Temporary workers at Dana’s Louisville, Kentucky plant report that the company fired temporary workers en masse due to the fact that they shared their $25 per hour pay stubs with full-time coworkers.
A temporary worker told the World Socialist Web Site, “Many of us people from the contracting agency were let go. No reason was given. There was no heads-up from the staffing center today. Nothing. Presumably because they caught on to the whistleblowing and did a blanket sweep firing of any of us it could have been. We have no regrets. I'm curious to see how far people in power can pull through.”
Last week, Louisville workers reported to the World Socialist Web Site that temporary workers were brought in to the plant at $25 per hour. In order to continue to keep the flow of parts to the large automakers, at least two agencies were used. Workers said that non-disclosure agreements (NDA) were given with a bolded line instructing them to keep their wages private.
The revelations last week provoked outrage from workers, who had just been bullied by the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the United Steelworkers (USW) into accepting a sellout agreement with wages for full-time workers which will top out at only $22.50 by 2026. The leak showed that the unions had not only forced through a contract with wage increases even below the market rate. It also demonstrated that the conduct of the unions during the “negotiations” and the vote, where workers were not even provided with copies of the contract, met the legal definition of bad faith because they had withheld critical information from them, meaning the contract ought to be considered null and void.
Dana workers voiced their opposition to the NDA and the $25 per hour wage. A worker said, “I agree with you on that [that the tentative agreement was made in bad faith],” a Louisville worker said. “We have about 40 temps in our plant making $25 an hour from two separate temp agencies. I found an ad last week about a job for $25 an hour. I called the temp agency, and they confirmed that it was for Dana.”
Management at Dana’s Fort Wayne, Indiana plant which, along with Louisville, voted down the national and local agreements has also recently gone on a hiring binge, bringing in roughly 60 temporary workers. One production worker said the tension between workers and the United Steelworkers is growing. “People are pissed. Nobody is telling us anything. We are not hearing anything about the local agreement.” He described how management complained since early May 2021 of not being able to hire workers. “All of a sudden about 60 people have been hired since a week or so ago?
“A temp was going through his phone and the temp agency said, ‘Dana wants 30 more [temps]’,” one legacy full-time worker told the WSWS. According to a screenshot of a text from one of the temp agencies at Fort Wayne, all temporary workers with at least a month on the job have had their wages increased immediately to $18. It was not confirmed if these workers were given similar NDAs to those at Louisville.
Moreover, given the fact that the status of Fort Wayne in the aftermath of the vote is still up in the air and the USW may call a strike limited to this plant, the sudden hiring surge may indicate that management is taking measures to secure scab labor in the event of a strike.
Another worker stated that workers from Dana’s Humboldt plant were brought to Fort Wayne on a volunteer basis. “[A] Humboldt employee just told me he is making $21.50 an hour. They all seem to be on day shift only, not sure where all the others are at.”
A week after the announcement of vote counts, the language of the contract still has not been seen by workers, who were forced to vote on the basis of self-serving, piecemeal packet “highlights” distributed by the locals instead.
Fort Wayne workers are still being kept in the dark about the status of their plant. “We are supposedly going to hear from the international late this week on our local,” one worker said. “Several members have opted out of the union. Some of these sell-out committee reps have been lying to members. They are telling workers that you have to wait until your anniversary date to opt out, and that if you ever want to opt in, you have to pay back dues. I haven’t seen or heard anything out of the district reps. The union president and committee chairman are the biggest offenders.”
A legacy production worker expressed the growing opposition against the UAW and USW. “We need to lose the UAW and USW. I’m not sure what they’ll do next since we voted it down. The membership, not Millsap or the bureaucracy, should be making decisions. We need a new organization with you [the WSWS].
“The USW threatened us that if we get rid of the union, that we won’t have representation for one year. There’s so much money being made by the USW and UAW. Doust told us about a stipend for a strike package, which is nothing! I’m all for the rank-and-file committee! Time for them [USW] to go.”
To join the Dana Workers Rank-and-File Committee, email DanaWRFC@gmail.com, text (248) 602–0936 or complete the form below.