Lear auto parts workers speak out against UAW-backed sellout contract proposal
23 October 2018
One week after auto parts workers at Lear Corporation’s Hammond and Portage, Indiana plants overwhelmingly rejected a contract backed by the United Auto Workers union, sentiment continues to build for a fight to overturn the tier system and years of concessions in wages and benefits.
After UAW Local 2335 announced that a tentative agreement with Lear had been reached on October 3, the union stonewalled workers’ demands to review details of the contract prior to voting on it October 14, with local President Jaime Luna insisting, “Everything is done at the ratification meeting.”
Workers had every right to be suspicious. In 2014, following a 24-hour strike, the UAW trumpeted claims that it had secured the elimination of the two-tier system at the Hammond plant. Within days of the contract being ratified, however, workers learned that they had been swindled, and that the UAW had agreed to the creation of a new class of “sub-assembly” workers earning even lower pay who were to be moved to a plant in Portage.
Following the decisive rejection of this year’s deal by 74 percent, the UAW has refused to explain why it had backed a proposal workers overwhelmingly opposed. Instead, Local 2335 sought to stave off workers’ anger by holding a series of phony “ratification feedback” meetings last week.
In an indication of the nervousness in corporate circles over the possibility of the struggle at Lear sparking a broader rebellion among workers, both the national and local media have maintained a news blackout on the rejection of the contract.
Workers should be under no illusions that the UAW can be pressured to fight for their interests and return with a…