The following statement was written by the Dana Workers Rank-and-File Committee (DWRFC), which is coordinating opposition among Dana workers in the US to a sellout contract backed by the unions. Over the weekend, workers at several plants voted overwhelmingly against the contract, with other plants voting this week.
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The contract agreed to behind our backs by Dana/UAW/USW appears headed for overwhelming defeat. Yesterday, workers at six plants—Pottstown, PA; Warren, MI; Danville, KY; Paris, TN; Fort Wayne, IN; and Lima, OH—stood up to say “no” to mandated overtime, “no” to 80-hour weeks, “no” to pay cuts, “no” to sweatshop conditions worse than those faced by workers a century ago and “no” to the way the company and unions treat us like trash.
Workers at the plants that have not yet voted must remain vigilant to prevent fraud. On Sunday, fellow rank-and-file workers at several plants sent delegations to watch ballot boxes to make sure the UAW and USW could not stuff “yes” votes as they have been known to do in the past.
The defeat of the contract must be followed by preparations for strike action. We know that Dana has important weaknesses and that we workers have immense potential power. Dana is engaged in ruthless competition with its corporate rivals and fears a strike could crush its standing with its clients like GM, Stellantis, Ford and John Deere. Without our parts, the entire auto industry—more interconnected than ever before—would be seriously impacted.
A strike is also serious business. This means we must enter the struggle with a clear idea of what we are fighting for and how we will win.
As for what we are fighting for, the Dana Workers Rank-and-File Committee has outlined a set of minimal demands for a contract that workers are prepared to accept. This includes:
- An eight-hour day and 40-hour week.
- A 75 percent wage increase for all workers.
- The abolition of the multi-tier system.
- Workers’ control of line speed with no speed-ups.
- New, clean machines, safety training and air quality checks.
- No points system. Bonuses for those with good past attendance.
- Adequate air conditioning in all plants.
- Workers’ oversight of safety protocols to stop the spread of COVID-19. Full pay to workers for all missed time.
To the UAW and USW, we demand an immediate end to the day-to-day extensions of the contract. The UAW and USW must set a strike deadline of Thursday, September 2, unless the company meets our demands. This should have happened weeks ago.
The DWRFC, however, does not place any faith in the UAW and USW to lead a strike to victory.
The UAW and USW’s record in past struggles shows they will isolate us plant by plant, keep us from communicating and sharing information with each other, and enforce speedups at other parts companies and even at other Dana plants in the US. They will starve us on low strike pay while 450 UAW executives making over $100,000 per year continue to draw salaries on our dues money. They will force us to vote on the same contract (perhaps with slightly different wording) over and over again until we pass it. That is exactly what they just did to 3,000 of our brothers and sisters at Volvo plants in Virginia.
That’s why we are calling for each plant to elect its own rank-and-file strike committee.
These committees must be led by workers who do not and have never held elected office in either the UAW or the USW. Their purpose will be to unite all Dana workers at that plant, to get them on the same page, to provide information, to hold democratic discussions on strategy and demands, to keep out spies from the company and union, and to ensure that the workers at the plant all act as one. The strike committees can win over our brothers and sisters who voted “yes” by showing them it is possible to win something better.
Each plant’s strike committee will send representatives to a national strike committee, coordinated by the Dana Workers Rank-and-File Committee. The national strike committee will be an interconnected working-class network for information sharing across plants and for strategizing common action and carrying it through with one, unanimous voice. It will ensure that all plants act as one voice and will prevent the company, UAW and USW from dividing us against each other and cutting side deals. It will demand strike pay at 100% of workers’ wages.
The committees must be responsible for reaching out to our fellow workers at the assembly plants that use the parts we make. There are other parts workers, including at Faurecia and Magna, who work under conditions like ours. We must appeal to our international coworkers—35,000 Dana workers in all—including in Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, France, Italy, Germany and many other countries. In the 21st century, active international support is necessary to win a strike against a globally integrated transnational corporation like Dana.
We urge all workers to begin setting up a strike committee at your plant now. To start, share this statement and discuss it with the coworkers you trust. The Dana Workers Rank-and-File Committee is standing by to provide whatever assistance we can to the development of a strike committee at your plant.
To contact us for advice and assistance, email us at DanaWRFC@gmail.com or text (248) 602–0936.