Considerably less than a 7 days after United Automobile Employees President Ray Curry conspired with Volvo Vehicles administration to shut down the 5-7 days strike in Virginia and ram by way of a agreement earlier turned down by employees, he wrote a characteristic column in the Detroit Information Tuesday titled “UAW will work with businesses for union users.”
The Detroit Information, a Republican Celebration-aligned newspaper and longtime mouthpiece of the automobile bosses, frequently publishes columns by the UAW president, Teamsters President James Hoffa and other Michigan union bureaucrats who have verified their well worth to significant enterprise.
In his July 20 op-ed, Curry dispenses with any recommendation that unions really should have an “adversarial” romantic relationship with the firms and touts the UAW’s lengthy-standing embrace of corporatism and labor-administration “partnership.”
“[B]eyond the conflict and headlines of members’ needs in the course of collective bargaining and in place of work concerns like grievances,” Curry declares, unions and businesses “must even now spouse to generate this nation’s financial motor.” The UAW president provides, “Good businesses who be successful realize that a pleased, successful workforce is vital to company results and company earnings.”
Nowhere in Curry’s column is there a one point out of the months-lengthy battle by almost 3,000 Volvo Vans employees in Dublin, Virginia, the most vital battle by UAW associates in yrs, if not decades. That is because the encounter demonstrated the irreconcilable conflict not only concerning Volvo staff and the Swedish-centered multinational big, but also in between the workers and the UAW.
As director of the UAW’s Major Truck Section, Curry drew up the agreement proposals which Volvo staff regularly rejected. The UAW-backed specials confirmed “corporate success and corporate profit” by imposing sharp improves in out-of-pocket health care charges on personnel, preserving the hated two-tier wage system, and providing a meager 2 % once-a-year wage enhance for major-paid out personnel. Under the current fee of inflation, the latter would consequence in a 20 % cut in authentic wages about the six-year contract signed by Curry.
After staff decisively defeated the UAW’s pro-enterprise proposals in May perhaps, June and on July 9, the union colluded with administration to impose its “last, most effective and final” present. When Volvo threatened to reopen the manufacturing unit with strikebreakers, Curry purchased the regional union to maintain a revote on the last rejected agreement and to make it obvious to hanging employees that they would be sent back again to get the job done under the company’s phrases no make a difference what the outcome of the vote. On July 14, the UAW introduced that the deal had passed by 17 votes. Amid common fees by rank-and-file workers that the UAW had manipulated the totals, Curry cynically claimed the “democratic process performed out at Volvo Trucks” as he shut down the strike.
The deal that Curry and the UAW imposed will guarantee the additional impoverishment of Volvo workers. And although each the union and Volvo falsely claimed every single of the contracts was the “best they could do” and that substantial enhancement in wages and rewards were being unaffordable, just this week Volvo noted next quarter revenue of roughly $1.12 billion, bringing its overall 2021 earnings to $2.5 billion so significantly.
“The UAW lied to us when they reported this was the best the business could do,” a Volvo worker explained to the WSWS after the gain report was introduced Tuesday. “They’re earning report revenue. Once folks see what the UAW negotiated absent, anytime individuals bastards on the hill eventually publish our deal, all hell is likely to break free.”
Curry is a element of a long line of UAW presidents—starting with Douglas Fraser, who was appointed to the Chrysler board of directors in 1980—whose full professions in the UAW apparatus have been dependent on the corporatist doctrine of labor-management “partnership,” i.e., that there is an identity of pursuits involving the corporations and personnel. This plan has entailed each the ever-nearer integration of the trade unions with administration and the capitalist state and the severe deterioration of workers’ residing criteria.
In his column, Curry declares, “The UAW has proved because its pretty starting that an employer’s achievement opens the doorway for a UAW member’s accomplishment at the bargaining desk. We’ve worked on a united entrance in building a sturdy economy, enhancing job generation and establishing superior criteria of living. This is correct irrespective of whether we are doing the job alongside one another on the manufacturing facility ground, at the bargaining desk or competing in this world-wide economic climate.”
In reality, the “united front” between the UAW and the firms is a single directed from the staff.
Regardless of Curry’s promises, “labor-management” partnership and corporatism has not been the guiding basic principle of the UAW “since its incredibly starting.” The socialist-minded employees and still left-wing militants who led mass industrial struggles like the 1936-37 Flint sit-down strike understood that the working class experienced wholly distinctive and antagonistic pursuits in relation to those of the capitalist proprietors of the huge industries.
The anti-socialist purges by then UAW President Walter Reuther in the 1940s, having said that, led to the consolidation of the UAW based on the defense of capitalism, nationalist support of the geopolitical pursuits of American imperialism, and the political subordination of the performing class to the Democratic Party, with a very similar process enjoying out within just the other trade unions.
The globalization of capitalist generation in the 1970s and 1980s uncovered the individual bankruptcy of the nationalist software of the UAW and other unions, who deserted any resistance to the businesses. The unions joined in the savage downsizing of large sections of sector and the relentless reduction in workers’ share of the national profits in the identify of generating American capitalism “more aggressive.”
All through this period of time, the UAW bureaucracy designed new sources of income from the ownership of corporate shares, positions on corporation boards, joint labor-management “training” plans (as well as the bribes funneled by them) and investments from multibillion-dollar retiree health care trusts. This enabled the union’s major executives and military of staffers to shield by themselves from the effect of their anti-doing work-course policies and become affluent based mostly on a share of the wealth extracted from the doing the job course.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAW has not only sacrificed the livelihoods of its associates for company income, but also their lives. In an work to conceal this, Curry praises the UAW’s part in the so-termed Detroit Three COVID-19 job pressure established up in March 2020.
“Faced with a lethal pandemic and no check to figure out publicity, nor a vaccine to shield employees and their people, the UAW and the Detroit 3 collaborated and shut down factories to help save American lives,” Curry statements in the Detroit News column. “These steps by the endeavor drive, and the position the activity drive played in determining protocols for returning to get the job done, saved lives and led other industries to undertake these exact protocols and guidelines.”
These are grotesque lies. The truth of the matter is the UAW did every little thing it could to avoid the shutdown of the car factories, even as hundreds of personnel were being staying infected and dozens of UAW associates were being dying from exposure in the factories. It was only a sequence of wildcat strikes by autoworkers, starting in Europe and spreading to Canada, the United States and Mexico, that pressured the closure of the vehicle and other industries. These had been rank-and-file rebellions from the UAW, like wildcat actions by Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis) staff in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
The safety protocols the UAW and the companies place in put following the two-thirty day period shutdown ended up only window dressing to pave the way to reopen the crops by mid-May perhaps 2020. At the time the factories restarted, the UAW colluded with administration to conceal data from employees about outbreaks and additional fatalities. Most a short while ago, the union agreed to fall mask-wearing and social distancing requirements to make it possible for the providers to ramp up manufacturing, even as the extremely perilous Delta variant is erupting and tens of 1000’s continue to be contaminated just about every day.
To justify his connect with for even greater collaboration with the businesses and the US govt, Curry cites the challenge that China, the European nations and other competitors pose to US corporations in the race to dominate electric powered vehicles and other automotive technologies. “[T]below is also a function among businesses and the UAW to guarantee the United States does not slide guiding in adopting this new technological know-how,” Curry declares.
Like the UAW’s demands that autoworkers endlessly sacrifice to contend versus workers in Japan and other countries in the 1980s, Curry’s campaign around electric automobiles will entail even additional unpleasant wage and position cuts. Curry is signaling to the companies that the UAW is prepared and eager to be a comprehensive-fledged partner in the transformation of autoworkers into a lower-compensated temp workforce, and that the union will support the US ruling elite in its potential trade wars and military services confrontations with China and other nuclear-armed competition.
The betrayal of the Volvo employees is only 1 of a lot of that Curry and the UAW are getting ready. But the rise up at Volvo this 12 months and the emergence of the Volvo Personnel Rank-and-File Committee (VWRFC) as a new voice and leadership of the workers factors the substitute way forward.
In opposition to the union’s attempts to isolate the strike guiding a conspiracy of silence, the Volvo staff, with the assistance of the WSWS, organized the VWRFC and set up connections to Mack Truck workers, autoworkers in Detroit and other cities, and Volvo employees in Australia, Canada and Belgium.
Already analysts from car sector believe-tanks are warning that the Volvo personnel will inspire other personnel to overturn many years of UAW-backed concessions. The recurring defeats of UAW agreement proposals “changes the dynamic very a little bit,” Kristin Dziczek, senior vice president at the Middle for Automotive Exploration explained. “If associates really don’t see the first offer as the most effective they can get, then it is a self-satisfying prophecy.”
The lessons of the courageous battle of the Volvo personnel versus each the enterprise and the UAW must be taken to each and every part of the performing course, in buy to get ready the required industrial and political counteroffensive of the operating class against the worldwide capitalist revenue program.