GM strike

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Fri Jul 3 09:42:46 PDT 1998

MScoleman at wrote:

>As to Doug's criticisms of the UAW, I think he is right, the union has
>displayed an amazin' lack of leadership -- even more so in their relatively
>unknown industries, like electrical plants which employ primarily women and
>minorities or in the intellectual trades of which Doug is a member. However,
>I think this latest round of militant actions may be due to pressure from

Oh, I think you're probably right here. I asked Kim Moody the other day if he thought that the UAW was just letting the locals blow off some steam by striking, and he agreed that that may be what they're doing. There have been 9 local strikes over the last several years, with little support or coordination from the wittily named "Solidarity House" (UAW HQ). Kim told me that the UAW was very slow in authorizing these Flint actions; they waited until *after* the stamping equipment was moved out of the factory to approve the walkout.

At the local level here in NYC, in the clerical and "intellectual" trades, there are some very fine UAW people. I mentioned the Barnard College workers the other day (almost all of them women); their strike was locally led with little assistance from Solidarity House. A few years ago, I was involved with the UAW negotiations with the Village Voice (as a silent observer - since the Voice didn't recognize the National Writers Union, I wasn't allowed to speak at the negotiating table). Their chief negotiator was a very sharp woman (whose name escapes me now, sorry). If this talent and energy were allowed to bubble upwards, the UAW, and American unionism, would be very different critters.


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