The recent announcement that the UAW and USW are going to be “reopening negotiations”—at some unnamed date sometime in the future—is a trap aimed at deceiving the working class. Their goal is to force us to work up to 84 hours a week stockpiling parts for the company in case we strike. The union is effectively forcing us to scab on ourselves. This must stop.
On September 10, the USW posted a notice stating the following:
“USW District Directors Daniel Flippo and Michael Millsap had calls with the UAW International Leadership and then together with the UAW, a call with Dana management on September 8th to discuss the process going forward. It is clear to the company, due to the failure of the tentative agreement to ratify, that we need to come back to the negotiating table. We are currently working on the dates and the logistics of where the talks will occur… In the meantime, we are working on an extension agreement of the expired contract” because “without an extension the company is allowed to discontinue automatic dues collection.”
We know you workers just rejected by 90 percent the sweatshop conditions we imposed in the last contract. But the company is extremely vulnerable and wants you to keep stockpiling parts in case you strike. We want you to keep working too, so we can keep taking your dues money out of your paychecks. To this end we met with the corporation without telling you and we all agreed that you must keep working indefinitely. We also agreed to tell you that we’ll “negotiate” at some vague point in the future to keep you working as long as possible. In reality, we never “negotiate” with the company, we simply accept their orders. But keep up those 84-hour-weeks, or else the company won’t make profits and we won’t get your dues money.
The Dana Workers’ Rank-and-File Committee (DWRFC) issues an urgent warning to our co-workers: Dana, the UAW and the USW aren’t planning to “negotiate” anything. The company gave the unions their marching orders months ago: in effect, “Get us a contract with five more years of tiers, low wages, rising health care costs and limitless mandatory overtime.” The only thing Dana and the unions are discussing is their strategy for forcing this contract through.
This is why the UAW and USW continue to keep us in the dark and berate our brothers and sisters for even asking questions about what they’re up to. If they told the truth, they know it would provoke a full-scale rebellion by workers.
We must respond to this ongoing conspiracy by organizing our rank-and-file committees and uniting all plants in preparation for a strike!
Our “no” vote showed we have tremendous potential power. The unions and corporations are going to such extremes to forestall a strike because the corporation is extremely vulnerable. Interconnected supply chains and just-in-time delivery schemes mean a strike would have a serious impact on the entire auto industry.
If rank-and-file workers are informed and united, it is absolutely possible to win our gains: the 8-hour day, 40-hour week, a 75 percent wage increase, COVID safety, air conditioning, no points system, and new clean machines with training and good air quality.
But we need a strategy for victory. On September 7, the DWRFC issued an Open Letter demanding the UAW and USW take the following immediate actions:
- Refuse all company requests for mandated overtime and slow production to a safe and comfortable pace, controlled by the workers.
- Call strike votes at plants that have not done so by Friday, September 10.
- Set a strike deadline of Monday, September 13 to involve all plants together.
- Set strike pay at 100 percent of our present pay.
- Any future meetings between UAW, USW and company must be livestreamed and supervised by representatives of the rank-and-file workers.
The UAW and USW have responded by doing the exact opposite.
This shows workers must rely on one another. In our unity lies our strength. We must organize rank-and-file strike committees at each plant to prepare for strike action. These committees will share information, carry out democratic discussions, root out spies for the corporation and union, and ensure that every worker at the plant acts together as one voice. Each local committee will elect delegates to a national strike committee that will devise a strategy to ensure common action of all Dana plants together. Broad self-organization is our only protection against the USW-UAW-Dana conspiracy.
Finally, we must actively reach out to friends, family and acquaintances at Big Three production facilities, to teachers at our local schools, to Amazon workers, to Dana workers internationally, and to all sections of the working class.
Our situation is not unique. The entire international working class is fighting a two-front war against both the corporations and the trade unions. In Chile, the unions helped the companies fire miners who stood up against union-corporate collaboration. In Germany, the head of the national union federation is denouncing train drivers for going on strike for higher wages and COVID safety. At Volvo, Nabisco, Frito Lay, Warrior Met Coal and many other recent workers struggles, the unions have openly served as corporate strikebreakers, isolated workers, stringing them out on no strike pay, and working to defeat their struggles.
We say: not this time. We are standing up against decades of corporate exploitation that impacts every aspect of our lives. The strength of the working class comes from the unity of rank-and-file workers no matter our industry, race, gender or nationality. If you have not yet contacted us, we urge you to do so now. There is no time to lose. Join the Dana Workers Rank-and-File Committee by emailing us at email@example.com or texting us at (248) 602–0936.