ONLINE MEETING SUNDAY: How autoworkers can win their demands in the 2023 UAW contract fight

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The Autoworkers Rank-and-File Committee Network and the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter are hosting an online meeting Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern/2 p.m. Central. The meeting will review the latest developments in the Detroit Three-United Auto Workers contract talks and outline the strategy for rank-and-file workers to fight for their demands. Register for the event here.

[AP Photo/WSWS/AP/Bryan Woolston]

An explosive mood of anger and militancy is emerging among autoworkers, with just over three weeks remaining until the September 14 expiration of contracts covering 150,000 UAW members at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. The contracts for another 18,000 autoworkers in Canada expire on September 18.

Workers are increasingly determined to fight not only against new attacks, but also to reverse concessions previously imposed with the support of the UAW and Unifor bureaucracies.

The past two years have seen a virtually uninterrupted series of overwhelming “no” votes by workers rejecting UAW-backed, pro-corporate contracts. In the latest, nearly 1,000 Lear Seating auto parts workers in Hammond, Indiana, voted overwhelmingly on August 20 to reject a second pro-company contract pushed by the UAW apparatus.

While workers are resolved to secure major wage increases, COLA, pensions, and more, the corporations are digging in their heels. Executives have arrogantly dismissed workers’ demands as “unrealistic,” despite the auto companies having reaped tens of billions of dollars in profits in recent years.

Under conditions of widespread worker dissatisfaction, UAW President Shawn Fain has publicized a series of popular contract proposals in an effort to keep control of an increasingly restive and determined workforce.

But Fain and the rest of the UAW bureaucracy fully intend to betray the fight of workers. The gap between what Fain says and what the UAW bureaucracy does can be seen in its betrayal of the 40-day strike by Clarios battery workers in Ohio—which resulted in below-inflation raises and a 12-hour day with no overtime—and efforts to ram through a similar sellout at Lear in Indiana, where the UAW officials are once again using lies, threats to jobs, and other antidemocratic measures.

The actions of Fain’s administration speak far louder than its blustering rhetoric. The UAW leadership is in continuous, intense discussion with the Biden administration and Democrats on how to contain autoworkers’ resistance and impose the dictates of the corporations. 

With Fain & Co. conspiring with the White House, workers must organize now to prevent the defeat of their struggle, which would entail historic concessions and job cuts, impacting not just the auto industry, but broad sections of the working class. As history has shown again and again, workers will achieve victory only through the mobilization of their independent strength.

For autoworkers to win their demands, power and decision making must be transferred from the UAW apparatus to the workers on the shop floor through building of rank-and-file committees in every factory, warehouse and workplace.

The Autoworkers Rank-and-File Committee Network encourages the widest possible participation by autoworkers at Sunday’s meeting—at GM, Ford and Stellantis; at auto parts companies such as Lear and Clarios; and in the US, Canada and other countries. Join us for this urgent discussion on how workers themselves can mount a struggle for their interests. Register today to attend, and invite your coworkers.