UAW Local 848 President Romeo Munoz hosted a planning session for North Texas autoworkers on May 14th. Similar training sessions are taking place across the nation.
The main presentation was given by Mark Haasis, Assistant Director of the UAW Agricultural Implement Department in Detroit. Haasis said that volunteers from Jobs with Justice will be welcomed when the union makes its move. "We can't succeed without volunteers in activism," he told the assembly of top leaders and activists from half a dozen North Texas UAW locals.
The Autoworkers Union was known for its dynamic organizing drives from its inception in 1935 until the great shift in American union policies after 1947. At its height, Haasis said that the union had 1.5 million members, with 850,000 of them producing the automobiles that were prized all over the world. The union set the standard for middle-income workers' wages and benefits. The downturn in union fortunes that became most noticeable after government policies toward working people switched in 1980 has left the autoworkers with about 1/3 their peak membership now. A smaller portion are involved in auto production.
Part of the problem has been the rising sales of automobiles from foreign owners. Those foreign-owned companies have now built a number of anti-union plants within the United States, and they need to be organized. The union has a carefully mapped plan involving national and international campaigns. The intricate rivers of anti-union laws must be navigated, and everyone's best thinking will be required. The UAW will involve all its rank and file members as well as other volunteer activists as they reverse the corporate anti-worker tide.
The union leaders and activists assembled at Local 848 on May 14th enthusiastically welcomed this historical challenge!
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