The Spark

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

Small Strike over Big Issues

Oct 12, 2020

Workers from International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local 435 are on strike at two factories in Jackson, Michigan. Nineteen workers at Miller Tool & Die have been on strike since September 17th, and 35 workers at Albion Casters since September 25th. Their employers have decided to eliminate their pensions and reduce their sick days.

These workers, like workers in many different workplaces, often have accepted lower wages than the industry standard if a job offers a pension, and now, in the case of these workers in Jackson, the rug is being pulled out from under them.

They are fighting to keep their pensions and sick days. One worker at Miller Tool & Die said, “We think [the bosses] will start to feel it within a week or two. We’re not stopping. If we were going to give up, we would have taken the contract.”

These proposed cuts are common examples of the tidal wave of blows to the working class throughout this country. Many workplaces have already frozen or cut wages, announced massive layoffs, and taken away pensions.

And small strikes like this one in Jackson are probably happening in many different places in response to these attacks. Maybe these workers will end up losing their fight, because they are small and isolated. Or maybe what might start among a small group of workers, in one area, can be the catalyst for a wider response in the working class to fight. The strike has had community support as people drop off food, water and firewood to help the picketing workers.