From the Labor Commission of the CPUSA, updates, information, news, analysis, and organizing materials in solidarity with workers of the world.

Monday, November 19, 2007

2007 CLUW Convention

CLUW demands end to war in Iraq

LAS VEGAS — Some 800 women (and a few men) stomped and cheered as they passed a resolution demanding an end to the war and the occupation of Iraq. They were delegates to the 14th biennial national convention of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), meeting here Oct. 10-13.

The convention also passed strongly worded resolutions for single-payer health care, justice for immigrant workers, and promotion of more women and people of color to leadership of the labor movement.

The peace resolution called for “immediate and complete withdrawal of all American troops and private contractors from Iraq,” no permanent bases in Iraq and full war reparations to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure. It also called for Iraqi sovereignty over Iraqi oil and “the highest quality health care, rehabilitation and other needed benefits” for returning U.S. veterans.

Resolutions were also passed to support the Employee Free Choice Act, the Fair Pay Restoration Act, paid parental leave, gay marriage rights, fair international trade and the celebration of May Day.

The convention was a lively four days, with labor songs and snake dancing marking the beginning and end of every plenary session and the gala reception on the last evening.

A highlight of the convention was a presentation by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chief sponsor of HR 676, the national single-payer health care bill, and chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

“Everybody in, nobody out,” was Conyers’ slogan. He said that every industrial country in the world but ours enjoys health care for all. Delegates jumped to their feet, chanting, “Everybody in, nobody out!” in support of the legislation.

Conyers also announced that the House Judiciary Committee would be holding hearings on the Jena Six.

A panel of speakers from AFL-CIO constituency groups — the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Asian Pacific American Labor Association, Pride at Work and CLUW — discussed the need to advance diversity at all leadership levels of the labor movement. “Male, pale and stale” is the way they characterized many leading bodies. For the labor movement to grow, they stressed, leaders should “look like their memberships and face the same issues.”

An inspiring talk by Linda Chavez-Thompson reminded delegates of the challenge of the coming 2008 elections. Chavez-Thompson recently retired as AFL-CIO executive vice president. Arlene Holt-Baker, the new AFL-CIO executive vice president, also spoke about the coming presidential elections. She is the first African American to hold the second highest post in the AFL-CIO.

The resolutions adopted at the convention can be found here.

On the Road Again

What follows is an excerpt from Sam Webb's recent report to the CPUSA National Committee, "On the Road Again," given November 10, 2007. This particular section focuses on the current economic struggles of the working class. The report in its entirety can be read and downloaded here.

The struggle in the electoral arena has to be combined with struggles on immediate issues that are roiling millions – with the struggle to defend and expand the rights of immigrants, with the struggle to completely withdraw troops from Iraq and prevent a military strike against Iran, with the growing actions around global warming, with initiatives around health care, such as children’s health insurance, prescription drug funding, and HR 676, and with the fight for equality and against racism, male supremacy, and other ideologies and practices of division and oppression.

Of particular importance is responding to the deteriorating economic conditions of working people.

When housing prices began to collapse and then spill into financial markets, the Federal Reserve Bank eased credit, thinking that this would bring financial stability and counter downward pressures on the economy, even if it didn’t assist millions of homeowners who stood to lose their houses.

But it is becoming abundantly clear that they guessed wrong. The worsening economic and financial conditions appear to be spreading across the domestic and global economy.

In the recent decade, stock and housing bubbles (which put enormous wealth in the hands of consumers, especially the wealthiest), record levels of consumer and government indebtedness, astronomical military expenditures, and a readiness of other governments and investors to hold massive amounts of U.S. government and corporate securities has sustained the economy. But each of these factors is self-limiting and unsustainable.

To make matters worse, the slowdown is occurring in a world economy characterized by overproduction in commodity markets and unable to fully overcome a crisis of profitability and accumulation that dates back to the mid-seventies.

It was this insufficiency of profits, accumulation, and growth that neoliberalism in its right wing extremist garb was supposed to remedy. But it failed to match its practical deed with its ideological claim, namely a return to robust and sustained economic growth and rising living standards that were a feature of the U.S. economy in the immediate decades after WW II.

What it did do, however, was to effect the most massive shift of wealth from the working class to the top layers of the capitalist class, raise deficit levels of all kinds (government, trade, consumer, etc), and grease the skids for capital to move from stagnant (and highly competitive) goods sector into the financial sector.

In turn, the financial sector has grown explosively, turned into the main site of high wire speculation and capital accumulation for financial and increasingly non-financial corporations, reconstituted relations within the capitalist class to the advantage of finance capital, and introduced a new element of instability into the national and global economy.

As for the working class: the historically unprecedented and savage assault on its living and working conditions makes for grim economic prospects.

Jobs (especially in manufacturing), have been destroyed by the tens of thousands, the low wage economy has spread to new and old sectors, health care and pension benefits have been cut and eliminated, and cities turned into wastelands. Tens of millions of working people feel a degree of insecurity that they never thought they would experience in their lifetimes. And for far too many African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, or immigrants, keeping hope alive as far as your economic future is concerned is almost a matter of self-deception. Racism amplifies many times over the economic crisis in these communities, while impeding more than any other weapon of division a united people’s struggle.

What is the upshot of all this? Suffice it to say that the economic struggles are sure to grow in scope and intensity and will be with us for a long while. Moreover, and I’ll say it one last time, the defeat of the extreme right and the consolidation of a new stage of struggle is imperative in order to begin to solve these deep economic and social problems.

We have a lot on our plate. But I am confident that Joelle’s report on the elections and the discussion that follows this weekend will give the entire Party the insights and enthusiasm to step to the front at such a critical time.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Focus on Ford

Autoworkers shift fight to Ford

With contract approval at Chrysler, the United Auto Workers is shifting gears to Ford, the third company with which it needs to hammer out a new contract.

Workers at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Ill., plant were the last to vote on the contract Oct. 26 and they rejected it, despite Chrysler’s $3,000 lump-sum bribe to each of its 600 “enhanced temporary workers.” Nationwide, the contract was approved 53-47 percent, but only after a major lobbying effort that saw union executive board members rush, at the last minute, to plants where the workers had not yet voted.

The Chrysler contract ratification process was much more difficult than the one at GM, where two-thirds of the members who voted approved it after a two-day strike.

Chrysler workers first went on strike for six hours. When local union leaders met after the strike, they were split over the contract agreement. At first, the deal was rejected by four large auto assembly plants and received support only from small factories. After an extraordinary lobbying effort by union leaders, four big plants in the Detroit area approved the pact.

Opponents voted against the contract for a variety of reasons, including the introduction of a two-tier wage system, the off-loading of responsibility for retiree health care by the company onto the lap of the union, and lack of future job guarantees. Many longtime observers of the labor movement believe that as a result of the new contracts at GM and Chrysler, the union will have to struggle to rebuild itself all over again.

The same issues, particularly the guarantees for future work, are now up front in the negotiations with Ford.

The company is crying poverty, claiming it lost $12.6 billion last year and that it does not expect to earn a profit in the United States until 2009. Ford does not have to include billions in overseas profits in its accounting reports. The company is not talking about billions it is investing in plants in eastern Europe.

Another difficult issue workers have to deal with is Ford’s “Way Forward” plan. It is a restructuring plan that will involve closings at plants whose identity has not yet been revealed. The union will push for the disclosure of these plans and the company will resist. Workers at Chrysler plants in Missouri rejected their contract precisely because they knew Chrysler had no long-term plans to invest in their plants.

Workers want assurances before they will vote in favor of a contract, and they know that even such assurances can come to nothing. Just weeks after approval of the GM contract, the company has already announced plans to eliminate shifts at two Michigan factories where no cuts were supposed to have been made.

Like their counterparts at GM and Chrysler, Ford workers are particularly unhappy about the two-tier wage system. They see it is a sellout of the young workers and a blow to the next generations of autoworkers.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

UAW members strike International Truck and Engine over unfair labor practices

For Release: Tuesday, October 23, 2007

UAW members strike International Truck and Engine over unfair labor practices

CHICAGO - More than 4,000 UAW members at 11 local unions in six states are on strike as of 5 p.m. today against International Truck and Engine, maker of Navistar trucks, in response to the company’s unfair labor practices.

“International Truck and Engine has shredded our agreement, shipped our work out of the country and trampled our nation’s labor laws,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. “When UAW members are on strike for justice anywhere, they have the support of UAW members everywhere -- and our entire union is standing shoulder to shoulder with our members at ITE.”

“Our bargaining committee came to these negotiations with every intention of reaching an agreement,” said UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who directs the union’s Heavy Trucks Department. “But it takes two sides to reach a deal -- and it has unfortunately become apparent that management at ITE is not yet willing to work with us to negotiate a fair and equitable contract.”

The company has violated U.S. labor law, said Holiefield, by making unilateral changes in the terms and conditions of employment, ordering an illegal lockout at the company’s assembly plant in Springfield, Ohio, and refusing to provide the UAW bargaining team with information necessary for negotiations.

“ITE executives moved our work to Mexico and to nonunion plants in Texas, canceled our supplemental unemployment benefits and ignored our job security program,” said Holiefield.

The UAW has filed unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board regarding ITE’s illegal conduct.

“We’re prepared to return to the bargaining table at any time,” said Holiefield. “If the company is willing to abide by the law and respect our hard-working members at ITE, we believe we can resolve our differences.”

Workers on strike include members of UAW Local 98 at the ITE Indianapolis Engine Plant; Local 226 at Indianapolis Casting Corp.; Local 2274, who are ITE clerical and technical workers in Indianapolis; Local 2911 at Fort Wayne (Ind.) Engineering; Local 402 at the ITE Springfield Assembly Plant in Springfield, Ohio; Local 658, who are ITE clerical and technical workers in Springfield; Local 6 at the ITE Engine Plant in Melrose Park, Ill.; Local 2293, who are clerical and technical workers in Melrose Park; Local 472 at the ITE Parts Distribution Center (PDC) in Atlanta; UAW Local 119 at the ITE PDC in Dallas, and Local 1872 at the ITE PDC in York, Pa.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Focus on Ford

The Struggle continues

With a tentative Chrysler contract going through the ratification process now, the Big Three auto negotiations now shift to Ford. Many in the business press are hyping the poor financial situation at Ford and egging them on to go for even greater concessions than those given at GM and Chrysler. (See: Auto pact: the good, the bad and the ugly for our take on the GM settlement, that also seems to apply to the Chrysler deal)

There is no way to predict the outcome at Ford or if there will be a strike. Nor can anyone tell what kind of strike might happen, though the nature of the strikes at GM and Chrysler sure seem to indicate a quick one if at all. Regardless, the Ford workers still need and deserve our support. They still need messages and resolutions of support. And we still need to spread the word about the significance of building solidarity and awareness of their struggle. The solidarity of others in labor and the community and the willingness of the autoworkers themselves to fight is echoed in the Communist Manifest: “Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lie not in the immediate result, but in the ever expanding union of the workers.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

UAW reaches tentative agreement at Chrysler

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and UAW Vice President General Holiefield announced today that the UAW has reached a tentative agreement with the Chrysler Corporation.

The strike against Chrysler at 11 this morning, following the expiration of an extension to the current labor agreement, will be recessed immediately. UAW Chrysler workers will be notified by the corporation to report to work on their next available shift.

“This agreement was made possible because UAW workers made it clear to Chrysler that we needed an agreement that rewards the contributions they have made to the success of this company,” Gettelfinger said.

“Once again, teamwork in the leadership and solidarity in the ranks has produced an agreement that protects jobs for our communities and also protects wages, pensions, and health care for our active and retired members,” said Holiefield, who directs the UAW’s Chrysler Department.

Details of the agreement are being withheld pending ratification votes by UAW Chrysler workers.

Chrysler workers on strike! Their fight is our fight!

45,000 members of the United Auto Workers are now on strike against Chrysler. The new private equity fund owners of Chrysler may well take an even harder stance than General Motors did in negotiations. Chrysler is demanding much bigger cuts. These kinds of equity fund bandits are known for “flipping and stripping” the companies they buy to turn a quick profit. This is a struggle for the whole working class and all progressives.

Some ideas:

Get the word out as far and wide as possible and urge support for the strikers in your unions, churches, and community organizations etc. The autoworkers are fighting for us all. Write a quick letter to the editor of your local paper explaining why Chrysler’s demands to cut wages, retiree benefits and health care will hurt all workers. Ask for support for the autoworkers union in their fight to save their jobs and the communities that depend on them.

Go out to the picket lines. The key states that have significant plants on strike are Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. In these states we need to contact other unions, Jobs w/ Justice, and community organizations to organize visits and caravans to these critical picketlines. A list of the key production plants in these states is listed here.

Send message of support to the UAW, or by e-mail:

And of course read the Peoples Weekly World for more coverage of the strike. For an in-depth analysis of the GM contract, see “Auto Pact: the good, the bad and the ugly” below.

Three big cheers for the Teamsters, as with the GM strike last month, they again very quickly promised to honor the picket lines. You can find the complete press release here.


As of 11 a.m. this morning, Chrysler workers are on strike. Updates will be posted soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Auto pact: the good, the bad and the ugly

By Scott Marshall

The wages and working conditions of union autoworkers have always set standards for all manufacturing. These in turn have put upward pressure on wages and benefits for all workers. But in today’s political and economic climate, major contract negotiations in the manufacturing sector are hell. Thirty years of corporate/right-wing attack on labor law and workers’ rights have taken an enormous toll. Capitalist globalization, with its frenzied export of capital and jobs, has greatly weakened union leverage. In 1979 General Motors employed over 400,000 autoworkers in the U.S.; today that number is less than 80,000 and shrinking. US autoworkers productivity is higher here than any where else in the world. Labor cost is about 10% of the cost of a vehicle. About 25% of the auto workers in the US are in unions. Thirty years ago labor was about 25% of the cost and 90% of the assembly workers were in the union. Add in the environment of corporate greed, fraud, flimflam and corruption evidenced on Wall Street in the current mortgage and financial crisis, and you have essential context for evaluating the GM/United Auto Workers settlement.

The good

When over 73,000 UAW workers walked out last month in the first national strike against General Motors in over 30 years, they showed courage, militancy and spirit. Within minutes, spontaneous solidarity erupted across a broad section of labor and the working class. The Teamsters stopped moving parts, and that led to quickly closing plants in Canada and Mexico. Caravans of supporters, other unions and just folks showed up on picket lines bearing refreshments and support. The AFL-CIO, Change to Win and major unions responded with pledges of support. This was not just trade union solidarity. Everyone in labor, and many beyond, knew that the GM workers were on the front line for us all, and were ready to back them up.

The mostly bad

The GM contract is a setback for autoworkers and for the entire U.S. working class. Its worst feature is a two-tier employment system that will mean new hires will get about half the wages of senior workers, and worse benefits. With huge cash buyouts of current workers and the expected retirement of about a third of current workers in the next five years, the second tier could become the main tier by the end of the contract. This is a real sharp setback for younger workers who will soon be the majority. What kids will want to follow their parents into auto for half the wages and fewer benefits?

The disunity and the unfairness of it all has great potential to weaken the union even further, especially on the shop floor. Further, union auto jobs have been an important path out of poverty for African American, Latino and women workers in particular. A two-tier system will greatly undermine this kind of opportunity.

The health care part of the agreement also has great dangers. It shifts responsibility off of GM and onto the union. This sets the workers up for crisis. Recession, stock market crashes and rising costs can leave the workers with greatly increased costs or totally uninsured. Not to mention the problems of the union being a “player” on Wall Street – talk about conflicts of interest! Letting this giant international corporation renege on its health care responsibilities will certainly lead both union and nonunion companies along the same path.

These kinds of concessions from the union will make it hard to organize new members.

The UAW leadership has underestimated the union’s strength and its members’ readiness for a fight. At the same time it has overestimated GM’s real vulnerabilities. The U.S. auto market is still essential to GM. Unfortunately, this agreement follows a long established pattern of assuming that it is better to “go along to get along.” For the last 25 years, concession contracts have claimed to provide job security. But as soon as the job “guarantee” is signed, GM and the other auto companies start whittling away for the next contract. Keeping promises to workers is not part of their creed. As UAW President Ron Gettlefinger said, the workers can’t give enough and the company can’t take enough.

The race to the bottom never stops, so autoworkers need to get off that bus. Keeping GM “competitive” is just yada-yada for “keep GM profits up and let the workers bear the costs.” Stopping this GM drive requires the power of the membership. That has to be prepared and mobilized. It requires reaching out to all of labor and the working class, not pursuing a go-it-alone strategy.

It should be clear to all that the failed strategy and tactics of struggle in the auto industry of the last 30 years will not work today. New strategy and tactics have to be based on the very new conditions of a globalized auto industry. They also have to be based on the reality that so much of the U.S. auto industry is unorganized. The power of a union is its members and its numbers. And increasingly, that power is in global labor alliances that can match global giants like GM. Labor’s power is not measured only by the wisdom and determination of its leaders, but real leadership wisdom and determination is required to win in this new world.

A good idea

By all accounts it was GM’s resistance to the union’s demand that it invest in U.S. plants to guarantee jobs that forced the strike. Trying to force GM to commit to and expand its domestic operations opens an important front of struggle. GM’s capital comes from the hard work of generations of autoworkers. The workers very much need to challenge GM’s “right” to invest where it pleases with no responsibility to the people and communities who made all that capital. Unfortunately, the contract gives GM a loophole, saying “market-related volume decline” will guide plant closings and U.S. investment. Hopefully the contract will keep jobs and investments here, but GM should not be allowed to make those decisions alone.

The ugly

Wall Street’s clamor for autoworkers’ blood was truly ugly. It went the gamut from praising GM for finally (sic) getting tough with the union to the mad rant by MSNBC’s Jim Cramer for GM to “break the union.” After the tentative agreement was announced, Wall Street started yammering that the concessions weren’t enough. The ugly, naked hatred of these finance capital pundits is scary to behold. Gone is the pretense of wanting class partnership. Gone is any pretense of fairness or justice.

The struggle continues

This fight isn’t over by a long shot. Ford and Chrysler contracts are still pending and could result in more picket lines. Labor and all progressive movements have to continue to build support for this fight. Even at GM, where it seems certain that the contract will be ratified, the fight will continue.

But ultimately, those of us who understand the broader working class nature of this fight have to redouble our political efforts on issues central to these negotiations. The 2006 election victories against the right-wing Republicans, the energy of the autoworkers in their strike and the determination of labor and progressives to shift power even more in the 2008 elections – these are exciting indications that what autoworkers have lost at the bargaining table can be won in the political arena.

Every candidate for Congress and the presidency needs to be pushed to take a stand on single-payer national health care, on passing the Employee Free Choice Act (there is leverage in having Mercedes, Toyota, BMW, and Honda workers in the UAW) and on industrial policy that mandates re-investment in the manufacturing base of our economy. The autoworkers’ fight is our fight! They have to win so we can win.

Scott Marshall ( is chair of the Communist Party USA’s labor commission. Read the CPUSA Labor Commission Blog at: Photo credit: Melissa O'Rourke

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mad Money’s anti-union tantrum makes me mad

The end of the historic strike against General Motors by the nation’s autoworkers may well signal the beginning of a fight by all workers against a new level of the corporate offensive against our jobs, our wages, our benefits and our very livelihoods.

During the strike, greedy Wall Street fat cats peddled their offensive in the press and on television, and they did it with a sharper-than-ever class edge. It’s no surprise because the autoworkers who went on strike walked those picket lines to defend not just their own standard of living, but to fight also for the interests of all the rest of us.

Visit the People's Weekly World for the full article:

Worry and anger as autoworkers study pact

Many autoworkers, back after their strike against GM, are worried or angry about concessions the company insisted on in the new contract.

United Auto Workers leaders, representing plants across the country, approved the tentative contract on Sept. 28 and union President Ron Gettelfinger said he expects membership ratification by Oct. 10.

The union began bargaining with Ford Oct. 2 and, at press time, had yet to begin talks with Chrysler. Those workers are in a fight whose outcome is far from certain.

Visit the People's Weekly World for the full article:

EDITORIAL: The auto strike

As we go to press, the United Auto Workers has called a time out in its strike against General Motors pending membership ratification of a new contract. It’s expected that the contract will be ratified quickly. While we do not yet know the full terms of the contract, it most likely contains concessions. In today’s political climate, and in the face of capitalist globalization, the balance of class forces often makes it a victory if unions can just hold on.

What may be most important about this first nationwide strike against GM in over 30 years is the quick solidarity it generated from millions of workers around the country. The Teamsters, who haul parts and finished cars for the auto industry, immediately stopped at the picket lines. Teamster solidarity instantly led to parts shortages and plant shutdowns in both Mexico and Canada, where workers also expressed solidarity with U.S. workers. The AFL-CIO and the Change to Win unions at once pledged full support. Spontaneously, around the country workers, unions and even whole communities jumped in with refreshments and solidarity on the picket lines.

This response is a great modern day illustration of a critical idea in the Communist Manifesto: “Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever expanding union of the workers. [emphasis added]”

The instant solidarity went beyond simply trade union unity. It was a much higher level of class solidarity. All the messages of support stressed stopping the corporate attack on working men and women.

Corporate class warfare was most apparent in this strike. Wall Street gloated over the strike with fierce calls on GM to “finally” take the UAW on and smash it. But the autoworkers stood their ground and were even a bit surprised that so much of labor stood ready to fight with them. This GM strike is a hint of the changing mood of the working class.

No matter the contract details, the strike illustrates key points in an emerging political action program for labor: national health care and retirement security; a demand that giant corporations reinvest in manufacturing to preserve jobs and a sustainable economy in the U.S.; workers’ rights and organizing rights. Thirty years of economic and political attacks on labor have taken their toll, but the sleeping giant is awakening.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Autoworkers buoyed by solidarity

Tentative pact reached after nationwide strike

In an unprecedented show of solidarity across the country, labor got behind the nation’s autoworkers as they went out on strike against General Motors last week.

It started when 73,000 workers streamed out of their workplaces Sept. 24 at GM plants across the nation, forming picket lines and beginning the first nationwide auto strike in 37 years.

Almost immediately, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters honored the united picket lines put up by the United Auto Workers union. “This is a fight against corporate America’s attack on the workers,” Teamster President James Hoffa declared.

Visit the People's Weekly World for the full article:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Teamsters Honor UAW Picket

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has declared that they will honor UAW picketlines at GM facilities. Read the Press release here:

Local Coverage Highlight's Autoworker's Issues

The 73,000 autoworkers who went on strike this week work at 80 facilities around the country. The communities they live and work in will be affected by the outcome of the strike as well. Much local tv, radio and newspaper coverage has focused on the stories of autoworkers.

Workers Consider Impact of UAW Strike
Cincinnati, Ohio

Auto Workers Go On Strike Against GM
Indianapolis, IN

Workers Strike at GM's Only Chicagoland Facility
Bolingbrook, IL

Union Movement Solid behind UAW Members on Strike

The AFL-CIO's workers' blog featured a story on the support autoworkers are getting from throughout the trade union movement:

Community Rallies for Janesville GM Strikers

Striking Janesville General Motors workers have been overwhelmed by the community's support for their walkout, Mike Sheridan, president of United Auto Workers Local 905, said Tuesday.

"It's amazing," Sheridan said.

Local Pizza Hut restaurants have supplied picketers with pizzas, a nearby pub brought breakfast omelettes and a group of Chrysler employees in Belvidere, Ill., was on its way up Tuesday with a stack of Burger King sandwiches, Sheridan said.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 904 in Sun Prairie have been stopping by their union office and talking about going down to Janesville to join auto workers on the picket line, steelworkers vice president Greg Lueptow said.

When steelworkers were on strike against Goodyear in late 2006, "they came up and donated money toward our fund," Lueptow said.

Sheridan, who is also a state representative, said he's pleased that Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, is trying to organize a group of legislators to head to Janesville and show their support for the strikers.

— Judy Newman

Model Letter to the Editor

Here is a sample letter to the editor you can adapt and use locally to show support for striking GM workers in your local newspaper:

"Dear Editor,

The Big Three automakers are demanding 30% cuts in the wage and benefit package of UAW workers at GM, Chrysler and Ford. What happens in this year’s auto talks affects everybody, not just auto workers.

That’s been true since the 1940s. For five decades, raises and improvements won in auto industry bargaining set the standard for workers throughout our society. The power of the UAW and other unions created the middle class lifestyle people call the American Dream.

This year’s auto talks affect everybody as well. Only this time if the Big Three succeeds in further eliminating more good-paying jobs, cutting back workers’ health care benefits and pensions, and weakening organized labor, we will all pay the price.

America needs a strong, thriving manufacturing base to maintain a strong, thriving middle class and offer opportunity for the poor. Cutting back on workers’ health care benefits may help corporations’ bottom lines but will only worsen the economic well-being and health of Americans.

We need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the UAW to demand a decent contract for them while we all agree to come together to fight for the common good. America’s workers need fair trade agreements that keep good paying jobs in the United States, new manufacturing jobs here that reduce our dependence on oil (building plug-in hybrid vehicles, wind turbines and solar cells) and expansion of Medicare to provide guaranteed health care for all.

Signed ___________"

73,000 GM Workers Go on Strike!

Monday, Sept 24 at 11:00 am eastern, the more than 70,000 members of the United Auto Workers union walked off the job when talk between the union and General Motors management reached an impasse. Wages, working conditions, job security and other issues are at stake.

We believe that the working conditions and wages for autoworkers sets a precedent for all working people. Their struggle is every worker's struggle. This webpage is put together by autoworkers, their supporters and friends of the auto workers and will feature, informations, thoughts and materials to show solidarity with struggling autoworkers.

More information soon!