Autoworkers from throughout the US are denouncing the actions of United Auto Workers officials in throwing WSWS Autoworker Newsletter reporters out of a press conference on Wednesday.
Officials at Local 600 in Dearborn forcibly ejected two reporters, including Autoworker Newsletter editor Jerry White, from the union hall where the press conference was being held and took a cell phone being used to record the incident. The press conference was addressed by Vice President Jimmy Settles as the UAW intensified its campaign of economic blackmail aimed at seeking a “yes” vote at Ford. (See, “Video shows UAW officials grabbing cell phone, forcibly ejecting WSWS reporters from press conference”)
A tier-two worker at Dearborn Stamping, which is covered by Local 600, said, “I don’t think that was very fair. I thought it was uncalled for. All the other media is posting highlights, not the low lights. You guys put the whole deal on the table.”
A senior worker from the General Motors Parma, Ohio Metal Fab plant said, “The WSWS is for the workers. I can see why they banned you, because you support us workers.
“The WSWS has exposed the truth. Every year I have more and more problems with the UAW leadership. They don’t care about us and they lie.
“Every time I tell them the truth about the national contract they keep saying, ‘Oh it’s a good contract.’ I am tired of all the concessions. I hate the two-tier wage. They don’t care about us. I am sick and tired of it. We haven’t had a raise in 12 years. The Big Three are making all kinds of money, and we don’t get anything.
“In 2011, I went to the national contract information meeting. I nearly blew up in their faces while I was on the floor. I told them it wasn’t a good contract. I said all you want to do is shove a piece of garbage contract down our throats.
“Then the UAW took money to pay a public relations firm so they could push that crappy contract. A lot of workers want to fight back. The UAW loves management and they love the money more than they care about the workers.”
“From my own experience the UAW is a company union. It is not a workers union. Anyone who speaks up for workers, they cut them out. I have seen it with my own two eyes. I am not surprised about the way the UAW treated you, because that’s the way they treat us.”
A worker at the Ford Lima, Ohio engine plant said after watching the video, “It was embarrassing, shameful and made me angry. What they did to you guys was exactly what was done [to workers] when they were forming the UAW. It wasn’t ok then, but it’s ok now. I don’t understand that.
“It was a public press conference. They are no better than thugs back from the mafia.
“I know why they feel frightened. Look at all the numbers on the votes. I think it has got to the point where they are afraid the gravy train is going to be derailed. Sooner or later something has to break. It has gotten to the point where I don’t know why the international hasn’t been investigated.
“Why can’t we get a national station to air this so everyone can see this [video]? They have done a good job through the national media to hide it.
“What bugs me is that our union dues were raised to support a strike, but all that did was replenish what the UAW had taken. They feel they are above it all and that’s just the way it is.”
A worker at the Fiat Chrysler Toledo Jeep plant said on Friday, “I have problems with the UAW in general. For them to touch somebody is wrong. If you want media in there, all the media should be there. But they just want their media mouthpieces.
“If the company would have done that to some of our people, the UAW would have been up in arms. If they can do it to someone else, that is hypocritical. All we have gotten from the UAW since the beginning of the year is a bunch of hypocrisy. They raised our union dues 25 percent to bolster the strike fund, which was nearly a billion dollars but now is at $600 million. Yet, there is no way in hell they are going to strike.
“The Detroit Free Press reported six hours before we were told that the strike had been averted. We want our money back.” During the negotiations at Fiat Chrysler, the UAW issued a “strike notice” that was called off at the last minute before a vote on the second contract.
“People are waking up and realizing that democracy, socialism, capitalism, communism were not what we were taught when we were kids. We are told we are living in a democracy, yes. It is a democracy based on voting, yet it is a capitalist society we live in. The rich take care of the rich.
“People are now seeing what is actually going on. The blinders have been taken off with social media. People are smarter and more educated than they have been in the past. We can see that we are being fed a bunch of BS.
“The WSWS is advocating for us and giving the full story rather than the partial BS of the UAW and FCA, Chevy or Jeep want to feed us. They are feeding us crap to make themselves look better while you guys are feeding us truths and giving us information we can use to educate each other with. That’s important.”
A tier-two worker at the Ford Rawsonville plant said, “Thank you for trying to get the truth out. We need someone fighting for us.
“Inside the plant we only know what they tell us. I appreciate having some inform us. You have my support.”
Another worker from Ford’s Sterling Axle plant added, “I saw the video. I believe as press journalists, you had every right to be there. And last I checked, the UAW doesn’t pay the bill for that cell phone.
“This is betrayal against common decency, and I believe certain protocols of human rights, let alone workers’ rights. It may be time that we put alternative workers’ organizations in place, build our strength across all industries and trades.”