Facing widespread opposition from Nexteer Automotive workers to a second sellout agreement being pushed by the United Auto Workers, Chad Wurtzel, a UAW International Servicing Representative in charge of Nexteer, lashed out against the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter in a posting on Facebook Monday morning.
Wurtzel was responding to workers posting the Newsletter’s article, “Ten facts autoworkers need to know about the Nexteer tentative agreement” on the Facebook page “Saginaw unions no holds bar.” The article reviewed some of the main components of the contract, which not only maintains poverty wages and crushing levels of overtime, but also imposes a virtual dictatorship in the factory, including a system of industrial spies and a ban on posting or distributing articles that are declared “libelous, scurrilous, or detrimental to the labor-management relationship.”
“This is a total anti union group none of it is factual,” Wurtzel declares. “90% of the language this guy is citing is already in our current agreement. They want to see us all fail. They are a fraudulent anti union organization posing as a workers rights advocate.”
Defending the Autoworker Newsletter, a Nexteer worker aptly replied, “They are pro worker. They are just anti UAW/big three because of their beliefs that the UAW has sold out to them. They question the idea of owning stock in the company you are trying to win a battle with.” Another wrote, “Fraudulent Chad? I would consider skirting the truth in our original meetings to be one and the same. We won't have to pay for health care… we just won't tell you the entire structure has changed.”
Wurtzel then lashed out at the workers on the page: “Keep drinking the kook aid fellas see you tomarrow” at the UAW “roll-out” meeting for the contract.
Wurtzel did not attempt to refute any of the facts in the article. Does the contract include raises that barely keep up with the rate of inflation while increasing out-of-pocket health care costs? Does it sanction “undercover agents” to spy on workers and restrict their freedom of speech? Does it retain the hated Alternative Work Schedule and “Critical Plant Status” schemes that mandate exhausting schedules and forced overtime? Does it undermine skilled trades workers and expand outsourcing?
Wurtzel does not challenge any of these facts because he can not.
As for 90 percent of the contract language being in the current agreement, the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter never asserted it was not. Whether it is in the current agreement is cold comfort to workers and only underscores the fact that the UAW functions as “an agency of the corporations whose job is to increase the exploitation of workers and suppress their resistance to the dictates of big business.”
The WSWS Autoworker Newsletter is opposed to the UAW because it is an anti-worker organization masquerading as a “union.” Far from defending the jobs and living standards of workers, it is a multibillion dollar business—with a substantial ownership stake in GM and other automakers—that has a direct financial interest in extracting ever greater profits out of the hides of the workers it claims to represent.
It long ago abandoned the basic functions associated with unions—shop floor protection, increasing the wages of workers or at least protecting against their diminution, conducting strikes—in favor of the corporatist doctrine of labor-management unity.
The 2015 contract talks began with the infamous hug between UAW President Dennis Williams and Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne who boasted of the “alignment of interests” between the UAW and the company. It was followed by a three-month war by the UAW, not against the auto companies, but against the rank-and-file. This consisted of a campaign of lies, threats and outright fraud, culminating in ballot stuffing at Ford to get the contract passed by 51 percent.
While UAW leaders claimed these were “the richest contracts” ever negotiated, they turned out to be among the cheapest for the auto bosses and Wall Street, with “all-in” costs averaging less than 1.5 percent annually, or less than the rate of inflation. The UAW is now trying to pull the same thing off at Nexteer.
In order to defend the UAW, Wurtzel has to attack the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter, which tells workers the truth.
Sooner rather than later the opposition of workers will take organizational form, which the Newsletter has long advocated, through the formation of new organizations, including rank-and-file factory committees, democratically elected and answerable to the workers themselves, to unite autoworkers in a fight against the corporations and its agents in the UAW.