At the end of October, 2023, after a six week strike, the United Auto Workers reached tentative agreements on new four-year contracts with the Big Three auto companies (Ford, Stellantis and GM). It is expected that the contracts, which give 25 percent wage gains, restoration of cost of living adjustments (COLAs), elimination of the wage tier system and some concessions regarding electric vehicles, will be approved overwhelmingly by the membership.
Working-class Americans have borne the brunt of the globalist assault on living standards for decades. Donald Trump addressed this directly in the speech he gave to auto workers in Clinton Township, MI in September, “if you want to save your livelihood and your way of life, you need to send a message and join the ultimate strike against the globalist class by casting your vote for a gentleman known as Donald J Trump.”
The outcome of the strike, which was led by Shawn Fain and a new leadership team elected earlier this year, represents the first significant victory for the UAW in a long time. And, unbeknownst to most, it was the Trump Administration which made it possible. The new and aggressive leadership which conducted the strike was chosen by a direct election of the UAW membership—for the first time in UAW history. This was a result of a settlement reached between the UAW and the Trump Justice Department, concluding a years-long corruption investigation.
But, as welcome and as these wage and benefit gains are, many auto workers understand that this is a holding action. They know that Biden’s green agenda and the forced march to electric vehicles will decimate a large part of the auto industry and eliminate 40 percent of their jobs.
That is why LaRouchePAC organizers found tremendous support for Donald Trump from auto workers on picket lines and at plant gates. Many recognize the difference between Trump’s determination to fight globalist and green policies, and UAW leadership’s attempt to negotiate a “fair transition” to a green economy.
The Strike and a Tale of Two Presidents
The new UAW President Shawn Fain carried out a “stand-up strike,” a bold and innovative strike strategy. Rather than picking one auto maker and striking against all of its facilities, the UAW targeted a limited combination of plants from each of the Big Three, negotiating with each of the automakers at the same time, and adding new plants as the strike progressed. Not long after more than 8000 workers struck Ford’s most profitable truck plant in Kentucky, Ford settled with the union. Stellantis and Chrysler then settled within a week.
A UAW press release described the highlights of the contracts:
“The agreement reinstates major benefits lost during the Great Recession, including Cost-of-Living Allowances (COLA) and a three-year Wage Progression, as well as killing divisive wage tiers in the union. It improves retirement for current retirees, those workers with pensions, and those who have 401(k) plans…It also includes a historic right to strike over plant closures, a first for the union.”
What the UAW leadership doesn’t acknowledge, but many auto workers know, is that the “major benefits lost during the Great Recession” occurred under the Obama-Biden Administration. Steve Rattner, the Obama-Biden “Auto Czar” and Wall Street hatchet-man, forced workers to freeze wages, give up COLAs and accept a wage-tier system in which new hires came in as temporary workers, with much lower wages and no benefits—for 8 years! Meanwhile, Obama and Biden continued the Wall Street bailouts, and bailed out GM and Chrysler (now Stellantis). Despite his pro-union posturing and a brief appearance on the picket lines, this is Biden’s real history with auto workers. See: Biden Returns to Scene of the Original Crime, While Committing a New One.
On the other hand, the Trump Administration’s history, as referenced above, is a lot more interesting.
Under the old system of electing officers, lower level union officials, not the general membership, chose the top leadership. Corruption and cronyism were rampant and flagrant, which produced a years-long federal investigation of the UAW by the Justice Department, and the conviction and jailing of much of the previous leadership.
One option was for the Trump Justice Department to put the UAW under federal government receivership and run it directly, as it had done with the Teamsters many years ago.
Instead, Matthew Schneider, the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Michigan, negotiated a unique settlement with the UAW. A December 14, 2020 press release announced the following:
“The men and women of the UAW deserve honest and faithful leaders dedicated to serving the best interests of the membership. Today’s settlement … also brings real democratic change to the union by giving the membership the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to institute a direct election system.”
Under that mandate, the UAW Constitutional Convention held in Detroit in July 2020, amended the UAW constitution to provide for “one member, one vote.”
That is how Shawn Fain ended up as President of the UAW and leader of the successful strike.
No Future without Trump and American System
Successful, that is, as far as it went. The big threat, as many auto workers know, is the forced conversion to electric vehicles, which is being pushed with a job-killing vengeance by both Joe Biden and Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. UAW members know that the transition to EV and EV battery production will result in a huge loss of jobs, and lower wages for those who work at such facilities.
This is where Fain’s “fair transition” effort collapses. The Ford and GM contracts provide a limited right to unionize at only two Ford and one GM joint venture EV facility. The Stellantis contract allows workers to transfer to a facility at union pay, but new hires will come in and remain at much lower wages (right now, battery plant workers receive about $18 per hour).
There is no such thing as a “fair transition.” The so-called green, carbon-free economy is nothing more than a phony selling point for the globalists’ plan to reduce us to a Third World deindustrialized nation. Without high-quality and abundant energy produced by coal, natural gas and especially nuclear, there will be no manufacturing sector, nor the kind of jobs in which one income can support a working class family.
Donald Trump wants an economy in which one generous income can support a family. He made that clear in a series of statements and speeches directed to auto workers, which LaRouchePAC distributed throughout the strike. Trump’s alternative to globalist insanity is embodied in his Agenda47 proposals. He calls for a return to “economic nationalism” and the revival of the United States as a manufacturing superpower, brought about by unleashing American energy production, implementing “patriotic protectionism,” building ten new “Freedom Cities” and creating a “quantum leap to revolutionize the American standard of living.”
But even these policies, which seem revolutionary in today’s nightmare of collapsing living standards and disappearing domestic production, don’t go far enough. To declare victory in the “ultimate strike against the globalist class” means that Americans must end the Empire’s central banking system and return to national banking and the economic principles of Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon LaRouche.
Our experience at the picket lines tells us that many Americans are ready for that economic revolution.