier. We must engage a fight to get rid of 2-tier immediately.
  • We must reinstate wage increases and COLA. Today, after nine years without a raise, our members are voluntarily working weekends and holidays because they can’t live on a 40-hour check. We need to fight to gain the wages that all our members need and deserve.
  • We must not let the corporations walk away from their promises to provide retiree health care, replacing it with an underfunded VEBA. We need to fight to make these incredibly rich corporations pay for the secure future that our retirees deserve.
  • We must reinstate lost break time and eliminate these alternative work schedules, which cause real hardship.

I don’t know how many delegates will be willing to speak up and say what they really think. I don’t know how many votes I will get. But I am running for UAW President in order to speak for all the UAW members whose voices are usually not heard.

I am running because someone has to say what all of us know: what the UAW has been doing is not working. I am running to say that the UAW needs to become a fighting union once again!”