This statement was issued by the GM Lansing Rank-and-File Committee. To contact or join the committee, text 517- 618-1712 or email email@example.com
Brothers & Sisters,
On September 29, those of us at GM Lansing Delta Assembly walked out while Lansing Regional Stamping and Lansing Grand River (LGR) were forced to keep working. Our coworkers were shocked it was not the truck plants like Flint or Fort Wayne, or even our stamping plant that struck. Taking out the more profitable truck plants would have been a hit against GM, but the UAW is going after the less profitable plants.
Stamping supplies Oshawa, Flint, and Fort Wayne where the top-selling Silverado is made. The UAW bureaucracy makes excuses for not calling out our stamping brothers and sisters by saying they are in local 602 not 652. The truth is they are allowing GM to continue to produce its top-selling pickups and forcing them to scab on us.
In his latest statement, UAW President Shawn Fain did not call out any new plants, claiming that strikes and threatened strikes have forced GM to make “historic” concessions.
This “stand up” strike policy has not hurt the companies. GM said its sales rose by 21.4 percent in the third quarter. Its losses of $200 million from the strike amounts to only 0.45 percent of the $44.7 billion in revenue it made in the last quarter.
The contract for GM Subsystems workers inside LGR also expired but they are still working. In a matter of days our coworkers at Alliance Interiors have their contract expiring, the same place where we lost a brother, Pablo Herrera. Like our tiered co-workers, they have no rights and get paid $16-$17 an hour. LGR now is working us at 11 hours or more.
We are told that all plants can’t strike because the strike fund would run out. That is a lie! We know there is enough money in the fund to sustain an 11-week strike by all 146,000 workers. Eleven weeks is more than enough time to cripple the Big Three. In 2019, we were out for 40 days on $250 and GM lost $2 billion. If our strike pay was raised to $750, there is enough in the fund to sustain us for seven weeks!
With 83 percent of our co-workers still working, we have our hands tied.
Before we struck, we worked under an expired contract, and GM could do whatever they wanted. Not that the union backed you anyway, but you had a little something to help you out. GM was nailing people for silly stuff, ear buds, not having safety glasses right, things they normally don’t care about.
With only highlights in 2019, the criminal UAW President Gary Jones told us, “This is what’s better.” Now our brothers and sisters at Mack Trucks are going through the same thing. Right before their deadline to strike, the UAW came back with a tentative agreement.
The “highlights” say a 19 percent wage increase over the life of the five-year contract, with 10 percent of that front-loaded in the first year. Mack workers’ wages would increase at roughly 2.5 percent per year for the remaining four years, below inflation. There’s nothing on COLA and the hated tiers that we were fighting against in 2019. The UAW has agreed to add 30 minutes to each workday to increase the output of trucks.
The UAW is telling them to vote on these “highlights” without telling them what’s in the “lowlights.” Mack workers are being given one day to read and discuss it. It is unfair to not exchange information and vote on something on our future. Mack and the UAW officials are trying to ram through a five-year deal instead of four years, so we cannot strike together.
We are tired of their sham they are putting us through! It looks like they’re doing something, but they really are not! They don’t think we can see through their façade.
Every week we have been hearing that Fain is making “progress” with either GM, Ford or Stellantis. Now the media is saying that UAW is close to a deal, and Fain did not call out any other plants. Regardless of what Fain does or doesn’t announce we must take this as a warning that a sellout agreement for us is coming. We are angry with what happened to our brothers and sisters at Ford in Canada. If Unifor rammed through a deal behind the backs of workers, what can we expect?
The UAW bureaucracy with Fain, Biden and the CEOs at the Big Three are planning how to ram this through. There is anger across the picket lines and among our coworkers still working.
The GM Lansing Workers Rank-and-File Committee is telling the truth about our conditions and what we want. If the UAW is really fighting for us there is no need to be worried about people reading and making up their own minds. What the UAW doesn’t want is anyone knowing the truth.
Fain and the UAW bureaucracy do not want an all-out strike. Instead, they talk to the mayors, Biden and the media. They are aware that many of us at LDT and LGR voted for Will Lehman’s program of abolishing the UAW bureaucracy and putting workers on the shop floor in control. They are fearful that if we build this rank-and-file movement their cushy corrupt positions will be gone and we can fight for our own interests independently.
For us to win, we cannot rely on this sham stand up strike. While Fain says we don’t have enough in the strike fund, Fain and other officials aren’t getting $500 a week like us.
In March, we issued the following demands. These are more urgent than ever!
- Abolish tiers and temporary positions. All workers, including temporary, must be brought up to full pay and benefits. No more 3 percent raises that are below inflation. We need a 50 percent raise and COLA to live a high-quality life. The tiers are a tool to create divisions among workers and force us into a race to the bottom. All the while, GM rakes in billions.
- No more backroom deals by the UAW bureaucracy. All contract talks must be live-streamed and overseen by the rank and file. Their goal is to make sure workers’ wages are held down below inflation, while driving up health premiums.
- Reject layoffs. The layoffs are used to increase GM’s profit while putting more work on our backs. That’s what is planned with the EV transition. If not in the control of workers, this will be a bloodbath.
We call on all GM Lansing Delta and Grand River workers to join the GM Lansing Workers Rank-and-File Committee. We are fighting not just for our generation but for the future generations of workers. We support all workers in the US and internationally. If we are to fight the corporate demands for lower living standards, we have to join with with Canadian, Mexican and workers across all borders in a common struggle.