happy autoworkers- Not so at Saturn

SsarahT at aol.com SsarahT at aol.com
Fri Jul 10 07:33:19 PDT 1998

Despite the massive public relations campaign regarding Saturn, there are a number of workers there who hate the TQM system there.

Last March I attended a conference on "Union Democracy" sponsored by LaborNotes and the Asso. for Union Democracy. One of the speakers was Tom Hopp, a Saturn worker and stand-up labor activist. He has worked at Saturn for 5 years, and he has been a UAW member for 20 years.

He cited many things wrong at Saturn, including: -mandatory rotating shifts (!!!), -high injury rates of people working the line, -bigtime intimidation if you express opposition to the union/mgmt company line ("you're not being a good team member'), - union representatives/ stewards who represent 1,000 people (instead of the standard 250 UAW ratio), - a lot of favoritism, - Saturday work at straight pay, - forced work on MLK holiday, - no full transfer rights to other GM plants (unlike the standard UAW contract), - substandard pension ($250/month if you're at Saturn for less than 25 years; far different than the standard UAW contract), - no grievance procedure, and - employee rights not spelled out in the Saturn contract.

Upon reading the Saturn contract, I see that there is NOT discrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation (which differs from the UAW standard contract, which usually includes such protection).

Most people, of course, do not know the true story. Instead they, including many labor leaders, are persuaded by those slick commercials and other company/union propaganda.

--- Sarah Luthens (Seattle, WA) ssaraht at aol.com __________

<< GM didn't introduce TQM quickly enough, although I think they use at teh saturn

plant. Supposedly the workers at Saturn rejected outright any role for the

union in that plant.


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