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Author Archive | Gregg Shotwell

Doing (and Making) History from Below

The title Doing History from the Bottom Up not only defines the purpose and sets the direction; it lays down a challenge.  The author, Staughton Lynd, uses the present continuous form of the verb “do,” which indicates that there is really no beginning nor end.  Lynd challenges us to act rather than ideate, and he […]

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The Gift of the True Organizer

In 2003 when I was researching work to rule — a process by which workers slow down production, drive up costs, and thereby leverage negotiations — I called Dave Yettaw.  Dave, a retired auto worker and former president of Flint UAW Local 599, was an old hand and a trusted advisor.  Dave told me that […]

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Defend the Right to Strike

Bob “No Strike” King, the president of the UAW, is leading the charge for a Constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining in Michigan.  My guess is that King is angling for an appointment from Governor Snyder.  A spot on the bench, hell, even the Michigan Supreme Court is not improbable if this Constitutional con job […]

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Labor Has a Legitimate Lien on Capital

When Steve Miller, the vulture capitalist who drove Delphi into the ditch of America’s dreams, declared, “Bankruptcy is a growth industry,” he was smiling, but he wasn’t joking. Bankruptcy in the US isn’t a sign of economic distress or mismanagement.  It’s a business plan — calculated, cunning, and void of redeeming social value.  American Airlines […]

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Ford Workers Have a Better Idea

Speculation is a game for rubes.  High rollers don’t gamble, they steal, and call it a deal.  So let’s not speculate, let’s talk about what we know.  UAW President Bob King longs to be partners with the bosses and the bosses are eager to initiate their new pledge with a hazing ritual called Concession Bargaining. […]

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Collective Bargaining or Criminal Conspiracy?

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.” — Bob Marley, “Redemption Song,” 1979 I’ve got it made.  I’m sixty-one years old and I’ve been retired for two and a half years.  I’ve got a pension, health insurance, and money in the bank.  I own my own home.  I’m debt free.  I’m a fortunate man, but it wasn’t […]

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Calling All Workers and Retirees

Workers, retirees, unionists, and activists of all stripes and sizes are responding to calls to protest at state capitals in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and elsewhere. In Michigan, where I live, Governor Snyder wants to raise taxes on workers, poor people, and retirees so he can give businesses a tax break of 1.8 billion dollars.  This […]

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As Far As He Could See

He wanted to be a working-class hero not the fucking peasant John Lennon sang about. He left the university went straight to the rank and file, learned to smile with a snarl, and conceal his knowledge of Marx & Mao. He was pragmatic. He absorbed the grit and grease philosophically, cut the dialectical edge with […]

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Waiting for Flying Saucers?

UAW President Bob King and his corporate partners at GM, Ford, and Chrysler-Fiat will blame the competition they’ve rigged on workers and relentlessly degrade them into believing they are worth less and less as profits rise.  That’s not a guess, it’s the drill. History lessons must be revised before the profiteers of war and labor […]

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A Goldfish with Glasses

He must think workers are stupid.  How else can anyone explain it? He says, if UAW members lower the automakers’ fixed costs by cutting wages and benefits and trimming work rules to the bone — as in less break time and a jack-of-all-trades paradigm — it will help the union organize. It’s crazy.  It’s straight […]

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UAW Caught on Tape

Rank & File: “Hello. Hello.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  This is the rank & file calling.  Are you there?  Can you hear us?” UAW Spokesperson: Rank & File: “We’ve read in the Automotive News that both GM and Delphi are building new plants for new green technology automobiles but they are non-union.  This isn’t true, is […]

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Bailout — an End Run around Bankruptcy

“Our community is expanding: MRZine viewers have increased in number, as have the readers of our editions published outside the United States and in languages other than English.  We sense a sharp increase in interest in our perspective and its history.   Many in our community have made use of the MR archive we put […]

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UAW New Directions

The Answering Machine

Paul Krell, UAW spokesperson, is not a person.  Paul is an answering machine.  Which explains why he can’t return calls and always says the same thing, i.e., “The UAW has no comment.”  Since the UAW does not have a spokesperson per se, I don’t have to be concerned about stepping on anyone’s toes.  Thus, I […]

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