Letters on the American Axle strike
21 May 2008
The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to our coverage of the American Axle strike in Michigan and New York, including “Anger in Detroit over UAW sellout at American Axle,” and the WSWS/SEP statement, “Reject UAW sellout at American Axle! Mobilize auto workers against attacks on jobs and wages!”
I believe in your views of the sellout. The only problem is that people here at AAM have lost almost everything and need the buyout money. With that said, I would certainly love to explore the idea of a new candidate for president, outside of the corrupt two-party system that we know today. We certainly need the lobbyists out of Washington along with campaign and tax reform at the very least. I would entertain any suggestions you may have on this matter.
Allen Park, Michigan, USA
18 May 2008* * *
We got raped! We got sold out by the UAW! If we vote it down, he can and will hire scabs, and the UAW will do nothing about it! What choice do we have? None! Mr. Gettelfinger sold us out! We vote now on Thursday.
19 May 2008* * *
The more things change the more they stay the same. Time flies. I can hardly believe I’ve been retired for eight years now. But I still remember when UAW New Directions had power back then, and we would go to the UAW Constitutional Conventions, voted to go there by our UAW members. If one of our ND members stood up and spoke and hammered the UAW too long, it was the old “cut off the mic trick.” I would advise American Axle workers to think long and hard about taking the retirement buyout. As a current retiree, in the last year, it has been getting very hard and cruel out here in the real world. The hike in gas and everything else is making the “golden years” not as nice on a fixed income. But then, cutting back here and cutting back there is a tradeoff for not having to start your day with an alarm clock and having to work for the fascists.
Perry, Michigan, USA
19 May 2008* * *
Anger is right, but with a powerful sense of betrayal by those supposedly there to defend workers’ rights, whilst it is obvious that the union officials are defending their own interests. One can’t help seeing the feeling of helplessness and resignation on the part of the workers, who have been on strike and picketing for three months, whilst the union officials conspired to break the picket and emasculate the strike. All for the miserly strike pay!
Anger, yes! There is also a suspicion, and well founded, that the workers of American Axle are being used by the bosses as guinea pigs and a precedent for other plants. So far, the tactics of US capital have been so successful that North America is starting to be regarded as a high-skill, relatively low-wage location by some “developed” countries in Europe. There is also the evident isolation of this struggle, which should be by rights in the forefront of the working class in the US and internationally.
Anger, quite right, but anger mixed with resignation. If this strike falls, and the egregious conditions are imposed on the workers, the rest will be easy for other enterprises, the bosses feel. What appears overall from this posting, is that there is a lack of direction and perspective for the American Axle workers, which inevitably leads to confusion and a sense of insecurity and inevitability. There is a crying need for an advocacy/support group, that could advise on tactics, getting support, legal alternatives—for example, can an independent union be formed, can union officials be sacked, etc. This is something that SEP/WSWS surely could organise and help run? This would be a lot better than just handing out leaflets, and then leave the workers on their own! Anger, by all means, but let’s direct that anger!
19 May 2008