September 15, 2023
With the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) now locked in strike struggle with the “Big 3” auto conglomerates; Ford, General Motors and Chrysler/Stellantis – it’s time to do some current and background reading and digging.
First, figure out where your real news will come from. One constant in U.S. labor showdowns has always been for the corporate media to play games with strike coverage. This always favors the bosses and features the ravings of politicians from both parties pleading either for “moderation” or declaring war on the workers and the union.
The same or worse could be said about the endless media promotion of a long line of bogus “experts”, scaremongers, suspect academics with no connection to the union or the industry, and the endless cesspool of political commentators who all invariably oppose the strike action. Nothing new here, since they oppose all strike action. Put these folks in your handy trash can like UAW President Shawn Fain did with the insulting contract proposals of the companies. Don’t waste time listening to President Joe Biden either; he has been trying to stop this strike for months and it has apparently never occurred to our self-appointed “most pro-union President in U.S. history” that he could actually support the just demands of the auto workers and actually do something. Presidents have a lot of power. Somebody should tell Biden that.
Get the Facts
There are several reliable sources of news about the fight of the auto workers. See:
Labor Notes: Labor Notes
The UAW union web site: Stand Up | UAW
Have your own recommended favorite news source? Leave the link in your comment at the bottom. Keep up with the strike coverage by honest outlets and do what you can to support the strike. Walk the picket line where possible. Support the workers on your social media. Make a contribution to one of the honest publications so they can expand what they are doing.
Good Time To Read and Learn – Pick One Today
In a moment like this it is always good to dig a little and learn something about the origins of the UAW. You won’t get any of this from the business press.
Marxism Leninism Today contributor Roger Keeran authored a fascinating book detailing the early decades-long struggle to establish the auto union, in “The Communist Party and the Auto Workers Union”, available here: The Communist Party and the Auto Workers’ Union (intpubnyc.com)
Another M-L Today contributor Greg Godels compiled a good look back at one of the nearly forgotten founders of the UAW, Wyndham Mortimer, and he reviews his key role. See; Labor’s Betrayal – MLToday
Henry Kraus was one of the earliest UAW organizers and his eyewitness book, “The Many and the Few”, may be found here; UI Press | Henry Kraus | The Many and the Few (uillinois.edu)
Bill McKie was one of the stalwart union men and left wingers who defied the fanatically anti-union Ford Motor Company and led the organizing of the UAW there. See: Brother Bill Mckie: Building the Union at Ford (intpubnyc.com)
The Fight Is On — Back Them Up
The auto fight is bound to take some twists and turns, but we can be certain that all of the forces who worked overtime to oppose and sabotage the rail and UPS strikes are at it again. Corporate, media, political, all of them. In one way or another these forces either support or are willingly blind to the plight of the workers toughing it out in the auto shops. The auto workers have seen their living standards and working conditions reduced repeatedly in recent decades and now that they have been able to throw off the corrupt UAW leadership who helped engineer that damage they are free to fight back and strike. It is therefore the clear responsibility of the left to support these workers and support their fight no matter where it goes. Any who try to fabricate cheap excuses for not supporting them, and those who are more concerned about the politicians, are exposing themselves as the menace that they are.
-Chris Townsend is a 44-year union member and leader. He is the retired Political Action Director for the United Electrical Workers Union (UE) and was the Organizing and Field Director for the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). He may be reached at email@example.com