This historic candidacy by a worker and socialist for the presidency of the UAW is the spearhead of a growing rank-and-file rebellion against the pro-corporate dictatorship of the union apparatus.
The aim of Lehman’s campaign is to develop a mass working class movement to transfer power to rank-and-file committees capable of organizing mass resistance to the brutal exploitation of labor by the corporations in their pursuit of profits.
“After decades of concession contracts forced through by the UAW apparatus, workers are struggling more than ever,” the statement declares. “Inflation—including the cost of gas, rent and food—is surging, and the pandemic is running rampant. At work, we confront brutal exploitation while corporate profits soar.
“The UAW is a union in name only,” Lehman states. “Its leadership, including two past presidents, were convicted for robbing us of dues money and selling us out in exchange for bribes from the corporations. This is not the case of ‘a few bad apples.’ The UAW bureaucracy is a subdivision of the companies, suppressing resistance to low pay and horrible working conditions.”
The UAW apparatus, Lehman notes, “is staffed by people whose collective salaries are $75 million a year. Four hundred and fifty International executives make over $100,000, and that does not even include local officials.”
Lehman outlines a series of demands that workers, organized in rank-and-file committees, must fight for. These include a 50 percent pay increase to make up for decades of stagnating wages; an end to the multi-tier system and the conversion of all temps to full-time workers; the restoration of Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) to index wages to soaring inflation; full pension funding; and the return to an 8-hour day.
The statement further calls for a network of rank-and-file committees to demand workers’ control over all UAW assets, the establishment of genuine democracy, and “a strategy to fight the transnational corporations based on the international unity of the working class in opposition to the nationalism of the UAW.”
Lehman’s campaign is giving expression to a growing mood of rebellion among auto workers and all sections of the working class. At campaign stops this week, Lehman and his supporters have spoken to hundreds of workers who want to fight against corporate exploitation and the pro-corporate union apparatus that has implemented the dictates of the companies.
Support and get involved in Will Lehman’s campaign! Go to plants and workplaces, distribute Lehman’s statement, and rally support among the rank-and-file.
On Saturday, August 27 at 5 p.m. Eastern, Will Lehman will be holding a live online Q&A. Learn more and register to attend.
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