The rank and file demand an all-out strike in the auto industry!

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Striking autoworkers on the picket line at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. Although it is now more than 3 weeks since the Detroit Three contracts expired, the UAW has sanctioned strike action by less than one-fifth of the workforce. [AP Photo/Paul Sancya]

It has been nearly one week since “stand up strikes” were called by the United Auto Workers at three Big Three plants. What is the result of this strategy?

Over 90 percent of the membership at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis have been ordered by the UAW to continue working and producing products for the companies. Wall Street has shrugged off the strike. The companies’ stock prices are at the same level as they were before the strike began.

Time is only on the side of the companies. Every day and every hour we continue working, more vehicles are stockpiled and more profits are produced. Nothing can be won if this bankrupt policy continues. The full strength of workers in the auto industry must be mobilized!

The Autoworkers Rank-and-File Committee Network calls for workers at every factory to organize now to fight for an all-out strike. At each UAW local, meetings must be held involving the entire rank-and-file membership to discuss and vote on resolutions demanding all-out strike action.

The UAW bureaucracy will resist these demands and try to placate workers and keep us demobilized as long as possible.

Therefore, rank-and-file committees should be formed at each plant, shift and department, for workers to have a democratic say and control over this fight.

As it stands, workers are being forced to work without a contract and predictably are being victimized by management. Workers at Stellantis Warren Truck reported 10 of their coworkers were walked off last week for minor infractions.

Auto parts workers are being laid off and given no assistance by the UAW. Workers at Lear in Wentzville, Dana in Toledo and many other suppliers will be forced to subsist on inadequate state unemployment.

Workers on the picket lines at Toledo Jeep, Ford Michigan Assembly and GM Wentzville will be strung out on $500 a week in strike pay, which they have yet to receive, and will be forced to hold out longer than any other plants the UAW may call out.

The UAW claims that this strategy “keeps the companies guessing.” That is a lie. The only ones it keeps in the dark are workers. The companies knew these isolated strikes were coming and amply prepared. Workers were not informed until the night before the contract expirations. Ninety-seven percent of workers voted to strike; none of us voted for this strategy.

UAW officials are telling workers that “stand up strikes” preserve the $825 million strike fund, built up with our dues money. But the UAW doesn’t care about preserving the strike fund for workers. It only cares about using it to pay for the bloated income and perks for the bureaucracy.

Workers are also told that an all-out strike would hurt the economy and produce a recession. But the Biden administration and the political establishment are raising interest rates, trying to drive up unemployment and reduce our ability to fight for higher wages. The corporate oligarchy have repeatedly shown they are willing to wreck “the economy” in their pursuit of higher profits. If the Biden administration and auto companies get their way, they will destroy the jobs of tens if not hundreds of thousands of workers in the transition to EVs.

Finally, UAW officials are telling workers: “Trust us. Give the strategy time to work. If the negotiations with the companies don’t progress, more plants will be called out.”

Here’s the truth: the UAW’s “stand up strikes” are a con. There is nothing innovative or beneficial to workers about them. These are selective strikes, designed to isolate and wear down workers and make us confused. The UAW bureaucracy and the Biden administration are trying to decide the best time to spring a sellout deal on workers, which they will hail as “historic.” But they will be contracts based on what the companies have demanded, brutal attacks on jobs related to EVs and other concessions, and they will completely fail to meet our needs.

In Canada, the Unifor union is similarly playing a treacherous role, in a slightly different form. It unilaterally extended the contract deadline with Ford Monday night, and then announced a tentative agreement Tuesday, despite a 98 percent vote in favor of striking by Canadian autoworkers. The union officials there are completely concealing the details of their deal from workers, saying they won’t release them until ratification meetings, making clear they are hiding a massive sellout.

Even if one were to accept the dishonest arguments by Fain and the UAW leadership—that a microscopic strike could make the companies concede to workers’ demands—then why wouldn’t we all strike now and deliver the corporations a swift body blow? Exert our maximum strength and win all that we can? There is no legitimate argument against launching an all-out strike. An industry-wide walkout in the US would immediately find a powerful response by our brothers and sisters in Canada, Mexico and throughout the world, opening up immense possibilities for a united struggle of autoworkers internationally.

The phony “stand up strikes” must be rejected and a genuine, all-out strike begun!

Speak to your coworkers on the picket lines, on your breaks, in the parking lots and after work. Communicate with your coworkers, hold group discussions, explain what is happening and begin forming networks. Build support for an all-out strike and organize to demand it takes place!


The GM Flint Workers Rank-and-File Committee
The Warren Truck Rank-and-File Committee
The Dana Toledo Rank-and-File Committee