United States General Motors strikers interviewed


Pickets at General Motors Toledo Powertrain in the USA

By Tim Rivers and Tom Hall in the USA:

Capitalism is the core of the problem:” Striking GM workers call for global struggle against auto companies

7 October 2019

GM workers on the picket discussed the need for an international strategy for the expansion of their strike with the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter this weekend.

Pro-capitalism—that is the core of the problem. And it’s across the board—worldwide!” a veteran worker at Flint Truck Assembly said.

“When people who don’t work in the auto industry ask me what this strike is about, I tell them it is about setting a global standard. It is about the working class worldwide. We need to set the global standard for a livable wage for everybody.”

“This is class war. It is a global strategy to pit us against each other,” he said. “Like Silao, Mexico [where GM workers have been fired for supporting the strike in the US]. They would love to stand with us. We want to stand with them.”

“Everybody needs to be able to make a livable wage. Not just here in America,” he continued. “I say everywhere around the world. I have seen poverty everywhere. I have traveled in the world, and it all equals the same thing.”

The worker drew the connection between the exploitation of GM’s international workforce and the hollowing out of Flint, the company’s birthplace and former base of operations. “I have seen what it did to the city of Flint. It decimated the economy and the social structure. We went from a city of home owners, to a city of tenants, to an empty city. Now they are trying to rebuild the city and bring labor and residents back in, but not at a livable wage. Every new job is at $10 an hour.”

He denounced the abuse of temporary workers, who are paid a fraction of the wages of full timers with fewer benefits and who are left at the mercy of the company. “Some temps have been in the plant as long as five and six years. Some do several years over at the metal fabrication plant and now they are doing more years as temps over here at the assembly plant.”

The Flint striker rejected the toxic nationalism which has long been the stock in trade of the United Auto Workers, which pits workers in the US against their brothers and sisters in Mexico and other countries in the name of defending “American” jobs. “The UAW wants us to feel that we can’t stand with [Mexican workers] because they are not American employees.”

“I have been watching the union’s strategies unfold since GM set out to break the UAW in the late 1980s. And they have been working on us ever since.”

… he said, referring to the Obama administration’s forced bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler in 2009. … “They really didn’t have to go bankrupt, but it was a good way to liquidate debt. They utilized that to keep us from asking for more benefits and more wages.”

A worker at Fiat Chrysler’s Trenton Engine Plant near Detroit declared: “This strike needs to be North America wide and beyond. But at FCA and Ford we are [already approaching tentative agreements]. That is not right. The strikers are just now getting their $250 strike pay. That is less than poverty wages.”

“I have never seen a strike authorization happen the way this one happened. They took the janitors out first and told assembly line workers to cross their picket line before finally calling a nationwide strike on September 16.”

A worker at GM’s Arlington Assembly Plant near Dallas, Texas said, “This is my first strike, and it isn’t like how I pictured, like the strikes that you read about in the history books. The thing that is the hardest for me are the small pickets. They are only assigning workers picket duty for four hours a week, and the largest pickets will have maybe 10 people to a gate, instead of calling out the whole shift.”

He continued: “We aren’t being told anything by the UAW about the firings in Mexico, or even what is going on at other plants. None of us really know what is going on, unless you know people in other plants that you are in touch with, or if you are one of the ones reading the Autoworker Newsletter.

“But if they get treated that way down there, then it’s just a matter of time before it comes here. We need the same agenda as workers in Mexico.”

The workforce at the Arlington plant is diverse, with workers drawn from all over the country. The plant serves as a receptacle for so-called “GM gypsies”, or workers forced to relocate after their original plants were closed. In addition, there are a large number of immigrant workers in the plant, which is located in a metropolitan area with one of the largest Hispanic populations in the United States.

“We have no problem with them,” he said. “They go back home to visit their families, then they come back and tell us about how things are for the workers down there.”

He concluded: “If American, Canadian and Mexican workers sat down together, that would show the bigger picture.”

After reporting for days that “good progress” was being made in talks with General Motors, the United Auto Workers suddenly reversed itself Sunday morning, declaring that “negotiations have taken a turn for the worse.” The statement from UAW Vice President Terry Dittes comes as the strike by 48,000 GM workers enters its fourth week: here.

Mack Truck, copper miners, Chicago teachers, gig economy workers. Spreading strike wave shows potential for GM workers to expand struggle to Ford and Fiat-Chrysler: here.

A striking General Motors worker was killed near the picket line at GM’s Spring Hill Manufacturing Plant at 6:15 AM Tuesday. Roy A. McCombs was crossing the road to the picket on the bridge that leads from Highway 31 to the plant’s south entrance when he was struck by a Chevrolet Equinox, according to witness reports. Mr. McCombs succumbed to injuries and apparently died shortly thereafter. It is unclear what, if any, emergency aid was called for or given at the time of the crash: here.

32 thoughts on “United States General Motors strikers interviewed

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  3. The strike of U.S. workers at GM continues over issues that impact the whole working class — whether in a union or not, whether a full-time or a part-time, gig/precarious or unemployed worker. These issues include: exploitation of temporary workers, unequal pay tiers, retaining health benefits, keeping plants open, and maintaining a union standard of living.

    The fight against GM is a global strike: Korean GM workers have recently struck over many similar issues.

    GM workers and the UAW helped set the stage for workers to attain certain standards with their famous Sit-down Strike of 1936-37. Then as now public opinion is on the side of the workers as shown by widespread solidarity from unions, passersby, small local businesses and local communities. But more is needed.

    You can help!

    Please:

    1) Sign the Solidarity Pledge

    2) Consider doing what ever else concrete you can, including: join a picket line; get a few folks together to picket a GM dealership or office; send letter to local media, get your union, community group, religious group to pass resolutions of support.

    The fight at GM is our fight. An injury to one is an injury to all!
    SIGN ON to the Solidarity Pledge – click here!
    GM Picket Line Locations

    California:
    Fontana ACDelco Parts Distribution Center, 11900 Cabernet Dr., Fontana (Local 6645)
    Rancho Cucamonga Parts Distribution Center, 9150 Hermosa Ave., Rancho Cucamonga (Local 6645)

    Colorado:
    Denver Parts Distribution Center, 23400 E. Smith Rd., Aurora (Local 431)

    Illinois:
    Chicago Parts Distribution Center, 1355 Remington Blvd., Bolingbrook (Local 2114)

    Indiana:
    Bedford Powertrain, 105 GM Dr., Bedford (Local 440)
    Kokomo Components, 2100 E. Lincoln Rd., Kokomo (Local 292)
    Marion Metal Center, 2712 W 2nd St., Marion (Local 977)
    Fort Wayne Assembly, 12200 Lafayette Center Rd., Roanoke (Local 2209)

    Kansas:
    Fairfax Assembly, 3201 Fairfax Trafficway, Kansas City (Local 31)

    Kentucky:
    Bowling Green Assembly, 600 Corvette Dr., Bowling Green (Local 2164)

    Maryland:
    Baltimore Transmission, 10301 Philadelphia Rd, White Marsh (Local 239)

    Michigan:
    Bay City Powertrain, 1001 Woodside Ave, Bay City (Local 362)
    Willow Run Redistribution Center, 50000 Ecorse Rd., Belleville (Local 174)
    Brownstown Battery, 20001 Brownstown Center Dr., Brownstown Twnshp (Local 174)
    Davison Road Processing Center, 4134 Davison Rd., Burton (Local 651)
    Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, 2500 E Grand Blvd., Detroit (Local 22)
    Flint Truck Assembly, 3100 Van Slyke Rd., Flint (Local 598)
    Flint Metal Center, G-2238 W Bristol Rd., Flint (Local 659)
    Flint Engine, 2100 W Bristol Rd., Flint (Local 659)
    Flint Tool & Die, 425 Stevenson St., Flint (Local 659)
    Orion Assembly, 4555 Giddings Rd., Lake Orion (Local 5960)
    Lansing Delta Township Assembly, 8175 Millett Hwy., Lansing (Local 652)
    Lansing Grand River Assembly, 920 Townsend St., Lansing (Local 652)
    Lansing Service Parts Operation (SPO), 4400 W. Mt Hope Hwy, Lansing (Local 1753)
    Pontiac Metal Center, 260 E Beverly, Pontiac (Local 653)
    Pontiac Redistribution Center, 1251 Joslyn Rd., Pontiac (Local 653)
    Romulus Powertrain, 36880 Ecorse Rd., Romulus (Local 163)
    Saginaw Metal Casting Operations, 1629 N Washington Ave., Saginaw (Local 668)
    Flint Processing Center, 6060 W. Bristol Rd., Swartz Creek (Local 659)
    Warren Transmission, 23500 Mound Rd., Warren (Local 909)
    Grand Rapids Components, 2100 Burlingame SW, Wyoming (Local 167)
    Ypsilanti Processing Center, 2625 Tyler Rd., Ypsilanti (Local 174)

    Mississippi:
    Jackson Parts Distribution Center, 1500 Marquette Rd., Brandon (Local 2402)

    Missouri:
    Wentzville Assembly, 1500 Hwy A, Wentzville (Local 2250)

    North Carolina:
    Charlotte Parts Distribution Center, 10815 Quality Dr., Charlotte (Local 2404)

    Nevada:
    Reno Parts Distribution Center, 6565 Echo Ave., Reno (Local 2162)

    New York:
    Tonawanda Engine New York, 2995 River Rd., Buffalo (Local 774)
    Lockport Components, 200 Upper Mountain Rd., Lockport (Local 686)
    Rochester Components, 1000 Lexington Ave., Rochester (Local 1097)

    Ohio:
    Defiance Foundry, 26427 OH-281, Defiance (Local 211)
    Parma Metal Center, 5400 Chevrolet Blvd., Parma (Local 1005)
    Toledo Transmission, 1455 W. Alexis Rd., Toledo (Local 14)
    Lordstown Assembly, 2300 Hallock-Young Rd., Warren (Local 1112)
    West Chester Processing Center, 9287 Meridian Way, West Chester (Local 696)
    Cincinnati Parts Distribution Center, 8752 Jacquemin Dr., West Chester (Local 674)

    Pennsylvania:
    Philadelphia Parts Distribution Center, 200 Cabot Blvd E., Lang Horne (Local 2177)

    Tennessee:
    Memphis ACDelco Parts Distribution Center, 5115 Pleasant Hill Rd., Memphis (Local 2406)
    Spring Hill Assembly, 100 Saturn Pkwy., Spring Hill (Local 1853)

    Texas:
    Arlington Assembly, 2525 E Abram St., Arlington (Local 276)
    Fort Worth Parts Distribution Center, 301 Freedom Dr., Roanoke (Local 816)

    West Virginia:
    Martinsburg Parts Distribution Center, 608 Caperton Blvd., Martinsburg (Local 1590)

    Wisconsin:
    Hudson Parts Distribution Center, 2200 Willis Miller Dr., Hudson (Local 722)

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