Live Bait & Ammo #7

--Welcome to the caravan, gypsy--
Party's over. It's our turn to be downsized, sold, or closed. GM plans to eliminate as many union jobs as possible. It's been in the works for years. Our card just came up next, that's all. Forget the crap about new business. We can't keep the business we have.

We lost the Cadillac North Star business to Bosch. Does it surprise anyone that Roger Penske, the man who bought the Diesel Tech business from GM, built it up and sold it to Bosch, now sits on the Board of Directors at Delphi? Competition is for little guys, working stiffs, suckers. The big boys play Monopoly.

Now we're threatened with more job losses to Nippondenso. The SCARE TACTICS have begun in earnest. We should be scared. Scared enough to fight. These wiseguys mean to liquidate our jobs. Concession is not an option. Job Blackmail is an extortion racket.

You can cede and cede until your fingers bleed. It's not enough. It's never enough. Sooner or later you have to knock the bully's foot off your neck and kick his ass. The only other option is to live on your knees.

We're not alone. They're getting the same threats at the Delphi E plant in Rochester, N.Y. "The plant manager, Chuck Gifford, told us that if there was any trouble or unrest they already have a plant in Mexico and they would move the work there," said Margaret Gonzalez a UAW worker in Rochester, NY. "Management has broken up the skilled trades' work area and put each person into a different department. They are taking away their chairs," she said. It's not just GM/Delphi. It's happening everywhere. No matter what name they go by, GM/Delphi, Ford/Visteon, Daimler/Chrysler, Donnelly, Tower, American Axle, Lear; we know them as the PROMISE BREAKERS.

Cooperate and you won't get hurt, they say. But every concession the UAW has made to the Corporate Beast has only led to more concessions and more job losses. Don't believe me. Believe history. Believe the facts. Between 1979 and 1997 the UAW lost 763,769 dues paying members. The giant sucking sound you hear is CONCESSIONS.

In 1996 GM told workers at Buick City that if they didn't cooperate, they would lose jobs. The International pressured workers to elect the Cooperative Caucus. In March 1999 Buick City is officially closed. PERMANENTLY.

Thanks for all you're cooperation. Welcome to the caravan, gypsy.

There's no turning back. There's no where to run. The National Hire is flooded with applications from workers who have been laid off, sold, or closed. The job security portion of the '96 agreement was a giant loophole.The Grand Rapids Press reports GM reduced the hourly workforce in Michigan '15 percent in just the past three years. Now, GM plans to cut much deeper into its hourly work force by building more efficient assembly plants, code-named Yellowstone."

Last summer's strike in Flint is looking more and more like a set-up. GM reduced inventories on last years models without paying sub-pay, got a no-strike concession, and spun off Delphi. Did the plan work? Check out the price of GM stock. Dividends are up. Workers' bonuses are down. Now the reapers of unearned income are about to receive a tax-free distribution of Delphi stock without so much as an ante. Nice work if you can get it.

For workers at Flint Delphi East the clock is ticking. After the strike last August they lost 500 jobs before the ink dried on the contract.The Cooperative Caucus is pushing for more concessions. Don't be fooled, lean means job reduction, not job security. The promise of new work is mouthed but there's nothing in writing. The old hustler's adage holds true. Don't listen to the barker. Keep your eyes on the action.

"Tawas, a non-union company, brought video cameras into the plant and filmed us assembling. Later they moved one of the new modular lines from our plant to Tawas," said Terry Couchre a UAW worker in Flint. "They are combining Pipe Fitter, Machine Repair, and Millwright classifications," he said. "These decisions are being made without the ratification of the membership." The Key Four alter the contract without so much as a nod to the peons who pay $40 a month union dues.

In Anderson, IN. the Delphi I plant was sold last year despite Battenberg's pledge not to sell or close the plant in exchange for concessions. GM treats contracts like toilet paper.

At the Delphi E plant in Anderson the starter business was sold to Delco Remy America. They still make ignitions and alternators at Delphi E but employment is dropping as more and more work is outsourced. "We're becoming an assembly plant. We don't manufacture anything anymore," said Steve Bricker a UAW worker in Anderson. That's the trend. In 1973 there were 26,000 GM workers in Anderson. Today, 3000 are employed at Delphi E. Where will it end?

In Chihuahua, Mexico news sources report that Lee Crawford, Delphi Director of Mexico and Central America, has warned that "although Delphi has no plants in Central America now, if costs in Mexico become prohibitive, the company is keeping its options open." How low can you go?

Corporate honchos complain the peso's too high. They say they can easily move further south to Guatemalan towns where the women and children work almost for nothing and soldiers keep the union in line.

Meanwhile Ed Northern is barnstorming the country staging pep rallies and chanting the praises of Delphi, but no one has seen anything in writing to guarantee our jobs or our pensions. He's following the formula prescribed by Delta Consulting Group Inc, New York, who advise, "Energize people about the start-up while capitalizing on opportunities for downsizing." A correction is in order as they say on Wall Street.

In the last issue I said Delphi is an omen not an oracle. Jon Carriere informed me that Delphi was the temple famous for its oracle. The oracle was actually a woman named Pythia who sat on a three legged stool at Delphi and spoke gibberish. The people mistook her nonsense for wisdom and prophecy.

I stand corrected. Ed Northern is an omen not an oracle.

In Solidarity,

UAW Local 2151, Coopersville, Mi.