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Bay Area former autoworkers support striking Volvo workers in Virginia

As the United Auto Workers moves to shut down the four-week-long strike by 3,000 Volvo Trucks workers in Dublin, Virginia and enforce a sellout contract, support for the strike continues to flow in from across the country. The WSWS recently received statements from two Bay Area former autoworkers, who expressed their solidarity with the strike and supported the expansion of their struggle.

Brian, a former veteran autoworker, provided a statement in support of the 3,000 striking workers, “I was an automotive worker for 20 years before moving out of the Detroit area. I want to send a message of support and solidarity to the Volvo workers facing a challenging strike. We’re all watching you and we all support you. You may not realize it, but you’re standing up for each other, for your hometown, and for all of us right now. Don’t give up!

“I watched the steady decline of my hometown for three decades. We got eaten up as profits for the auto industry bosses. They told us that if we paid for more of our health insurance, they’d keep the plants open. They told us if we gave them tax breaks, they’d keep the plants open. They told us if we slowed down our raise schedule, they’d keep the plants open. But they closed the plants anyway. They closed the Jobs Bank. They closed the training centers. They laid off thousands of engineers too. None of it was true.”

Left: Volvo workers on strike in Dublin, Virginia (UAW 2069 photo); Right: a worker in Detroit, Michigan (WSWS Photo)

When asked about the strategy for the successful way forward for the striking workers, Brian concluded, “We’ve got to work together, across plants, across companies, and someday across industries. That’s the way we’re going to win. When we all agree that we’re not going to take any less!”

A victimized whistleblower from Tesla’s Fremont, California electric vehicle factory also spoke out. “I’m an ex-Tesla employee. I tried to fight and I lost. You guys are trying to change what everyone else is trying to change. These guys aren’t asking for the world. Good luck guys, I really hope you get it.”

He responded enthusiastically upon hearing that Volvo workers had formed a rank-and-file committee in opposition to the UAW. Describing his experiences with the UAW, who have been trying to unionize Tesla facilities for years, he explained, “Whenever I was talking with the UAW at Tesla, I would get ‘Ahh, that’s really unfortunate, we’re trying to work on that.’ It’s a little like a catcher’s mitt for any sort of complaint, which they then throw in the garbage.”

“We’re just watching a resurgence of the labor movement that happened in the 1930s, which we really need. Ever since the 1930s, everyone who’s been in power has been trying to increase their bottom line. It seems that the corporate elite have just been fleecing the lower class and it’s gotten to the point where the lower class have to fight to be able to live with the bare minimum. Really, we’re just fighting for the bare minimum.”

The World Socialist Web Site calls upon autoworkers to build networks of solidarity committees to support the strike and break through the UAW-imposed information blackout. If you agree with this perspective, contact us today to begin building a committee at your workplace.

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