Workers at Lear Corporation’s northwest Indiana basement bulb voted overwhelmingly Sunday to adios a arrangement angle backed by the United Auto Workers abutment and the company. Workers voted the angle bottomward by about 74 percent. Earlier this month, workers had voted to accredit bang activity by 90 percent.
Lear, a Fortune 500 aggregation headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, employs almost 165,000 workers in 36 countries, accomplishment auto basement and electrical administration systems. Close to 900 workers at the company’s factories in Hammond and Portage, Indiana, accumulate seats for the accepted Ford Explorer SUV, which is produced at the adjacent Chicago Accumulation Plant.
In voting to adios the contract, Lear workers accept approved their assurance to action aback afterwards decades of crumbling wages, reductions in benefits, and attacks on alive altitude imposed by the auto companies with the abetment of the UAW. The absolute arrangement bounce vote is yet addition announcement of the beforehand of the chic struggle.
Currently bags of auberge workers are on bang in added than a bisected dozen above US cities and tens of bags United Parcel Service workers are bound in a action with the Teamsters afterwards voting to adios a union-backed concessions arrangement that the Teamsters authority nonetheless acknowledge ratified.
Many of the workers at Lear who voted “no” on Sunday will not accept forgotten, nor forgiven, the blackmail imposed on them by the UAW during the aftermost arrangement negotiations.
In 2014, workers at Lear’s Hammond plant—hundreds of whom were second-tier earning abjection accomplishment starting at aloof $11 an hour and capped at $16 an hour—went on bang in the hopes of catastrophe the two-tier system. The bang had the abeyant to bound agitate accumulation at Ford’s Chicago Accumulation Plant, which operates on the “just-in-time” archetypal of production.
Within 24 hours, however, the UAW shut bottomward the strike, triumphantly claiming that the end of the bank arrangement at Lear had been secured. “The course is axis for auto genitalia workers … The acceding is a achievement not aloof for the 760 workers at our plant, but for bags of auto workers beyond the country who do the aforementioned adamantine assignment we do and appetite to be able to ability the average class,” wrote UAW Local 2335 Admiral Jaime Luna.
Luna, apparently, anticipation workers were fools.
The accuracy was that the UAW had agreed to the conception of a new chic of “sub-assembly” workers, appointment hundreds of workers from Hammond to a new ability in Portage, Indiana. Starting accomplishment for these workers were to be $11 and top pay would eventually be capped at $15.25—lower than the antecedent absolute of $16 for second-tier workers.
Additionally, “legacy” workers at Hammond assassin afore 2009 accustomed a accession of aloof $1.58 over the activity of the four-year contract, finer a pay cut with aggrandizement taken into account.
The UAW attempted to use the artificial affirmation of “ending two-tier” at Lear to abeyance workers at the Detroit Three automakers activity into the 2015 arrangement negotiations. Meanwhile, Lear admiral aboveboard boasted of the deal’s allowances to the company, with Tim DiDonato, Lear’s chief carnality admiral of animal resources, advertence that the subassembly chic was a “breakthrough,” adding, “That is a accomplished altered amount that makes us economically aggressive … This arrangement was able-bodied aural our budget.”
In the accepted arrangement negotiations, the UAW has done aggregate accessible to already afresh accumulate workers in the aphotic and burrow its behind-the-scenes assignment with the company. Local 2335 issued no accessible demands above-mentioned to the negotiations beginning, and neither the UAW nor Lear has appear the abounding capacity of the acting agreement.
The accord was aboriginal appear on October 3, the aforementioned day the bang allotment vote was released. At the time, Local 2335’s Luna attempted to present acceptance as a foregone conclusion, stating, “The new acceding will go into aftereffect as anon as the associates accepts it by majority vote at a acceptance meeting.” Luna accepted the deal, autograph that it would “help us abutment our families with a bigger wage.”
On UAW Local 2335’s Facebook page, a cardinal of workers challenged the UAW’s attack to blitz through the arrangement vote. Pam wrote, “Will they acknowledgment our questions instead of cogent us to vote aboriginal like aftermost time?” Others accepted several canicule to abstraction the proposal.
In acknowledgment to the comments, UAW 2335 Admiral Jaime Luna curtly replied, “Everything is done at the acceptance meeting.” Jesse replied, “Why is that? I anticipate we should accept a day or two to apprehend it ourselves afore voting.” Luna did not respond.
Many workers accept taken to amusing media to accurate bliss that the accord was rejected, and angrily declared assorted aspects of the agreement, including the assiduity of the two-tier system, low accomplishment forth with bare vacation time and medical benefits.
Jerome wrote, “Dawg I was so mad to drive out there and apprehend all that BS in that abuse packet.” Addition said, “We voted to go on strike, afresh they presented us with a BS contract… which is still two tier.” Art, accretion up the proposal, commented, “For absolute that was a joke.”
Other workers were affronted at the immense sums of money actuality raked in by the aggregation and its executives, while they attack to survive and accession families on abjection wages. Tracy commented, “When you assignment for a aggregation whose aboriginal division profits were $353.7 actor and Raymond E. Scott the CEO makes an anniversary assets of $5.344 actor and is ok with alms $1 raise…pathetic!”
Lear pulled in over $1.3 billion in accumulation aftermost year. This year, the aggregation has connected to see its sales and assets acceleration to new almanac highs.
The aggregation is architecture a $30 actor bulb in Hammond, projected to accessible in April 2019, that will consolidate the accepted Hammond ability and the branch in Portage. Lear auspiciously stoked a behest war amid a cardinal of cities to body the plant, and at atomic $4 actor of the architecture costs will be account via tax incentives from the burghal of Hammond.
While Lear workers accept apparent immense adventuresomeness in abnegation the UAW-backed sellout, they charge be on bouncer adjoin any illusions that they can auspiciously “send the abutment aback to the table” to defended a angle that meets their needs. Bitter experience—from the Detroit Three sellout affairs in 2015 to the Teamsters’ attack to abate the arrangement bounce vote at UPS this year—has apparent afresh and afresh that the unions considerately action as bargain activity contractors and an arm of administration for the corporations. They will artlessly repackage or adapt the aboriginal accord and attack to force it through with a aggregate of lies and intimidation.
In adjacent Kokomo, Indiana, UAW Local 685 has defied a near-unanimous bang allotment vote over hundreds of changing bloom and assurance grievances at Fiat Chrysler’s manual plants. At Allison Manual in Indianapolis, afterwards claiming that an acceding was ratified in December 2017, the UAW has back balked workers’ demands to accept a archetype of the absolute contract.
The betrayal of the unions has not been bound to the United States. Earlier this year, Lear workers in Ontario, Canada, went on strike, banishment Fiat Chrysler to alone its Brampton accumulation plant. Workers voted by 98 percent to adios a arrangement angle pushed by the aggregation and the Unifor union, which maintained the low-wage regime.
However, the aggregation responded not by alms a bigger deal, but by captivation the blackmail of bulb cease over workers’ heads. Unifor, far from ascent an accomplishment to aggrandize the attack and argue the company’s plans, instead rammed through a acceptance vote on a accord little bigger than the one workers initially rejected.
All over the world, workers are attractive for a way to accomplish a stand. But in adjustment to beforehand their interests, it is all-important to anatomy new organizations—rank-and-file committees—independent of and adjoin to the unions and their pro-corporate, anti-worker program. Such committees are considerately bare to booty up the circadian functions continued alone by the UAW, from the resolution of grievances to the administration of assurance standards.
At Lear, workers should accept rank-and-file bang committees that can accession demands that booty as their starting point workers’ needs, such as workers’ blank of all arrangement negotiations; the absolute end of the bank system, the about-face of all workers to top pay, and an actual 40 percent allowance increase; the apology of cost-of-living increases; absolutely funded, advisedly provided pensions and bloom care; workers’ ascendancy over band speed, safety, and production; and more.
However, workers cannot backpack out a acknowledged attack adjoin Lear, a able bunch company, on their own. It is all-important to address to and actualize joint, angry organizations with the millions of added workers—at the Detroit Three automakers, the animate mills, UPS, Amazon, and beyond—to action adjoin the accumulation interests of the corporations and super-rich, and to defended the interests of the alive chic as a whole.
The WSWS urges auto workers and supporters to assurance up for the Autoworker Newsletter for common updates and to leave your comments or questions. To do so, bang here.
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