To all workers and democratic, progressive, and socialist forces in the United States,
In a letter released today, October 6th, Terry Dittes, Vice President and Director of UAW’s General Motors Department, announced that GM had retreated on much of the bargaining ground the UAW had made in the past several weeks. Further details emerged later in the day revealing that GM was now walking back from its offer to revive plants in Detroit and Ohio. The closure of the plants in Detroit saw over 2,500 workers laid off.
We reported previously that workers are becoming increasingly burdened by the strike, and are being forced to live on only $250 a week from the UAW strike fund, and their savings, often minimal. Despite this, morale remains high, a testament to the strength of working class people in this era of austerity and corporate greed. But in the face of increasingly aggressive strike-breaking tactics from the bosses, the UAW workers need our help.
The awakening of the US labor movement has been one of the most significant events in the growth of the American left from the margins and into the mainstream. This strike is the first great, nationally-reckoned test of this growing movement, fighting for democratic control of our workplaces. If this strike should fail, if GM is right to think they can bully the automotive workers into submission, the struggle for workers rights, the struggle of the left in this country, will take a profound step back. We cannot allow that to happen. This strike has proven to the whole nation the great power workers wield when united, and it is time we, workers in all industries, muster that power in support for the UAW workers.
What Can I Do to Support the UAW Strike?
The first and most essential task in supporting the UAW strike and bringing it to victory in the face of increasing pressure from bosses is to visit picket lines in your location and bring material assistance and solidarity. Below is a map of the states with active UAW picket lines, followed by a list of the addresses and locals in each state where there is a picket:
The UAW has thus far not made public monetary donations available, so most have been bringing goods to make the 24 hour picket line more bearable, from bottled water, to breakfast, to everything a person standing on a picket line would need. Certificates to grocery stores are also particularly sought.
Beyond the simple material support, showing up at picket lines and offering your solidarity and support maintains the energy and momentum of the strike at the local and national level. This strike, and the picket lines on which it lives, must not peeter out as GM hopes, but be sustained by support from all working class, progressive, democratic, and socialist forces in the country.
The second thing you can do to support the strike is interview workers at picket lines, listen to their stories and struggles during the strike, and bring it to social media and whatever platform you have in print or online. Disillusionment comes in strikes when workers feel their voice is not being heard by anyone, be it distant union leadership or bosses. It is our job as advocates for the working class to amplify the voices and stories of workers enduring strike conditions and bring them to as many people as possible. This strike is an emblem for all organized labor in the United States, and all workers attempting to unionize. If you do not have a platform, feel free to submit any interviews, videos, or written statements to the Red Phoenix, via facebook or twitter message, or via email at email@example.com.
The UAW has also solicited letters from supporters, the form for which can be found here.
If you cannot make it to a picket line, you can organize gatherings or groups to meet to gather local support for the strikers, leaflet pro-labor and strike material, organize goods drives, and send material goods to organizations and people who frequent the picket line. You can again message the Red Phoenix to find contacts.
American Workers are Watching
The stakes of this strike cast a long shadow over the american labor movement, and the american left at large. Unionization struggles have seen victories and defeats in recent years, including the massive teachers strikes that mostly saw victory, and UAW failures to unionize workers at Nissan, VW, and Tesla plants. Every worker who is not unionized, still a vast majority of American workers, look at these events with interest. With each victory and defeat, the potential to spread and generalize the American labor movement into the service sectors where most Americans work, rises and falls.
This is why the UAW strike has become so pitched and critical for progressive, democratic, and socialist forces in the US. The labor struggle stands on the edge of a knife, and the bleeding point of that struggle can be found at the UAW picket lines across the country.
Let all socialist forces throw their full support behind the striking UAW workers as they face increasing difficulty in their weeks-long strike. The future of the resurgent American labor movement depends on our actions, as Malcolm X said, “tonight, or in the morning.” One more day of inaction means another day a UAW worker has to look anxiously at their bank account and finances, and worry about feeding their family. Each day that passes in this fashion gives GM bosses more confidence that they can bully our resurgent labor movement into submission. And, ultimately, each labor defeat our movement endures buttresses right-to-work, anti-union propaganda when shops, classrooms, fast-food restaurants, gig-economy workers, and countless others, consider the prospect of unionization and workers rights.
This is why, today, we call all progressive, democratic, and socialist forces to join us, the American Party of Labor, in offering dedicated and real solidarity and support to UAW strikers across the country.