November 10, 2023
From World Socialist Web Site

Opposition is growing to the UAW sellout contact, with ratification votes set to be held at several large Detroit area assembly plants starting Monday. Among the plants voting will be the Toledo Jeep complex, Jefferson Assembly in Detroit, Sterling Heights Assembly and Warren Truck, all owned by Stellantis.

Autoworkers on strike at the Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, in Sterling Heights, Michigan Monday, October 23, 2023. [AP Photo/Paul Sancya]

On Tuesday UAW Vice President for Stellantis Rich Boyer held a Facebook livestream defending the closure of 10 MOPAR parts facilities sanctioned under the 2023 contract, calling it “a hard decision, but the right decision.” He also defended the UAW’s agreement to force workers to use vacation and personal days instead of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, blaming the change on the supposed abuse of FMLA by workers “who don’t want to come into the plants.”  

Boyer went on to defend the regressive changes to attendance policy with the tired nationalist argument that concessions were necessary to keep work from going to Canada, Mexico or Europe. For the past 40 years the UAW has promoted one giveback after another, always claiming that they would defend jobs. Meanwhile, the auto companies have closed scores of plants and wiped out 100s of thousands of jobs.

Boyer’s livestream drew hundreds of angry comments on Facebook. “Any reason we shot for a 32 hour work we and now they can force us holiday weekends at management needs?” one worker said. “No vacation time added. Or why they said we added a holiday to our pay days off (June 19th) but just took our floating 4th of July holiday and moved it to June? Our work to life has not changed AT ALL!”

To which another worker responded, “Right! The reason the European companies don’t have high attendance [problems] is because they have a 32-hour work week! We’re forced weekends, can’t call in PA days and working 10+ hours a day.”

Another posted, “Win for the big 3 at this point! Strikes have historically moved mountains. I do not believe this TA has even budged the hill.”

About the supposed path to full time, a temp wrote, “from my understanding there’s a lot of loopholes just like the last contract. I’m a [TPT] and I’ve been there almost 2 years and just got laid off on Sunday. So do they plan on calling everyone back and hiring them? Or just playing games[?]”

A worker at MOPAR told the WSWS, “I hope Stellantis employees are actually educated enough to vote this down. They need to change the wording and stop giving the company the power to make changes as they please such as using our vacation and personal days before we can use FMLA days, that is insane to me and is a bigger slap to the consideration towards our quality of life.

“Mandatory OT needs to be adjusted in a big way and we need to make sure our local representatives have the power to actually represent us, in the ‘wording’ without having to go up the chain which then takes forever and most of the time never gets resolved even with simple grievances.”

A worker with four years at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant said, “The strike was 100 percent planned out by the administration. We were out for barely a week, and it was only at the end. It was 100 percent a phony strike and I am definitely voting ‘no.’”

He explained, “They said they were going to end tiers, but there are still tiers. Tiers are a huge thing at SHAP and they are causing a lot of division. A lot people can’t get better positions. They are using them against us and there is even a new one in this contract. It’s not good for anybody: those who have been here for 20 years, or 1 year, because it plays people against each other.

“Also retirement benefits. The big thing for me was pensions and they didn’t bring back a proper system. I want to retire. That’s why we’re here right?”

A temp worker at Warren Truck said the contract language about the conversion of temps to full time was confusing. “There are a lot of pissed off people at Warren Truck. This whole temporary full-time thing is hard to understand. I don’t know how this is going to work. If I don’t get rolled over right away, do I become a TFT and wait nine months to get rolled over?”

Four GM plants vote down UAW deal as momentum builds against sellout contract

As voting on the sellout contracts negotiated by the United Auto Workers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis continues, significant opposition has emerged, with workers voting to reject the contract at four General Motors plants.

According to results posted by United Auto Workers Local 598 Thursday, production and skilled trades workers at Flint Assembly voted by a combined 51.8 percent margin against the contract. The exact totals have not been released. There are over 4,500 workers employed at the plant, which builds the profitable Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light trucks.

Results of the UAW contract vote at the GM Flint Assembly plant

Workers at three smaller facilities, Pontiac Stamping (212-169), Marion, Indiana Stamping (257-218) and Romulus, Michigan Powertrain (351-332) have also voted against the contract.

Production workers at the Flint Engine Plant, members of UAW Local 659, voted the contract down by a 52 percent margin, according to a post by the local on Facebook, which also stated that skilled trades and other units in the amalgamated local turned in majority “yes” votes. At Factory Zero in Detroit, the UAW announced that the contract passed among production workers by a narrow 53.6-46.4 percent margin.

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As opposition grows to sellout auto contracts, Biden and Fain hold “back to work” rally

As thousands demonstrated against Joe Biden’s support for Israeli genocide in Chicago Thursday, Biden and United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain held a joint rally two hours away, in Belvidere, Illinois, to promote the sellout contract agreed to last week by the UAW bureaucracy and the Big Three auto companies.

President Joe Biden speaks to United Auto Workers at the Community Building Complex of Boone County, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Belvidere, Ill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The UAW-Biden event shined a light on the two-front war that the US ruling class is waging around the world.

Fain and Biden had nothing but praise for each other and for the tentative agreements, which maintain the hated tier system, block the rollover of “part-time” temporary workers, fail to make up for decades of falling wages, and pave the way for massive job losses through the switch to electric vehicles.

Spinning this sellout as a victory, Fain thanked Biden for “the support shown by the White House throughout this fight,” adding that “now we move on.” Biden returned the compliment to Fain, saying: “You’ve done one hell of a job,” praising the contracts as “historic” and “game changers.”

In presenting the contracts as done deals, both Fain and Biden forgot one minor detail: the rank and file.

Neither mentioned that the vast majority of the nearly 150,000 Big Three workers have not voted on the contract yet, or that major plants that have voted have voted down the contract in recent days, including GM Flint Assembly, Romulus Powertrain, Marion Stamping, and Pontiac Stamping/Powertrain.

The entire establishment holds workers’ most basic democratic rights in total contempt. Fain and the UAW leadership shut down all the strikes at the Big Three and ordered workers to return before they had even seen the tentative agreements. As if there was any doubt of their aims, organizers at the Chicago rally hung a banner behind the speakers which read: “Auto Workers Back to Work.”

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“We’re fighting for our lives”: Warren Truck workers turning against UAW-Stellantis deal

Nearly 4,000 workers at the Stellantis Warren Truck Assembly plant are scheduled to vote on a UAW-backed agreement on Monday, November 13. As more details are revealed, workers at the suburban Detroit factory have increasingly leaned towards voting “no” on the four-and-half-year proposed deal. 

Second-shift Stellantis workers coming into Warren Truck plant on September 21, 2023

The factory, where workers build the Dodge Ram 1500 Classic and Jeep Wagoneer models, has large numbers of temporary part-time (TPT) workers, including single parents struggling to survive on poverty-level pay while facing unpredictable schedules. The UAW bureaucracy is preying on the economic insecurity of these workers by promises of pay raises, signing bonuses, and the conversion of TPTs to full-time positions if they vote for the deal. But many TPTs have turned against the deal on learning that less than 2,000 temps will be converted within 90 days of ratification and that the nine-month rollover period can be extended with the agreement of the UAW.

So-called “legacy” workers, who have only gotten a few dollars in pay raises over the last twenty years, are angry over the 25 percent pay raise over the life of the agreement, and the inadequate cost-of-living formula, which will do nothing to protect them against record inflation. Second-tier workers hired in after 2007 are also angry that UAW President Shawn Fain dropped their demands for the restoration of company paid pensions and retiree health benefits.

Fain, President Biden and the corporate media have hailed the deals at Stellantis and other automakers as “historic contracts.” In fact, they will pave the way for a massive assault on jobs as the industry transitions to electric vehicle production. However, the contracts preserve the position of the UAW bureaucracy as an enforcer of management’s dictates in the plants.

Warren Truck workers who attended the “contract informational meetings” at the UAW Local 140 hall Wednesday spoke out against the tentative contract in comments to World Socialist Web Site reporters.

“The union officials passed out the highlights of the deal, but they weren’t talking about everything the company took,” a second-tier worker and member of the Warren Truck Rank-and-File Committee told the WSWS. “They kept saying, ‘Our team worked so hard. This is the best deal we got in 20 years.’ They threatened workers, saying, ‘If you vote this down, you’re going to be on the picket line for a long, cold winter.’ They were so arrogant, and you got the feeling that no matter how we voted they were going to tamper with the ballots and announce that it passed.

“I don’t care about their signing bonuses and getting a voucher to lease a Chrysler vehicle. We are fighting for our lives. I’m voting this down and I hope other workers will too. All the most important things are left out.”

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