GM strike: a question (off-list)

Mike Yates mikey+ at
Tue Jun 30 07:02:21 PDT 1998


I was not demonizing the UAW, just offering some criticisms. And the CAW is no longer a part of the UAW. "Final Offer" was made in the mid 1980s and maybe women are better represented in CAW now. But, let's face it, not many unions have done right by women, even the best ones like the old United Packinghouse Workers. Perhaps Justin can tell us how many women are involved in UAW national negotiations with the big auto companies.

Michael Yates

p.s. I read an article in the local (Pittsburgh) paper about the GM strike in Flint. One young women said that getting a job in the plant was like hitting the lottery. This says a lot about what working people expect out of life and maybe says a lot about the failure of organized labor to take up the issue of the nature of work.

Justin Schwartz wrote:

> On Mon, 29 Jun 1998, Mike Yates wrote:
> > Friends,
> >
> > "Final Offer" is available from California Newsreel, 149 9th St., #420, San
> > Francisco, CA 94103. I do not remember the rental or purchase price, but it
> > probably is not too high. One interesting thing about the film is the
> > absolute domination of men in the UAW. Not a woman on the bargaining team.
> Well, for what it's worth, my boss at UAW Legal, one of the Assoc Gen'l
> Counsels, was a very tough black woman. The Legal Dept is headed by a man,
> Jordan Rosser, but the Associate Genl Counsels are pretty evenly split, I
> think it's 4-4. As far as I can tell, the women have equal responbilities
> and opportunities, they don't get stuck with second class work. Several
> other depts, and not just service depts, are headed by women--PR, for one.
> Now, I grant that Legal is sort of isolateed from other parts of
> Solidarity House; we do legal stuff, oddly enough, and don't make policy.
> But I think that the unrelievadely horroble impression of the UAW that's
> being promulgated on this list is misleading and erroneous. Sure, it's a
> rather stick in the mud labor bureaucracy. No, it's not a revolutionary
> organization. Yes, a lot of my comrades in New Directions spend a good
> deal of time eyeball to eyeball with their local unions and the
> International. It's far from perfect. But it's not the old Teamsters or
> MIneworkers or Laborers or the East Coast Longshoremen. It's fairly honest
> and within the blinkered limits imposed by a foolish commitment to DP
> politics, progressive as US unions go--one of the more progressive. It
> needs to be democratized. But it shouldn't be demonized.
> --jks

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