The United Auto Workers' last stand

The United Auto Workers’ last stand

Forty-six thousand General Motors staff are heading again to the picket traces for the fifth day of a nationwide strike the likes of which GM hasn’t skilled since earlier than its government-subsidized chapter greater than a decade in the past.

The strike by the United Auto Workers union hasn’t but imposed crippling financial prices. But if negotiations between the UAW and GM stay at a standstill, each union members and the corporate will undergo.

Already, worldwide and native companies that depend upon GM for enterprise are beginning to really feel the affect. At least one native trucking firm has all however shut its doorways, according to the Detroit News, and GM Canada introduced Wednesday it’ll briefly lay off 1,200 staff at its Ontario plant. It’s estimated that GM misplaced between $50 million and $100 million in working income on the primary day of the strike.

Blue-collar staff, nonetheless, will bear the brunt of the ache. Strike pay is $250 every week for GM staff. Compare that to GM’s high manufacturing wage of $30 per hour, or $1,200 in a 40-hour week.

“Next week, whatever shine there is begins to wear off and the drudgery sets in,” Marick Masters, the previous director of labor research on the Detroit-based Wayne State University, advised the Detroit News. “People start wondering, ‘When am I getting out of this?’”

But was there ever a “shine” to this strike? GM staff had been urged into it by the UAW on the pretext that GM was not bargaining. This was supposedly a struggle for greater wages, extra versatile hours, higher healthcare, and job safety. But this strike has nothing to do with GM’s refusal to go to the bargaining desk. If this was in regards to the well-being of GM staff, the UAW would have accepted the supply that GM proposed Sunday night time, earlier than the Monday walkout.

The historical past of labor unions within the U.S. is often advised as a battle between labor and capital. More astute observers discover many extra fissures. Most importantly, the pursuits of the union bosses are sometimes not the identical because the pursuits of the employees they purportedly signify. In this case, the UAW has a not-so-hidden ulterior motive to remain cussed. Contract fights would possibly but come up with Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Nobody needs to point out their hand earlier than even beginning a negotiation. So UAW is aware of that what may be one of the best deal for GM staff may weaken the union’s leverage in its different negotiations.

“Solidarity” thus turns into an excuse for union bosses to show down one of the best deal for the GM staff they signify. It’s like a sports activities agent negotiating one contract with a watch to his different purchasers’ negotiations. It’s unethical.

There’s one other, much more sinister motivation of the UAW bosses that deserves scrutiny: making a distraction from the authorized points that at present threaten to blow up their group.

An ongoing federal probe into the UAW’s corruption has resulted in 10 indictments of high union officers. Several extra officers, together with UAW president Gary Jones, are nonetheless beneath investigation for probably abusing their energy, utilizing staff’ dues for private luxuries, and strong-arming auto executives with shakedowns and kickbacks. It seems just like the federal authorities is transferring towards charging union leaders beneath federal racketeering legal guidelines. Is it any marvel that union members have so little confidence within the officers who’re alleged to signify and struggle for them?

The UAW is desperately making an attempt to distract from its scandal and hold onto its energy. And one of the simplest ways to do this is to power a walkout proper now, to create the phrases of the strike, after which to make use of all of this as leverage in negotiations that the UAW would by no means have in any other case cared about.

It’s solely a matter of time earlier than union members resolve they’re achieved being pawns on this self-interested union’s recreation.

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