Solidarity Movement Newsletter #2

The second issue of the Solidarity Movement newsletter has been published.

Issue #2 features: a review of developments in the UAW, where a group of rank-and-file members is building a movement for more democracy and a fight against concessions; a short history of the occupation of Houdaille Industries in Oshawa in 1980 which helped win important improvements to legislated severance language for all Ontarians; and a report on the ongoing strike by 700 workers at De Havilland Aircraft.

The front page feature calls on Local 222 members to sign up for online membership meetings. Local 222 has arranged for membership meetings to be held on Zoom but the leadership has not done a good job of getting the news out to members. All the meetings have been cancelled for lack of a quorum of 50 members and we haven’t had a Local membership meeting in 2 years. The lack of commitment by the leadership is seen by the fact that very few Executive Board members or in-plant elected reps have signed up themselves. The newsletter provides the necessary information in an effort to get more members engaged:

How can we accept this behaviour? Change is needed, and YOU, the members, can make it happen. Without meetings the leadership isn’t accountable for their decisions, they don’t have to answer questions in an open forum, and they don’t have to engage the membership.

There is no democracy without meetings. We don’t get to ask questions or raise       concerns about problems in our workplaces, elections, or COVID.  We can’t vote on appeals, motions, or financial decisions. We can’t make collective decisions. Failure to hold meetings denies our DEMOCRATIC right to participate in running our Local.

If 50 members sign up we will have a quorum and the meeting should be held. Please sign up now. Our union is only as strong as the members who participate.

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Newsletter article on UAWD with clickable links:

Rank and File UAW Members Fight Against Corruption & Concessions and For Democracy

An exciting new rank and file movement is growing in the UAW – the union representing most autoworkers in the US. Local 222 belonged to the UAW until the formation of the CAW in 1985.

According to their mission statement Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD) is a grassroots movement of UAW members united in the common goal of building a more democratic, and accountable union.”

Why Was UAWD Formed?

The UAWD believes, “the rank-and-file of our union MUST be the highest authority in the UAW—whether at our Conventions, at our Locals, at the bargaining table, or on the shop floors of our workplaces across the country.”

The recent corruption scandal in the UAW has highlighted the need for reform – a dozen high-ranking UAW leaders, including two former International Presidents, have pleaded guilty to corruption and collaborating with corporate managers who wanted to keep union heads “fat, dumb, and happy” in order to “grease the skids” for concessions.

The UAWD points out that, Over the last 70-plus years of our union’s history, we have been beholden to a one-party state. That one-party—the Administration Caucus—has concentrated power in the hands of a select few. In the last forty years alone, the Administration Caucus has engaged in various partnership schemes with the very same corporations that continually cut our jobs, attempt to gut our benefits, and have outsourced countless good-paying union jobs.”

The deals the UAW negotiate in the States greatly affect Canadian bargaining. It’s harder to make gains here when the concessions are so brutal there.

The US prosecutor investigating corruption in the UAW has mandated reforms including a referendum of all UAW members in November to decide whether to continue with a system where members elect delegates to go to Convention and those delegates elect the leaders, or have the leadership elected directly by all UAW members in good standing (One Member One Vote).

The UAWD is currently mobilizing support for “One Member One Vote” . They believe this will be a step to rooting out the corruption plaguing the UAW. There are strong feelings on both sides of this debate.

Jerry Dias announced at the Retired Workers Council that he will retire as Unifor National President next August and said “we are having discussions about the best replacement”. Whether or not you support one member one vote, the membership should be freely determining who is our next President, and not have it predetermined behind closed doors.