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“The vote was rigged” : Detroit Stellantis workers say UAW used fraud to pass deal
Stellantis workers at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit expressed their suspicion and concern over the UAW bureaucracy’s announcement that the new contract proposal had been ratified.
In an unsigned email sent Saturday morning, the UAW claimed the deal was approved 66.8-33.2 percent by the hourly production workers and 80.5-19.5 percent by the much smaller skilled trades workforce. According to the UAW ratification tracker, 26,696 production and skilled workers voted—meaning 38 percent of the 43,000 members abstained from the vote.
Keenly aware that rank-and-file opposition runs far deeper than what is indicated in the official vote results, the UAW letter written to local union officials tries to give them some talking points to placate angry workers.
Dropping any references to the “historic” and “record” contract, the letter says, “No, we did not get everything everyone wanted, but we corrected years of unfair wages and divisive language. We corrected future uncertainty for many of our locations with years of job security will excel (sic) beyond the 2023 agreement…We have stopped the abuse and misuse of our Supplemental membership providing them an accelerated path to full time viability.”
In fact, the deal sanctions the closure of 19 facilities, including the Tipton Transmission Plant near Kokomo, Indiana and 10 MOPAR Parts Distribution Centers (PDC). Letters have also emailed encouraging workers to take “voluntary employment termination” buyouts.
In addition to providing inadequate wage increases and cost of living protections, the deal maintains the “divisive language” that deprives workers hired after 2007 pensions and retiree health benefits and only reduces the years-long wait to reach top pay from eight to three years. As for ending the abuse of temps, this is another lie. Less than 2,000 will be converted to full time within 90 days of ratification, and the union and the company can agree to extend the nine-month roll-over deadline, ensuring that the company will be able to hire and fire low wage workers in perpetuity.
The UAW claims that deal was rejected at only three facilities. At the Toledo Assembly Plant, 3,500 production workers voted it down by 59.7 percent. Also voting down the deal were workers at two parts distribution centers (PDC) that are going to be closed under the UAW-backed deal. These include Marysville, Michigan PDC where 204 production workers voted it down by 57.8 percent; and the Boston PDC where 44 workers voted it down by 68.2 percent.
Warren Truck workers who spoke to the World Socialist Web Site Saturday, rejected the claims by UAW Local 140 officials that the deal was approved by 85 percent at Warren Truck, with only 335 workers voted against the contract out of the 2,188 who cast ballots.
“Everybody knows the vote was rigged,” a veteran worker said. “I always wanted to go up to the voting table at the local and lift up the skirt so I could see the shredding machine,” the worker quipped.
Another worker said, “This is bogus. A lot of people would have voted ‘no’ but they figured it wouldn’t make a difference because the UAW wasn’t going to come back with anything better.
“How is it possible that only three plants voted no? All they did was move some money around. Twelve cents for COLA for the whole year, that’s ridiculous.”
Another worker asked about the vote at GM, where the UAW claims the deal passed by only 2,002 votes out of the 30,860 production workers who voted. The UAW has been unable to make an official announcement yet because of challenges to the fact that it allowed electric vehicle battery workers and contractors to vote on the deal even though they are not GM workers yet.
“My sister is retired, and she said don’t vote for that, they are trying to screw you.”
Another worker added, “It was strange they called off production the same day of the vote. A lot of workers, especially workers like me who drive long distances, didn’t come in and vote.
“What I’m most pissed about it that this contract doesn’t do anything about work-life balance. We’re coming in at 4:30 in the afternoon, and basically working bar hours; with a ‘lunch break’ at 10:30 at night. If we work over, I’m not getting home until 2 in the morning. Why can’t they make it 3pm to midnight again? If I’m working six days, it takes a whole day for my body to recover, and then you start all over again.”
Michelle, a leading member of the Warren Truck Rank-and-File Committee told the WSWS, “We shouldn't trust anything the UAW is reporting about the vote. Why can't we see the count? Why weren't there rank-and-file workers overseeing the tally? They always tell us one thing and do another. If the majority voted 'no' they'd find a way to say it was 'yes.'
“They've been doing these dirty tricks for 30-40 years. If they haven't been held accountable, why would they change? They sold the contract with promises of car leases, converting temps and other things that looked good.
“Once they put this into motion, with the job cuts, with temporary workers not getting rolled over, and other dirty things people are going to start walking out just like they did when Covid first hit.
“From the beginning they tried to wear us down. That was the point of the ‘stand up’ strike that hurt us more than the company. The Jeep workers stood up and after being left alone on strike still voted it down. We need that energy everywhere.
“Workers are going to wake up, the light bulb is going to come on. The most important thing we need is the truth, and to know how to use it. The WSWS has been consistent, it’s done its research, hasn’t stopped fighting. Now we have to take this information and build our rank-and-file committees in all the plants.”
UAW extends contract defying Allison Transmission workers 99 percent strike mandate
Workers at the Indianapolis, Allison Transmission Inc. plants, one of the largest manufacturers of commercial automatic transmissions, were set to strike Wednesday morning at midnight. UAW Local 933 officials, at the last minute, blocked a strike by roughly 3,000 workers, defying a 99 percent strike authorization vote by the membership
Workers at 12:17 Wednesday morning received the following text:
“Brothers and Sisters, The end of the contract is upon us, and we still haven’t reached an agreement with management. We are striving to win what is best for our membership, and as we continue fighting, we will keep you informed of our progress. We know this is discouraging, but we will be extending the contract for the time being. Please report to work as normal tomorrow. Thank you for your continued patience.”
“Everyone is mad,” a worker at the plant told the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter. “The local news was waiting around at midnight. We have a Local 933 Facebook page; everyone went to that trying to figure out what happened. There’s definitely more to it. Supposedly the servicing rep Chris McTaggart failed to file the 30-day notice to terminate the agreement. Everyone is ready to kill him, he’s working for Allison. He should be relieved of his duties! The company just bragged about their 21 percent profit increase!”
Another worker stated, “We got sold out by our chairman and our international rep. They sent us an excuse after we all raised hell. Our chairman made it very clear at the last union meeting that Allison has had long enough and he will NOT accept an extension! Our strike vote was 99 percent ‘yes’ 2 weeks ago, and we're all ready! Then this happens and we get this excuse!”
In response to the outpouring of anger from the rank and file, George Freeman, the bargaining chairperson at Local 933, attempted to cover up the UAW’s role in suppressing a strike. “Amidst late evening negotiations, as we were making progress, a bombshell was dropped regarding missing paperwork required for a legitimate labor stoppage,” Freeman claims.
He goes on cynically, “Upon the directive of International, it was requested that I prolong our current contract by two weeks. I kindly request that you have faith in my words, as I am steadfast in my position of No Concession and No Extension. However, had I taken to the streets, UAW Local 933 would have been in violation of the contract and ATI would have legally pursued the Union for every unit lost as a result of the breach.”
Blatantly defying the membership’s demands to strike, the UAW bureaucracy is acting as it has at the Big Three, Mack Trucks, Blue Cross and others by attempting to isolate the Allison workers. The Indianapolis plants are critical elements of the production chain for both Big Three and Mack Trucks transmissions. Had workers struck it would be the catalyst for a broader struggle against the companies and the UAW bureaucracy.
Allison is reportedly bidding for additional US military contracts and the Biden administration does not want any disruption to the production of military components for the US-NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
“It’s definitely no coincidence why they are beefing up manpower in the plant,” a worker told the WSWS. “They are getting all new equipment for the new electric drive transmission for the two team build off they have going on to see who gets the contract for 3,000 brand new tanks!”
In December 2022, Allison Transmission was awarded a $51 million contract to support Abrams tank production for the US Army and for export. The VP of Defense Programs at Allison Transmission stated, “The Abrams is the most prevalent main battle tank in the free world, and the recent announcement of defense sales expanding to Taiwan, Australia and Poland increases its presence to eight U.S. partner nations. Allison is proud to support the U.S. Army and our global customers today and for decades to come.”
Alongside Abrams tank component, Allison is partnering with number of defense contractors like ARV and Team Lynx, to replace 3,000 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles. Allison is also working closely with these contractors competing for the contracts for the new XM30 Combat Vehicle program. Last month, Allison signed a memorandum of understanding with Grupa Zbrojeniowa, a holding group with the Polish state-owned defense industry, one of the largest in Europe.
UAW President Shawn Fain repeated praise for the UAW’s corporatist alliance with the Roosevelt administration and the auto corporations for war-time production during the World War II-era “Arsenal of Democracy” exposes the real goal of the union apparatus and the Biden administration: to force workers to bear the cost of the war in Ukraine and the Israeli onslaught on Gaza through job cuts, suppression of wages and living standards. As Will Lehman—the Mack Trucks worker and socialist candidate for UAW president last year—explained in a Newsweek op-ed earlier this month, “UAW President Fain may think he has settled matters by calling off the Big Three strikes. But the UAW’s contracts will only intensify inequality and fuel the rank-and-file rebellion by workers.” Allison Transmission workers must expand the network of rank-and-file committees, oppose the betrayal by the UAW bureaucracy and link with their coworkers in every factory.
Stellantis Jeep workers vote down UAW sellout deal; union calls 12-hour “Hollywood” strike at parts maker Mobis
According to figures posted Wednesday night by United Auto Workers Local 12 at the Toledo Jeep complex, workers rejected the tentative contract by a vote of 2099-1725, a margin of 55 percent. It is the largest Stellantis plant so far to vote down the contract.
Earlier this week the UAW claimed ratification at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant by a suspicious 1853-335 margin and also claimed the contract passed by a 62 percent margin at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. Both facilities are in the northern Detroit suburbs. Votes have not yet been recorded at the giant Detroit Manufacturing Complex, Mack and Jefferson, that employs upwards of 10,000.
Workers at the Jeep complex were the first Stellantis facility to be called out in the phony “stand up” strike orchestrated by UAW President Shawn Fain. Despite being forced to walk the picket line for over a month on a bare $500 weekly strike pay, the workers turned out a solid vote for rejection of the sellout deal.
On Tuesday, UAW Local 12 called a token strike at the Mobis chassis plant, part of the Toledo North Assembly complex that builds Jeep brand vehicles. The 400 workers labor under terms of a substandard contract separate from the Big Three. The walkout, which lasted less than 24 hours, briefly halted production of the Jeep Gladiator. No details of the contract have been released by the UAW, nor is it clear what the union’s demands were. The UAW at no time made an effort to link the struggle at Mobis with Stellantis workers at Jeep, much less raise the issue of pay parity.
A Jeep worker wrote to the WSWS commenting on the vote, “Historically the first on strike would be the first plant needing to get back to work. The easiest to get a ratification. Toledo auto workers are really showing out, even though it may not be enough, this time.”
Another veteran Jeep worker told the WSWS, “We were not going to settle for a sellout deal. I am also hoping we sent the message out to the other plants that are voting. We hope they see what we see. We just need the top three or four plants to shut it down.”
He said he attended the contract “information” meeting Sunday. “[UAW Vice President Rich] Boyer could not answer the question ‘where are the rest of the pages of the book.’ And they could never give us a clear answer to the temporary worker rollover process. We discovered that at the end of the white pages it clearly gives the company the option to extend the rollover. They don’t have to roll them over, they can ask for an extension with the union’s agreement—one year, two years, whatever they deem applicable. That is not a fair deal.
“A lot of members were upset that we had to come back to work without having read or voted on the tentative agreement.
“One of the members said ‘this is a setup. From the time we went on strike until the time we came back it was all planned out. We are going to vote this down.’ There is too much fine print that gives the company the opportunity to change things up.
“Even Belvidere, they can go back on that. That doesn’t even happen until the next contract. The battery plant doesn’t even have an investor, it’s an unknown investor. It’s all economy based. If no one buys it, there is no reason for it.”
“TPT workers voted ‘no’ overwhelmingly. They feel something shady is going on. They are displeased that in the highlights it says one thing, but when you start reading the white pages it gives you a different tone. If they get rolled over, they might be forced to go to another plant outside their town.”
Speaking about the supposedly large margin for ratification at Warren Truck he said, “I find that dubious. I can’t see them voting like that. Their local president and their elected committee must have been bought and paid for, to have that go down. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lawyer gets involved and they revote. I hope they challenge every ballot. I can’t imagine them being happy with this.”
As UAW claims ratification at GM, workers accuse union of vote-rigging
Autoworkers contacted by the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter voiced strong opposition to the methods used by the United Auto Workers to ram through sellout agreements at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
The UAW claimed ratification of the GM agreement Thursday by a margin of 54.7 percent “yes” to 45.3 percent “no,” amid allegations by workers of voting irregularities. In recent days, workers at major GM assembly plants had voted against the deal by increasingly large margins, before the UAW announced several lopsided “yes” votes, including at Ultium Cells in Lordstown, Ohio, where workers were not even GM employees at the time of the vote.
Workers at the Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan, were voting Thursday on the contract, the last major facility to cast ballots. The UAW is expected to announce results for Ford and Stellantis in the coming days.
A supporter of the Ford Rouge Rank and File Committee told the World Socialist Web Site, “I guarantee you that they stuff the ballot box! The reason workers are voting against it is that we have to wait four and a half years to get the raise. Then there are the retirees; they got nothing. A lot of people are not happy with the contract. We know our worth.”
The UAW has claimed that the contracts at Ford and Stellantis have been garnering larger approval, albeit with still significant opposition. At Ford, the UAW was reporting an overall 66.7 percent “yes” and 33.7 percent “no” on Thursday. The largest opposition was recorded at the Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly, with 57 percent and 50 percent of production workers voting “no” respectively. Production workers at Chicago Assembly and Kansas City Assembly voted “no” by more than 45 percent at each plant. Vote totals for workers at the Rouge complex, including Dearborn Truck, Dearborn Stamping and Dearborn Engine, had not been released at the time of this writing.
“We had to vote at this little table in the entrance to the body shop at Dearborn Truck,” the Ford Rouge worker said. “There was no privacy. Management was walking through the same entrance, and the cameras could see everything we were doing. Management was able to see how we were voting. Where is the privacy? That was intimidating people who were voting. Look at how small the voting area was.
“They had this little table with two lines based on your last name and two people sitting there who were asking your last name.
“We had voted for an election committee to keep the integrity of our elections, but they did not use those people on that day. They had officials appointed by the union doing the job that the election committee should have done.
“If they had let this contract go down to defeat, everything that Fain was trying to do would have been null and void. Fain was at the White House, the UAW is backing the war, and they are backing Biden big-time. The UAW already signed off on it and they have the president backing it. We should really challenge the conduct of the ballot. They should have to hold another vote.
“Now they are telling the workers at Mack trucks, ‘Take this or you’re out of a job.’ What happened to the democratic principle that the people have the right to decide? We should absolutely revote! These contracts are all the same.”
UAW holds illegitimate vote at Ultium Cells in attempt to push through national GM sellout contract
With the UAW-GM contract facing defeat, the UAW bureaucracy is trying to manufacture enough votes, through hook or by crook, to squeeze the deal past rank-and-file opposition. With a few hundred votes possibly deciding whether the national agreement is defeated or ratified, the recent vote at Ultium Cells in Lordstown, Ohio should be looked at with particular care.
According to UAW Local 1112, workers at the Ultium Cells electric vehicle battery plant voted by 97 percent to approve the tentative master agreement between the UAW and General Motors. This provided the UAW with 1,263 additional votes to pass the sellout agreement.
Under the tentative deal, UAW President Shawn Fain has said, the 1,750 UAW members at the plant—a joint venture between GM and South Korea-based LG Energy—will become GM employees and be covered by the UAW national master agreement.
But that is the rub. How can Ultium workers vote on the contract if they are not GM employees yet? According to page 300 in the UAW-GM tentative agreement:
General Motors LLC (GM) and Ultium Cells LLC (UC) have decided to staff all represented positions within UC facilities with direct employees of GM leased to UC. Upon the effective date of the agreement, represented UC employees will transition and be included under the 2023 UAW-GM National Agreement and be leased back to UC.
In other words, these Ultium Cells employees cannot become GM workers before the effective date of the UAW-GM tentative agreement. As the contract specifies, the contract does not become effective until the UAW membership at General Motors ratifies it.
This is spelled out specifically on page 12, paragraph 21A of the tentative agreement. In other words, the Ultium Cells workers would not be eligible to vote on the national contract until it was first approved by the membership.
The UAW and GM executives try to get around their dilemma by stating, back on page 300, that “These [Ultium Cells (UC)] employees will participate in the ratification of the 2023 UAW-GM National Agreement, receive the signing bonus upon ratification and will utilize their UC hire date as the start of seniority upon transition to a direct GM employee.”
But this end around is totally illegitimate, since it is contained in a tentative agreement that has not been ratified by the membership!
If the Ultium workers can vote, why can't the two parties agree to let just anybody be a “GM employee” for the purpose of voting on a contract? This includes supervisors or anyone off the street--and then after the deal exclude them.
Ultium Cells workers want to be unified with their brothers and sisters throughout GM. The joint ventures set up by GM, Ford and Stellantis are certainly aimed at imposing lower wages and sweatshop conditions in the new EV battery plants.
Under a separate agreement between the UAW and Ultium in August, the pitifully low wages of these workers was increased from $16.50 an hour to a little more than $20. Under the proposed GM-UAW agreement, new workers would supposedly be paid $25.12 an hour. In other words, the UAW bureaucracy exploited the economic insecurity of these workers—for which it is chiefly responsible—to get a large and illegitimate “yes” vote to help to ram through its sellout agreement on 45,000 GM workers.
Under the terms of the tentative agreement, the UAW will maintain the oppressive conditions at Ultium in exchange for collecting dues from the workers. Former Lordstown workers who worked at the plant on November 26, 2018 will only have six months to transfer back and retain their current pay rates and seniority. Although workers at the factory are allegedly covered by the UAW-GM Master Agreement, the union can agree to local concessionary deals to “enhance competitiveness” and boost profits. This will be used to drive the higher-paid experienced workers out the door and replace them with a low-paid, highly exploited work force.
A former Lordstown worker who was forced to transfer to the GM Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant in 2018 told the World Socialist Web Site: “They’re struggling to hire at the Ultium plant in Lordstown now, but the new UAW local up there is fighting to prevent the senior guys who transferred here from going back. They don’t want experienced workers making full pay there. They only want new workers making $16.50 to $21 an hour at the Ultium plant.”
UAW-GM contract heading to defeat as workers reject deal at Michigan, Missouri and Indiana assembly plants
The United Auto Workers’ tentative agreement with General Motors is heading to defeat after workers at major assembly plants in Michigan, Missouri and Indiana voted against the deal over the last few days.
The UAW bureaucracy is scrambling to manufacture the votes and rig ballots to reverse the outcome, but the massive “no” votes are already a repudiation of the supposed “record contracts” hailed by UAW President Shawn Fain and US President Joe Biden.
- At the Wentzville, Missouri assembly plant, just outside of St. Louis, workers voted the deal down by 54 to 46 percent, with 1,637 workers out of 3,058 workers voting “no,” according to UAW Local 2250.
- At the Lansing Grand River Plant in Michigan, workers voted 58-42 percent against the agreement, with 64 percent of production workers, and 547 out of the 948 workers casting ballots voting “no,” according to UAW Local 652.
- At the Ft. Wayne, Indiana assembly plant, workers voted down the contract by 61 to 39 percent, with 64 percent of production workers rejecting, according to UAW Local 2209.
- At the Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant, workers voted 67.5 to 32.5 percent to reject the deal, with 71.6 percent of the production workers and 56.1 percent of skilled trades workers voting “no,” according to UAW Local 1853.
- At the Lansing Delta Township plant in Michigan, the deal was rejected by 61 to 39, with production workers voting it down by 63 percent, according to UAW Local 602.
- At the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette plant, workers voted down the deal, with 50.7 percent of the production workers and 70 percent of the skilled trades workers voting “no,” according to UAW Local 2164.
- At the Defiance, Ohio foundry, 56 percent of the 390 workers who voted rejected the deal, including 59 percent of production workers, according to UAW Local 211.
- The UAW also reported that 56 percent of the members of Local 14 voted down the deal at the Toledo Propulsion transmission plant. At the Tonawanda Engine in western New York, 57 percent of members at Local 774 also voted no.
A worker at the Ft. Wayne plant told the WSWS, “Workers here thought there were some pros in the contract but a lot of cons. Temps getting hired in was going in the right direction, but not getting the pensions back and wages not keeping up with inflation are big things. Workers are unhappy that we did not get back what they took from us in 2009. With GM making huge profits, that’s making everyone upset.
“The contract also didn’t address our work-life balance issue. We’re still working long hours. As for the temps, a lot of them are be reverted to part-time and are not getting enough hours to live.”
Commenting on Fain’s bogus “stand up strike” policy, the worker said, “Brothers and sisters here wanted to be out with the workers on strike. They were out there making $500 a week, and we were still working and making trucks for GM. What sense did that make?”
Although hailed by the corporate media and Fain’s supporters in the Democratic Socialists of America as a tactical masterstroke, the limited strike hurt workers more than it did the companies. The $1 billion GM has lost is a small fraction of the $157 billion in revenues it made last year and far less than the $4-5 billion it lost in the 2019 strike, when all 45,000 workers at the company struck.
The vote against the UAW-GM deal is blow to the UAW bureaucracy, which is collaborating with GM and the automakers to slash tens of thousands of jobs in the transition to electric vehicle production while preserving the privileges and positions of the union apparatus.
The massive opposition among workers is also a political defeat for President Biden who has worked closely with the UAW apparatus to suppress working-class opposition to his program of austerity at home and war abroad. Just last week, Biden appeared with Fain in Illinois and presented the agreements as a done deal.
GM workers should have no confidence that the UAW bureaucracy will accurately count their votes. The union bureaucracy has vast financial interests in pushing this deal through. As “no” votes came pouring in Wednesday, UAW Local 272 officials suddenly announced that GM workers in Arlington, Texas had ratified the deal by more than 60 percent without releasing the vote totals. Stellantis workers in the metropolitan Detroit area have accused UAW officials of rigging the vote to inflate the numbers for ratification.
CNBC also made an ominous warning that the companies and the UAW could follow the same game plan as Mack Trucks against 4,000 striking workers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. “All options are essentially back on the table for the union and automaker. The company could agree to reopen talks or it could follow what Mack Trucks has recently done and submit the prior offer with little to no changes as what’s known as a “last best and final offer” — likely sending it back for members to vote on.”
The UAW bureaucracy has fully joined this effort to blackmail the Mack Trucks workers, with local union bargaining units warning workers that if they reject the contract, the company would resume operations and bring in strikebreakers to replace them.
Workers should oppose all efforts to rig the vote and send delegations of the rank and file to oversee the ratification process. If they reject the sellout deal, GM workers should demand and all out strike by all 146,000 Big Three workers to win their demands.
Warren Truck workers accuse UAW officials of rigging vote to get Stellantis contract ratified
Workers at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant are accusing United Auto Workers Local 140 officials of rigging the vote to get the UAW-Stellantis agreement ratified. The workers dismissed claims by local officials that 85 percent voted “yes” and only 335 workers out of the 2,188 workers who voted opposed the deal during the ratification vote on Monday. Similarly suspicious lopsided “yes” votes were announced by Local 869 officials at Warren Stamping and Local 1264 officials at Sterling Stamping.
The vote results at these three plants run counter to the accelerating trend of “no” votes on similar sellout deals at GM and Ford over the last week.
“I don’t believe it,” David, a Warren Truck worker with 10 years at the plant said of the official results. “I’m glad that the GM workers are voting down this contract. That Stellantis deal mirrors or is even worse than the one at GM. There’s no way 85 percent of the workers at Warren Truck voted for it. I didn’t expect it to pass at all, especially when you saw all the people on social media saying they were going to vote ‘no.’
“The way the local ran the vote was piss poor. They didn’t make any accommodation for the third shift who work midnights in the paint, final assembly and body shops. After workers complained on Facebook about the voting closing at 6 p.m., cutting them out, the local president posted a note saying, ‘I apologize. We’ll do better next time.’
“There was zero oversight over the ballots. You mark it with a pencil, which can be erased or turned into a ‘yes’ vote. There was very little documentation on who voted. It was just ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ No workers were watching them. It was just the elected officials who controlled the ballots.
GM workers at Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant latest to vote down UAW deal
General Motors workers at the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Michigan have voted down the tentative agreement, as the tide shifts towards the defeat of UAW-backed deal. According to UAW Local 602, 61 percent of the workers who voted rejected the deal compared to 39 percent who voted yes.
Production workers at the Lansing area plant voted down the contract by 63 to 37 percent. Skilled trades workers, a far smaller number, voted 60 percent “yes” and 40 percent “no.” The factory employs 2,800 workers who manufacturer Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse cross-over vehicles.
“The ‘no’ vote is very good,” a veteran worker and a member of the Lansing GM Workers Rank-and-File Committee told the WSWS. “People were questioning why the UAW International officials were here before the vote. Everyone was saying it was only to get us to vote ‘yes.’ I think [UAW President Shawn] Fain is getting nervous right about now.”
“No one wants this contract. It’s good for some but not for all. Workers want the raise up front so the ones that are going to retire can enjoy some of the money. Also we did not vote to give COLA up. That was a decision made behind closed doors between the union and GM. It was at $1.70-$1.80 back in 2007 so to bring it back to 12 cents is a slap in the face. We want our raise up front and COLA up front too. We do not trust the company. Anything can happen. The contract is way too vague and needs more defining language. I do not think it will pass.”
Earlier in the day, UAW Local 1853 reported that GM workers at the Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant voted 67.5 to 32.5 percent to reject the deal. This included 71.6 percent of the production workers and 56.1 percent of skilled trades workers.
By Tuesday evening, UAW Local 2164 announced that the deal had been defeated at the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette plant, with 50.7 percent of the production workers and 70 percent of the skilled trades workers voting “no.”
The UAW also reported that 56 percent of the members of Local 14 voted down the deal at the Toledo Propulsion transmission plant. At the Tonawanda Engine in western New York, 57 percent of members at Local 774 also voted no.
At the Fairfax, Kansas assembly plant UAW Local 31 officials claimed the deal passed by a mere 65 votes, with 784 workers voting for it and 719 against. Among production workers, the union claims it passed by just six votes—674-668—out of the 1,346 production workers who voted, with four allegedly “spoiled” ballots.
Last week, workers at the GM Flint Assembly Plant rejected the contract by 51 percent, with workers at smaller facilities also rejecting the deal at Flint Engine, Romulus Powertrain, Pontiac Powertrain/Stamping, Marion Metal Center in Indiana, and Parma Metal Center in Ohio.
The series of “no” votes is tipping the balance towards the defeat of the deal, despite the massive propaganda campaign from the UAW bureaucracy, the Biden White House and the corporate media, which all claimed it is an “historic” win for workers.
Before the Lansing Delta Township were included, the UAW ratification tracker had the contract passing by 52-48 percent overall (8,324-7,638), with production workers voting to defeat it by 51-49 percent (6,615 to 6,475). The 61 percent ‘no’ vote in Lansing would have closed the gap at the very least, if not shifted the vote towards the defeat of the deal. This is before other major factories—including in Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Arlington, Texas and Wentzville, Missouri, have reported their results.
The Lansing Delta Township workers were called out on strike on September 29, as part of UAW President Shawn Fain’s bogus “stand up strike policy,” which kept the vast majority of workers on the job during the so-called strike. GM executives have told investors the limited strikes cost the automaker about $1 billion, a tiny fraction of the company’s $157 billion in 2022 revenues and far less than the $4-5 billion cost of the 2019 strike by all 45,000 GM workers.
“They had a roll out meeting but always grey language in every contract,” another Lansing Delta worker told the WSWS. “No one was impressed. It's because we had corruption leading us that they were prosecuted, but still the trust isn't there. This contract is not ground breaking, it's just giving us some of what we lost over a 12 plus year period. So, if they want it to pass make us whole, give us our COLA, and pay increase immediately.”
In the run-up to the vote, workers were vocally opposing the sellout deal on the UAW Local 602’s Facebook page. One posted: “Voting NO. Not all Temps are included, retires are getting cut unbelievable amounts. Overtime and vacation pay also have language that reduce payout to union members. Please read the full contract, the highlighted points are misleading in the way issues are presented. Do you own calculation for your hire date, it is eye opening.”
Massive “no” vote by GM workers at Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant
General Motors workers at the Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant have voted overwhelmingly to reject the UAW’s tentative agreement with GM. According to UAW Local 1853, production workers at the plant voted by 71.6 percent to reject the deal. Skilled trades workers also voted it down by 56.1 percent.
This was followed by the announcement that GM workers at the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant, members of UAW Local 602, rejected the deal by 61 percent. Citing the growing opposition to the UAW-backed contracts, CNN Business posted an article Tuesday, titled, “The UAW’s deal to end the auto strike could be in trouble.”
So far, 51 percent of production workers at GM have voted against the national deal, according to the official UAW tracker. The “yes” vote is still barely ahead (51-48 percent), due to the skilled trades vote, but many large assembly plants, including Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Arlington, Texas; Fairfax, Kansas and Wentzville, Missouri have not reported results yet.
The massive “no” vote at Spring Hill, the largest at any of the Big Three auto plants so far, comes a week after the rejection of the contract by GM workers at the Flint Assembly Plant and five other component plants. It also follows the rejection of the deal at the largest Ford UAW local, which covers 12,000 workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant and the Louisville Assembly Plant.
There is widespread rank-and-file opposition to the agreements at all three companies because of inadequate pay raises and cost-of-living increases, which fail to restore the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars workers lost due to the wage and benefit concessions the UAW accepted during the 2009 Obama-Biden bankruptcy structuring of GM and Chrysler and similar givebacks at Ford.
Despite the claims by UAW President Shawn Fain and President Biden about the union winning a “record contract,” workers are angry about the UAW’s dropping of their demands for the restoration of company paid pensions and retiree health benefits for “second-tier” workers hired after 2007, and an end to the abuse of temporary workers.
A Spring Hill worker who spoke to the WSWS said, “We voted this down because people are mad. They’re making us do 45 hours a week mandatory, with nine-hour days. But the additional 10 percent that is supposed to go to our 401(k)s stops at 40 hours. We’re also not getting any extra money for building a new Honda Acura EV model here in Spring Hill. GM is getting paid by Honda but we’re not.
“Under the attendance policy in the Ford contract, your disciplinary points go back to zero on January 1. At GM, they only take you down one step. There are a lot of Spring Hill workers who could face discipline for attendance issues because of the mandatory Saturdays and family obligations.”
He continued, “Eighty-eight percent of GM workers are in my shoes. We’re ‘in-progression’ workers who hired in after 2007. We got nothing. We still don’t have pensions or retiree health benefits. They could have given us that back especially when Social Security won’t be there when we retire.
“I got hired in 2008 and for three years I was making $14.28 an hour. I worked thousands of hours basically at half pay and I’ll never get back what I lost.
“A lot of workers transferred here from the Lordstown plant after it closed. I know four people who died within six months of retiring from there. Another guy had GM stock and lost everything when the company went bankrupt. He went into a field and shot himself. Guys came down here and rented houses while they were still paying their mortgages in Ohio.
“They’re struggling to hire at the Ultium plant in Lordstown now, but the new UAW local up there is fighting to prevent the senior guys who transferred here from going back. They don’t want experienced workers making full pay there. They only want new workers making $16.50 to $21 an hour at the Ultium plant.
“[GM CEO] Mary Barra is making $29 million and GM is fighting to keep its 40-year tax abatement here in Maury County. There is a housing crisis here. When I transferred in 2016, a place cost you $100 per square foot. Now it is $332 a square foot. The county does not have enough to build a new high school. The classrooms are overcrowded. GM is the biggest employer here and they are only paying $1 million a year in taxes instead of the $5-7 million they are supposed to be paying. But they are fighting like hell to renew their new tax abatement.
“Now GM is building the largest Ultium battery plant in the country here in Tennessee. Ford is also building Blue Oval battery plants. These companies get so many tax cuts and they are bitching about our pay and benefits.
“Fain and the rest of the union executives are getting two pensions, one from the companies and the other from the UAW. The people who are negotiating these deals are not workers who have gone through what we have. Whether it’s the International or locally, they are buddy-buddy with management, and are all about being ‘partners’ with the company. But we voted by 71 percent to reject this contract, and I think the workers in Bowling Green, Kentucky are going to vote it down too.”
Suspicious vote totals at Stellantis plants in metro Detroit
After momentum shifted over the last few days against the sellout agreements the United Auto Workers bureaucracy reached with GM and Ford, UAW officials announced a series of suspicious vote totals Monday night that purported to show overwhelming support for the deals by Stellantis workers at three metro Detroit factories.
According to UAW Local 140, the deal was passed by 84.7 to 15.3 percent at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant, with only 335 of the 2,188 workers who voted casting “no” ballots. Local 869 reported that the deal passed by 85.2 to 14.8 percent at Warren Stamping, with only 112 workers voting “no” out of the 758 votes cast. Similarly, Local 1264 claimed that the deal passed by 78 to 22 percent at Sterling Stamping without reporting the vote totals or the turnout.
In the run up to Monday’s votes, workers at Ford’s largest UAW local voted Sunday to defeat the UAW-backed contract. The deal was rejected by 57.2 percent of the production workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant, with 2,079 workers voting “no” out of the 3,636 who cast ballots. It was also defeated by production workers in the same local at the Louisville Assembly Plant, with 733 out of 1,455 who voted casting “no” ballots. Skilled trades workers at KTP also rejected the deal by 733 to 722. It was passed by skilled trades at LAP 148 to 45.
Late last week, GM workers at the Flint Assembly Plant also voted down the deal by 51 percent. This followed rejections at Romulus Powertrain, Pontiac Stamping/Powertrain, Marion, Indiana Stamping and Parma Metal Center, as well as by production workers at Flint Engine. There were also substantial “no” votes at Orion Assembly and Factory Zero in Detroit, where 46 percent and 45 percent, respectively, voted against it.
The UAW got the few remaining workers at the closed Stellantis assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois, to vote by 81.3 percent in favor of the agreement (478 to 101) with claims that they would get their jobs back at future electric vehicle assembly and battery plants not scheduled to open until 2027-28. But the deal was defeated or encountered widespread opposition at the Marysville Parts Depot (defeated 125 to 95) and the Milwaukee Parts Depot (passed narrowly 43 to 39), two of the 10 PDCs that the UAW is allowing Stellantis to shut down.
The results at Warren Truck, Warren Stamping and Sterling Stamping are hardly believable. Workers at the factories have expressed widespread opposition to the deal. At Warren Truck, which has a large number of temporary part-time workers, right up to the vote many workers expressed their opposition, particularly to the lying claim by UAW President Shawn Fain that the “era of perma-temps is over.” The UAW agreed that only a small number (1,957) of the thousands of TPTs at Stellantis plants would be rolled over within 90 days of the contract ratification, and that the nine-month period to convert a TPT would be extended indefinitely if agreed to by both parties.
“The TPTs might be rolled over, but if they want a full-time position they might have to relocate to Toledo or another location,” Dave, an in-progression worker with 10 years, told the WSWS after voting “no” at the Local 140 union hall. “They’re trying to get the TPTs to vote for this, but only a handful out of the thousands of temporary workers are getting rolled over.
“The UAW is trying to sell this contract, but a lot of us are voting ‘no’ because there are so many loose ends in this deal.”
“The way they treat the TPTs is unfair,” said Ron, another in-progression worker with seven years at Warren Truck. “So many have worked here long enough, and they should have been converted long ago. They say they’ll have to work nine months or more of ‘continuous service,’ but with layoffs they can force them to start all over again.”
Michelle, a member of the Warren Truck Rank-and-File Committee said, “I figured they were going to do anything they could to get this contract passed, whether we voted for it or not. It is strange that they cancelled the second shift suddenly today, the same day that the vote was taking place. They said it was because of a part shortage, but it could have been a tactic to get people not to come in and vote.”
Just last week, a TPT at Warren Truck posted a widely read letter calling for a no vote, noting that this “tentative agreement for TPTs is just not good enough” and calling on workers “to make history and win a record contract that benefits all members”!
So concerned was the UAW bureaucracy that rank-and-file workers would defeat the contract that UAW Vice President Rich Boyer put out a rambling video where he tried to defend the deal. He justified the closing of 10 parts distribution centers and the union’s agreement to curtail the use of Family and Medical Leave Act time off, blaming workers for abusing the system, which workers use because of the lack of paid time off. There is little doubt that the video did more to bolster opposition to the sellout rather than undermine it.
Boyer, the former Skilled Trade Shop Chairman at Local 140, has plenty of loyal officials in the local union bureaucracy controlling the vote. Other members of Fain’s inner circle also exert influence at the plants where the deal was supposedly passed overwhelmingly. This includes Fain’s Secretary Treasurer Margaret Mock, a longtime local official at Detroit Axle, Marysville Axle and most recently at Warren Truck. LaShawn English was elected Region 1 Director on Fain’s Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD) slate after being a national negotiator for FCA/Stellantis from 2015-19 and president of Local 1264 at Sterling Stamping from 2014 to 2022.
The WSWS Autoworker Newsletter recently received an anonymous letter alleging that the Local 140 leadership was “unfairly elected from massive, organized corruption.” This included the new local president Randall Pearson Jr., the son of a long-time local president, “receiving more votes from the paint shop than actually worked in the paint shop.” This, the letter said, “throws not only the election of Randall Pearson into question but also Richard Boyer.”
The letter was signed by “UAW Local 140 Members.”
None of the vote totals announced by the UAW bureaucracy can be taken for good coin. The union apparatus has a long and sordid history of manipulating vote counts to ram its pro-company contracts through. This includes the 2015 vote at UAW Local 600, when UAW officials claimed the contract passed at the Dearborn Truck Plant by 51.4 percent, or roughly 1,230 votes. The vote at Local 600, which was organized at the very end of ratification process, miraculously gave the UAW bureaucracy just enough votes to “ratify” the deal, which had been headed to defeat.
In 2021, the UAW claimed that a revote on a tentative agreement previously rejected by striking workers at Volvo Trucks New River Valley in Dublin, Virginia was passed by 17 votes out of the 2,369 votes cast. Workers immediately went to social media accusing the UAW of fraud and ballot rigging, with others calling for either a recount or another vote. “Sounds to me like they had just enough time delaying the results to switch the needed votes,” one worker said. “The fix is in.”
To ensure the integrity of the votes taking place this week at Toledo Jeep, Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, the Detroit Assembly Complex and other locations, rank-and-file workers must oversee all vote counting.
Louisville workers at largest Ford UAW local reject contract
Workers at Ford’s largest United Auto Workers (UAW) local have rejected the union’s tentative agreement, according to Local 862 in Louisville, Kentucky. The deal was rejected by 55 percent of the production workers, who voted on Sunday. UAW Local 862 has 12,000 members at the Kentucky Truck Plant (KTP) and Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP).
According to an unofficial tally, 57.2 percent of production workers at KTP rejected the deal, with 2,079 voting “no” and 1,557 voting “yes.” Skilled trades KTP workers approved the deal by 317 to 165. Out of the approximately 9,000 UAW members at KTP, 4,118 voted.
At LAP production workers also voted down the contract by 733 to 722. But the local claims the deal narrowly passed by 52.8-47.2 percent at the factory because skilled trades passed it by 148 to 45. Approximately half of the 3,227 workers voted at LAP, where some 1,600 workers are currently on temporary layoff.
Workers defied the propaganda campaign of UAW President Shawn Fain, US President Joe Biden and the corporate media, who have all hailed the four-and-half-year contract proposal as a “historic victory.” Shortly before the vote, UAW Local 862 President Todd Dunn told the Louisville Courier Journal, “We’ve got a contract that’s the best contract we’ve seen in two decades.'
But Louisville workers had a distinctly different opinion. “Workers are starting to fight together,” an in-progression worker at the Kentucky Truck Plant told the World Socialist Web Site. “The more the numbers have come to light, the more workers are opposing this. We voted ‘no’ because of the lack of pay increases over a long period of time. We’re going to get more inflation, and people are sick of being overworked and underpaid.
“Fain is trying to shovel us crap and tell us it’s fruit. We were on strike, and he sent us back to work even before we voted. We were working for them and making money for the company. I’m all for the ‘no’ vote.
“Inside the plant, they are speeding up the line to get out as many trucks as possible. The supervisors threaten you with write-up if there are any interruptions. They don’t have problems paying their mortgages and rent. Their bodies don’t break down like the 9,000 workers at KTP. They don’t limp out of here dirty and exhausted. On top of that, our checks are messed up, and I’m still fighting to get overtime pay.
“This contract doesn’t make up for what we lost. Real wage increases have been overdue for 30 years. The conversion of temps to full-time is also full of loopholes. It reminds me of when I was fired on my 89th day before being hired in at a local auto parts plant. That’s what they will do to these temporary workers before they make their nine months. The UAW always conceals things from us. Fain is doing the same thing.
“They underpay us, overwork us and use us. Then they want to make us pay for things the rich want, like war. I watch the kids and babies dying in Gaza, and I say: This is the world we live in? People are starting to rebel because it’s not getting any better.”
Over the last week, the tide has decisively turned in regard to the UAW-backed contracts. After getting a large ratification vote at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP)—where the UAW rushed through a vote after keeping MAP workers on the picket line for six-weeks on poverty-level strike benefits—opposition began mounting. There was substantial opposition at the Kansas City and Chicago Assembly plants, where 44 and 43 percent of the workers voted “no.”
According to the unofficial tally, General Motors workers have voted down the contract at six facilities, including the Flint Assembly Plant, where nearly 5,000 workers produce the company’s top selling pickups. Workers have also defeated the deal at Flint Engine, Romulus Powertrain, Parma Metal Center, Pontiac Stamping and Marion Metal Center. There were also large “no” votes at Factory Zero in Detroit (46.4 percent) and Orion Assembly (45.7 percent).
A Romulus worker told the WSWS, “We voted by 51 percent to reject it. Workers were mad over the conversion of temps, the lack of pensions, their pay. Our demands were not met. The union apparatus doesn’t care about us. The transition to EVs is also a major threat to our jobs. We can’t afford to buy these EVs, but they want to get rid of us.”
According to the unofficial tally, the deal is passing by 65.3 percent to 34.7 percent at Ford, with major union locals like the Rouge Complex still voting. The GM vote is a dead heat. Stellantis workers are voting this week, including at major facilities in Detroit and Toledo.
There is huge opposition to the Stellantis deal, with workers particularly angry over the UAW’s lies about ending the exploitation of temp workers. According to the UAW-Stellantis deals, both parties can agree to extend the nine-month rollover period of “continuous service,” allowing the company to continually hire and fire temp workers.
“Most of KTP is not happy with it”: Kentucky Truck Plant worker explains “no” vote
Dan, a full-time production worker at KTP whose name has been changed to protect his identity, told the WSWS the contract was deeply unpopular among his coworkers. According to UAW Local 862, 57.2 percent of the 3,636 production workers who voted cast “no” ballots. Of the 482 skilled trades workers who voted, 317 or 65.8 percent voted “yes.” Overall, the contract was defeated at KTP by 54.5 percent. “Skilled trades make up “a tiny amount, in comparison to us in production,” Dan said.
“Most at KTP is not happy with it,” he continued. “Only newer hires like it because they are getting the most from it,” adding that some were “afraid that if [we] turned it down, the company would counter with a worse contract.
“Ford used to be a place where when you landed the job it was for a career. Over the years it’s just become a stepping stone towards other jobs because people don’t make what they used to. New hires come in with the mindset ‘get what you can now’ and then they get stuck at Ford and screwed over in the long run.”
Dan added, “I know most of the KTP workers who have anything do so because they have multiple jobs or sources of income. I was already looking elsewhere before this contract because I could not support a family on what Ford pays. I had friends starting jobs [elsewhere] and making the same as me when I had to put in a decade at Ford to earn that wage.
“Ford’s reputation has been declining for years. My family were hardcore Ford people for generations. My time at Ford has been such a spit in the face that my entire family across the US doesn’t put their money into Ford anymore. They have been producing junk and doing so knowingly. We see at the plant the games Ford plays with the media and the lies they tell only for us to come to work and be treated terribly by management. Ford trains management to be a certain way to us.
“It’s degrading to the membership, and we also know that the union says whatever they think we want to hear so they can continue hiding away our dues. Our local is in the process of building a boat and camper storage unit on our local property so the high-ranking local officials can put their nice boats and campers [there].”
When Dan started work at Ford, he said, the UAW “sold us on all these hopes and dreams and they really boosted up the union in orientation. We got to the floor and started realizing they were not truthful at all. They talked up the union as they passed out the VCAP [lobbying organization] sign-up donation forms. They take our money and give it to whoever is running for the Democrats.”
Shawn Fain’s political grandstanding with President Joe Biden, Dan said, was “the weak leading the way. This union and country is in a terrible state.” He added, “Biden was standing alongside Barack Obama back in 2008-09 on the side of taking from the American people that led to this issue today,” Dan said, referring to the Wall Street bailouts and the restructuring of the auto industry. “For anyone to think that man cares about anyone other than his family wealth is laughable.”
Ford Rouge workers voting on contract: “We wanted to get rid of tiers, TPTs and give retirees something. We got nothing.”
Ford workers at the Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan attended an informational meeting Sunday on the tentative agreement the United Auto Workers has reached for a new labor contract covering 57,000 workers. Workers who spoke with WSWS reporters outside the UAW Local 600 hall expressed their discontent with the deal, which is being pushed by the UAW bureaucracy, the Biden administration and the corporate media as a “record contract” for autoworkers.
In fact, the agreement with Ford specifically declares that after December 1, 2023, all jobs at Ford Rouge will be deemed “surplus.” The UAW is trying to sell this betrayal to the membership with the threadbare assurance that they will have the option of transferring to a new plant that Ford is building in Tennessee or elsewhere.
Many workers attending the meeting had little or no knowledge of the contents of the 600-page contract document, including the threat to Rouge workers’ jobs, which the UAW bureaucracy is deliberately concealing. The more workers find out about what is in the deal, they more they oppose it.
“I didn’t know about the ‘surplus’ status’ for the Rouge,” a worker from B Crew at the Dearborn Truck Plant told the WSWS. A co-worker added, “I don’t know what this ‘surplus’ status means either. But I will fight like hell to keep my job. I have three kids, and I have to work.”
Many others voiced similar concerns. “I have been full-time since March,” said a new-hire at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center (REVC) who had worked at Stellantis four years without being rolled over to full time. “They kept promising me to be rolled over to full time, but I never got it.” Now, he’s worried that Ford is preparing to close plants and lay off new-hires like himself.
Several workers took additional copies of the statement from the Network of Autoworkers Rank-and-File Committees, which calls for a “no” vote, to distribute inside the plant. “I didn’t know about Rouge going into surplus status in December,” commented a worker at REVC. “No one really knows what is in the contract.”
A worker with 20 years seniority added, “That’s why KTP [Kentucky Truck Plant] workers are voting it down. Then you have others that barely passed it.”
Another seniority worker said, “I came to the meeting with my demands: get rid of tiers, end TPTs, and give retirees something. Those are my three big issues. Out of all three, we got nothing. I am not happy about the retiree situation. Other than that, the 11 percent raise after inflation took 22 percent from us over the last four years is not great.”
“I voted ‘no,’” said another worker. “My main reason is the contract was extended from four years to four years and seven months. There’s really not much for legacy workers, nothing for temps. We have a small, highlighted version, and I know the full contract is worse. I don’t agree with it since I’m legacy. There’s nothing for retirees. The TPTs got nothing. If you’ve been with the company 4-5 years, it’ll take you another 4 years to reach top pay.”
Several workers also expressed revulsion over the genocidal attack on the Palestinians by the Israeli regime, which has the full backing the Biden regime. The union hall is in one of the largest Arabic-speaking neighborhoods in North America. One Ford worker commented, “I know people from the West Bank.”
He continued, “The Israeli army will arrest you for no reason. They can take your house, take your land. They are fascists. They are supported by the US and all the European countries and by all the Arab states as well. I agree the working class must oppose this.”
Commenting on Fain’s invitation to Biden earlier in the strike to visit the Willow Run Assembly Plant, which produced bombers during World War II, and their joint praise for the UAW’s role in building the wartime “arsenal of democracy,” the worker said, “Fain and Biden are disgusting. Today, they might as well call it the arsenal for mass murder.”
Meeting erupts in anger as Toledo Jeep workers voice strong opposition to UAW-backed sellout deal
Strong opposition surfaced Sunday at an “informational” meeting called by United Auto Workers Local 12 to sell the tentative agreement with Stellantis to workers at the Jeep assembly complex in Toledo, Ohio.
Rank-and-file workers who spoke with the World Socialist Web Site expressed hostility to the UAW-backed deal, which surrendered all the core demands raised by workers at the start of the strike. Workers at the Jeep plant were called out on strike September 15 as part of the phony and toothless “stand up strike” engineered by UAW President Shawn Fain.
WSWS supporters distributed copies of the statement issued by the Autoworkers Rank-and-File Committee Network calling for a “no” vote on the tentative agreements with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
One worker said, “I didn’t stand out in the cold for six weeks to get this garbage contract.”
Another said, “This is not a ‘historic’ contract, not for us, not in any way shape or form.”
After a while, several UAW officials came outside the University of Toledo auditorium where the campaigners were distributing the statement and starting yelling in menacing fashion at workers who took the leaflet. Most workers ignored them.
Workers expressed opposition to most aspects of the agreement: the 25 percent wage increase over four-and-a-half years, the inadequate cost-of-living formula, the failure to convert all temp workers to full-time, the failure to improve pensions or win pensions for new-hires, and the failure to eliminate tiers.
Workers reported that inside the meeting there was vocal opposition to UAW International and Local 12 officials who defended the deal. When UAW Vice President for Stellantis Rich Boyer could not respond to a question posed from the floor about missing pages in the contract white book, loud shouts of “vote no” erupted.
“A 2008 retiree has experienced a 33.5% reduction through inflation”: Retired autoworker denounces UAW sellout contract
Many retirees are not happy with the current contracts being voted on. As it stands today retirees will receive a $500 yearly bonus which is a far cry from what the active employees will receive. Many retirees are worried about inflation and have watched as their pensions have reduced their buying power year by year. A 2008 retiree has experienced a 33.5% reduction through inflation. With this contract we get a minimal 2.7% bump.
Many retirees are now going back to work to afford their rising expenses. Future retirees must remember this if and when they retire. As it stands now a new retiree should expect to work another job in retirement.
On another note I keep hearing from UAW members the disgust that Gary Jones, Dennis Williams and others were released from prison early, serving 9 months out of a 28 month sentence. The FBI recommended a 5 to 7 year prison sentence but using the newly formed UAW defense fund they were able to weasel out from full prosecution. Many are wondering just what these IUAW leaders walked away with? GM says they have alleged off shore bank accounts that the courts so far have refused to adjudicate. But I think they are set for life with two pensions, one from their home company and another from the UAW. Rumors are floating as to what they receive. I heard it was generous including COLA and other perks.
Please inform your readers as to what these criminals are receiving as a total package.
Flint GM workers speak out after rejecting UAW sellout deal
The vote by workers at the General Motors Flint Assembly Plant Thursday to reject the sellout tentative agreement negotiated by the United Auto Workers is a devastating blow to the claim that the deal contained “historic” gains for workers.
More workers are seeing that the contracts abandon all of the demands of workers. It fails to restore pensions or retiree healthcare. It maintains tiers and sanctions the continued super-exploitation of temporary workers. The 25 percent wage increase over four and a half years does not keep pace with inflation, let alone make up for decades of concessions.
A part-time temp worker at GM Flint Assembly told the World Socialist Web Site, “There has been a lot of tension in the plant over the whole situation. I myself, have to admit I was a little naive. I actually believed that Fain was going to get what he said he would. But he came up real short - I would say 50 percent short on wages. He lied to us about the temps being rolled over, about COLA. He lied about all of it. The terms of the contract in no way keep up with the increases in food prices, gas, and rent.
“I think it’s real big we voted ‘no’ here. We've go so many TPTs (part time temporary workers) that will be getting screwed with our tentative agreement. The union says that they’ve gotten rid of tiers, but this is total BS and everyone here knows it! Fain straight-up lied on video about removing them, and our local president was forced by the rank-and-file membership to acknowledge TPTs would still be a thing.
“We don't even have guaranteed way to get hired in, so nothing has really changed for us. I think our ‘no’ vote should inspire all the other auto and GM workers to also vote ‘no’. We’ve got one of the largest workforces in GM, that should show everyone that our ‘no’ vote means something. It represents a huge opposition among all the workers.”
Other workers expressed their feelings on Facebook, one posted, “It’s not the money. It’s the mandatory overtime, COLA not being immediate and for all hourly employees, including temps, it’s lack of an immediate end to tiers, it’s the 401K contribution not being on all payable hours, it’s the Doc 8 still out of control…too many issues still unresolved.”
A worker at the GM Tonawanda Engine plant wrote, “I can't believe this was brought to a vote with so many open-ended things still. At the very least this needs to go back and have the language finalized before voting.
“Think about the big picture here, there is too many loop holes in this that GM will 100% take advantage of. This needs to go back for further negotiations. My vote is definitely a NO.”
Worker at Ford Kentucky Truck plant says vote at the plant may be a “game changer”
While the Ford contract has secured a 70 percent “yes” vote so far, the contract only secured narrow passage at several of the large plants that have voted including Kansas City Assembly, 54-46 percent, and Chicago Assembly, 55-45 percent. The largest Ford units including the Kentucky Truck Plant, with close to 9,000 workers, and Dearborn Truck, with 6,000 production workers, have yet to vote.
With only days to go before the contract ratification vote, Ford workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant say there is much disgust with UAW President Shawn Fain and the phony “Stand Up Strike,” with some saying they were used as pawns. KTP workers were called out in a supposedly dramatic move as the UAW moved toward a contract settlement.
One worker told the World Socialist Web Site:
“I will say the mood in the plant has been very melancholy, many feel the ‘Stand up Strike’ has evolved into a ‘bend over’ strike and the union will desperately try to ram this contract to where the sun don’t shine.
“Not to be crass, but this is the language inside the plant and much of the blame is the union still not making the contract highlight book available and the vote is four days away! Many workers feel our solidarity on the line positioned us to be a catalyst of change in the labor movement, but instead we were nothing more than cannon fodder.
“KTP is the largest Ford facility and people have been visiting the UAW site vote tally online for all the plants. People feel KTP will be the deciding factor and it’s basically has created a schism with new workers loving it and legacy workers very disappointed.
“I haven’t heard anything positive about the contract coming from the membership that I’m around, however if that sentiment translates to the ballot box remains to be seen. If you visit the UAW website and look at the ratification tracker it seems like the contract is a sure-fire bet to get ratified. However, if you look even closer the margin is very narrow when you look at the locals with larger membership all except for one so far the contract was very close. I believe KTP will be a game changer and the margin of the contract will be close, however it may possibly fail.
“Strangely enough, besides Fain meeting with Biden at a rally, we here at KTP got the remaining of the $300 strike pay the UAW owes us for the strike ending during the week. Now we were ALL told by the UAW when we went to sign up for strike benefits this money would not be paid to us until after the contract was ratified but to sweeten things up now we get the money 3 days before the vote. Seems very fishy indeed!!!”
Opposition spreads to UAW sellout with vote starting Monday for key Stellantis plants in Detroit
Opposition is growing to the UAW sellout contact, with ratification votes set to be held at several large Detroit area assembly plants starting Monday. Among the plants voting will be the Toledo Jeep complex, Jefferson Assembly in Detroit, Sterling Heights Assembly and Warren Truck, all owned by Stellantis.
On Tuesday UAW Vice President for Stellantis Rich Boyer held a Facebook livestream defending the closure of 10 MOPAR parts facilities sanctioned under the 2023 contract, calling it “a hard decision, but the right decision.” He also defended the UAW’s agreement to force workers to use vacation and personal days instead of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, blaming the change on the supposed abuse of FMLA by workers “who don’t want to come into the plants.”
Boyer went on to defend the regressive changes to attendance policy with the tired nationalist argument that concessions were necessary to keep work from going to Canada, Mexico or Europe. For the past 40 years the UAW has promoted one giveback after another, always claiming that they would defend jobs. Meanwhile, the auto companies have closed scores of plants and wiped out 100s of thousands of jobs.
Boyer’s livestream drew hundreds of angry comments on Facebook. “Any reason we shot for a 32 hour work week and now they can force us holiday weekends at management needs?” one worker asked. “No vacation time added. Or why they said we added a holiday to our pay days off (June 19th) but just took our floating 4th of July holiday and moved it to June? Our work to life has not changed AT ALL!”
To which another worker responded, “Right! The reason the European companies don’t have high attendance [problems] is because they have a 32-hour work week! We’re forced weekends, can’t call in PA days and working 10+ hours a day.”
Another posted, “Win for the big 3 at this point! Strikes have historically moved mountains. I do not believe this TA has even budged the hill.”
About the supposed path to full time, a temp wrote, “from my understanding there’s a lot of loopholes just like the last contract. I’m a [TPT] and I’ve been there almost 2 years and just got laid off on Sunday. So do they plan on calling everyone back and hiring them? Or just playing games[?]”
A worker at MOPAR told the WSWS, “I hope Stellantis employees are actually educated enough to vote this down. They need to change the wording and stop giving the company the power to make changes as they please such as using our vacation and personal days before we can use FMLA days, that is insane to me and is a bigger slap to the consideration towards our quality of life.
“Mandatory OT needs to be adjusted in a big way and we need to make sure our local representatives have the power to actually represent us, in the ‘wording’ without having to go up the chain which then takes forever and most of the time never gets resolved even with simple grievances.”
A worker with four years at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant said, “The strike was 100 percent planned out by the administration. We were out for barely a week, and it was only at the end. It was 100 percent a phony strike and I am definitely voting ‘no.’”
He explained, “They said they were going to end tiers, but there are still tiers. Tiers are a huge thing at SHAP and they are causing a lot of division. A lot people can’t get better positions. They are using them against us and there is even a new one in this contract. It’s not good for anybody: those who have been here for 20 years, or 1 year, because it plays people against each other.
“Also retirement benefits. The big thing for me was pensions and they didn’t bring back a proper system. I want to retire. That’s why we’re here right?”
A temp worker at Warren Truck said the contract language about the conversion of temps to full time was confusing. “There are a lot of pissed off people at Warren Truck. This whole temporary full-time thing is hard to understand. I don’t know how this is going to work. If I don’t get rolled over right away, do I become a TFT and wait nine months to get rolled over?”
Five GM plants vote down UAW deal as momentum builds against sellout contract
As voting on the sellout contracts negotiated by the United Auto Workers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis continues, significant opposition has emerged, with workers voting to reject the contract at five General Motors plants.
According to results posted by United Auto Workers Local 598 Thursday, production and skilled trades workers at Flint Assembly voted by a combined 51.8 percent margin against the contract. The exact totals have not been released. There are over 4,500 workers employed at the plant, which builds the profitable Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light trucks.
Workers at four smaller facilities, Pontiac Stamping (212-169), Marion, Indiana Stamping (257-218), Romulus, Michigan, Powertrain (351-332) and the Parma Metal Center near Cleveland, Ohio, have also voted against the contract.
Production workers at the Flint Engine Plant, members of UAW Local 659, voted the contract down by a 52 percent margin, according to a post by the local on Facebook, which also stated that skilled trades and other units in the amalgamated local turned in majority “yes” votes. At Factory Zero in Detroit, the UAW announced that the contract passed among production workers by a narrow 53.6-46.4 percent margin. It also passed narrrowly--54.3-45.7 percent--at the Orion Assembly Plant, near Pontiac, Michigan.
As opposition grows to sellout auto contracts, Biden and Fain hold “back to work” rally
As thousands demonstrated against Joe Biden’s support for Israeli genocide in Chicago Thursday, Biden and United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain held a joint rally two hours away, in Belvidere, Illinois, to promote the sellout contract agreed to last week by the UAW bureaucracy and the Big Three auto companies.
The UAW-Biden event shined a light on the two-front war that the US ruling class is waging around the world.
Fain and Biden had nothing but praise for each other and for the tentative agreements, which maintain the hated tier system, block the rollover of “part-time” temporary workers, fail to make up for decades of falling wages, and pave the way for massive job losses through the switch to electric vehicles.
Spinning this sellout as a victory, Fain thanked Biden for “the support shown by the White House throughout this fight,” adding that “now we move on.” Biden returned the compliment to Fain, saying: “You’ve done one hell of a job,” praising the contracts as “historic” and “game changers.”
In presenting the contracts as done deals, both Fain and Biden forgot one minor detail: the rank and file.
Neither mentioned that the vast majority of the nearly 150,000 Big Three workers have not voted on the contract yet, or that major plants that have voted have voted down the contract in recent days, including GM Flint Assembly, Romulus Powertrain, Marion Stamping, and Pontiac Stamping/Powertrain.
The entire establishment holds workers’ most basic democratic rights in total contempt. Fain and the UAW leadership shut down all the strikes at the Big Three and ordered workers to return before they had even seen the tentative agreements. As if there was any doubt of their aims, organizers at the Chicago rally hung a banner behind the speakers which read: “Auto Workers Back to Work.”
“We’re fighting for our lives”: Warren Truck workers turning against UAW-Stellantis deal
Nearly 4,000 workers at the Stellantis Warren Truck Assembly plant are scheduled to vote on a UAW-backed agreement on Monday, November 13. As more details are revealed, workers at the suburban Detroit factory have increasingly leaned towards voting “no” on the four-and-half-year proposed deal.
The factory, where workers build the Dodge Ram 1500 Classic and Jeep Wagoneer models, has large numbers of temporary part-time (TPT) workers, including single parents struggling to survive on poverty-level pay while facing unpredictable schedules. The UAW bureaucracy is preying on the economic insecurity of these workers by promises of pay raises, signing bonuses, and the conversion of TPTs to full-time positions if they vote for the deal. But many TPTs have turned against the deal on learning that less than 2,000 temps will be converted within 90 days of ratification and that the nine-month rollover period can be extended with the agreement of the UAW.
So-called “legacy” workers, who have only gotten a few dollars in pay raises over the last twenty years, are angry over the 25 percent pay raise over the life of the agreement, and the inadequate cost-of-living formula, which will do nothing to protect them against record inflation. Second-tier workers hired in after 2007 are also angry that UAW President Shawn Fain dropped their demands for the restoration of company paid pensions and retiree health benefits.
Fain, President Biden and the corporate media have hailed the deals at Stellantis and other automakers as “historic contracts.” In fact, they will pave the way for a massive assault on jobs as the industry transitions to electric vehicle production. However, the contracts preserve the position of the UAW bureaucracy as an enforcer of management’s dictates in the plants.
Warren Truck workers who attended the “contract informational meetings” at the UAW Local 140 hall Wednesday spoke out against the tentative contract in comments to World Socialist Web Site reporters.
“The union officials passed out the highlights of the deal, but they weren’t talking about everything the company took,” a second-tier worker and member of the Warren Truck Rank-and-File Committee told the WSWS. “They kept saying, ‘Our team worked so hard. This is the best deal we got in 20 years.’ They threatened workers, saying, ‘If you vote this down, you’re going to be on the picket line for a long, cold winter.’ They were so arrogant, and you got the feeling that no matter how we voted they were going to tamper with the ballots and announce that it passed.
“I don’t care about their signing bonuses and getting a voucher to lease a Chrysler vehicle. We are fighting for our lives. I’m voting this down and I hope other workers will too. All the most important things are left out.”