Will GM Weather This Bad Publicity Storm?

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

GM has caught a lot of heat in the last few weeks after announcing its plans to shut down five facilities in North America (four in the United States and one in Canada) and shed approximately 14,800 workers. The company claims it’s a restructuring effort to preserve cash and accelerate investment in electric and autonomous vehicles.  

In Detroit, where the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant’s closure will leave the Motor City with only one auto factory left within its borders, the economic hit – especially to the enclave municipality of Hamtramck – will be severe. Some Michiganders don’t seem too sad to see them go ...

... while some residents are even openly wondering if the neighborhood that was razed in the early 80's to build GM’s facility can now be revived.

In Lordstown, Ohio, home to a facility that currently makes the Chevy Cruze, the community is laying out to keep auto manufacturing in town. Schoolkids are writing letters. Elon Musk (the guy in the middle) is musing about buying the plant. State lawmakers are bending GM CEO Mary Barra’s well-compensated ear (she says she’ll keep an “open mind”), and some federal representatives are at odds with President Trump about whether the company deserves to lose the benefits of tax credits pulled.

All in all, It’s not a good look for General Motors, which took $49.5 billion from the governmentjust a decade ago to avoid bankruptcy, and saved approximately $150 million through its third fiscal quarter off this year's Republican tax cut, to now lay off almost 15,000 American employees.

But, there’s a bit of good news for the company! The ongoing trade negotiations between the Trump administration and the Chinese government have reportedly produced lower Chinese import tariffs on automobiles. That has caused GM’s stock to rise.

Good thing, I guess, that those who own GM stock aren’t being harmed by this, unlike the thousands of American workers who will likely soon be out of work.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Uber Drivers Deserve Legal Rights and Protections

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

In an advisory memo released May 14, the U.S. labor board general counsel’s office stated that Uber drivers are not employees for the purposes of federal labor laws.

Their stance holds that workers for companies like Uber are not included in federal protections for workplace organizing activities, which means the labor board is effectively denying Uber drivers the benefits of forming or joining unions.

Simply stating that Uber drivers are just gig workers does not suddenly undo the unjust working conditions that all workers potentially face, such as wage theft, dangerous working conditions and  job insecurity. These challenges are ever-present, only now Uber drivers are facing them without the protection or resources they deserve. 

The labor board’s May statement even seems to contradict an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that couriers for Postmates, a job very similar to Uber drivers’, are legal employees.

However, the Department of Labor has now stated that such gig workers are simply independent contractors, meaning that they are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay.

While being unable to unionize limits these workers’ ability to fight for improved pay and working conditions, independent contractors can still make strides forward by organizing, explained executive director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai.

“We can’t depend solely on the law or the courts to stop worker exploitation. We can only rely on the steadfast militancy of workers who are rising up everywhere,” Desai said in a statement. 

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Make Father's Day Union Made!

Make Father's Day Union Made!