Auto Workers Issues

Fiat Chrysler reports sharp rise in second-quarter profits

By Nick Barrickman, 31 July 2015

The huge profits at the Big Three are the product of a relentless drive by the automakers, with the full backing of the United Auto Workers union, to slash labor costs.

Ford and GM announce huge quarterly profits

By Josh Varlin, 29 July 2015

As auto executives demand more sacrifices from workers, Ford and General Motors posted huge profits in the second quarter thanks to years of union-backed concessions.

Mitsubishi announces closure of central Illinois auto plant

By David Brown, 29 July 2015

The closure—which will destroy the jobs of 1,260 workers—follows a 2010 contract pushed through by the United Auto Workers that cut wages in the name of “saving” the plant.

UAW keeps sellout plans concealed as talks open with Ford

By Shannon Jones, 24 July 2015

Behind the scenes the parameters are being developed for a betrayal of auto workers

Who’s who on the UAW negotiating team?

By Gabriel Black, 23 July 2015

The top four bargainers for the UAW—Dennis Williams, James Settles, Cindy Estrada and Norwood Jewell—have a long record of imposing the dictates of corporate management.

GM officials unlikely to face criminal charges for coverup of deadly defects

By Shannon Jones, 21 July 2015

The company’s executives are apparently the latest in a long list of corporate malefactors to escape prosecution for their actions.

Autoworkers denounce UAW lies about ending two-tier system at Indiana plant

By Marcus Day, 21 July 2015

While the UAW claims to have “bridged the gap” at the Hammond plant, in reality it created a new tier of workers making as little as $11 an hour.

The battle ahead for US autoworkers

By Jerry White, 16 July 2015

The opening of talks on new contracts covering 140,000 US autoworkers was marked by a grotesque display of UAW-corporate unity on plans to boost company profits and increase exploitation.

Fiat Chrysler, CNH sign performance-based deal with Italian trade unions

By Marc Wells, 16 July 2015

The new Fiat Chrysler deal replaces salary increases with performance-based bonuses, a pittance compared to the wages and benefits that were lost.

Socialist Equality Party launches digital WSWS Autoworker Newsletter

By Jerry White, 15 July 2015

The weekly newsletter will provide coverage of the struggle confronting 139,000 US workers at General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, whose labor contracts expire September 15.

Workers face 1930s-type exploitation at Chicago Ford plant

By Kristina Betinis, 15 July 2015

A class action suit names both management personnel and UAW officials in connection with sexual harassment, racial discrimination and threats of violence.

UAW-GM talks open in Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 14 July 2015

The opening of negotiations at the UAW-GM Human Resources Center had all the trappings of an in-house event, held in a mood of mutual praise and backslapping.

Contract talks set to begin for 140,000 US autoworkers

By Jerry White, 13 July 2015

The negotiations do not involve antagonistic parties, as the UAW long ago abandoned any defense of workers’ interests and tied its institutional fate to the profits of the auto companies.

As contract talks set to start

Ford threatens mass layoffs at Michigan truck plant

By Tim Rivers, 13 July 2015

In a surprise announcement July 9, Ford Motor Company said it will shift production of the Focus and C-Max from its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan to an undisclosed location outside the US The move threatens the jobs of 4,000 workers employed at the plant.

The significance of Greece

By Jerry White, 10 July 2015

In the face of economic blackmail and even threats of a military coup, the Greek working class overwhelmingly rejected the European Union’s austerity demands.

UAW vs. autoworkers: Who are the freeloaders?

By Shannon Jones, 6 July 2015

The UAW is attempting to slander and intimidate workers who refuse to pay union dues under terms of Michigan’s “Right to Work” law.

The issues in the US auto contract talks

By Shannon Jones, 26 June 2015

With the formal start of talks set for July 13, auto workers are being kept in the dark, fed bits and scraps of information filtered through the corporate-controlled media.

Top GM and Fiat Chrysler negotiators depart on eve of UAW contract talks

By Shannon Jones, 18 June 2015

US automakers are reaffirming their determination to hold down labor costs.

Where did half a billion dollars from the UAW strike fund go?

By Jerry White, 9 June 2015

UAW local officials have told auto workers to save money from their meager earnings and be prepared to rely on charity in the event of a strike this summer.

Build rank-and-file committees to prepare the fight for jobs and wages!

By Jerry White, 5 June 2015

With little more than three months before the expiration of the labor agreement with GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler, autoworkers need to prepare now for a fight to defend their interests.

UAW, Fiat Chrysler maintain silence on death of skilled trades worker

By Shannon Jones, 29 May 2015

Donald Megge, a 53-year-old skilled trades worker at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit was crushed to death May 5 while performing maintenance on a filter press.

Most Turkish auto workers end strike

By Jean Shaoul, 26 May 2015

The apparent concessions by the auto manufacturers reflect extreme nervousness on the part of the corporations and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Many questions remain in death of Detroit Fiat-Chrysler worker

By Shannon Jones, 15 May 2015

After the death of Donald Megge, workers at the Jefferson North Assembly plant have described numerous accidents due to pressure to meet production targets.

UAW ready to sanction new subclass of low-paid US auto workers

By Jerry White, 13 May 2015

The United Auto Workers union is in discussion with the Detroit automakers about the creation of a new tier of factory workers who will earn as little as $10 an hour.

Official death toll from GM ignition defect reaches 100

By Shannon Jones, 13 May 2015

The figure probably significantly understates the toll relating to the defect, which can cause some GM vehicles to suddenly lose power.

Unifor bows to latest GM Canada layoffs

By Carl Bronski, 9 May 2015

Seeking to extort further massive concessions, GM has said it will determine the fate of its Oshawa plants only after the 2016 contract negotiations.

Fiat-Chrysler worker crushed to death at Detroit assembly plant

By Shannon Jones, 6 May 2015

Donald Megge, a 53-year-old skilled trades worker, died while repairing machinery at the Jefferson North plant’s wastewater treatment facility.

Families of accident victims denounce ruling upholding GM bankruptcy shield

By Shannon Jones, 23 April 2015

Accident victims and their families will not be able to sue for death or injuries sustained while driving defective GM vehicles prior to the company’s July 2009 exit from bankruptcy.

Germany: Behind the conflict at Volkswagen

By Ulrich Rippert, 17 April 2015

A public attack by Volkswagen chief executive Ferdinand Piëch on the chairman of the board has provoked a leadership crisis at Europe’s largest auto company.

Detroit Chrysler workers express support for May Day rally against war

By our reporting team, 17 April 2015

Supporters of the SEP and the IYSSE campaigned at the Fiat-Chrysler Warren Truck plant outside Detroit, urging workers to take part in the International May Day 2015 Online Rally.

The UAW’s loyal opposition

By Jerry White, 11 April 2015

At last month’s UAW bargaining convention, a group of self-styled “dissidents” worked to bolster illusions that the UAW is a viable organization that can be reformed through pressure from below.

German carmakers withdraw from Russia

By Jan Peters, 4 April 2015

Western economic sanctions against Russia are having an effect, and workers in the Russian and European car industries are paying the price.

US auto executives handed multimillion-dollar pay packages

By Shannon Jones, 2 April 2015

The CEOs of the three major US-based car companies have announced huge pay packages for top officials in advance of contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers.

UAW president open to discuss new lower pay scale for auto workers

By Jerry White, 30 March 2015

In a March 25 press conference following the United Auto Workers bargaining convention in Detroit, UAW President Dennis Williams said he was willing to consider the creation of a new, third tier of workers.

At bargaining convention in Detroit

UAW president insists auto workers must “face the facts” of global competition

By Jerry White, 26 March 2015

Facing demands from workers for a significant improvement of wages, the UAW reasserted its commitment to maintaining the competitiveness and profitability of the US automakers.

United Auto Workers union meets in Detroit to prepare 2015 contract betrayal

By Jerry White, 25 March 2015

The first day of the UAW bargaining convention underscored the organization’s role as a tool of the auto companies and the Obama administration.

As United Auto Workers bargaining convention opens

Media worries whether UAW can contain auto workers’ expectations

By Shannon Jones, 24 March 2015

With GM, Ford and Chrysler raking in an estimated $76 billion since 2009, auto workers are determined to win improvements in the upcoming auto contract talks.

The UAW and the GM share buy-back scheme

By Shannon Jones, 25 February 2015

The UAW has indicated that it could endorse share buy-backs, enriching billionaire shareholders at the expense of workers.

The GM-UAW profit-sharing fraud

By Jerry White, 6 February 2015

The profit-sharing checks being passed out by the Detroit automakers are a pittance compared to what auto workers have lost through wage and benefit cuts.

Fate of GM production in Canada uncertain

By Carl Bronski, 24 January 2015

The automaker has remained silent on its plans for continued production in Canada beyond 2017.

Fiat-Chrysler boss wants wages tied to profits in new auto contract

By Shannon Jones, 23 January 2015

In remarks at the Detroit auto show last week, Sergio Marchionne reiterated his demand that the two-tier wage be abolished by phasing out higher-paid workers.

Brazilian auto workers strike over job cuts

By Jerry White, 9 January 2015

Workers at Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz factories in São Paulo’s industrial belt walked out to protest downsizing in the Brazilian auto industry.

Navistar closing foundry in Indianapolis, Indiana

By Jerry White, 22 December 2014

The plant closing, which comes after the UAW accepted a 40 percent wage cut, is the latest in the area, long-known as a major automotive and manufacturing center.

Confronting anger over two-tier wages and low pay

US auto union president postures in advance of 2015 contract talks

By Shannon Jones, 18 December 2014

UAW President Doug Williams’ remarks reflect the union's awareness of wide hostility among auto workers to the two-tier wage system

Germany: GM Opel plant closure exposes bankruptcy of IG Metall

By Dietmar Henning, 8 December 2014

The first closure of an auto plant in German postwar history has been facilitated by the IG Metall engineering union.

Toyota Australia details restructuring plans after 2017 shutdown

By Will Morrow, 6 December 2014

The trade unions have been the key accomplices of the companies, along with state and federal governments, in organising the shutdown of the auto industry.

French automaker Peugeot-Citroën plans new mass layoffs

By Stéphane Hugues, 29 November 2014

The Peugeot-Citroën group has laid out plans for a new wave of mass sackings accompanied, as in previous years, by public denials that these are being prepared.

Volkswagen opens backdoor entry for UAW at Tennessee plant

By Tom Eley, 15 November 2014

Assured that the organization will do its bidding, VW is preparing to defy a vote by workers and install the UAW at its Chattanooga plant.

Ford uses automated phone messages to fire Chicago workers

By George Marlowe, 11 November 2014

Fearing angry opposition to layoffs, Ford sent out recorded robocalls to 100 temporary workers informing them that their services were no longer needed.

Further job cuts in European auto industry

By Jan Peters, 7 November 2014

Thousands of job cuts are taking place at major assembly plants and in the parts industry.

Striking Bosch workers in India defy state government ban

By Sathish Simon, 22 October 2014

Bosch auto workers have been on strike in Bangalore since September 16, fighting for higher wages and better working conditions.

German union proposes cost-cutting plan to boost VW profits

By Dietmar Henning, 22 October 2014

VW’s works council has presented a 400-page proposal aimed at tripling company profits.

UAW creates new class of low-paid workers in deal at Indiana Lear plant

By Alexander Fangmann, 25 September 2014

Although UAW leaders said the deal would end the hated two-tier wage system, 40 percent of the workforce will be reclassified as “subassembly” workers making poverty-level wages.

UAW holds one-day strike at Indiana auto parts plant

By Kristina Betinis, 16 September 2014

Nearly 800 auto workers struck to demand an end to low wages, which they compare to the pay in the fast-food industry.

Automaker Fiat shifts headquarters out of Italy

By Marianne Arens, 12 August 2014

After completing the merger with Chrysler, Fiat has shifted its headquarters from Turin to Amsterdam.

Ontario Liberals re-start talks to award more handouts to Fiat-Chrysler

By Carl Bronski, 23 July 2014

The Canadian auto union is lobbying for a massive handout to Fiat-Chrysler and preparing to impose further concessions on auto workers to secure it.

General Motors CEO says company will use bankruptcy to shield itself from lawsuits

By Gabriel Black, 22 July 2014

By denying victims and their families access to the courts, the company stands to avoid billions of dollars in damages.

Volkswagen CEO announces “painful cuts”

By Dietmar Henning, 22 July 2014

The German company plans to implement €5 in annual cost reductions within three years.

South Korean auto workers hold first strike of the year

By Ben McGrath, 19 July 2014

Renault Samsung workers held a partial strike Monday demanding increased wages and other benefits.

GM withheld information about crashes tied to defective ignition switch

By Gabriel Black, 17 July 2014

Documents obtained by the New York Times show that GM withheld information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about a fatal crash tied to a faulty ignition switch.

SEP campaign against Detroit water shutoffs evokes warm response from Chrysler workers

By our reporters, 14 July 2014

“They treat people like animals in Detroit,” a worker said. “In here it’s the same; you’re like a robot.”

“GM is alright with safety as long as it doesn’t interfere with sending parts out the door.”

Worker killed in chemical explosion at Indiana GM plant

By Jerry White, 3 July 2014

James L. Gibson, a 48-year-old worker for Quaker Chemical, was pronounced dead at Marion General Hospital about an hour after the blast.

Documents indicate GM tops knew of ignition defect

By Gabriel Black, 2 July 2014

New documents released by Congress indicate high-ranking GM executives knew as early as 2005 about an ignition defect tied to fatal crashes.

Jailed Maruti Suzuki workers in India continue to be denied bail

By Arun Kumar and Kranti Kumara, 1 July 2014

The bail application hearing for the framed-up Maruti Suzuki India workers continues to drag on in the Supreme Court.

GM makes minimal offer to crash victims

By Shannon Jones, 1 July 2014

GM hopes to settle on the cheap its liabilities from a deadly ignition defect tied to numerous fatal crashes.

German automaker BMW reports record sales, prepares attacks on workers

By Michael Regens, 30 June 2014

In close collaboration with the trade unions, Germany’s third largest automaker is planning major wage cuts and rationalisation measures.

GM-Opel: Union “social wage contract” splits German auto workers

By Dietmar Henning, 23 June 2014

The union-backed contract is the climax of a campaign to carry out the closure of the GM-Opel factory in Bochum.

US Congressional committee gives GM a pass on deadly ignition defect

By Shannon Jones, 20 June 2014

A US House of Representatives panel investigating the recent GM recall failed to ask CEO Mary Barra or attorney Anton Valukas any serious or penetrating questions

IG-Metall holds bogus “youth protest” at GM-Opel in Rüsselsheim, Germany

By Marianne Arens, 20 June 2014

The same day as the event, the German metalworkers’ union signed a deal with GM-Opel sealing the fate of thousands of workers losing their jobs at the company’s Bochum plant.

Ford announces 250 forced redundancies in Australia

By our correspondent, 18 June 2014

The move points to an accelerating shut down of the automotive industry in the country, orchestrated by governments, corporations and the unions.

Germany: Ford works council agrees to flexible working and job cuts

By Dietmar Henning, 16 June 2014

The measures agreed in Cologne will bring the company total savings of $400 million (€295 million) over five years.

Internal report details GM ignition cover-up

By Shannon Jones, 14 June 2014

The report commissioned by General Motors into the recall of vehicles with a deadly ignition defect paints a devastating picture of corporate indifference to public health and safety.

Relatives of GM crash victims hold Detroit protest

By Shannon Jones, 11 June 2014

Family members denounced the recent report commissioned by GM as a cover-up designed to shield top officials.

The UAW vs. the auto workers

By Jerry White, 9 June 2014

In every respect, the auto union convention exhibited the antidemocratic and anti-working class character of the organization.

US auto union installs long-time wage-cutter as new president

By Shannon Jones, 5 June 2014

The election of Dennis Williams, UAW secretary treasurer and hand picked successor of outgoing UAW President Bob King, was little more than a formality.

No replacement jobs for most workers laid off from Bochum plant in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 5 June 2014

Despite assurances from the IG Metall trade union, only a small number of temporary and low-wage replacement jobs will be offered to the more than 3,000 laid-off workers.

US auto union meets to install new president

By Jerry White, 3 June 2014

Many of the 1,100 delegates are national, regional or local officials on the UAW payroll, and most are well versed in colluding with the employers to impose speedup and wage and benefit cuts.

Pressure on GM over death count tied to recall

By Shannon Jones, 30 May 2014

GM still insists only 13 deaths are tied to ignition defect despite evidence that the actual toll is far higher.

Toyota in India intensifies repression against workers

By Arun Kumar and W.A. Sunil, 17 May 2014

The management of Toyota in India has taken new steps to intimidate the auto maker’s unionized workforce at its two plants.

GM presses judge to shut down lawsuits stemming from ignition defect

By Shannon Jones, 6 May 2014

The auto company is relying on the Obama administration’s bailout to free it of liability for dozens, if not hundreds, of deaths.

GM autoworker: “They say ‘safety first’ but it’s really profit that’s first”

GM safety violations linked to cost-cutting attacks on workers

By Jerry White, 23 April 2014

From 2002 to 2012, GM cut its hourly workforce by 12 percent each year.

General Motors uses bankruptcy to deflect safety responsibility

By Matthew MacEgan, 23 April 2014

General Motors has filed a suit in federal court to enforce a bar on lawsuits resulting from defective cars sold prior to its bankruptcy in 2009.

As safety complaints mounted, GM avoided recalls that could cut into profits

By Jerry White, 22 April 2014

GM officials opted to issue “technical service bulletins” to car dealerships instead of removing potentially deadly vehicles from the road.

Judge denies suit seeking to force GM to ground recalled cars

By Shannon Jones, 19 April 2014

The cars have defective ignitions that have been tied to fatal crashes in which airbags failed to deploy.

Police attack locked-out Toyota workers in India

By Arun Kumar, Moses Rajkumar and Kranti Kumara, 11 April 2014

Toyota India workers engaged in hunger strike were brutally attacked by state police on April 6.

European automakers outsource production to eastern Europe and China

By Denis Krassnin and Dietmar Henning, 9 April 2014

European automakers are using outsourcing of production to cut jobs and drive down wages and working conditions in western Europe.

The GM ignition scandal and the case for public ownership

By Shannon Jones, 1 April 2014

Both corporate management and government regulators turned a blind eye for years to mounting reports of death and injury caused by a defective ignition system.

Toyota locks out auto workers in India

By Kranti Kumara, 24 March 2014

Japanese auto company Toyota has locked out its entire unionized workforce at its two plants in India.

Toyota pays $1.2 billion to escape prosecution for defect deaths and injuries

By James Cogan, 21 March 2014

The fine agreed by Toyota and the US Justice Department sets a precedent that can be used by General Motors.

SEP holds meeting to oppose Australian car industry shutdown

By our reporters, 18 March 2014

Speakers outlined the need for the global unity of workers, and a socialist perspective, to fight the worldwide assault by the auto giants.

Evidence mounts of cover-up of deaths related to GM ignition defect

By Shannon Jones, 17 March 2014

A new study of crash data shows that 303 fatalities may be linked to an ignition problem with several GM models.

Germany: Workers protest Johnson Controls closure in Bochum

By Dietmar Henning, 8 March 2014

Johnson Controls plans to eliminate 220 of 660 jobs in Bochum when the neighbouring GM/Opel plant closes at the end of the year.

Ford Australia refuses to guarantee production until 2016

By Will Morrow, 8 March 2014

The threat of an imminent plant closure will be used to intimidate workers into accepting deeper attacks on wages and conditions.

Socialist Equality Party public meeting in Melbourne

A global political strategy to defend car industry jobs

6 March 2014

Working class suburbs in Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide face being deindustrialised and impoverished like American cities such as Detroit.

100 years since Ford’s five dollar day

By Tom Mackaman, 5 March 2014

Ford’s profit-sharing scheme was billed as the key to social harmony. Yet socialism and the Russian Revolution, coming just four years later, breathed a new spirit into the American class struggle.

The political lessons of the UAW debacle in Tennessee

By Jerry White, 27 February 2014

The rejection of the United Auto Workers union by workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee has provoked an outpouring of handwringing and despair from liberal and pseudo-left publications.

GM’s job destruction and the South Korean pseudo-left

By Ben McGrath, 25 February 2014

In conditions of growing distrust and anger among workers, All Together is playing a filthy role as apologist and defender of the KCTU, KMWU and other trade unions.

Ford Cologne: Management and IG Metall union blackmail workers

By Dietmar Henning, 24 February 2014

After the closure of Ford plants in Genk, Southampton and Dagenham, now the plant in Cologne is under threat.

Socialist Equality Party campaigns against Toyota Australia shutdown

By our reporters, 22 February 2014

SEP campaigners met with a warm response from Toyota workers, many of whom bitterly denounced the union for its partnership with the company.

GM axes more auto jobs in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 20 February 2014

GM Korea plans to slash 1,100 jobs from its Gunsan factory, part of an overall assault on auto workers in Korea and internationally.