Auto Workers Issues

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.

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.

The UAW debacle in Tennessee

By Jerry White, 18 February 2014

The vote was a verdict on the UAW, which is correctly seen by workers as a tool of the auto companies.

Auto workers reject UAW at Tennessee VW plant

By Tom Eley and Jerry White, 17 February 2014

The vote at the Chattanooga VW plant is a debacle for the UAW, which had based its survival strategy on being invited into plants by corporations like Volkswagen.

Toyota registers record profit through ruthless restructuring

By John Watanabe, 14 February 2014

The restructuring of Toyota’s operations, within Japan and internationally, is aimed at driving down wages and increasing exploitation.

Australian car industry closure: A warning to workers internationally

By James Cogan, 13 February 2014

The situation facing car workers in Australia is a devastating historical verdict on all national programs and the profit system itself.

Australian Labor Party and unions posture over Toyota closure

By Patrick O’Connor, 12 February 2014

The previous Labor government presided over the axing of more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs between 2007 and 2013, including in the car industry.

Following Ford and GM, Toyota Australia announces end of car production

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 February 2014

Unless the working class takes up a fight in defence of jobs against the closures, the entire auto industry in Australia will be wiped out.

French automaker PSA plans to slash jobs at Poissy, shift production to Asia

By Stéphane Hugues, 11 February 2014

PSA is intensifying the exploitation of its work force, relying on speedup and job cuts in Europe while preparing a major production shift towards Asia.

Build rank-and-file committees to defend VW workers

Reject UAW-Volkswagen company union

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (US)

11 February 2014

Workers have no interest in voting for recognition of the UAW, which functions as a pro-company police force in the auto plants.

Ford Australia brings forward 300 job cuts

By James Cogan, 7 February 2014

The unions have moved immediately to suppress any opposition by bitter Ford workers.

Lou Renfrow (1925-2014)

By Shannon Jones, 6 February 2014

Lou Renfrow played an important role in the party’s intervention among auto workers in Dayton, Ohio.

Australian government inquiry calls for end to car industry subsidies

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 February 2014

Decisive layers within the ruling elite have concluded that most of the industry is “globally uncompetitive” and should be allowed to collapse.

Australian government intervenes against Toyota workers

By Will Morrow, 30 January 2014

The government is presenting its insistence that workers vote on Toyota’s cost-cutting demands under the fraudulent guise of giving them the “right” to choose.

Australia: SEP campaigns among Toyota workers

By a reporting team, 24 January 2014

Socialist Equality Party supporters interviewed workers at Toyota’s Altona plant in Melbourne about the destruction of jobs and conditions.

Australia: Car components workers speak on auto industry shutdown

By our reporters, 21 January 2014

Workers in the car components sector have been under relentless assault since the 2008 financial crash and global restructuring of the auto industry.

“The government, courts and police are all stacked against us”—spokesman for victimized Maruti Suzuki India workers

By Deepal Jayasekera and Arun Kumar, 21 January 2014

Vicitimized Maruti Suzuki India worker Mahabir Dhimm spoke with the WSWS about the government-company frame-up of 148 of his co-workers and the speed-up and repressive regime at the Manesar assembly plant .

Germany: Daimler works council pits contract workers against permanent staff

By Philipp Frisch, 20 January 2014

The IG Metall union and the Daimler works council are cooperating with management to increase the proportion of poorly paid employees on a contracted tenure.

Australia: Broadmeadows workers speak on car industry crisis

By our reporters, 15 January 2014

Ford’s planned shutdown in 2016 will see nearly 1,000 jobs destroyed in Broadmeadows.

Socialist Alliance and the destruction of Australian car industry jobs

By James Cogan, 15 January 2014

A prominent Socialist Alliance member, Tim Gooden, is actively assisting the closure of the Ford plant in Geelong.

India’s “judiciary acts on the agenda of the capitalists”

—says lawyer for Maruti Suzuki workers facing frame-up murder charges

By Deepal Jayasekera and Arun Kumar, 8 January 2014

The lawyer leading the legal defence of the 148 Maruti Suzuki India workers facing frame-up charges of murder and other grave crimes recently spoke with the WSWS.

Fiat’s $4.35 billion payoff to UAW, Inc.

By Jerry White, 4 January 2014

The payoff to the UAW is being financed out of the sweat and blood of Chrysler workers, who have been subjected to savage wage cuts and speedup over the last four years.

India: Protest denounces frame-up of Maruti Suzuki auto workers

An on-the-spot report

By Jai Sharma and Arun Kumar, 31 December 2013

Victimized workers from Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar car assembly plant staged a two-day protest in Gurgaon, Haryana earlier this month to denounce the witch hunt that the company, police and Congress Party state government have jointly mounted against them.

German IG Metall union refuses to present agreement to GM-Opel workers

By Dietmar Henning, 28 December 2013

The contract recently agreed by GM-Opel and German IG Metall union has sealed the fate of the plant in Bochum.

Elizabeth, South Australia: A city devastated by General Motors Holden

By Zac Hambides, 27 December 2013

The plant closure will destroy the last 1,600 car manufacturing jobs and hit a working-class community already suffering from decades of job shedding.

Australian government inquiry blames wage levels for car plant closures

By James Cogan, 23 December 2013

The primary purpose of the Productivity Commission’s interim report is to endorse the clamour by corporations and media commentators for cuts to wages and conditions.

Australia’s auto closures pose need for a global workers’ strategy

By Mike Head, 20 December 2013

The ending of production in an entire country is a concentrated expression of the ongoing, ruthless restructuring of the global auto industry.

Australia: Adelaide workers discuss Holden shutdown

By a WSWS reporting team, 20 December 2013

SEP assistant national secretary James Cogan, addressing workers outside the Elizabeth Plant, called for a unified international struggle to defend jobs, wages and conditions.

Australian auto workers condemn Holden plant closure

By a WSWS reporting team, 19 December 2013

WSWS reporters spoke to workers at the General Motors Holden assembly plant in Elizabeth in South Australia, slated for closure in 2017.

India: Frame-up trial of Maruti Suzuki auto workers continues

By Kranti Kumara, 19 December 2013

One hundred forty-seven Maruti Suzuki workers who face a long list of frame-up charges, including murder, are to appear for their next court hearing Friday, December 20.

Australian unions stage phony protest against GMH shutdown

By Margaret Rees, 17 December 2013

The unions used the rally as a platform to offer their services to the government and employers to police further cost-cutting.

Australia: Toyota exploits GM shutdown to bolster wage-cutting drive

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 December 2013

The company is threatening to end production in Australia unless costs are slashed by $3,800 per vehicle.

The role of Labor and the unions in the assault on car industry workers in Australia

By James Cogan, 13 December 2013

The demagogy against Abbott over GM Holden’s closure is orchestrated, staged, cynical and fake.

Australia: Toyota foreshadows closure in wake of Holden announcement

By James Cogan, 12 December 2013

Toyota has issued its threat partly to pressure its workforce to accept a revised workplace agreement that will slash their pay and conditions.

GM announces closure of Holden in Australia

By James Cogan, 11 December 2013

The closure signals a massive escalation in the assault on the living standards and social rights of the working class across Australia.

Government sources claim GM will shut Holden subsidiary in Australia

By James Cogan, 9 December 2013

Holden’s closure will be the death knell of the Australian auto manufacturing industry.

UAW considers dues hike

By Shannon Jones, 7 December 2013

Facing declining membership and falling wages, the outcome of its repeated betrayals, the United Auto Workers is eyeing a 25 percent rise in membership dues.

German union seals shutdown of GM-Opel’s Bochum plant

By Dietmar Henning, 22 November 2013

IG Metall has reached a deal with GM-Opel management confirming the shutdown of the Bochum plant by the end of 2014.

Australian car workers strike over treatment of sacked colleagues

By Chris Sadlier and James Cogan, 16 November 2013

The strike at Port Melbourne testifies to the immense frustration and anger among car workers across the entire industry.

Chrysler workers speak on inquiry into Detroit bankruptcy

By a WSWS reporting team, 11 November 2013

Workers at the Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly Plant voiced support for the proposal for a workers inquiry in the bankruptcy of Detroit.

Secret report foreshadows closure of Australian car industry

By James Cogan, 8 November 2013

The report predicts the destruction of tens of thousands of jobs, leading to the impoverishment of major working class suburbs.

UAW bids to set up company union at Tennessee Volkswagen plant

By Jerry White, 5 November 2013

The UAW is relying on VW management to establish a “union” at the Chattanooga plant, which would be a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

Australian car workers confront plant closures, job losses

By Patrick O’Connor, 1 November 2013

General Motors is preparing to follow Ford in shutting down production, while Toyota announced new moves to slash labour costs.

Ford, Chrysler and GM rack up profits from wage-cutting

By Tim Rivers, 31 October 2013

Ford, Chrysler and GM reported a total of nearly $4 billion in third quarter profits.

Toyota Australia slashes jobs, demands cost-cutting

By James Cogan, 16 October 2013

Company statements raised the spectre of the remaining 2,400 Toyota workers being confronted with a new General Motors-style industrial agreement, tearing up wages and conditions.

Video: Auto workers defend Detroit Institute of Arts

15 October 2013

Chrysler and Ford workers voice their opposition to the threatened sale of art from the Detroit Institute of Arts.