1 year ago

11 February, 2017

State Hall

Organised by:
The International Youth and Students for Social Equality

Wayne State University
State Hall Room 106
5143 Cass Ave, Detroit

Live audio dial-in number: 213-416-1560, PIN: 581 991 086#

It is one month before GM starts phasing out the second shift and laying off 1,300 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant. If this is allowed to happen, the jobs and livelihoods of these workers, plus hundreds of others who supply and service the factory, will be destroyed. This crime must be stopped!

GM and UAW officials insist that workers accept their fate and go quietly. But millionaire GM execs like CEO Mary Barra and her servants in the UAW are not the ones losing their income and health benefits. They are not the ones who will watch their families suffer. It is not UAW President Dennis Williams, Vice President Cindy Estrada or Local 22 President George McGregor who are going to have their lights, gas and water shut off or who will lose their homes.

The city of Detroit is already reeling from chronically high levels of unemployment. What jobs will autoworkers find? Throughout the US, 95 percent of new jobs over the last eight years have been temporary and part-time. The loss of another 1,300 jobs in Detroit will mean more poverty, destitution and desperation.

The Socialist Equality Party insists that all workers have the social right to a secure job and income. A fight to defend these rights must be waged. Autoworkers cannot fight alone, however. It is necessary to mobilize workers throughout the city, including Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers also facing job losses, auto parts workers, teachers, city workers, construction workers, and college and high school youth.

We urge GM workers and all workers and youth to attend the SEP public meeting on Saturday, February 11, at Wayne State University. The purpose of the meeting is to map out a strategy to mobilize the working class throughout the Detroit area to stop the layoffs.

The coming to power of Donald Trump and his government of billionaires is provoking widespread opposition. For all his phony talk about protecting American workers, Trump has not said a thing about GM’s wiping out of 1,300 jobs in Detroit, or the 2,000 workers at plants in Lansing and Lordstown, Ohio who were laid off the day of his inaugural address.

The billionaire president, Barra and the UAW all defend the “right” of the corporations to get rid of workers if they are not making sufficient profits. But workers had no say-so over the business decisions of the giant corporation, which imposed countless hours of forced overtime only to throw workers on the streets when car sales slowed.

GM has made more than $55 billion in profits since the 2009 bankruptcy, including $11 billion last year. It is squandering $9 billion on stock buybacks and dividend payouts for its wealthy shareholders and executives. If GM divided this among the 50,000 hourly workers who produced the bulk of these profits, every worker, including the ones losing their jobs, would get a $180,000 bonus. To add insult to injury, many of the workers are being laid off just weeks before they qualify for SUB pay.

The UAW is doing nothing to defend the jobs and livelihoods of its dues-paying members. It is a tool of management, not a workers’ organization. UAW executives sit on GM’s corporate board and control large chunks of GM shares. The 2015 UAW-Big Three contracts were rammed past the opposition of workers—using lies, threats and outright vote-rigging—to make it easier for the corporations to slash jobs and create a disposable, temporary workforce.

The central aim of the UAW is to subordinate workers to the capitalist system and the two big business parties. For decades it has promoted the Democratic Party, and backed Obama as the White House oversaw the halving of workers’ wages and the slashing of health care. Now, the UAW and the AFL-CIO are pledging to work with Trump, promoting the lie that his economic nationalist policies have anything to do with the interests of workers.

If a fight is to be carried out, workers must take the initiative and conduct it themselves!

The Socialist Equality Party urges workers to elect a rank-and-file committee to discuss and plan opposition to the layoffs. This committee should reach out to other GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers facing layoffs and to workers throughout the metropolitan Detroit area. Rallies, demonstrations and other protests should be organized to mobilize the working class to prevent the layoffs being planned for March.

These and other proposals will be discussed at the meeting on February 11. Make plans to attend! No to layoffs! No plant closures! Workers have the right to a job!