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Workers deserve more from UAW

December 14, 2001 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,

It's disconcerting though not unexpected that UAW president-select Ron Gettelfinger can mouth vacuous comments. What is more disturbing is that an interviewer from the Oakland Press accepted his blather without question.

Gettelfinger asserted that the UAW would continue the "really great agenda" Yokich set. What agenda? Has anyone seen evidence of an agenda?

"Obviously, we'd like to grow the membership," Gettelfinger said. Why should we presume this is obvious when the membership hasn't grown in over 20 years? Does he have any notion how to "grow the membership"?

Gettelfinger thinks collective bargaining in the UAW has moved "up the ladder." "It's now about bargaining for our members, their families and for the communities from which they come," he said.

What communities is he talking about? Flint? Anderson, Indiana? Decatur, Illinois? Or Henderson, Kentucky, where the UAW cut off strike benefits for locked out workers in a dispute for which Ron Gettelfinger personally authorized the strike? Lansing might get two new GM factories, but they will employ less than half their previous UAW members, thanks to concessionary contracts.

Perhaps by "up the ladder," he meant further away from the average union member?

Does anyone in Solidarity House have a vision for the future? Not Brother Gettelfinger. He said, "We're not concerned about the next set of negotiations at this time."

In reference to this lack of foresight, union dissident Dave Yettaw once said, "The UAW is playing checkers, and the corporations are playing chess."

Looks like we got another checker player and a yawning press.

Gregg Shotwell, UAW Local 2151, Grand Rapids, Mich.

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