The contract that the United Auto Workers is trying to force Faurecia workers to swallow is a rotten sellout. After four years, workers will not be making enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. But every hour of every day, Faurecia, Ford and the other companies will be making millions from your labor.
To discuss a strategy to take this fight forward, the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter is hosting a call-in meeting this Thursday at 7:30 pm.
Under the proposed UAW-Faurecia contract, the speedup, job overloading and unsafe conditions will continue. The top wage after four years will be only $20.75. If the UAW had not accepted one giveback after another over the last four decades, the wage of an autoworker today would be $65 an hour!
Now the UAW is denouncing workers for having the temerity to demand the full contract instead of the bogus “highlights” used to sell the deal. In a post on the Local 892 Facebook page, President Larry Robinson complained, “We release Preliminary Highlights to show you how we reached a Tentative Agreement that makes this a more desirable place of employment for ALL of us… And you are ALREADY talking about voting No before you hear All the DETAILS! This is exactly why most Locals do NOT release any information until the Town Hall.”
After telling workers to vote for the pro-company deal, Robinson adds, “It's your right to Vote how you choose, But at least wait to hear EVERYTHING before you decide No! Our EXPECTATIONS must be Reasonable[!]... Your Bargaining Team will NOT Bargain us Out of Business [!!] because that Benefits NOBODY!”
This is the language of a company stooge who has nothing but contempt for the democratic rights of rank-and-file workers. According to Robinson and the rest of the UAW bureaucrats, to demand the right to a decent wage and working conditions is to “bargain us [that is, the company] out of business.” The UAW, on the other hand, knows how to “be reasonable,” i.e., how to keep workers in poverty and working like industrial slaves.
In May, Faurecia workers voted by 97 percent in favor of strike action to recoup decades of lost wages and the destruction of safety conditions and medical benefits. After extending the deadline, the UAW called a strike and then sent everyone back to work in less than nine hours, declaring that after months of negotiations it had suddenly reached a “historic agreement” with management.
The UAW and the Faurecia bosses may take workers for fools, but no one believes the company fell to its knees after a nine-hour strike.
The last thing in the world the UAW wants is a successful strike, particularly on the eve of the contract struggle for 155,000 GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers. The UAW has spent the last four decades trying to convince workers that they are weak, that they should be happy to have a job and must bow to endless demands for concessions from companies making millions and billions in profits.
This sellout deal should be rejected, and workers should demand the resignation of the entire bargaining team, in-plant committee and executive board that endorsed this pro-company deal.
Workers should elect a rank-and-file committee to take the conduct of the negotiations and this struggle out of the hands of the UAW, which is nothing but a corrupt tool of corporate management. This committee must oversee all negotiations and report back to all workers. At the same time, workers should formulate their own demands, including a 40 percent increase in wages, the abolition of all tiers, fully paid medical benefits, and workers’ control over health and safety.
A resounding defeat of the contract and the creation of a rank-and-file committee will send a powerful message to GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers, who face the same fight when their contracts expire in mid-September.
The auto bosses and the UAW have made it clear that they will use the threat of new plant closings and mass layoffs to blackmail workers into accepting a vast expansion of low-paid contract workers and deep cuts to health care benefits. Faurecia workers should establish lines of communication with GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers to prepare for a nationwide strike of the auto and auto parts industry to fight for living wages, the abolition of the tier system and the defense of all jobs.
With “Just-in-Time” production, which relies on the constant delivery of parts, workers have enormous leverage. A strike at a critical factory like Faurecia would immediately lead to the shortage of parts for Ford, FCA and Tesla assembly plants across North America. Indeed, Ford Dearborn workers said components were running out for the F-150 pickup trucks, the company’s biggest moneymaker, even during the nine-hour strike last week.
Earlier this year, a wildcat strike by Mexican auto parts workers in the industrial city of Matamoros, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas, led to a shortage of steering wheels and other components and a slowdown in production at Ford and Chrysler plants in the US and Canada.
The working class—whose collective labor around the world produces all the wealth of society—has immense power. The UAW, whose top officials took millions in bribes from Fiat Chrysler, is desperately trying to keep workers from using that power. However, throughout the world, from Mexico to the teachers’ strikes in the US, workers are rising up against the pro-company unions and big-business politicians.
Workers are saying “enough is enough” to a capitalist system that guarantees more yachts, private jets and mansions to the ultra-rich, while workers can hardly afford to maintain their cars, provide health care to their children and keep a roof over their heads. Just three billionaires in the US have more wealth than the bottom 160 million people. The Democrats and Republicans claim there is no money for schools and other critical services while they squander trillions on Wall Street bailouts, endless tax cuts to the rich, criminal wars and concentration camps for immigrants.
The Faurecia workers are taking a stand for the whole working class. But they cannot fight this battle alone. They must link up with autoworkers, logistics workers, teachers and hospital workers and all workers in preparation for a general strike against social inequality and the profit system that produces it. In opposition to the economic nationalism of the UAW, Trump and the Democrats, autoworkers should reach out to unite with their brothers and sisters internationally to fight the global attack on jobs and living standards.
The WSWS Autoworker Newsletter will do everything possible to provide Faurecia and all autoworkers a voice for their demands and a means to link up their struggles across the US and internationally. We urge workers to subscribe to the newsletter and distribute it among your fellow workers.