Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Jul 14 07:56:54 PDT 1998

The new issue of the UAW's magazine, Solidarity, just arrived in the mail On the cover is a pic of president Steve Yokich at the recent convention, with the headline "Change is in the Air: Report from the 32dn Constitutional Convention & the GM strike." Ooh, someething about the strike, was my first thought. So I page through it. Just inside the cover, a 2-page spread on child labor. A few pages later, the news roundup - the California vote on prop 226, Indonesian labor leader released from prison... Oh, here we go, "Flint locals strike GM." Yokich "reiterated the support of the international for the strikers," but added that these are "local strikes." "American workers come last in GM's strategy," said Richard Shoemaker, the union's GM VP. Not bad, about 2/3 of page 7, though it shares the page with news of the Han Young strike in Mexico and the threat of Social Security privatization. Turn the page.... more on child labor, an article on the Daimler-Chrylser merger, then the main feature on the convention - where we learn that the UAW has a "great future," that the delegates re-elected "a strong, experienced team to lead the union," that "organizing" is the union's future, that "Gephardt, Bonior pledge support for working families," and "Clinton, Herman praise labor," and that "The UAW is a growing force in Puerto Rico" (though there wasn't a word about last week's inspiring general strike). A few page later, a headline, "Rolling the Good Strike" - on an article about bowling! Great organizing victories are reported on p. 19 - 3,000 new members signed up in the first 5 months of 1998, compared with 9,000 for all of last year. That'll offset a few GM plant closings, won't it? More articles on voter registration, proposed changes in bankruptcy laws. On the back page, a celebration of the UAW's contribution to disaster relief work.

Child labor is certainly an important issue, but it's one of those things that the UAW can take a strong stand on without any serious consequences. Who, aside maybe from Paul Krugman, is *for* child labor? But apparently the UAW thinks the issue is three or four times more important than a strike for their life in Flint. What's a member to think?


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