We’ve Sacrificed Too Much Already!

By Gary Walkowicz

Soon they will be demanding that autoworkers give up more concessions. They will try to use the government’s loans to the auto companies and threats of bankruptcy in order to try to convince us that we should sacrifice again.

No more sacrifices from us

In 2005, they re-opened the contract, taking away our wage increase. In 2007, we gave up major concessions—no wage increases, two-tier wages for new hires and a VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association), which put retiree health care at risk. We were promised that these concessions would save jobs and that we would be safe for four years. But within days after this contract was ratified, the auto companies began announcing more layoffs. Recently they took our Jobs Bank, ETAP (Employee Tuition Assistance Program), two-week vacation, and deferred funding into the VEBA. And now they are demanding to re-open our contract again and take even more concessions.

Let the Fords bail out their own company

The sacrifices we made in recent years, the concessions we gave up went into the pockets of the Ford family, the banks, the big stockholders and company executives. If the auto companies are really hurting, then the people with money need to go into their own pockets to pay for it.

We’ve earned the right to live as Middle Class! We’ve earned it with our work.

Autoworkers have been able to have decent wages with health coverage for our families. We have a chance to retire with a pension and health care. We have work rules, like seniority, that still give us some protection. The auto companies didn’t give us these things. Workers before us, our parents and grandparents, had to go on strike to win them. But today the companies are trying to take them all away. They want to push us down to the days before the union.

It’s wrong to go along with more concessions

At the UAW National Council meeting in December, I spoke out against any concessions. I stood up to oppose President Gettelfinger’s proposal to re-open the contract. I was just saying what many workers say to me every day. It’s not right that we should have to give up any more. It’s wrong! It’s wrong! It’s wrong!

It’s not just about Ford, GM and Chrysler workers. UAW workers have set the standard for workers throughout this country. If we go down, if our wages and benefits are cut any further, then everyone is going down. Toyota has already said that they want to reduce the wages and benefits at their transplants. The bosses want to put all workers in a race to the bottom.

If we give up concessions now without a fight, they will be back for more.

The easier we give up, the faster they will be back.

It’s time to draw the line!

  If you agree, call me (313) 737-3166 or see me on the job: “A” Crew, Dearborn Truck Plant Bargaining Committeeman, Local 600