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Old 09-17-2019, 03:50 AM
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Default Re: Labor Day

Key Points About the U.A.W. Strike Against General Motors {warning: metered paywall}
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First, it was teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Then hotel workers at nearly two dozen Marriotts and grocery employees at Stop & Shop locations in the Northeast.

Now the United Automobile Workers have gone on strike at General Motors, sending nearly 50,000 members at factories across the Midwest and South to picket lines.

U.A.W. leaders in Detroit voted unanimously on Sunday to authorize the strike, the union’s first such walkout since 2007, after the current agreement with G.M. expired.

The strike, part of a recent surge of labor activism, has halted production in the United States. A prolonged stoppage could affect G.M.’s Canadian and Mexican operations, crimping the company’s bottom line and the fortunes of its parts suppliers.
This is the largest strike in the US in more than a decade. One of the big issues is two-tiered pay, where newer employees get paid substantially less; and slowing or reversing plant closures in the US.
Hard to find a single decent article on the subject in a short search engine perusal; labor reporting in the US is mostly dead.

On that same subject, on two search engines all the results on the first page for unionization/ how to form a union/ signing unionization cards are anti-union "workers rights" employer propaganda. Not surprised.
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  #27  
Old 09-18-2019, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Labor Day

Okay did some digging.
1. UAW did a shitty job of preparing for this strike. Labor Notes discusses the issue, which boils down to whether or not the union involves rank-and-file workers and prepares them in building solidarity and intensity for the strike, with everyone on the same page about the demands, or if it is called for from union management entirely without front-loading and prep.
2. UAW is embroiled in a corruption scandal right now that is being pursued by the FBI. This also makes union leadership look unprepared at best and disconnected and corrupt as all hell.
Quote:
GM was bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of $50 billion in 2009. It made over $8 billion in profits last year, while paying no federal income taxes yet gifting CEO Mary Barra $22 million. For GM to demand concessions from its overworked employees now is a sign that it thinks the UAW is an easy foe.

After all, UAW President Gary Jones may be distracted. His house and that of former President Dennis Williams were both searched by the FBI August 28. Jones’ top lieutenant before he became president, Vance Pearson, was charged with using union funds for personal luxuries, and it’s widely believed that Jones and Williams will be next. Pearson was the sixth UAW official to be recently charged or convicted of graft.
GM has also been buying back stocks; they are awash in cash.
GM bought back $10 billion in stock since 2015, double what job cuts will save

On this subject I just finished Jane McAlevey's No Shortcuts, which gives a number of case studies of two broad primary types of unions in the US today: top down deal maker unions and lateral grassroots solidarity unions. Top-down deal maker unions may go to an industry or large employer and gain unionization in return for backing a piece of legislation, finding supply chain cost reductions, agreeing to not unionize THOSE parts, etc. Negotiations are behind closed doors, workers are not involved particularly. Lateral grassroots solidarity unions have an involved rank-and-file; union officers are drawn from the rank-and-file; they engage in solidarity actions and regular participation of membership, including in contract negotiations, and they strike (with lots of prep and training). This second type of union in almost every study is stronger, gains more concessions, but takes involvement from the membership.
The main argument is that the mobilizing model which gained ascendancy in unionizing in the last decades is insufficient; it takes organizing workers and building movement solidarity; mobilizing alone does not sustain.

Oh, and the book was great. Jane McAlevey has a fair number of videos on YouTube as well, discussing labor and unionization today, in concrete terms.
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  #28  
Old 10-19-2019, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Labor Day

Labor Notes covers the current negotiations as GM workers vote on the tentative agreement.
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After nearly six weeks on the picket lines, auto workers will make a sobering choice: accept the agreement proposed or vote no and stay out in the hopes of getting something better. In 2015 Chrysler workers rejected their tentative agreement 2-1 and sent bargainers back for more. GM workers, voting later, approved their pact by just 58 percent for production workers; skilled trades voted it down.

UAW leaders decided that workers will remain on strike during the ratification vote. Voting will end Friday, October 25 by 4:00 p.m.
One of the biggest issues is regarding the tiers of workers, with workers hired after 2007 having significantly lower pay and benefits than those hired before 2007. The new contract being offered does little to resolve this large and important issue.

ALSO!

Chicago teachers are striking, to force the Democratic machine running politics in Chicago to actually address major issues.
Quote:
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools classes are canceled again Friday as the Chicago Teachers Union remains on strike for a second day.

There are signs of movement toward a deal, but thousands of CPS teachers returned to the picket lines Friday morning. Twenty-six thousand CPS teachers and 8,000 support staff workers including custodians, special education assistants and bus aides are on strike. It is the first CPS teacher strike since 2012.
Labor Notes on the teacher's strike:
Quote:
This time, 25,000-member CTU is joined on strike by Service Employees (SEIU) Local 73, which represents 7,500 classroom assistants, bus drivers and aides, security guards, and other support staff.

This time the union has extended its demands: it wants to tackle student homelessness and affordable housing for low-income Chicagoans.

And this time it is up against a new mayor—not the blatant corporate shill Rahm Emmanuel but liberal Lori Lightfoot, whose election platform promised support for the Chicago Public Schools. In spite of these promises, Lightfoot chose the same bargaining team that served Emanuel and is holding firm against the unions' demands.
...>snip<...
Many SEIU members work with students with special learning, developmental, or emotional needs. The average salary for custodial workers is $35,000 a year and for special education classroom assistants $36,000. That puts these workers below the Housing and Urban Development measure of “very low income.”

Isaac Krantz-Perlman, a substitute special education classroom assistant, describes a colleague who works with students all day, leaves to drive for Uber, works as a night-shift custodian, goes home to care for his elderly mother, sleeps, and heads back to work with students the next day. He says this is what the unions mean when they say “our working conditions are students' learning conditions.” Students need well-rested staff.

Local 73 is demanding pay raises, access to health benefits and paid vacations, an end to outsourcing, and more training for educators working with high-needs students.

Class-size caps, and the opening of a new classroom when numbers go over that cap, are central to CTU’s demands. The union is calling for more counselors and social workers, with lower caseloads, nurses in every school, and an expansion of the number of Sustainable Community Schools from 20 to 75. These are schools that give students a full array of wrap-around social services.
The teachers in Chicago reorged their unions internally before the 2012 Strike that they won, to become stronger with much more rank-and-file participation and solidarity and militancy, as opposed to top-down union structures that preceded it.
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  #29  
Old 11-03-2019, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: Labor Day

The 11-day teachers strike in Chicago paid off
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Teachers returned to school Friday after going on strike for 11 days. They had picketed in the snow and rain until union leaders and city officials struck a deal to raise teacher pay and to put a social worker and nurse in each school. Some of the teachers’ most ambitious proposals, such as requiring the city to expand affordable housing, didn’t make the cut.

“Did we accomplish every single little thing? No. But I can say that we moved the needle on educational justice in the city,” Jesse Sharkey, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, said in a press conference Thursday.

The district also committed to spending $35 million to shrink oversized classrooms and to prioritize schools that serve the most at-risk students. The deal includes a 16 percent pay raise for teachers over five years, and a remarkable 40 percent raise for teaching assistants, clerks, and other lower-paid workers. The new, five-year contract will also boost investment per pupil and reduce the number of students in each class.

Teachers had wanted more, though. They also wanted more affordable housing in the city for students and teachers. That’s something no teachers union has demanded in recent contract negotiations.

These kinds of broad demands are part of a growing movement, led by teachers and labor unions, focused more on social justice issues affecting their communities than simply pay. It’s known as “bargaining for the common good.”
This is a big deal; the Chicago machine bends the knee to the teacher's union because that union knows how to build, organize, fight, and win. Good on the teachers, janitors, teaching assistants, and support staff for their solidarity and determination.

The GM strike has officially ended. Here’s what workers won and lost.
Quote:
The longest auto workers’ strike in 50 years is officially over.

General Motors employees voted overwhelmingly in favor of a deal struck by the United Auto Workers union and company executives. Nearly 48,000 workers who were on strike will return to work on Saturday.

The vote ends a painful work stoppage that has lasted six weeks, costing GM nearly $2 billion in lost production and employees nearly $1 billion in lost wages.

“Our members not only joined together in solidarity but felt the support of their whole community throughout this important stand,” Terry Dittes, the lead UAW negotiator at GM, said in a statement.

The final deal isn’t terrible for workers, but it’s hardly a victory. In fact, the tentative four-year contract would give striking workers four small wins and one major loss.
The four small wins: pay increases (same as last contract) but with a lift on the cap on profit sharing; $4 billion in US factory investments that keeps at least one plant open that was slated for closure; some small gains for temporary and transitional workers (the tier system that workers hate is still in place); And no health care cost bump (prior to strike these were set to increase).
The big loss was the Lordstown Ohio plant is being closed by GM; the company was unwilling to have the labor footprint wanted by the union and instead are moving this kind of production (what hasn't already been moved, that is) to maquiladoras in Mexico.
Turns out jobs in the maquiladoras and the supposed Mexican unions that represent them, are shady as fuck.
How Mexico’s Unions Sell Out Autoworkers
The article lays out how in Mexico unions negotiate contracts years before the plants are even built and workers in the plants do not know they are represented by a union, have no say in negotiations, and the deals brokered often do not benefit workers whatsoever, locking in pay rates well below the national average or industry standard in Mexico in many instances.

Quote:
Since 2010, automakers have announced $24 billion in investments through 2019, while parts makers have committed another $3 billion, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. Companies often cite the trade agreements Mexico has signed with 45 countries as a key reason they want to locate their plants there. Auto executives will rarely say they chose Mexico because its workers are among the cheapest in the world.

Mexican assembly-line workers earn about one-tenth of what their U.S. counterparts make. Adjusted for productivity, base wages for workers in plants that make transportation equipment rose 20 percent in Mexico between 2006 and 2016, according to calculations by Boston Consulting Group Inc.; in China, they climbed 157 percent over the same period.

Alejandra makes about $1.45 an hour working at a factory in Guanajuato state owned by Hirschmann Automotive GmbH, an Austrian parts maker. The machine operator, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of retaliation, says she has no idea if she and her co-workers are represented by a union.
So the GM strike was indicative of a company awash in cash, tied to a global supply chain, and using neoliberal globalism to break much of the leverage labor might have in the US auto plants. It was also indicative of a union that got sloppy and did not build rank-and-file power and solidarity in the last decades; and one that has the FBI breathing down their neck for internal corruption issues.
UAW president to take leave of absence amid federal corruption probe of union's leadership
Quote:
The surprising development Saturday follows the latest criminal charges in the UAW corruption probe. Edward Robinson, a union official in Missouri, was accused Thursday in a criminal information of conspiracy to embezzle union funds and to defraud the United States. Robinson's regional office was the same one Jones had once led. Vance Pearson, the current director of that office, Region 5, is on leave facing his own charges in the scandal. A dozen people — union and auto company officials — have been charged to date.
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