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The Language Trump Used To Demonize EVs During His Michigan Rally

By Carolyn Fortuna - Clean Technica, September 30, 2023

Instead of joining a debate with 7 Republican candidates vying for the position of party presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump decided to visit a non-union auto parts plant in Michigan. During the stop, Trump excoriated the Biden administration for its push toward transportation electrification. The language Trump used during his Detroit stop was part of a broader goal to divide a self-identified pro-union advocate in President Joe Biden from an automotive workforce that is in turmoil.

The campaign rally was concurrent with the ongoing UAW strike, in which concerns over wage loss, diminishing benefits, and the length of workweek have led to an impasse between Detroit automakers and their workers. Moreover, the UAW feels the billions of dollars in tax incentives and loans sprinkled on automakers to retool their factories for EVs was flawed, as the incentive had not stipulated that automakers with a union-only workforce would benefit.

Trump sought to use the campaign stop to appeal to white working class voters in a critical swing state. The UAW malaise has been positioned by both parties as a gauge for potential votes, and the strike is having its effects on automakers — Ford halted production on its CATL project this week.

The language Trump used during his Detroit area stop is indicative of his powerful and quite scary persuasive capacity. Let’s zoom in on how he described EVs and his personal commitment to autoworkers. We’ll deconstruct facts, fantasy, and the ever-so-difficult gray areas that auto manufacturers are facing as they open a door to a new era of innovation – and the costs thereof.

The UAW Fight is an Exercise in Class Struggle Unionism

The United Auto Workers Strike Is the Latest GOP Culture War Talking Point

By Kristoffer Tigue - Inside Climate News, September 29, 2023

The United Auto Workers union expanded its strike Friday, bringing the number of employees who walked off the job to demand higher wages and better benefits from Detroit’s Big Three carmakers to 25,000. Republicans vying for the White House next year are using the moment as an opportunity to rail against President Joe Biden’s climate policies.

“Yesterday, Joe Biden came to Michigan to pose for photos at the picket line. But it’s his policies that sent Michigan autoworkers to the unemployment line,” former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner, told a crowd of non-unionized autoworkers in Michigan on Wednesday. “He’s selling you out to China, he’s selling you out to the environmental extremists and the radical left.” 

That message was parroted later that evening by his rivals at the second GOP presidential debate, which Trump skipped.

“It’s not climate change we need to worry about,” said North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. “It’s the Biden climate policies.”

“One of the signature accomplishments of our administration was in just a few short years we achieved energy independence,” former Vice President Mike Pence added. “But on day one, Joe Biden declared a war on energy.”

As much of the world pivots at an unprecedented speed toward cleaner sources of transportation and energy to mitigate the worsening climate crisis, the United Auto Workers union strike has become the latest GOP culture war talking point and a new front line in the 2024 presidential race.

It’s unclear if the GOP’s message is resonating with the striking autoworkers. Some have publicly expressed support for Trump and disdain for EVs. Union leadership, however, has made it clear that they’re not buying it.

“I don’t think the man has any bit of care about what our workers stand for, what the working class stands for,” UAW President Shawn Fain said about Trump in an interview with CNN. “He serves the billionaire class and that’s what’s wrong with this country.”

Twenty-Five Thousand Auto Workers Are Now on Strike at the Big 3

By Luis Feliz Leon - Labor Notes, September 29, 2023

Seven thousand Auto Workers at two more assembly plants will walk off the job at noon ET today, UAW President Shawn Fain announced in a Facebook Live appearance this morning. Joining the strike are Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township Assembly in Michigan.

Fain announced that Stellantis would be spared this time. The union had been expected to expand the strike today at all three companies, but, said Region 1 Director LaShawn English, three minutes before Fain was scheduled to go on Facebook Live, the UAW received frantic emails from company representatives.

According to Fain, Stellantis made “significant progress” on the cost-of-living adjustment, the right not to cross a picket line, and the right to strike over product commitments and plant closures. “We are excited about this momentum at Stellantis and hope it continues,” Fain said.

Fain made clear that negotiations with all three companies are ongoing. “I’m still very hopeful that we can reach a deal that reflects the incredible sacrifices and contributions our members have made over the last decade,” he said to 60,000 viewers on Facebook. “But I also know that what we win at the bargaining table depends on the power we build on the job. It’s time to use that power.”

'We Will Win': 7,000 More Autoworkers Walk Out as UAW Expands Strike Again

By Jake Johnson - Common Dreams, September 29, 2023

The United Auto Workers expanded its strikes against Ford and General Motors on Friday, calling on nearly 7,000 additional members in Michigan and Illinois to walk off the job as the union looks to ramp up pressure on the companies to deliver stronger wage and benefit proposals.

The union opted not to expand its walkouts against Chrysler parent company Stellantis, citing progress in recent bargaining sessions on cost-of-living adjustments, the right to strike over plant closures, and other issues.

"Sadly, despite our willingness to bargain, Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress at the table," UAW president Shawn Fain said in a video update posted to social media on Friday. "To be clear, negotiations haven't broke down. We're still talking with all three companies, and I'm still very hopeful that we can reach a deal that reflects the incredible sacrifices and contributions our members have made over the last decade."

"But I also know that what we win at the bargaining table depends on the power we build on the job," said Fain. "It's time to use that power."

UAW Supporters to Hit the Pavement at Dealerships

By Lisa Xu - Labor Notes, September 28, 2023

Last Friday, some 5,000 Auto Workers (UAW) at 38 after-market parts distribution centers across General Motors and Stellantis joined the escalating “Stand-Up Strike.” Even with the scabs GM has deployed, the dealerships that receive parts from these PDCs will soon be feeling the inventory pinch for everything from replacement bumpers to Jeep handlebars. With parts shortages come irate customers, blaming dealerships for the supply snarls caused by the Big 3 automakers.

When it comes to the impact of the strike on customers, auto dealerships are where the rubber meets the road. Profit margins from selling parts and performing repairs have historically been higher than from vehicle sales. During the GM strike in 2019, some frustrated customers who needed repairs vowed to never buy a GM car again, while others vented their anger at workers.

This makes dealerships an important site to engage the public and amplify the message of the workers: it is the Big 3, not the workers, who are responsible for parts shortages and delayed repairs.

They Sacrificed to Survive Bankruptcy. They Worked Through A Pandemic. Now, Autoworkers Have Had Enough

By Amie Stager - In These Times, September 28, 2023

Bonita Burns, 50, sits in a camping chair on the lawn in front of Mopar Parts Distribution Center. One of the crutches she uses to get around after her foot surgery leans against the chair. A picket sign leans against the other side. She is scratching off lottery tickets, hoping for some luck. 

“I don’t know how long we’re gonna be on strike,” she says. ​“We need the strike to get our point across and get our demands met.” 

She’s come off medical leave to join on a picket line that started that morning at 11 a.m., when workers at Mopar and 37 other parts distribution centers walked off the job, expanding the UAW’s stand-up strike against the Big Three automakers. 

January will mark 11 years at Stellantis for Burns. She cares for three grandchildren and is hoping a new contract will make it easier for current and future workers to support themselves and their families. She says she’s seen single mothers who had to quit after being forced to work overtime.

“She’s gonna strike it rich!” Brandon Lee, 31, a forklift operator, jokes about Burns’ lotto tickets. He and Alex Tivis, 33, march together around the lawn with picket signs. They were both hired nine years ago at $15.78 an hour. They recall working 90 days in a row during the probationary period, ten hours a day, seven days a week. The paychecks piled up — they didn’t have any time to cash them.

Trump and Rubio Pretend to Support UAW Strike

“Unions for Trump” Signholder at Trump Rally Admitted They’re Not a Union Member

By Chris Walker - Truthout, September 28, 2023

At least a few people who attended former President Donald Trump’s speech to auto workers on Wednesday evening were not who they purported to be, according to a report on the event, with some admitting they were neither union members nor auto workers.

According to a report written by The Detroit News’s Craig Mauger, around 400 to 500 Trump supporters attended the speech, which was given at a Drake Enterprises auto parts facility. That company is not represented by any union, including the United Auto Workers (UAW), which is currently striking against the Big Three automakers in the U.S.

Drake Enterprises only employs around 150 workers, and it’s unclear who the other attendees at the Trump speech — which was intended to be directed specifically toward auto workers — actually were. It’s likely that those present were community members rather than people employed by the company, as Clinton Township, where the facility is located, was near-evenly split between Trump and President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Upon being approached by The Detroit News, some individuals who attended the event admitted that the signs they held weren’t representative of their identities.

“One individual in the crowd who held a sign that said ‘union members for Trump,’ acknowledged that she wasn’t a union member when approached by a Detroit News reporter after the event,” Mauger’s report stated. “Another person with a sign that read ‘auto workers for Trump’ said he wasn’t an auto worker when asked for an interview.”

Slow Walks and Tough Talk: Auto Workers Turn the Screws

By Keith Brower Brown - Labor Notes, September 28, 2023

The 18,000 Auto Workers on strike have lit up the labor movement. But the strike is only the most visible side of auto workers’ leverage.

The less visible side is on the shop floor, where organized refusals of voluntary overtime have shut down multiple lines and whole factories for entire weekends since the strike began.

Among the 130,000 UAW members still working at the Big 3 auto companies, shop floor creativity is bringing back a bold tradition of “work to rule”—where workers coordinate to do only their explicit duties by the book, and nothing more. When production slows to a crawl, it proves how workers’ savvy was what kept the factory humming to begin with.

The reform caucus Unite All Workers for Democracy, which backed the election of President Shawn Fain and the rest of his Members United slate, has become a hub for these militant tactics. UAWD’s weekly “Members’ Update” calls and a “Members’ Voice” strike bulletin focus on spreading tactics to push managers and bring more co-workers into action.

The caucus launched a Refuse Voluntary Overtime pledge; members have used the pledge and its leaflets to rapidly organize hundreds of co-workers to join the refusal.

The rebellion from the ranks is forcing management to scramble for a counterattack. In the last week, hoping to keep those profitable Escalades and F-150s rolling out, managers at plants across the Big 3 tried to make weekend overtime mandatory.

But members at many plants figured out new ways to hold the line with their striking siblings. Some are declining to take the usual shortcuts, like riding bicycles around a big plant. Others are exploiting the unique legal environment of working under an expired contract: it is now an unfair labor practice for management to make unilateral changes to wages or working conditions. If bosses want to change something, they have to bargain it.

Auto Workers at four plants shared these dispatches on their co-workers’ latest inventions.


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