“Something is really broken”: Why GM auto workers are striking

“Something is really broken”: Why GM auto workers are striking


Back in 2009 during the bankruptcy, GM told
the United Auto Workers, “We’re definitely
going to close these plants, and these other
plants, we’ll agree to open, but only if
we get a two-tier wage system.”
So, the top tier paid $29 an hour.
They set up a bottom tier that ran from like
$17 up to about $25.
And then they’ve — now there’s this
third tier, you know, of temps.
And the temps make $15 an hour, and some of
the temps have been there three and five years.
So, with all this concern about the increased
precariousness of the economy and increased
instability in jobs, you know, one of the
focuses of the union, of the strikers, is,
we’ve to get rid of, you know, these temp
— I mean, we have to change these temp workers
to make them permanent.
It’s unfair they’re making just $15 an
hour.
They work side by side with people who make
twice as much.
Side by side often doing the same job, right?
Yes, doing the same job.
And it’s part of the UAW’s saying, you
know, “We’ve been good to you, GM.
We want you to be fair and good to us.”
Plus, the workers on the second tier want
the gap closed with the top tier.
They want to be moved up to $29, $31, very,
very quickly.
This is Ted Krumm, head of the UAW’s bargaining
committee, speaking at a news conference Sunday
night.
I want to be clear about something.
This strike is about us.
It is about standing up for fair wages, for
affordable quality healthcare, for our share
of profits and for our job security.
We are standing with our brothers and sisters
who are temporary employees and in-progression
employees, who do the same work we do for
less pay.
We are united.
We are strong.
We are ready.
We don’t take this lightly.
But General Motors needs to understand that
we stood up for GM when they needed us.
These are profitable times.
We work hard to make this company profitable.
And we deserve a fair contract, because we’ve
helped make this company what it is.
We are standing up for us.
Make no mistake: The strike is about the members
in Texas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan
and throughout the great nation.
We are fighting for the future of the middle
class, and we want a fair and equitable contract.
Thank you.
So, that’s Ted Krumm, head of the UAW’s
bargaining committee, speaking at a news conference
as they were going out on strike.
If you could respond to what he says and also
this latest move by GM not to pay the healthcare
of workers?
You retweeted today Sara Nelson, the president
of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA,
tweeting about GM’s decision to pull healthcare
for all benefits.
She said, “A note to anyone who wants to
use union members as a wedge to oppose #MedicareForAll:
@UAW has one of the best plans in the country,
but management can still use it to hold workers
hostage.
#M4A puts power back in our hands” — meaning
“Medicare for All.”
So, I wrote this book explaining that, you
know, unions did an amazing job lifting workers,
you know, last century, creating the middle
class, creating the 40-hour week, making mines
and factories much safer.
But the past 20, 30 years, unions and worker
power in the United States have gotten much,
much weaker.
I explain that it’s because corporations
have really played super-hardball to weaken
unions.
Globalization has weakened unions.
And we’ve seen the Republicans — you know,
Scott Walker, most notably — trying extremely
hard to weaken unions, especially public sector
unions.
So we’re at a point where worker power in
the United States is, I argue, the weakest
it’s been in many, many decades.
So, there’s a sense now that something is
really broken.
I mean, something is really broken.
And, you know, corporate profits have been
at record levels, and the stock market’s
at record levels, but we keep hearing that
wages have been stagnant for year after year.
They’re going up a tiny bit now, but for
the past few decades they’ve been really
stagnant for most workers.
And people say, “We have to fix this.”
And I think the reason we had the teacher
strikes last year and the Marriott strike
and the Stop & Shop strike and now the GM
strike is they’re saying, “We’re not
getting our fair share.”
And as we just saw in the video clip, you
know, GM had $8.1 billion in profits last
year.
Over the past three years, it’s had $35
billion in profits just from North America
alone.
And the workers are saying, “But you’re
closing these plants, when we helped you keep
them open?
You’re offering us just a 4% raise over
four years, just 1%?” that this is wrong.
So, this, I believe, is part of this healthy
burst of strikes where workers are trying
to win back their fair share

47 Replies to ““Something is really broken”: Why GM auto workers are striking”

  1. We need to break up our whole government.
    Enough is enough!!!!!
    Killer Mike said it best.
    We are all slaves.
    The candidates are masters..
    But which master is going to do the most for us?

  2. I think if they won't give workers what they deserve they should just take it . Total Anarchy . Invade their houses . Take their cars . Take their planes and all their riches and just burn it all to hell . Then let them walk amongst us as known members of the one percent .

    All the laws have been designed for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer . Even the playing field and see how they survive .

  3. They will send jobs to communist China…
    Amazon types will sell us out..

    Now only Chinese take out food is made in America..
    Let's boycott offshoring manufacturing which Republican and Democrat s passed NAFTA to include China…
    I left both parties both liars…
    Ross Perot warned us…
    Shalom

  4. Does anyone know when companies started to do away with the 90 day trial period where the worker would know if they were hired or fired after 90 days of working for the company?

  5. There has to be a happy medium point. Raise wages too much & the whole house of cards collapses. Working for $15/hour for that type of work and its just getting by. It's not likely GM will get bailed out again like in 2008 so they should keep that in mind.

  6. Why do temp workers say "We do the same work" Since when has any temp worker done a different job? Why would a temp worker be worth the same amount as a worker who is willing to put in a full work week? That's what wouldn't be fair imo.
    Employers should be able to reward their full time workers by paying them more. Is there more to this story I'm not seeing or what?

  7. Democrats have controlled the unions for years and have destroyed employment in the US. Just send the illegal immigrants to work in their place like has been done before or send the whole company out of the country like they want to anyway.but do not worry because Bernie will have the Free Stuff lines

  8. There's 3 freedom's.Negitive, Positive and Republican. Negitve. When you get to go home from work. Positive. When you get to what you want on the weekends. Republican. Do whatever the fuck YOU want.

  9. There was an Old GM then they got goverment support of about 100 billion US $ and they transformed into New GM. GM has a management problem which is they have no clue about quality. The same problem which has Trump. No clue how to create quality. The next GM is also dammed for going down the tube. Like the whole U.S. is going down the tube. Greetings from Europe Germany.

  10. Gm had to get bailed out by the government, now you morons want to take more tax payer money to prop up salaries and benefits for their employees? F U

  11. Why GM Auto Workers Are Striking.

    Simple. Capitalism. I know it's a juxtaposition that the thing that supposedly allows them to have the job is f***ing them while in the job but that is how capitalism works and any gains made today via such strikes, the rich will undo over time from tomorrow. Capitalists are incentivised to maximise profit and increase that profit each year, that means they must progressively screw their workers over time as well as massively over produce us into the next recession and eventual ecological collapse in order to keep the game going and the major investors happy, who incidentally are also usually board members though capitalism doesn't find this to be a conflict of interest and utter corruption.

  12. Just an observation – but none of those guys look as though they're starving, do they? Big, big fellowsl. Does the obesity affect the healthcare package at all, one wonders?

  13. Seems like it's the wages issue that's causing problems at GM. Increase wages increase costs which explains why GM produced vehicles are now fitted with more and more plastic.

  14. So far the government of Trump and the Congress are not saying too much about the horrors of abandoning the workers health care and jobs by a transnational corporation not because GM cannot compete and needs help. God forbid the other 499 transationals don't start doing the same thing as GM. It seems GM is cutting back on the only commodity it can cut back on without losing that world market status it is enjoying as highly profitable and successful. It cuts back on health care the most expensive payroll deduction for its American division. It seems healthcare is not a deduction for other GM employees in countries where production plants are not closing because healthcare is socialized in some of those countries and where it is not socialized it is not as costly as it is in the US. No wonder then the Trump government and the Congress are relatively quiet on a hot issue, Medical for All, and plant closings point to signs of a weak economy. It is a subject too thorny to be allowed on stage joined with the climate crisis they want out of the debates. It seems the problems keep piling up on the Trump government and the Congress. Pulling a magic cap over the heads pretending the monsters are not really there. Both institutions fail to level with the people they would rather let industry move away than give Americans socialized medicine as to the reasons the problems pile up. If government is so willing to let industry leave why are we so willing to let stay a Congress and president that will not accomodate industry with socialized medicine and spare the humiliation of workers pleaing for their jobs? Not to mention keep Capital and Labor home.

  15. Universal Health care creates wellness security 4everyone all of the time, it would take that bargaining chip out of the hands of those who use it 2 ratchet down wages. As long as our access to health care is in the hands of greedy corporate capitalists, they will use that power to manipulate us 2give up other things that help us thrive, Blessings, Love is the answer

  16. How about, the most highly paid GM exec's give up some of their lavish pay to insure product quality??? Instead of acting as if decent wages & benefits R the cause of reduced quality &plastic car parts, Blessings Love is the answer

  17. They're gone after the next bankruptcy. It's a shame; these guys and management saw the writing on the wall 40 years ago, and have been fighting each other ever since those cheap 4-banger Datsuns and Toyotas began rolling off Japanese shipping carriers and on to North American roads. No one to blame but themselves; UAW and GM, that is 🙁

  18. The $7.25 an hour Congress wants to force on food delivery drivers is also not a fair share. Uber does not represent the driver delivery business.

  19. How about THIS as a reason to strike: We will not help make any more cars UNLESS THEY ARE ELECTRIC OR SOME OTHER TECHNOLOGY THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE PETROLEUM. Better technologies HAVE to exist. There HAS to be a better way to transport ourselves than burning that disgusting stinking crap that ruins our air.

  20. $30 to work at a factory, plus benefits? Wow! Fire them all and move the factories to the south where unions have no power! Unions are horrible!

  21. General Motors is essentially bankrupt. They have been since the 2008 bailout. Automobile sales are substantially down, inventories are at high levels and prior vehicles sold that were financed, many of those sales are 90 days past due. The executives are raiding what little cash flow is remaining and the workers and the taxpayers will be left holding the bag. Welcome to Corporate Fascism!

  22. What a greedy unjust dishonest shithole of a country. All that flag waving and bible bashing, all that anthem singing and gun toting, all that MAGA, and what do we see, revolting greed, corruption and dishonesty. That's some culture you got there America.

  23. Why are ALL US males FAT? Its crazy how fay you are … Im very sorry about your work conditions. Its not right. There is more than enough to go around.

  24. The problem is I can not afford to pay $50,000 for a pickup truck that I can't put a 4×8 sheet of plywood/drywall in. With the tailgate closed. Without a custom order. 2nd A union worker tipically are the most arrogant overpaid imbassals ive ever delt with. We should have let GM fail in 08. This is what you get when you make overpriced junk.

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