Auto workers have called for a rally on January 11 at 1 pm outside of Cobo Hall on press day of the North American International Auto Show. With news of the Bush administration’s $17.4 billion loan to the auto industry being tied to game-changing concessions that could erode wages across the board, auto workers will rally for long-term solutions for the auto industry’s problems that don’t unfairly blame workers for failed corporate policies.
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The loan calls for conditions that would gamble half of the fund paying for retiree health care in company stock, while wages and working conditions are expected to be “competitive” with those of workers in non-union internationally-owned transplants in the South. Auto workers in the South will continue to lose ground at the same time, as their companies look to index their wages with state averages rather than UAW standards.
Lowering wages and weakening work conditions in auto will only further erode wages and benefits of all workers and will do nothing to help alleviate the auto industry’s crisis. Auto worker wages make up only 5% of the sticker cost of a Big Three vehicle. Why are auto workers making the sacrifices?
The last rank-and-file led auto worker rally of the Detroit auto show was in 2006 after Delphi announced bankruptcy, threatening the jobs and benefits of thousands of auto workers while executives banked the big bucks.
Auto workers have called for long-term solutions to the crisis facing U.S. industry such as green conversion and environmentally sustainable production. Workers have also been advocating for support of a national single-payer health care program that would level the playing field for U.S. workers. The fight for union contracts is also a central theme, with workers backing the Employee Free Choice Act, which makes the road to unionization fairer.
Auto workers have invited workers in all industries and the community to the rally, knowing that if the Bush administration and their allies in Congress are able to get these concessions, wages and benefits of all workers will suffer.
Fight For Health Care for All
Stand up for Union Jobs
Build Green Industry
For more information, go to <autoworkercaravan.org/>. See, also, John D. Stoll and Sharon Terlep, “Bailout Pact of GM, U.S. Would Block a UAW Strike,” (Wall Street Journal, 8 January 2009).