Wednesday, September 23, 2015

OBAMA'S SABOTAGE OF HOMELAND SECURITY RATCHETS UP - U.S. Gives Yemeni (Al Qaeda Hotbed) Nationals “Temporary” Amnesty

U.S. Gives Yemeni (Al Qaeda Hotbed) Nationals “Temporary” Amnesty

UAW'S ONGOING ASSAULT ON THE AMERICAN WORKER - Voting begins as UAW seeks to push through deal with Fiat Chrysler

Voting begins as UAW seeks to push through deal with Fiat Chrysler

Richest one percent controls nearly half of global wealth



The announcement of yet another “deferred prosecution” follows a well-rehearsed script whereby corporate criminals are absolved of responsibility for their crimes. From the BP oil spill to the subprime bank lending scandal, the government has taken the position that the US financial aristocracy is above the law.

"The Justice Department settlement of the GM case is a 

further demonstration of the class nature of justice in the 

US. Corporate criminals are above the law while millions of 

working people languish in prison, often facing solitary 

confinement or other forms of abusive treatment amounting 

to torture. More than 1,000 a year are killed outright by the 

police. Thus, when it comes to holding working people 

accountable, often for the pettiest of offenses, the justice 

system is remorseless. A corporation responsible for 

hundreds of deaths is treated with the utmost respect and 


GM ignition defect settlement: A wrist-slap for corporate criminals

GM ignition defect settlement: A wrist-slap for corporate criminals

By Shannon Jones 
18 September 2015
The United States Justice Department announcement of a “deferred prosecution” settlement Thursday in the case of the General Motors ignition switch scandal is a travesty. It allows the multi-billion dollar auto giant to get away virtually scot-free in the face of a massive criminal cover-up of a deadly defect. It is the culmination of a 
whitewash by the Obama administration, 
federal regulators and Congress, which have 
from the start sought to shield GM officials 
from the consequences of their actions.
Under terms of the agreement GM will pay a $900 million fine relating to its role in the more than decade-long cover-up of defective ignition switches tied to numerous fatal crashes, a tiny fraction of the company’s $25 billion in profits since it came out of bankruptcy.
No GM executives are being criminally charged despite 
documentation showing that GM was aware of the defect 
since 2005 but took no action to warn customers or order a 
All levels of the political establishment are implicated in this whitewash. Congress allowed GM CEO Mary Barra to posture at hearings as a contrite, blameless bystander. It soon lost interest in the matter and took no action to strengthen laws to ensure corporate criminal accountability.
From the start the media largely sought to downplay the affair, covering up the extent of the death and injury caused by GM’s actions while accepting as good coin the company’s claims that top officials were totally unaware of the problem until it hit the news in 2014.
The announcement of yet another “deferred prosecution” 
follows a well-rehearsed script whereby corporate criminals 
are absolved of responsibility for their crimes. From the BP 

oil spill to the subprime bank lending scandal, the 
government has taken the position that the US financial aristocracy is above the law.
Meanwhile, the hundreds of families whose lives have been devastated due to GM’s actions will never recover from their losses. Mary Ruddy, the mother of Kelly Erin Ruddy, who died in the crash of her 2005 Cobalt in January 2010 outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania, reacted strongly to the Justice Department decision. She told the World Socialist Web Site, “I believe GM murdered my daughter.”
She continued, “I will never forget and forgive. Maybe the Department of Justice can live with this decision, but I can’t.” She continued, “I am very disappointed in this system. They need more of a consequence than fines. They need to be held legally accountable.”
The facts of the case are straightforward. The ignition switches on the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and several other low-end models can be easily jarred out of the “run” position, killing power to the engine and disabling power steering, power brakes and airbags. The sudden loss of vehicle control increases the likelihood of a crash under conditions where occupants are unprotected by airbags.
GM knew as early as 2001 that the ignition switch did not meet minimum specifications, but decided to go into production anyway. Despite a flood of customer complaints, GM rejected a fix due to cost considerations. Later, GM quietly redesigned the switch, but did not assign a new part number, a violation of engineering principles that pointed to a deliberate cover-up. An internal investigation commissioned by GM demonstrated the company routinely sacrificed safety in the interests of corporate profits.
Even when independent studies tied the defective ignition switch to fatal accidents in which airbags did not deploy, GM did not order a recall, warn customers or alert federal regulators. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the supposed government watchdog, likewise turned a blind eye, despite having in its possession evidence of the tie between the defective ignition and fatal accidents.
The GM Ignition Compensation Claims Facility set up by the company in the wake of the scandal has accepted 124 death claims in relation to the defect. In addition, the company has agreed to settle civil lawsuits filed in relation to the defect, including another 45 death claims, for which it is taking a $575 million charge against profits. That brings the official death toll to 169, with the actual toll likely much higher. An independent investigation by the consumer group Center for Auto Safety counted 303 deaths in accidents involving the now recalled vehicles in which airbags did not deploy.
In addition, hundreds more were maimed or 

seriously injured due to GM’s actions. To 

date there have been 3,869 injury claims 
submitted to the Compensation Claims Facility. Of those  289 are for Category One injuries involving quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns.
The NHTSA and GM were already aware of the potential liability faced by the company due to the defective ignition switches at the time of the 2009 GM bankruptcy. As a result of the bankruptcy, the US government obtained a majority ownership share in the reorganized company. Thus the Obama administration and its traffic safety agency had a direct monetary incentive to cover up information about the safety defect. In fact the Obama administration inserted a clause in the bankruptcy settlement shielding the reorganized company from product liability lawsuits stemming from before July 2009.
All this time, GM was going into court claiming it had no knowledge of a defect and no liability for deaths, while in the meantime issuing threats against the families of accident victims. In one case GM threatened to come after a family for reimbursement of legal fees if it did not drop its lawsuit.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) is also 
complicit. The union has maintained a 
studied silence throughout the entire course of the affair. This is hardly surprising. As one of the largest stockholders of GM through control of a retiree health care trust fund, the UAW’s chief concern is ensuring maximum corporate profits.
The Justice Department settlement of the GM case is a 
further demonstration of the class nature of justice in the US. Corporate criminals are above the law while millions of working people languish in prison, often facing solitary confinement or other forms of abusive treatment amounting to torture. More than 1,000 a year are killed outright by the police. Thus, when it comes to holding working people accountable, often for the pettiest of offenses, the justice system is remorseless. A corporation responsible for hundreds of deaths is treated with the utmost respect and indulgence.
The US in 2015 can hardly be called a democracy. It is a plutocratic society in which the financial elite functions with absolute impunity, confident that it will not be held accountable for its crimes. The courts, the president, the media and Congress all do their bidding. Only the independent political mobilization of the working class can change this state of affairs.

Autoworkers across the US outraged over UAW-Fiat Chrysler deal

“The UAW is corporate now. They’re the police of the company.”

Autoworkers across the US outraged over UAW-Fiat Chrysler deal

By Eric London
21 September 2015
As details emerge of the agreement made last week by Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and the United Auto Workers, workers across the country say the fact the union would even bring such a sellout before the membership is an insult to their intelligence.
“I want to know how much Dennis Williams got paid off,” one Toledo Chrysler worker told the World Socialist Web Site. “There is no way that a company and a union could come to an agreement that screws the workers more and favors the company less.”

Nearly every line of the agreement—from the health co-op to the fake raises to the profit-sharing bonus scheme—is either a giveaway to the company or a trick to secure the contract’s ratification. (See, “UAW ‘highlights’ of Fiat Chrysler deal expose corporate-union conspiracy against autoworkers”)

Workers denounced the UAW for doing nothing to eliminate the tiered wage system—a central demand of workers everywhere. The Toledo Chrysler worker said, “[FCA CEO] Sergio [Marchionne] was quoted as saying when contract talks started that he wants to eliminate two tiers. Well, he really did. It’s now a five-tier wage system,” with tier-two workers receiving different amounts at the end of the contract and no guarantee of future raises.

A Louisville Ford worker said, “I’ve seen the chart of incremental wage increases, and I don’t like that at all. It creates divisions of workers and it keeps the tiers, which I don’t like. We believe in equal work for equal pay, but that’s broken with the tiers.”

In the words of a Sterling Heights, Michigan Ford worker, “The contract is BS. The two-tier system was put into effect to get through the recession and give the company an upper hand on its rebound, and now here we are with billions in profits trying to implement a system with five different pay scales, which is nothing but segregation. It is the complete opposite of what it is supposed to be.”

Workers are not fooled by the UAW’s attempt to paint minuscule wage increases as a gain. Tier two workers will take eight years to reach a new pay cap of $25.35—significantly less than what tier-one workers currently receive. Tier-one workers will receive small raises of less than a dollar per hour in the first and third year of the contract, while receiving lump sum payments equaling 4 percent of their prior year’s wages in years two and four.

“The wage issue is a joke,” said the Sterling Heights worker. “It’s an insult. To keep up with inflation and the cost of living the base wage should be at $38.”

A tier-one Lima Engine worker in Ohio told the WSWS, “I’m not trying to be greedy or anything, but we put off a wage increase for 12 years in order for them to hire new people and we’ve taken all kinds of concessions. An 84-cent an hour increase? It’s a joke.”

The Ford Louisville worker expressed the same sentiment: “I don’t like the wage agreement whatsoever. If you factor in the cost of living increase it comes out to about a 43-cent raise over six years and that’s what gets me. They are insulting our intelligence by putting out these things. I don’t even know what to say. I’ll continue to vote ‘no.’ It’s hard enough to survive, and now they’re going to want to keep you working for six more years so they can continue to line their pockets?”

Workers are correct not to trust the tier-two wage increases beyond the life of the contract. “Any contract that has your pay scale set to be completed after the term of the contract doesn’t count in my opinion,” the Toledo Chrysler worker said. “What happens in 2019? If we have a down year, they’ll say we need to take another pay cut. The plan is then gone. It’s garbage.”

Workers also attacked the UAW’s plan to take control of the workers’ health care plans in a giant co-op that the union will be able to manipulate at will.

“The UAW wants to have their hands in more money, and people aren’t happy,” said the Louisville Ford worker. “The working class is going to have this on their backs and the health care changes will keep laying them down more and more.”

A Marion, Indiana General Motors worker sarcastically said that the health care plan was “just swell.” He added: “The union has not been responsive in negotiating for its members. Having them in control of the health plan is really a disaster.”

The Sterling Heights worker added: “This is too much money and power in the hands of the UAW. They are looking at us like dollar signs, and it is unacceptable. The UAW is corporate now. They’re the police of the company.”

The Lima Engine worker said, “I am not comfortable with the union taking control of the health care because they’re in bed with management, so once they start managing the health co-op it’ll mean bigger and more comfortable offices for the union officers and bigger co-pays for the rest of us.”

A second Marion GM worker said, “The UAW says you’re getting a three percent pay raise but then they bump your co-pays high enough to eat up all your pay raise, so basically you’re giving your pay raise back to the union. The union can alter your benefit without appeal, and that’s a tremendously bad idea.”

Workers say the profit-sharing bonuses are also a scam and will begin to standardize unbearable speed-ups that cause injuries and fatigue on the line.

“When is enough enough with the speed-ups?” the second Marion worker said. “They pay us something meager and then they set these standards that create problems like with the ignition debacle at GM—if our pay is tied to that, we won’t be getting any pay bonuses through no fault of our own and that is not fair.”

The Toledo worker added, “We just hit record numbers on the Cherokee at 576 [a day]. The line is sped up. They want us to stay an hour over, work through breaks, and come in earlier. They even took our Saturday family day away because they scheduled an audit at the same time.”

As workers begin to pore over the contract, more and more unacceptable details are emerging. There is no cost of living adjustment included in the agreement, nor is there any fundamental change to the Alternative Work Schedule, which includes grueling 12-hour days. Temporary part-time workers will not receive a signing bonus (in the words of one worker, “the union says, ‘be happy you have a job’”). The cap of 25 percent for new hire wages that was included in 2009 contract—which has been repeatedly violated with impunity—will not be honored.

Adding insult to injury, the contract stipulates that the UAW will work with management to fire workers who are absent or tardy a certain number of times (another worker called it “mind blowing”). Further, it insultingly gives retirees nothing but a $1,000 voucher to purchase a Chrysler vehicle.

The deal with FCA is further confirmation that the UAW is not a workers organization, but is in bed with management. It functions as a labor police force and health insurance provider, tasked with enforcing concessions on a hostile workforce. The WSWS urges workers to break the stranglehold of the UAW and form their own rank-and-file organizations to wage a real struggle against the companies.

The Sterling Heights worker said, “The rank-and-file committee is how it all begins. Every single person that I work with I forward the newsletter to, and I send every article that comes up. Every single day I’m trying to bring people into it.”
In the words of the Lima Engine worker, “We need to get the Autoworker Newsletter out to everybody and have meetings wherever we can without the union involved to let as many people know as possible what they’re trying to shove down our throats.”

The UAW-Fiat Chrysler deal: A conspiracy 

against autoworkers
17 September 2015
Tuesday’s joint press conference by Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and the United Auto Workers marks a new stage in the corporate-union conspiracy against auto workers. In the wake of the announcement of a tentative agreement covering FCA’s 36,000 workers, the union is moving as rapidly as possible to push through the deal, with votes planned as early as next week.

Autoworkers must be warned: Absolutely nothing the UAW says can be believed. The intention of UAW President Dennis Williams and the rest of the executives who run the organization is to conceal or sugarcoat massive concessions and force through the contract before workers have had time to study its contents and implications. This will pave the way for similar agreements at General Motors and Ford.

At the press conference, both Williams and FCA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne refused to reveal any details of the agreement. However, its basic components are clear from what was said and what has been reported in the media. These include:

* A sharp and permanent lowering of base pay for autoworkers:

In the name of “closing the gap” between senior (tier one) and newer (tier two) workers, the wage ceiling for tier two workers will reportedly be gradually raised over eight years from $19.28 an hour to approximately $25 an hour. This is significantly less than the $28 currently received by tier one workers, who have endured a decade-long wage freeze that has sharply cut their real wages (adjusted for inflation). They will be driven out of the plants by means of grueling work schedules and other measures. The result will be a work force uniformly paid substantially less than what Big Three workers received a decade ago.

By means of “profit sharing” arrangements, nominal wage increases will increasingly be tied to increased levels of exploitation. At the same time, the UAW has already indicated that it is preparing to accept a third tier of even lower paid workers into the factories.

* A fundamental assault on health benefits for current workers:

Both the UAW and FCA stressed the need to “find a way to deal with the escalating cost of health care” (Williams) and ensure a “cost-effective way of managing health care costs” (Marchionne). Proposals to shift the burden of health care costs onto workers have centered on the UAW’s call for the creation of a health care fund for current workers modeled after the union-run Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA) set up for retirees in 2007. The company would pay into the fund much less than it is currently paying for health care, leaving the UAW to cut coverage and services, as it did for retirees.

The UAW would gain control of an expanded multi-billion-dollar health care trust, providing a new source of income for union officials.

* A further restructuring of the auto industry:

At the press conference, Marchionne declared that the economics of the agreement were relatively insignificant compared to the “capital usage” issues confronting the auto industry. This is a reference to plans for a possible merger of FCA with GM, which would lead to the destruction of thousands of jobs. The Wall Street Journal noted Wednesday that the negotiations have been aimed, in part, on “testing whether [Marchionne] can rely on UAW President Dennis Williams as an ally in his grander vision.” Williams may attempt to sell such a deal during upcoming discussions with GM.
Tuesday’s press conference, held at the UAW-Fiat Chrysler Joint Training Center, was a spectacle of union-management collusion. It demonstrated that the negotiations exclude the interests of the workers. Both parties to the talks—Chrysler Fiat and the UAW—are businesses that derive their income from the exploitation of the workers, with the union serving as a labor contractor and industrial policeman for the company. The negotiations concern how the spoils from wage-cutting, speedup and the destruction of the workers’ benefits are to be divided between the two parties.
Williams and Marchionne lauded one another, hailed the “alignment of interests” between the company and the union, and spoke of an end to any “adversarial relationship.” Both the union and the company hope to use the new agreement to cement their corporatist alliance, with Marchionne declaring that the UAW “has pulled off what I believe is a necessary next step in our industry.”
An essential part of the conspiracy between the company and the union is keeping the workers in the dark. The mutual back-slapping between Williams and Marchionne thoroughly exposed the union’s claims that it has to maintain secrecy in order to fight for the workers against management. The purpose of the news blackout is to keep the rank-and-file off-balance and, the company and union hope, foster divisions and demoralization among the workers.

The companies and the UAW both know they confront a workforce that is deeply hostile to their designs. On the eve of the press conference, the UAW had to resort to threats at FCA’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant to stop workers from walking out when the contract expired at midnight on Monday.
The UAW also blocked reporters from the World Socialist Web Site from attending Tuesday’s press conference. This is in line with the campaign of intimidation by union officials directed at WSWS reporters and emails from union officials warning workers not to “believe everything you hear or read.” The union is desperate to prevent the truth from getting to the workers.

To fight this new sellout and defend their interests, workers at FCA, GM and Ford must begin organizing now. They should form rank-and-file committees, independent of the UAW, in every plant to discuss the agreement, develop lines of communication with other factories, and mobilize opposition. The WSWS urges workers to reject the fraudulent “highlights” that the UAW will present and insist that workers be given the entire contract weeks in advance of any vote. They must reject the attempts pit workers against each other and to use meager signing bonuses (reportedly $3,000) to pressure workers to agree to a sharp attack on their pay and benefits.

A successful fight by autoworkers requires an understanding of the forces arrayed against them. Behind the corporations and their demands for an intensified assault on wages and benefits are the major banks and Wall Street investors—the financial aristocracy. After receiving trillions of dollars in handouts following the 2008 economic crisis, the ruling class is determined to force workers to pay for the massive debts than have been built up.

The entire political establishment, both Democrats and Republicans, stand on the side of the corporations and the banks. The Obama administration intensified the assault on autoworkers through the 2009 restructuring of GM and Chrysler, which expanded the two-tier system and imposed deep cuts in benefits for workers and retirees. The health care overhaul proposed by the UAW is in line with “Obamacare,” which aims to dismantle employer-paid health insurance and slash health care costs for corporations and the government.

The UAW has long since ceased to be a workers’ organization. It has transformed itself into a business whose financial interests are tied to the increased exploitation of the working class. With the VEBA health care fund, the union has established itself as an insurance provider and a major shareholder in the auto companies. The extension of this fund to current workers means that the UAW executives will have an even greater incentive to ensure the continued rise in the stock prices of the auto companies.

Autoworkers have powerful allies: the working class as a whole, in the United States and internationally. Everywhere, workers confront the same demands, the same coordinated attack, whether it is steelworkers, telecommunications workers or teachers in the US, or workers and youth in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Alongside the mobilization of the industrial power of the working class, there must be a new political strategy. Any struggle to defend jobs and living standards is a political fight against the companies and the government and requires a rebellion against the unions. All of these institutions defend the capitalist system, which is based on the exploitation of the working class in the interests of corporate profit. The WSWS and the Autoworker Newsletter are committed to aiding autoworkers in carrying out this struggle.
Joseph Kishore





Contracts to expire at midnight for 

141,000 US autoworkers

By Jerry White
14 September 2015
The four-year contracts covering 141,000 autoworkers at US factories owned by General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler expire at midnight tonight. The first section of industrial workers to be hit with deep wage and benefit cuts after the financial crash of 2008, autoworkers are determined to recoup their lost income now that the automakers are flush with cash and are funneling billions to wealthy investors.

The negotiations between the United Auto Workers and auto executives have been carried out in an atmosphere of unprecedented secrecy, with UAW officials making the specious claim that telling workers details of the negotiations would lead to damaging rumors. In fact, the framework of another concessionary deal is largely in place, and the conspiracy of silence by the UAW is aimed at preventing opposition from rank-and-file workers.

Autoworkers hired before 2007—so-called legacy workers—have not had a wage increase in more than a decade. Those hired after 2007, or some 40,000 workers, have been dumped into the hated two-tier wage and benefit system, where they earn little more than half the $28.50 per hour paid to older workers. Autoworkers, determined to abolish the two-tier system and win significant pay increases, voted by a 98 percent margin to authorize a strike.

During Obama’s 2009 restructuring of GM and Chrysler, the UAW agreed to a sharp expansion of the two-tier system, the elimination of overtime payments after eight hours, the wiping out of tens of thousands of jobs and the ending of income security for laid off workers. In return, the UAW was handed billions of dollars in corporate stock to fund a retirees medical benefit trust, one of the largest private investment vehicles in the world.

In the current round of talks, the UAW is once again collaborating with the Obama administration and the auto bosses to impose an unprecedented attack on autoworkers and by extension the whole working class. This involves plans to replace employer-paid health care benefits, won by autoworkers in the 1940s, with a union-run medical plan that would sharply increase copays and force workers into inferior plans.

The UAW has already indicated it will extend the current contracts and that a strike, according to UAW President Dennis Williams, would represent a “failure.” In a Labor Day speech in Detroit last week, the UAW president said union and company negotiators “were not at each others’ throats.”
It is not excluded that the UAW might call a meaningless one- or two-day strike in order to allow a restive workforce to blow off steam while the union works to impose a sellout. This is precisely what happened in 2007, when it called what became known as “Hollywood strikes” at GM and Chrysler, before ramming through a “transformational” contract that included the two-tier wage system.
At the same time, talks could drag out for weeks under extended contracts as they did in 2007 and 2011 when agreements were not reached for a month or more. This would allow the UAW to continue to collect union dues and temporarily sidestep the impact of “right to work” laws in Michigan and Indiana, which will make union membership and dues payment voluntary. In 2012, Obama’s National Labor Relations Board changed 50 years of labor law and ruled that companies had to continue deducting dues from workers’ paychecks and pass the money onto the unions even after the expiration of contracts.

On Sunday evening, facing increasing unrest among workers, the UAW announced that it had chosen Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)—the smallest of the Big Three automakers—as the lead company in contract talks.

In a statement, GM pledged to “continue working with our UAW partners” to obtain “an agreement that benefits employees and strengthens GM’s long-term competitiveness.” Ford said it was still negotiating and that “our represented facilities will continue to operate under the 2011 UAW-Ford contract until further notice.”

Before the UAW was transformed into a complete tool of management in the 1980s, the auto corporations sought to avoid being designated as the strike target because it meant they would face the union’s maximum demands for wage, benefit and workplace improvements. Those days are long gone. Now the companies virtually trip over one another to be the first to get a deal from the UAW tailored to their business needs.

FCA has the least cash on hand as well as the highest percentage of lower-paid second-tier workers—44 percent, compared to 29 percent at Ford and 19 percent at GM. FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has made it clear he considers higher-paid legacy workers to be a “dying class” and that there should be a cap on wages below the current $28.50. He also wants wages tied more firmly to profits and productivity.

Marchionne enjoys close relations with UAW President Dennis Williams, who collaborated with the Fiat boss in imposing a six-year concessionary deal on farm equipment workers at CNH Industrial (Case New Holland) in 2010, which paved the way for the spinoff of the company and hundreds of layoffs. At the opening of auto talks earlier this summer, Williams and Marchionne skipped the traditional handshake and embraced each other after the UAW president introduced “My friend, Sergio.”

Marchionne is also reaching out to various shareholders, including the UAW, to carry out a merger with GM or another automaker that would lead to the destruction of tens of thousands of jobs.
In these contract talks, the UAW is not negotiating on behalf of autoworkers, which it falsely claims to represent. It is seeking to defend the income and business interests of the UAW apparatus and the aspiring investment managers who run the union.

This is underscored in a Detroit Free Press article Saturday entitled, “UAW wants to pull in suppliers but pay could be controversial.” The article notes that far from eliminating the two-tier wage system, both the corporations and the UAW are seeking to establish a third tier of workers who will make even less than the current second-tier workers.

The Free Press wrote: “Management values the flexibility of paying less for people who provide logistics and janitorial services, stamp metal parts or package small kits that are attached to vehicles along the assembly line. And the union, for its part, sees an opportunity to gain new dues paying members, some of whom might see their wages and benefits improve.”

Such workers, union and non-union, making as little as $9 or $10 per hour, are already employed by suppliers or dummy companies such as GM Subsystems Manufacturing. Under the proposed scheme, they would be hired directly by the Big Three automakers and pay the UAW, in the form of monthly dues, for the privilege of being union members.

University of California-Berkeley Professor Harley Shaiken told the Free Press that explaining the scheme to UAW workers hoping their new contract eliminates the two-tier wage system would be “difficult.” Williams “would face a very difficult sales job on it,” Shaiken said, “but I think what Williams is concentrating on is what is the best approach for the long-term future of UAW.”
In a lead editorial Saturday, entitled, “UAW contract must contain health costs,” the Detroit News hailed Williams’ proposal to expand the union-controlled retiree medical benefits trust to hourly and even non-union salaried employees. “UAW members don’t want to pay any more for health care than they currently do, but they also must realize they enjoy some of the best health care plans in the country at some of the lowest costs.”

In this battle, autoworkers confront a gang-up of the corporations, both big business parties and the UAW. In order to fight, workers need new organizations of struggle (See: “The way forward for US autoworkers”), including rank-and-file action committees elected and democratically controlled by the workers themselves. Such committees must fight for the broadest mobilization of the working class in the US and internationally against the dictatorship of the banks and big business and for the right to a secure and good-paying job for all.