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In his Facebook Livestream Monday night on the tentative agreement with General Motors, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain declared, “We have slammed the door on GM having a permanent underclass of employees. All temp workers with at least 90 days of employment will be converted to full-time seniority workers.”
Shortly afterwards, this claim began to fall apart when workers at the Flint Assembly Plant began questioning UAW Local 598 Plant Chairman Eric Welter about Fain’s statement on the local union’s phone app.
The following exchange took place:
Question: Just making sure I heard Fain’s Live correctly that ALL Temps will be hired if the TA is ratified?
Answer: I understand how you could take that from what he said so I need to clear this up before it gets out of hand. The agreement is Full time temporary employees (FTT) with at least 90 days at that status will convert, no ptt [part-time temporaries].
After another worker pointed out that Fain said “all” temps would be immediately converted, Welter tried to claim that Fain’s lies were the result of a technical slip up. It’s a “problem in our organization of not clearly distinguishing between ptt and ftt.”
Only a fraction of the temps at the Flint GM plant are full-time temps. Workers have told the World Socialist Web Site that there are an estimated 100 full-time temps at the plant, while 700-800 are part-time temps. Under the arcane terms of the previous agreement, temporary workers can only be converted to a full-time position after two years of service, with the last 12 months of that two-year period served as a full-time temp.
Workers at Flint Assembly Plant, who were never called out during Fain’s bogus “stand up strikes,” produce GM’s top-selling Silverado and Sierra pick-up trucks.
One worker described the sharp change in mood among workers at the plant as the details about the agreement have emerged. At first, “The temps were especially excited. They thought they were all going to be hired in, get 150 percent pay increases. A worker whose wife also works in the plant said, ‘Now we’ll be able to have a life instead of making $17 an hour.’”
But this changed quickly after Welter’s admission. “Why did Shawn Fain lie like that? Why did he tell us he was getting rid of tiers? This is BS! This guy is a joke.”
A full-time worker told the WSWS, “Fain told us he was waging class warfare. What a lie! He said he’d be fighting for a 40 percent wage increase, and he came back with only 25 percent. Temps will be raised up to only $21 an hour. They cannot live on that with this inflation. Yep, he said he was waging class war, but he did not call us all out on strike to use our power against the Big Three.”