Mexican GM worker, Michigan auto workers and educators express solidarity with striking Volvo Trucks workers
The courageous stand of Volvo Trucks workers in Virginia, who went on strike Monday after decisively voting against a second surrender deal pushed by the United Auto Workers (UAW), has inspired workers in the United States and in the world.
In recent days, the WSWS has issued statements of support for the nearly 3,000 strikers at the New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia, who were sent by auto and parts workers, educators and Amazon workers in the United States, and auto workers in India who waged wildcat strikes against Ford, Hyundai, Maruti-Suzuki and other companies who kept their factories open while the deadly pandemic is spreading through their factories. German workers also sent statements of solidarity.
The strikers in Virginia, including those who formed the Volvo Workers’ Grassroots Committee to lead opposition to the sales contracts, said the wave of support for their struggle around the world had lifted their spirits and strengthened their determination to fight. the company and the UAW.
Tuesday the World Socialist Website received a declaration of solidarity from a General Motors employee at the company’s plant in Silao, Mexico. Workers in Silao have built a grassroots movement against the Pro-Business Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM).
Raziel, a worker at the Silao plant, said, “Courage, dear colleagues at Volvo, from the trenches of GM Silao, Mexico. I send you my greetings and best wishes. We can only change these parasitic unions if we are united. We share the same conditions at Silao in our fight against CTM. The government supports the charro [corrupt] unions, so we are on a losing track; they don’t even want [fair] elections. We send you all our support to get rid of these parasitic unions!
In the weeks leading up to GM’s 2019 strike in the United States, Silao workers resisted GM’s efforts to ramp up production at the Silao complex, where 6,000 workers make the company’s most profitable vehicles. , Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks, for $ 2.25 an hour. . For their courageous act of solidarity, GM and the Confederation of Mexican Workers gangster union tracked down the rebel leaders and fired the workers, many of whom had more than 20 years of service with GM. The victimized workers published an open letter to American workers who supported Silao workers as they fought to get their jobs back.
Support for Volvo workers also came from auto workers in Detroit, including workers at Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler). Former general vice president Holiefield who was caught taking bribes from Fiat Chrysler was responsible for signing contracts at Fiat Chrysler and Volvo Trucks which introduced the hated two tier wage system.
Angie, an employee of the Stellantis Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP), said: “I sympathize with the Volvo employees. They are united and take a stand against the UAW. There is power in numbers: 90 percent is awesome. The UAW says very loudly that they don’t care about you. The contract they tried to sell you was a slap in the face. How do you justify that? ”She said,“ The workers in all the different auto factories should stand in solidarity with them. ”
Angie described the experiences of workers at JNAP and other Fiat Chrysler factories in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Canada who took actions in defiance of the UAW in order to force a production shutdown. two months in March 2020 due to the spread of the deadly virus.
The UAW has organized a return to work in still unsafe conditions. “They tried to make it look good, it wasn’t clean, as soon as we got back to work it was business as usual. It went from where if one person caught COVID, the whole team was quarantined to only one or two people, or none at all. The UAW was not in favor of the workers. You don’t get paid if you come into contact with someone who has COVID. “
She said that Stellantis workers were also building grassroots committees in their factories.
“My suggestion,” she said, “is to work with the grassroots committee. It is more evident than ever that the UAW is not for workers. They have completely sold the workers and that will not change in the future. What needs to change are the actions of the workers themselves, just like the workers at Volvo. “
Tracy concluded, “Fighting has to be international to be really effective. It’s not just local for us. It must be international. We all want solidarity and fairness. We all want a living wage where we can be comfortable; to be able not to struggle.
Educators who have engaged in a fight against federal and state authorities and unions over reopening schools during the pandemic have also expressed support for Volvo workers.
The WSWS spoke with a teacher in Port Huron, Mich., Whose husband is a former auto parts worker at American Axle. In 2008, the UAW ended a three-month strike of 3,600 American Axle workers in Michigan and New York, which resulted in significant pay cuts and the elimination of more than half of labor.
“I think it’s fantastic that they voted against it and that people are standing up,” the teacher said. “There was also a contract in a spare parts factory [Nexteer] near me here in Michigan just recently. I know the workers there are questioning the ballot count, and it has been reported to be very close. They wonder if this was fairly counted by the UAW. But the vote at Volvo was overwhelming against.
“So the UAW called them back. They’re probably going to do the same thing they did at American Axle when they only paid $ 200 a week in strike pay during that strike in 2008. Then the company cut health insurance. What they pay the UAW for strike pay doesn’t even equate to minimum wage, not even close.
“I remember my husband was really pissed off at the time when they cut health insurance and the union didn’t step in to help. Single parents were in an impossible situation. They couldn’t afford to pay to go out and get Medicare. At that time, you also couldn’t trade and just buy it.
“The strikers couldn’t just stay home because they had to picket to get benefits. For many people, that would also make you pay for child care. On top of that with the strike at Volvo, purchasing power is not what it was before. So there are going to be even more economic worries for this reason. “
She then described the struggle of educators to protect their health and lives as well as those of their students and communities against the bipartisan rush to reopen schools. Referring to the hypocrisy of the teachers’ unions, she said: “We saw how things really go when they told us the same sort of thing when we were arguing over the COVID issues early in the year. ‘school year. I would hear the Michigan Education Association (MEA) say that the laws and things are preventing us from doing anything about it. It was about knocking on doors and electing Biden.
“But they really have a case of cognitive dissonance. They claimed that Trump was the problem and that it was important to support Biden because he was the lesser evil. But since Biden took office, there has been a coordinated effort to get teachers back and open schools completely. [Michigan Governor] Whitmer claimed she was following science, but as soon as Biden took office, everything “following science” was thrown out the window.
“So I’m very happy to see people fighting this situation. When we teachers wanted to strike statewide in 2011, the MEA told us that we had to get 90% of teachers in the state to vote for such a strike, otherwise it was a refusal. . They caught up to that number as needed due to anti-strike law.
“What they were really telling us was that it would be impossible to get that percentage. So I’m happy to see such a turnout over there in Virginia. Ninety percent against what l “UAW has brought it back? It shows real solidarity,” she said.